Are you looking for a simple, reasonably priced way to make ice cream at home? Maybe you have some dietary issues that prevent you from being able to enjoy commercially prepared varieties? The Cuisinart ICE-60W Gelateria Gourmet Ice Cream Maker is easy to use and affordable. If you have room in your freezer to store the mixing bowl, and if a couple of quarts of ice cream every few days will meet your family’s needs, this might be the right machine for you. Read our review to see if this is your best choice.
This is a 2 quart ice cream maker. Keep in mind that liquids expand when they freeze and that the mixing process will add air to your finished dessert. These two factors mean that you will NOT want to fill the mixing bowl to the top with your prepared mixture! Do not fill the bowl higher than 1/2” from the top. Overflow is not fun.
There are basically three types of ice cream makers. One is the old fashioned hand crank method. This involves churning your recipe’s ingredients in a canister that is set in a larger bucket into which you place ice and rock salt. (These are a lot of work and often involve several people taking turns operating the crank!)
The second type uses a similar method except that the churning is accomplished by a paddle turned by an electric motor, AND the ice and rock salt is replaced with a pre-frozen bowl.
The third type has a built-in-freezer mechanism. There are several of these on the market. They are particularly popular with those who want to be able to make several flavors and varieties of frozen desserts in a relatively short period of time.
The second option is probably the most popular type because it is a lot easier to use than the hand crank option and is usually less expensive than the units with a built-in-freezer.
The Cuisinart ICE- 60W is the second type. It uses a double insulated inner bowl that has a coolant fluid between its inner and outer walls. You place this (empty) bowl in your freezer until this coolant fluid has frozen solid. This may take up to 24 hours or longer – depending on your freezer. [It is important that your freezer temperature is set at 0 degrees F or colder.] To test for readiness, shake the bowl vigorously. You should hear NO sloshing of fluids. Unless your bowl coolant is frozen solid, you will not get the desired results with your finished dessert.
Once the fluid in the freezer bowl is frozen solid, you are ready to begin. Using a recipe from the booklet that came with your machine or another recipe of your choosing, prepare your mixture. If your recipe is custard based, chill the prepared mixture before you add it to the freezer bowl. In fact, it is a good idea to always use well chilled ingredients.
Select the appropriate function button on the front of your Cuisinart machine. This will set the churning speed of the paddle. It will also set the timer — from 25 minutes for ice cream up to 40 minutes for sorbet. If you chose the ICE-70 model with the “count down” button, you can set the timer for a shorter or longer period of time. This is handy if you have found that your favorite recipe takes a different amount of time than the pre-set time built in to the unit.
Pour your mixture into the machine and turn it on. Your work is done.
When your dessert is finished, serve it or transfer it to storage containers and place it in the freezer.
The most important point to keep in mind regarding the quality of your finished product is your prep work. It is essential that the freezer bowl is frozen solid before you put it to use. You will see a range of suggested freezing times mentioned in the customer reviews. The safest plan is to freeze the bowl at least 24 hours in a 0 degree freezer. Unhappy customers who couldn’t get the dessert to freeze firmly enough had generally tried to rush this process. If your bowl is properly frozen you should be quite pleased with the results.
Another element that can influence the quality of your product is the additives or mix-ins. Chopped nuts, chocolate chips, or other similar mix-ins should be added only during the last couple of minutes. You are LITERALLY just mixing them in. Also, any additive with alcohol content will impact the ability to freeze your dessert. This includes vanilla or other extracts. If you are finding this to be a problem, consider using vanilla bean or non-alcohol flavorings.
In a word, yes. Actually, the ice cream is soft when the machine shuts off. If you want it to be harder, transfer your dessert to a container with an air tight lid and place it in the freezer for a couple of hours. [Do not store it in the mixing bowl that is part of your unit.]
You can also make frozen desserts from non-dairy milks such as almond milk, coconut milk, etc. This is especially good news for individuals who are allergic to dairy products.
Once you have selected the function button and started your machine, the automatic timer starts. The time depends on whether you selected sorbet, gelato or ice cream, and it varies from 15 to 45 minutes. [Sorbet takes the longest.]
If you looked at the Amazon page for the ICE-30BC model you may have seen a notice that a “newer version” was available – and that the newer version was the ICE-60W. I asked the folks at Cuisinart about the difference between these two models and was told that the difference is in the controls.
The ICE-30BC model has a dial for a simple on/off switch. The ICE-60W model we are looking at in this review has buttons that allow you to set the machine to run for ice cream, gelato, or sorbet. These buttons determine the speed and time at which the unit will operate. There is also a start/stop button. Other than these control differences, the machines are the same.
This is a very simple machine to use. The few buttons on the face of it are all you need — the start/stop button and a choice of ice cream, gelato, or sorbet. That’s it. The machine does the rest of the work for you. (Use the “ice cream” button to make frozen yogurt.) Watch this demo.
A very clear, detailed instruction manual comes with the machine. It includes information about proper care and handling of the machine as well as step-by-step operating procedures.
Washing the freezer bowl, lid, and mixing arm with warm, soapy water is all you will need. Do not put the freezer bowl in the dishwasher and do not use harsh abrasives. Dry it completely before placing the bowl back in the freezer in preparation for its next use.
It is important to transfer your finished dessert to a storage container as soon as it is made. (Once you take it out of the freezer bowl it will start to thaw, and this will alter its texture.) See the “Accessories” section below for a few options for storage containers. If the finished ice cream is not as hard as you want it to be, DO NOT put the machine’s loaded freezer bowl in your freezer. Instead, transfer the ice cream to one of your storage containers and freeze it for a few hours.
The machine’s shut off time will depend on which button you selected when you began making your dessert. You can’t change this setting after the cycle begins. If necessary, you can press the start/stop button twice and then reset the machine. Once the predetermined processing time is up, the churning will stop. The unit will stay cold for an additional 30 minutes. During that time, it will sound a 5 second beep every 3 minute to remind you that your dessert is ready. (If you have placed your ice cream maker in another room to lessen the noise, you might want to set your own timer near-by in case you don’t hear these beeps.)
It is noisy. Your dessert will be ready in 20 to 50 minutes. You may want to locate your unit in a room away from the room in which you and your family are spending those minutes.
Without interrupting the freezing cycle, you can easily add items like chopped nuts, chocolate chips, or bits of peppermint candy during the last few minutes of the cycle. Just drop them in the large opening in the lid. That’s what it is there for!
Recipe book – the 26 page booklet that comes with your machine includes recipes for 11 flavors of ice cream, 5 flavors of frozen yogurt, 5 flavors of sorbet, and 7 flavors of gelato. You will also find directions for making frozen desserts using alternative milks and sweeteners.
Owners manual – your owner’s manual combined with your recipe book will give you clear, step-by-step instructions to help you make your first homemade frozen dessert a great success.
Containers for storing finished dessert. You will need to remove the frozen dessert from the freezer bowl as soon as it is finished. You will store your ice cream, sorbet, etc. in a container that is made for this purpose. There are silicon tubs available for reuse or paper tubs available for single use. These paper tubs are exactly like the ones used for the commercial frozen products you buy at your local grocery store. Check out these storage containers.
Additional freezer bowls. If you want to be able to make more than 2 quarts of dessert within 24 hours, or if you want to make more than 1 flavor at a time, you will need to have 1 or more additional freezer bowls at the ready. Remember, these bowls need to be in your freezer for 24 hours prior to use. Your freezer space capacity may be a limiting factor for you. Additional bowls are available here on Amazon.
Ice cream scoop. You can see a great variety of best selling scoops here at Amazon.
Recipe books. Additional recipe books will help you expand your repertoire (The Ben and Jerry’s ice cream recipe book is popular!) This is especially true if you have special dietary needs. For example, if you have to avoid dairy or sugar you will want to explore alternative recipes.
Condiment tray. This may not be something you would use if you are just serving to a usual family gathering. But if you are planning a special outing with lots of friends and family, you probably want to offer a variety of toppings. This condiment tray might be just what you are looking for. Fill with chopped nuts, shredded coconut, a variety of berries, and chocolate chips, and you’re ready for a yummy ice cream social!
The outer casing comes in your choice of brushed chrome or white. Note: the brushed chrome option has its own model number. ICE-70. This model was made for Williams and Sonoma. It is identical to the ICE-60W model except for one feature. The ICE-70 brushed chrome model has one additional control function. This added button allows you to adjust the timer up or down as opposed to leaving it at the pre-set period.
The mixing bowl is made of heavy duty aluminum and is coated with Xylan – a non-stick Teflon-like coating. (link here for info about Xylan) This means your food does not come in contact with the aluminum (in case that was a concern for you). That also means you will not want to use sharp objects to scrap or stir the contents of the bowl. Use a rubber spatula to prevent scratching the coating.
The overall dimensions of the unit: 9.74” X 8.62” X 13.22”
weight: 14 pounds
watts: 40 (both the “60W” model and the “70” model use 40 watts. The “30” model uses 50 watts)
The outside dimensions of the freezer bowl: 6.5” tall and 7.75” in diameter. This is the bowl that you will keep in the coldest spot in your freezer in preparation for making your frozen dessert. If you want to be able to make these desserts whenever the mood strikes, you will need to keep this bowl in your freezer [wrapped in a plastic bag] at all times when it is not in use.
This product comes with a 3 year limited warranty. You should keep your receipt and other product documents in a safe place. You will need to provide proof of purchase and purchase date to receive the warranty benefits.
Cuisinart is owned by the Conair Corporation, an American based company whose corporate office is in Stamford, Connecticut. The manufacturing plant where the Cuisinart ice cream makers are made is located in China.
My personal experience with the company has been good. When I have called, I have gotten a busy signal and/or been put on hold for up to an hour to wait for an available representative. But when I get through to one of the agents, I have found them to be very helpful, pleasant, and patient as they take the time to answer all of my questions.
easy to use
convenient pour in spout for neater operation.
non-slip feet on the bottom of the machine
Makes multiple kinds of frozen treats
Timer option on the “70” model
Creamy, high-quality results
Easy to clean
Doesn’t need ice or salt
have to refreeze the mixing bowl between uses
must keep freezer at 0 degrees or colder
Lid can sometimes be a challenge to lock into place at the start because freezer bowl is so cold
timing is pre-set on “60W” model. You can’t control it.
I mentioned briefly above that the one issue that can be a sticking point is making sure you have thoroughly frozen the mixing bowl BEFORE you begin the process of making your dessert. This is essential and can’t be rushed. If you have done this your product will be a success. For the most part, consumers seem to be very pleased with the results and have given this machine high marks for quality results. Reported problems seemed to be primarily due to not freezing the mixing bowl long enough.
Frozen dessert makers come in a wide range of prices, depending on size and complexity of the machine. This model is at the lower end of what I would call the moderate price. While there may be some brands at a lower price, I think that given the quality of the ice cream it produces this unit is a reasonable buy for someone who will occasionally make a couple of quarts of frozen dessert for themselves or small family. If ice cream consumption is a BIG DEAL in your household I would suggest either buying a second freezer bowl or purchasing the type of machine that has the built-in freezer. With those machines, you can make unlimited quantities without having to wait to refreeze the bowl.
Information for this article was gleaned from Cuisinart user’s manuals, merchant websites (Amazon, Williams and Sonoma) and direct contact with Cuisinart representatives.