Cuisinart ICE-21 Review

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Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

Cuisinart ICE-21 reviews by consumers are solidly enthusiastic about ease of use and the high quality results. This automatic ice cream maker with an insulated freezer bowl sits above the Cheapism price ceiling (starting at $54, Amazon) but is conceivably within reach of budget-wise shoppers. It enjoys a 4.5-star average from more than 2,350 reviewers on Amazon, where users indicate it keeps dairy-free and low-carb ice cream lovers well supplied. Some even mention gaining weight because the process is so quick and the ice cream so hard to resist.

At Bed Bath & Beyond, the consensus is equally upbeat, with ruminations about wholesome ingredient options, money saved by giving up on store-bought, and refreshing results such as lemon sorbet and coconut milk ice cream flavored with fresh fruit and honey. Some Cuisinart ICE-21 reviews say higher-fat recipes yield the most satisfying taste and texture, a stance shared by Chowhound, which tested this popular kitchen gadget and declared custard-style ice cream made with egg yolks and cream the favorite. These testers spurned sorbet and declared regular ice cream just so-so. The main critique: grainy texture and too many ice crystals -- more so in the former than in the latter.

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User complaints about this model differ little from those leveled at budget-priced ice cream makers: The motor gives out after a few uses, the finished consistency is too slushy, or a hard layer forms against the sides while the rest is like a milkshake. There's a report about the paddle scraping bits of aluminum from the bowl into the ice cream mix. And one user is miffed that the marketing information neglects to mention that the freezer must be at zero degrees for the bowl to freeze properly, and her old appliance only gets to 25 degrees. A few reviewers gripe that the machine is noisy but concede that the disturbance is tolerable for the 20 minutes or so that it runs.

Like most lower-cost ice cream makers with a chill canister or freezer bowl, the Cuisinart ICE-21 has a capacity of 1.5 quarts. The bowl needs a pre-freeze of at least 16 hours (one review says it gets so cold that wearing gloves is advised), and the churning process takes 15 to 20 minutes. The ICE-21 also makes frozen yogurt and sorbet and comes with a plastic paddle and see-through lid with a 3-inch opening for pouring in the base and later adding mix-ins. All parts are BPA-free and must be hand washed. The machine weighs 9 pounds and rubber feet prevent skidding.

The Cuisinart ICE-21 is available in red, white, or pink, and an extra bowl costs $30. For the money, the Cuisinart ICE-20 is a sweet deal even if a bit of a stretch.

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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