Pros / This lightweight, compact ice cream maker is easy to store.
Cons / Even when stored overnight, the freezer bowl thaws quickly.
Verdict / This Hamilton Beach model is easy to use and makes enough ice cream to satisfy a small family. Even when stored in your freezer overnight though, the freezer bowl thaws quickly so your ice cream may be slow to thicken.
Whether it's home movie night, a holiday or birthday party, homemade ice cream is always a crowd pleaser. Tasty treats from ice cream makers like the Hamilton Beach 1.5 Quart play well with bowls, cones, spread between cookies and stuffed in cakes. This Hamilton Beach model makes enough for a small family or party.
The ice cream consistency from this electric ice cream maker is similar to soft serve but without the preservatives or mystery ingredients. In our tests, it took one hour for this machine to prepare ice cream. You can use your own recipes or use recipes in the owner's manual for treats like cappuccino gelato or strawberry sorbet. Like many other freezer-bowl models, mixing the ice cream is only a matter of pre-freezing the canister, pouring in the ingredients and pressing a button.
Before starting, you have to make sure the liquid in the freezer bowl is completely frozen. This way, you can make ice cream as soon as you have the ingredients you need. Once the bowl is frozen, you just connect it to the base, add the dasher and lid, then pour your mixture in. The only control on this ice cream machine is a simple on-and-off switch.
There's a freezer guide in the manual that shows you how long you should store the bowl, depending on how powerful your freezer is. If you don't follow these instructions, the freezer bowl can thaw and lose chilling power, leaving your mixture milky and sloshy. To harden the ice cream, pre-chill your ice cream mixture then store your mixture in the freezer for a couple hours.
Cleaning this Hamilton Beach model is a cinch because it's made of only four lightweight parts. Unfortunately, none of the parts are dishwasher safe, but the only components that touch the ice cream are the freezer bowl and dasher. You can clean the freezer bowl and dasher best with warm soapy water and a good wipe down. Although we didn't encounter any problems with overflowing ice cream, we still recommend wiping down the lid and base before your next use.
There were issues with the freezer bowl that set this Hamilton Beach model aside from other ice cream makers we reviewed. The freezer bowl wobbled on its axis even when properly secured to the base, which affected our test results. We left our freezer bowl to chill overnight, but still had issues with it thawing before the ice cream was ready. Like most freezer-bowl models, we recommend storing the bowl in the freezer at all times.
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The Hamilton Beach 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker is lightweight and simple to use year around. It makes enough ice cream for a small family or party and fits comfortably on most countertops. We encountered some problems with the freezer bowl thawing too quickly and wobbling on the stand, which kept this model from being in the top three best ice cream makers, but it still managed to make ice cream with a thick, soft-serve consistency. The Hamilton Beach 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker is best for families who can spare the freezer space to store the bowl at all times.