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Review Of The Cuisinart ICE-30 Ice Cream Maker

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Cuisinart ICE-30 on a bench next to a sundae

Are you interested in a Cuisinart ICE-30 ice cream maker? This review is essential reading if you’re considering buying one of these handy appliances. We’ll take a close look at what sets this product apart from its competition. You’ll also learn how to make ice cream with this machine.

Introduction

The Cuisinart ICE-30R Pure Indulgence was one of the first ice cream machines I owned, and it was a reliable, effective tool. This easy-to-use appliance produces two quarts of your favorite ice cream, gelato, or frozen yogurt with no special skills required.

People often think that spending more money on an ice cream maker will result in better ice cream. Having used almost every model on the market, this isn’t always the case. The Cuisinart ICE-30 is a budget model, but it still makes ice cream as good, if not better, than some other high-end competitors.

The Cuisinart Pure Indulgence does have a couple of quirks: first, it’s noisy, and second, it doesn’t have a compressor. Not sure what that means? Keep reading, and we’ll make everything clear.

Special note:
If you’re undecided on an ice cream maker? Check out our full review of top ice cream makers for 2020.

Cuisinart ICE-30 Review

FeatureRating
Build quality4/5
Aesthetics4/5
Ice cream quality4/5
Value for money4.5/5
Noise output3/5
Overall score4/5

How does the Cusinart ICE-30 work?

There are two types of machine currently dominating the market.

  • In-built compressor models
  • Removable freezable bowl models
A diagram comparing built in compressor with freezable bowl model.
Built-in compressor vs freezable bowl

1. Units with a compressor

These are complex models that have a freezer built into the appliance. As you can imagine, these machines tend to be a lot bigger because they have increased componentry.

The beauty of this type of ice cream maker is flexibility. You can make ice cream and gelato whenever you feel the need for a frozen treat! Feeling hungry? You can make a batch, then another flavor immediately afterward. The machine could pump out desserts all night if necessary.

Ice cream makers with a built-in compressor are quite large, so if you have a small kitchen, you’ll need to have storage space for it when not in use.

2. Units with a freezable bowl

The Cuisinart ICE-30 has a double-insulated freezer bowl filled with a special liquid. When you unbox the Cuisinart, you’ll be able to hear the liquid sloshing inside. Once frozen, it will keep the bowl at freezing temperature for up to an hour.

A bowl chilling in the freezer
Cover the freezer bowl to avoid ice build up

After churning the ice cream, the bowl needs to be frozen again overnight. For occasional use, this type of machine is excellent. If you like the flexibility to make multiple batches on the fly, then consider a higher-end model.

Parts of the ICE-30

1. The base

The ICE-30 is an impressive looking appliance that looks good in any kitchen. The unit comes in a range of vibrant colors to suit any kitchen. It also comes in brushed stainless steel for a sleek look.

The main housing unit
The housing unit looks impressive in any kitchen.

Cuisinart has produced a robust product, and it’s simplicity allows it to keep churning desserts for years. The motor is housed in the base and packs an impressive 35 watts of power. It has no problem making ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet, sorbet, or even frozen drinks.

The underside of the appliance has rubber feet attached to provide stability when it’s busy at work. As with the other models, it has a space to store any unused cord. On this model, it’s under the base. This feature offers extra safety as there is less power cord for kids to get caught on.

Underneath the base
Keep cords tucked away with the space under the base.

There are also vents in the bottom of the base to allow warm air to escape and help keep the appliance cool.

There’s space for housing the cord under the base.

2. The paddle (dasher)

The paddle plays a crucial role in making your delicious frozen desserts; it whips air into the ice cream during mixing. The paddle is made out of solid plastic and is well designed. It’s uncommon for these moving parts to break, but you can buy new parts if needed. There’s also a three-year warranty, so if it’s a product fault, you can get it replaced.

The paddle
The paddle is sturdy and effective.

This component is a patent-pending piece of technology which is unique in that it doesn’t rotate – it is locked into one position.

The freezer bowl locks into a 12-tooth gear, which protrudes from the base. It’s the bowl that spins around rather than the paddle. This technology is used in all the removable bowl Cuisinart models. The benefit it provides is excellent power. Where other makers will start to struggle as the bowl’s ingredients thicken, this power-horse continues.

Most ice cream machines have a universal problem; a gap between the dasher and the bowl’s inside wall. This gap causes a thin layer of hard ice cream on the inside of the bowl. It acts as insulation and causes the ingredients to freeze at a slower rate. Hopefully, Cuisinart will address this gap in future models.

One solution is to stop the machine and scrape the sides of the bowl to remove any build-up. You must do this as quickly as possible to avoid ice cream meltage.

As ice cream gets churned, the air gets incorporated into the dessert. An overrun of 50% means the dairy base has increased by half its volume at the end of churning.

The Cuisinart ICE-30 claims to add 27% overrun, which is perfectly fine. Commercial machines can incorporate well over 100% overrun into their products; however, premium ice cream overrun will be much lower. This craft-quality product is what you’ll be emulating with the Cuisinart.

3. The bowl

The bowl is a solidly built component that contains a cooling liquid between double-insulated walls. You can hear the sloshing sound of this liquid when it’s at room temperature. To use the bowl, you’ll need to freeze it for 6-24 hours (preferably overnight).

Top down view of the freezer bowl.
Freeze the bowl overnight for best results.

This bowl allows the user to make a two-quart serve (2L) of frozen dessert. This volume is ample for most users and provides more flexibility than the 1.5L bowl in the ICE-21 model. If you think a smaller quantity will be sufficient for your household, check out this Cuisinart ICE-21 review.

If possible, try to keep the bowl below full capacity. By halving the ingredients in the recipe, you’ll find the ice cream hardens a lot quicker. The result is a frozen dessert with impressive texture and mouthfeel. A full bowl makes the motor work overtime, and sometimes on hot days, you’ll find the texture a little slushy at the end of churning

The bowl is 19.7cm (7.8″) in diameter, so this can be a challenge for some homes with limited freezer space. If your freezer is always packed, we recommend machines with a built-in freezer so that you don’t need to chill the bowl.

4. The lid

An ICE-30 lid on white background
There is a good space in the lid for dropping in add-ins.

Like the paddle, the Cuisinart’s lid is built to last. The plastic is clear, which helps you see how your ice cream is progressing.

An ingredient spout allows you to add mix-ins like chocolate, nuts, fruit, and sauces without stopping the freezing cycle. This hole is useful as the ice cream needs to be churned as quickly as possible. Stopping the churn cycle to add ingredients would be counter-productive.

How to use the Cuisinart ICE-30

Illustrated diagram of the steps to produce ice cream at home
The steps to make ice cream.

Step 1: Preparation

The prep phase is the fun part, deciding what flavor you’re going to make and choosing a recipe. Of course, you can make your own recipe, but unless you have a good understanding of ingredient proportions, don’t get too creative. Ice cream is a lot like baking in that you need to get the measurements accurate. It’s easy to jump in and start adding milk, cream, and sugar. But if you don’t have a good understanding of ratios, then you’ll be likely to make an unpleasant dish. No appliance can produce tasty ice cream if the recipe is wrong.

A recipe booklet
The Cuisinart recipe book makes tasty ice cream.

There are plenty of recipes online and in book stores, but Cuisinart also includes a recipe booklet with your purchase. These recipes have been tested with the ICE-30 so you can be reasonably confident of making excellent ice cream.

Step 2: Pasteurization

Pasteurization is a step that is performed by commercial manufacturers to kill off potential bacteria. It involves heating the ice cream custard. Some at-home chefs will also heat their ice cream for this reason; however, there is another reason to cook it. Often ingredients need to be added during the heating phase, such as vanilla beans.

Step-by-step guide to making custard base
Steps to make a custard base.

When using eggs, heat the dairy mixture until it begins to thicken. It needs to coat the back of the spoon. Dip a spoon into the custard, then remove it, and run your finger down the spoon to make a line. If the line keeps its form, then you’ve done it!

Some experts suggest you continue to heat the custard for another 10-15 minutes to improve the final texture. Just remember never to let the custard boil as it will scramble the eggs, and you’ll have to start again.

Step 3: Ageing

Once your custard is ready, pour it into a container and place in the fridge to cool. To reduce the temperature more quickly, place the container in an ice bath before adding to the fridge. This step will expedite the cooling, which is recommended, but not essential.

Custard base in a container chilling
Ageing the base improves the texture.

Try to age the custard base overnight. If rushed for time, then a few hours will be sufficient.

Step 4: Freezing

The freezing stage is where the Cuisinart ICE-30 comes into play. The bowl, paddle, and lid easily fit together, and there is only one on/off switch.

Get everything ready before you remove the bowl from the freezer. You don’t want any wasted time, which will allow the freezer bowl to start warming.

What to consider before removing the bowl from the freezer

  1. Position your Cuisinart in the right spot and plug it in.
  2. Ensure you have the lid and paddle ready to go.
  3. Have your ice cream mix ready to pour. You may want to give it a quick strain to remove any lumps.
  4. Have a spatula ready.
  5. If you’re adding mix-ins, place them in the fridge to chill.

Now you can remove the bowl from the freezer and take it out of its freezer bag. Place it on the base, add the paddle, and finally the lid. It will all click into place easily.

Finally, start the ice cream maker. The Cuisinart ICE-30 panel is straightforward – no sophisticated settings of any kind. Flick on the start button, and the bowl will start rotating. You can now pour the ice cream mixture through the chute and begin the waiting process.

If you are making a large quantity, then it will take around 45 minutes. However, this will vary quite a lot depending on room temperature and the recipe you’ve used. If you churn a half batch, it will reduce the freeze time to less than 30 minutes.

Ice cream churned and ready to harden
Churned ice cream ready to freeze.

Keep in mind that the freezable bowl will only stay cold for around an hour. If your ice cream isn’t thickening by the 45-minute mark, you’ll probably need to try again. Unfortunately, the bowl needs to go back in the freezer overnight, which can be frustrating if you have dinner guests that night. Those with a large freezer can buy an extra bowl to solve this problem.

Step 5: Adding Extras

Kids, and kids at heart, love this part. Adding color, crunch, and extra flavor to ice cream can be the difference between good and great dessert. To add the mix-ins, simply drop them through the chute in the lid. Don’t stop the machine as you add the extras.

We recommend adding your mix-ins a little before the end of the freezing phase. It puts unnecessary strain on the motor by adding them too early. Also, some mix-ins crumble and ruin the texture of the ice cream or discolor it. Sprinkles added too early will result in all the colors merging into one ugly mess.

Sprinkles
Sprinkles add color and texture to your dessert.

I suggest cooling your extras in the fridge for an hour before adding to the ice cream. Room temperature mix-ins warm the ice cream and increase ice crystal size.

Step 6: Hardening

As your ice cream finishes churning in the Cuisinart, you’ll notice it isn’t hard like store-bought ice cream. It is closer to a soft serve texture and is quite delicious eaten immediately. To transform the ice cream into a hardened dessert, you’ll need to freeze it. Scoop it into a wide and flat container and cover with a lid or cling wrap. The shallower the vessel, the more ice cream will be exposed to the cold temperatures of the freezer. This is ideal for quick freezing.

Place the ice cream in the back of the freezer for 2-3 hours or until hard.

Quick Tip: Add a layer of cling wrap directly onto the ice cream. This protection stops unwanted ice crystals from forming on the surface. You can use this technique with store-bought ice cream too.

Cuisinart ICE-30 Tips

  • Store your machine in a cool, dry spot out of direct sunlight.
  • Keep in an upright position.
  • Freeze the bowl overnight is time permits.
  • Set freezer to maximum coldness, so the bowl gets nicely frozen.
  • Chill add-ins before adding them to your ice cream
  • Try to avoid churning ice cream on those sweltering days unless you have air conditioning.
  • Add spirits to your ice cream to improve its texture.
  • Guar gum is an excellent stabilizer but use it sparingly.
  • Chill the ice cream custard before churning.

Mangoes are perfect for sorbet. Try to make this recipe in summer when mangoes are cheap – otherwise, it’ll cost you an arm and a leg to make it. This sorbet is the perfect dessert for a hot day.

Like mango sorbet, make this ice cream when raspberries are at their cheapest. You will need a couple of punnets to make a batch of ice cream. A more affordable option is to buy the frozen raspberries. It makes good ice cream, but not as good as the fresh raspberry option.

Turmeric doesn’t have to be reserved for the Indian curry! Open your mind to a delicious savory ice cream that’s a spicy, creamy concoction of deliciousness. Drizzle the final product with honey, and it’ll take your ice cream to another level.

How to clean your appliance

It doesn’t get much easier with this ice cream maker. You can remove the bowl and wash it in warm soapy water.

A bowl being washed in hot soapy water
Use warm, soapy water to clean the bowl and paddle.

It is essential to allow the inside of the freezer bowl time to return to room temperature before wiping. If it is still cold, clothes tend to stick to the surface which isn’t ideal.

Wiping the inside of the housing with a cloth
A cloth is useful for wiping off excess mess from the base.

Does the ICE-30 make excellent ice cream?

We used this model for many months, and when it finally was upgraded to an expensive ice cream maker, we were disappointed. The affordable ICE-30 was no less an ice cream machine when it came to the taste testing. There are a few high-end machines that make better ice cream like the Lello 4080 Musso Lussino, but the ICE-30 is still impressive.

If creating ice cream on a budget is your main objective, this is a brilliant machine. You get delicious, quality ice cream that is super creamy and the bonus of a large bowl.

The ice cream quality does diminish when it’s filled to the max line. So, if you’re going to have the bowl full every time you make ice cream, this may be a problem. It’s a big bowl, but the machine works best when it’s half full. Keep this in mind when you’re deciding what to buy. If budget permits, you may be better off purchasing a tool of higher quality and quantity.

What are the pros?

  • It easily fits on a kitchen bench or into a cupboard if space is limited.
  • An entry-level model that is competitively priced.
  • Makes lovely creamy ice cream that is creamy and smooth.

What are the cons?

  • A noisy unit that’ll interrupt your television viewing time.
  • It can be frustrating having to freeze the bowl before every use.
  • Finding space in the freezer can be a challenge for some.

Top alternatives to the ICE-30

A hand holding ice cream in a cone at the beach
Alternatives to the ICE-30.

1. Cuisinart ICE-100

If you’d prefer a built-in compressor.

The Cuisinart ICE-100 is a high-end domestic ice cream maker. The big difference is that it has a built-in compressor. If you like the convenience of being able to make ice cream whenever you want, this may be a better option for you.

A unique feature about this model is that you receive two paddles: one for making ice cream and the other for making gelato. There is a difference between the two, and being able to incorporate more air when making ice cream is useful.

Pros

  • Makes amazing ice cream
  • Built-in compressor
  • Two paddle options

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Uses up more kitchen bench space
  • The keep cool function isn’t great

2. Cuisinart ICE-21

“For those that don’t eat as much ice cream”

The Cuisinart ICE-21 is worth considering. It offers the same high-quality build as the ICE-30; only the bowl size is reduced to 1 1/2 quarts (1.5L).

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Doesn’t use a lot of bench space
  • Well built, quality product

Cons

  • Having to freeze the bowl each time
  • Quite noisy when operating
A bowl of vanilla ice cream covered in chocolate sauce
A bowl of ice cream with chocolate and sprinkles.

Specifications

Width8.5"
Depth8.5"
Height11.5"
Weight13.5lb
Loudness80-82Db
Paddle speed21rpm
Powercord35"
Overrun27%
Warranty3 years

Please refer to the user’s manual for more information.

The verdict

The Cuisinart ICE-30R is part of a range of ice cream machines that are built with quality top of mind. With this model, there are no bells or whistles. It simply churns ice cream that’ll impress the harshest food critic.

Thanks to “no-frills engineering” means there’s less chance of appliance breakdown. Mine endured two years of regular use and never missed a beat. The ICE-30 get’s my tick of approval, and I’d recommend it if you’re looking for a lower-priced appliance that performs.

The Cuisinart ICE-30 is a quality ice cream maker that’ll be there when you need it. The 35-watt motor has the power to make good quality, creamy ice cream that tastes fantastic.

A large bowl fits plenty of ice cream into it – enough for a large family and the neighbors. However, you’ll need space in your freezer for the bowl to freeze. If you have one of those small freezers, which is continuously packed to capacity, this could be a problem. You might want to consider a unit with a built-in compressor.

The Cuisinart ICE-30 is one of the best options for anyone wanting to start making ice cream. It is ideal for those who don’t want to spend loads on an appliance they may not use every week. It’s a great machine to impress guests with restaurant-quality ice cream. Maybe you’ve upset your partner and need some bonus points – the Cuisinart will give you those points. Who can say no to quality ice cream?

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