Oster 1.5-Quart Gel Canister Ice Cream Maker Review

Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com
Think Twice
Several performance factors mar the appeal of this model, but users are particularly miffed about the absence of a manual in the packaging.

A freezer-bowl model, the Oster 1.5-quart ice cream maker (starting at $35, Amazon) causes a stir among reviewers, but a not particularly ardent one. It garners a paltry 2 stars on the company’s site, where consumers gripe about problems that limit its usefulness. For example, they say the ice cream thickens and freezes unevenly while churning, or layers of base mix harden on the bottom and sides of the canister and are difficult to dislodge. Some reviews tell of motors that die just after or in the midst of the first or second outing and others say the canister fails to freeze in the hours leading up to its deployment. Perhaps the most ire is directed at Oster for not including a user’s manual along with the unit. In response to reviews posted on its site, the company says manuals are printed and sent on request.

Not all users share these concerns, however. On Amazon, the Oster 1.5-Quart Gel Canister Ice Cream Maker garners an average 3.6 stars from just over a dozen reviewers. Supporters appreciate the entry-level price and say the machine works as expected; that is, the finished product is tasty and satisfying. Several commenters even offer tips that they say will ensure a good outcome, such as taking the time to thoroughly chill the base mix in the refrigerator before churning, using cream and half-and-half instead of milk, and adding 1 tablespoon of vodka to prevent the churned mixture from freezing solid when curing in the freezer.

This entry-level ice cream maker also produces frozen yogurt and sorbet. The length of time the gel canister must be pre-frozen depends on the temperature inside the freezer: 8 hours at -22 degrees Fahrenheit, 20 to 22 hours at zero degrees Fahrenheit, and 24 hours or more at 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Some users store the canister in the freezer so they can prepare a batch at a moment’s notice, but an immediate second act is impossible: Oster says additional canisters currently are not available. The lid features an opening for add-ins during the last few minutes, and the paddle reverses direction when the base is “set.” An automatic shut-off prevents overheating.

With better options in the budget ice cream maker lineup, shoppers might want to bypass this entry.

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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