Unlike old-fashioned machines, the Hamilton Beach 68320 ice cream maker uses a modern freezer bowl, which makes it faster and easier to use. All it takes is a flip of the switch to get going, and our testing showed it can make ice cream in about 40 minutes. This is, of course, if you have done the prep work of creating and refrigerating the cream mixture and have frozen the bowl ahead of time so it's sufficiently cold.
Following the instructions, we thoroughly chilled the ice cream mixture in the refrigerator before beginning. It was easy to pour the cream into the ice cream maker, which wasn’t the case with all the machines we reviewed. There is an opening on the ice cream maker's cover that allows you to dump in the cream and ingredients while the paddle spins. Unfortunately, there is no way to completely cover the opening, which might make it easier for unwanted items, like bugs and dust, to get inside.
There isn’t a timer on this ice cream maker, so you need to set one yourself. After 20 minutes, the ice cream had a soft serve texture. When the machine reached its full 40-minute deadline, the ice cream was a bit harder but still not as solid as store-bought ice cream. The user manual specifically states that the ice cream will not be as hard as store-bought ice cream; however, you can harden it up a little by placing it in an air-tight container in your freezer for a few hours after the machine has done its work.
This ice cream maker’s parts aren’t dishwasher safe, so everything must be washed by hand. Do not get the motor wet, as this can ruin the machine. The Hamilton Beach 68320 was relatively easy to clean in our tests – it took us only five minutes. The one difficulty we had was cleaning the base. Because of the way it is shaped, the inside retains water that isn’t easy to dump out. Fortunately, there are three holes in the bottom that slowly help water drain.
This electric ice cream maker makes a small amount of ice cream compared to some of the other machines we reviewed. However, 1.5 quarts is the same amount as an average store-bought carton of ice cream, and one batch from this machine should satisfy a small group of people. The Cuisinart ICE-21, our favorite ice cream maker, also makes 1.5 quarts.
Since this is an electric ice cream maker, it doesn’t have a hand crank, and you don’t need bags of ice or rock salt. Also, it is relatively small and doesn’t weigh as much as other ice cream makers we reviewed. As such, you don’t have to clear much counter space for it, and it’s easy to move around. Hamilton Beach includes six ice cream recipes in the owner's manual.
Hamilton Beach backs this device with a one-year warranty, which is average for an ice cream maker. The affordable Hamilton Beach 68320 is a great ice cream maker to consider, especially if you are on a budget and only need to serve a small group of people.