10 Best Tools for Making Ice Cream at Home
Plus, why you should eat with ice cream spades instead of spoons.
Ice cream is meant to be fun. Sprinkles, cherries, colorful bowls — there's nothing all too serious about a scoop or two of your favorite flavor. But making ice cream is a bit more serious. Whether you're a first timer churning homemade vanilla ice cream for the 4th of July barbeque, or you're a DIY ice cream pro looking to make your next signature batch, there are some essential ice cream tools that will make the process of making homemade ice cream easier and frankly more fun. From a waffle cone maker to an ice cream spade, these are the tools we turn to when making ice cream at home.
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1. Ice Cream Scoop
If this ice cream disher looks familiar, it's because the Zeroll ice cream scoop has been the go-to scoop for many a parlor since 1935. A heat-conductive liquid in the handle of the scoop transfers the warmth of your hand to the scoop well to provide for easier molding and faster release. The corrosion-resistant aluminum is hand-wash only, but it's quick to rinse and dry.
Buy it: $20; williams-sonoma.com
2. Small-Batch Ice Cream Maker
Cuisinart's fully-automatic 1.5-quart Ice Cream and Sorbet Maker is routinely atop lists of best ice cream makers for its affordability and its performance. Its smaller size is nice too so you don't have to commit the ingredients and the time to a larger vat of homemade ice cream. Once spinning, the maker can have a batch of ice cream ready in 20 minutes. No wonder it has thousands of five-star reviews.
Buy it: $60; bedbathandbeyond.com
3. Large Ice Cream Maker
This two-quart ice cream maker, also from Cuisinart, is an excellent, highly-ranked alternative to the $500 ice cream machines and the old-fashioned cranking types that require buckets of ice and salt. Like its smaller sibling, this one goes from ice cream base to ice cream dessert in minutes with the push of a button. The "smart" capabilities allow the machine to mix your ice cream more precisely, depending on the type of frozen dessert you're making. "Wow! Love this appliance. I've really enjoyed trying different recipes," wroter reviewer CW DeJong. "My family loves the taste of homemade ice cream much better than store bought and this machine makes the best ice cream! Not to mention, it does so in less than 30 minutes."
Buy it: $140; target.com
4. Stand Mixer Attachment
If you have a KitchenAid stand mixer, you may not need to buy a separate ice cream maker. This upgraded attachment can use the existing appliance you have to whip up ice cream batches. A rotating dasher and insulated freezer bowl can create two quarts of velvety, luscious ice cream in just 20 to 30 minutes. Get an extra freezer bowl so you can make multiple batches at once.
Buy it: $60; williams-sonoma.com
If you've ever made a blackberry ice cream or raspberry sorbet, you know well that an important part of the recipe process is straining seeds out of the ice cream or sorbet mixture. No one wants to lap into a scoop of ice cream only to find crunchy bits of seeds hiding out. This sieve will allow all the necessary juices to drip through while keeping seeds and tiny bits of inedible materials out of your finished product. The barrel handle also makes for a more comfortable grip.
Buy it: $35; surlatable.com
There's one given in every ice cream or sorbet recipe: lots of whisking. You have to incorporate all the creams and milks or juices and sugar, and you don't want them to bubble up too much. What's the best tool for the task? A strong, reliable whisk. The bulb-shaped handle with no-grip slip makes the long whisking assignment easier.
Buy it: $10; target.com
7. Ice Cream Spades
Blunt-ended spoons can cut into frozen ice cream more easily than pointed ends of a teaspoon. "These spoons add an old school nostalgic feeling to any bowl of ice cream," writes Jason L.
Buy it: $6; surlatable.com
8. Ice Cream Dishes
If you have the right spoons, you certainly need the right dishes. These molded ice cream dishes are beautiful and unabashedly old-fashioned. They'll be as pretty empty as they are holding a scoop of your favorite small batch.
Buy it: $2-3; crateandbarrel.com
9. Ice Cream Container
You'll want to free up your machine's bowl by storing any ice cream you've just made in its own container for long-term storage. But not just any bowl will do. This one is designed for scooping, with a long, slender design that's just right for a disher. The base is non-slip too so you can really dig in. With a 1.5-quart capacity, it's sized just right for smaller batches.
Buy it: $15; surlatable.com
10. Waffle Bowl Maker
Thick, fluffy waffle bowls. Cool, creamy ice cream. It's a dreamy match, but this handy waffle bowl maker makes it even easier to make a reality. Pour your batter into the machine, close the lid, and in a few minutes you have waffle bowls for serving. When not in use as an ice cream bowl maker, it could make a decent taco salad bowl, too.
Buy it: $43; wayfair.com
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