Cuisinart ICE-20 1.5 Quart Ice Cream Maker Review

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The Cuisinart ICE-20 features a transparent top, removable mixing arm, and a non-stick chamber. Most users love its ease of use (no salt or ice required), consistently creamy ice cream in 20 minutes, and sturdy build. In the unlikely event this machine breaks, it's backed by a three-year warranty, the longest of any we researched. You can save a few dollars by buying a refurbished unit.

Cuisinart ICE-20 reviews by consumers are wildly enthusiastic about the ease of use and the high quality ice cream it produces. A five-star winner with more than 700 consumers who have posted reviews on Amazon, this fully automatic cheap ice cream maker is consistent and reliable. Although a few consumers seem disappointed that the finished product is more like soft-serve, most seem happy to trade frozen-solid commercial ice cream for a texture that screams "homemade" and chemical-free. For the best results, according to reviews, be sure to follow the directions for pre-freezing the canister (Cuisinart says about eight hours but some consumers advise at least 24), chilling the ingredients (some users suggest to 40 degrees), and adding the ingredients after the machine has started turning. Users boast of great success with all kinds of recipes, including yogurt-fruit drinks, blueberry cheesecake ice cream, and, writes one user in a review on Macy's, ice cream made with beer.

Aside from its cheap price, one of the most appealing features of the Cuisinart ICE-20 (starting at $42, Amazon) is the convenient ice cream making process: unlike many cheap ice cream machines, this model doesn't require the usual rock salt and ice combination. The double-insulated canister contains a liquid that, when frozen, chills and freezes the ice cream mixture as the paddle churns in air. You get edible results in 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the recipe and your preference for softer or harder treats. The non-stick chamber and paddle are easy to clean -- warm soapy water does the trick. Cuisinart ICE-20 reviews on sites like Newegg note that the lengthy pre-freezing of the canister makes it impossible to produce more than one batch at a time, so several reviews suggest buying a second bowl; users also suggest storing the canisters in the freezer (in a plastic bag) so you're ready to jump into ice cream mode at a moment's notice.

This cheap ice cream maker produces 1.5 quarts of ice cream, which one parent commenting in a Cuisinart ICE-20 review says is just enough to dole out healthy-size portions to a family of five. A few users gripe that this model is noisy, but concede it's tolerable for the 20 minutes or so that it runs. The Cuisinart ICE-20 is relatively compact, measuring 10 inches across and 15 inches high; it weighs 9.5 pounds. An impressive three-year limited warranty is unusual in the cheap ice cream maker segment.

For the money, the Cuisinart ICE-20 is a sweet deal.

Maralyn Edid

Maralyn is a veteran reporter, writer, researcher, and editor. From her early years at Crain's Chicago Business and the Detroit bureau of Business Week, then on to a long-term stint at Cornell University's ILR School and now at Cheapism.com, Maralyn has been -- and remains -- committed to getting ...

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