This Hamilton Beach machine makes ice cream with a consistency similar to soft serve but without the preservatives or mystery ingredients. In our tests, it took one hour for this electric ice cream maker to prepare ice cream. You can use your own recipes or use the recipes in the owner's manual for treats like cappuccino gelato or strawberry sorbet. Our tests showed that, as with many other freezer-bowl machines, mixing a batch of ice cream with the Hamilton Beach 1.5 Quart 68880 is just a matter of pre-freezing the canister, pouring in the ingredients and pressing a button.
The Hamilton Beach 1.5 Quart 68880 makes enough for a small family or group of friends. If you want a Hamilton Beach ice cream maker that has a bigger capacity, check out the Hamilton Beach 4 Quart.
Before starting, you have to make sure the freezer bowl is completely cold, which means it needs to spend hours in the freezer. Depending on how powerful your freezer is, the time can range from eight to 22 hours. The user manual includes a small chart to help calculate the time. If you don't follow these instructions, the freezer bowl can thaw and lose chilling power, leaving your ice cream milky and sloshy.
Once the bowl is completely frozen, you just connect it to the base, add the dasher that mixes the ingredients and then pour in your ice cream mixture. The only control on this machine is a simple on-and-off switch. To harden the ice cream, you can pre-chill the ingredient mixture and store the finished ice cream in the freezer for a couple hours.
We had difficulties with the freezer bowl, which led us to score this Hamilton Beach model lower than 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. Also, we left the freezer bowl to chill overnight, but it kept thawing before the ice cream was ready. If you don't want to fiddle with problems like these, we recommend storing the bowl in the freezer at all times.
This Hamilton Beach model is a cinch to clean because it's made of only four lightweight parts. Unfortunately, none of the parts is 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 during our tests, we still recommend wiping down the lid and base before your next use.
The Hamilton Beach 1.5 Quart Ice Cream Maker is simple to use and makes a reasonable amount of ice cream that tends toward a thick, soft-serve consistency. If you've got room in your freezer for its bowl, it is a good ice cream maker to consider.