Whether you want a fun activity for the kids or simply prefer the taste of homemade ice cream, having the best hand crank ice cream maker on hand can brighten any hot summer day.
Ice cream made manually with the low-tech hand crank method can taste extra smooth and fresh in any season, and the recipe possibilities are endless. You can go with traditional flavors or get experimental. Either way, hand cranked ice cream can be a rewarding and tasty treat and a conversation starter too.
What features should you look for when shopping for the best hand crank ice cream maker? What makes hand cranked ice cream so special? Hopefully this guide will help answer these questions.
Table of Contents
- Quick Comparison: Top 4 Hand Crank Ice Cream Makers
- What is a Hand Crank Ice Cream Maker?
- 10 Best Hand Crank Ice cream Maker Reviews:
- Features to Consider When Buying the Best Hand Crank Ice Cream Maker
- How Long Does it Take to Hand Crank Ice Cream?
Quick Comparison: Top 4 Hand Crank Ice Cream Makers
What is a Hand Crank Ice Cream Maker?
A hand crank ice cream maker usually consists of a vessel or tub that looks like an old-fashioned barrel or bucket. Within this tub sits a canister made of aluminum or stainless steel. The liquid mixture that will eventually become ice cream is poured into this canister.
A mixing blade called a dasher is inserted into this canister and is attached to a crank. After the canister is sealed, it is placed in the center of the barrel, and ice and rock salt are packed around it.
When you turn the crank, the dasher within the inner canister keeps your mixture in constant motion. An endothermic reaction occurs, meaning the salt lowers the temperature of the ice, which freezes your liquid mixture as it turns.
After several minutes your mixture turns into a smooth and luscious ice cream. With this method, you can make your own ice cream flavors and enjoy them immediately.
10 Best Hand Crank Ice cream Maker Reviews:
1. Immergood 6 Quart Stainless Steel Hand Crank Ice Cream Maker
This Immergood hand crank ice cream maker is an attractive green color that can look stylish in any kitchen. A major advantage of this model is its all-stainless steel construction.
The outer tub, inner canister, mixing blade and hand crank are all made of this durable material that won't rust or corrode over time. Unlike other wood models, this stainless steel unit may be able to last longer and endure more use.
The outer tub has a slim design that can make storage easier than shorter and wider models. There is still plenty of room to pack ice and rock salt within this tub, and the six quart capacity is roomy.
For comparison, most ice cream packages at the supermarket are less than two quarts, so this machine can crank out a lot of ice cream. A three year warranty is included with this unit on all its parts, so you can use this ice cream maker over and over again without worrying about anything breaking.
Because of its sturdy, triple-layer construction, this model is unlikely to leak or fall apart. Its walls are also thoroughly insulated so you can get the most efficient cooling within the tub as possible, and ice melt and any accompanying mess will be minimized.
The construction materials are durable and solid, and they are unlikely to wear down. Crank your ice cream to perfection in this model for years to come.
2. Donvier 1 Quart Manual Hand Crank Ice Cream Maker, White
This handy Donvier manual ice cream maker allows you to have homemade ice cream with minimal work and supplies. Instead of packing a hand crank machine with loads of ice and rock salt, this unit has a unique wall that is packed full of insulated material that freezes. Set this unit inside your freezer overnight, and you can be ready to make ice cream in the morning.
The hand crank is positioned at the top of the unit, which makes storage much easier. This model is also has a one quart capacity, which may be perfect for smaller servings or if you want to make a lot of different flavors quickly.
An instruction booklet and a list of recipes are included with the ice cream maker, so you can get started on your new hobby as soon as you open the box. Another advantage of this particular hand crank ice cream maker is that it is much more affordable than other models due to its convenience and size.
Though it somewhat lacks the old-fashioned charm of larger and more rustic models, this Donvier unit provides you with modern convenience. Constructed of white plastic on the outside and an aluminum interior, it is easy to take apart and clean. Ice cream can be made within 15 to 20 minutes without constant cranking.
Give your arms a rest and turn the hand crank a few times during this phase of the process, and your ice cream will still come out smooth and creamy. Overall, this could be a great choice for those who want simple homemade ice cream without the fuss.
3. Elite Gourmet 4 Quart Best Hand Crank Ice Cream Maker
Get the best of both worlds with this Elite Gourmet ice cream maker. It has a manual option with a die-cast hand crank, but is also includes an electric motor that can churn your ice cream at the touch of the button.
You can even switch the attachments in mid-churn and give your arms a rest. The electric motor automatically shuts off when it senses your ice cream approaching soft-serve consistency, and if you wish your ice cream to be harder, you can finish with hand-cranking it yourself.
The outer tub is constructed from pine slats that are a lighter wood color that's attractive, and it has a charming old world appearance. A convenient carrying handle makes transporting this unit from place to place easy, which may come in handy if you're at a picnic or need to carry it across the kitchen. The inner canister is made from aluminum and is easy to clean and wipe out.
Ice cream can be made in about 40 minutes within this large unit. Four quarts of ice cream is a lot of ice cream, but it can serve a crowd and be stored for later. The electric motor has a nifty safety feature that prevents it from overheating since it will have to run continuously until the ice cream is finished.
The wooden bucket looks attractive, but due to its authentic quality it may need to be pre-soaked in order to prevent leaks or cracks. However, this extra effort could be worth it for the large amount of ice cream that can be produced from this unit. For the size and options provided, the price is affordable for most budgets.
4. AMERIHOME 6 Quart Hand Crank Ice Cream Maker
This unit offers you the charm of manually cranking your own ice cream at home as well as the convenience of pressing a button to make it with an electric motor. Considering the large six-quart capacity of this unit, you may need some extra help making such a large amount of ice cream.
Great for large gatherings or just making a huge amount of ice cream to store for later, this large capacity can be great for people who like to get things done.
The tall, slim bucket design makes for easier storage, but it is also great for ice cream making. A taller design means more layers of rock salt and ice can be packed into the bucket, which means colder temps and harder, faster ice cream. The construction of this unit combines old and new.
The wooden slats of the bucket make for a classic and timeless vintage appearance, but the inner canister is made from aluminum that's easy to clean. The inner gears of the hand crank and electric motor are made from plastic.
Perhaps one of the best features of this unit is that the lid of the inner canister is made from transparent plastic, so you can see the status of your ice cream without having to open the canister or take anything apart.
A sturdy carrying hand makes taking this bucket from place to place a breeze. In addition to all of these features, a handy recipe booklet is included with the product manual. Become an ice cream expert with all of these tools at your disposal.
5. White Mountain 6 Quart Hand Crank Ice Cream Freezer
White Mountain is a brand that has been around in the hand crank ice cream maker industry since the 1800s, so you know they produce quality products.
This ice cream maker is no exception. Make a large batch of ice cream in this generously sized six quart bucket made from New England pine. This model can make a statement at any party or gathering and looks old fashioned and charming.
The inner canister is made from a highly durable stainless steel that won't rust or corrode over time, and it's unlikely to dent or bend like aluminum sometimes can. Within the canister sits the dasher, a term for a fancy and large blender blade that churns and turns the ice cream when cranked.
This item is made from cast iron, which is much more durable than other plastic models and guaranteed to last a long time. This model uses a triple-action dasher, meaning it turns in multiple directions to achieve the perfect consistency for your ice cream.
In addition, the hand crank uses a triple gear design, which makes turning the hand crank easier and smoother than other models. Because these are such durable materials, they can last much longer than other units that use plastic materials.
A five year limited warranty covers most parts of this hand crank ice cream maker, so you can make plenty of homemade ice cream in this unit with peace of mind. A recipe book and instruction manual are included with this model, making it the whole package.
Features to Consider When Buying the Best Hand Crank Ice Cream Maker
Hand Crank Ice cream Makers feature may be the crank itself. That makes sense, since the crank is what turns the blender blade and makes ice cream possible. A hand crank should be sturdy and preferably made of something heavy-duty like metal, stainless steel, or thick plastic. Flimsy cranks can chip or break easily, though they usually have the advantage of being cheaper and easier on the wallet. The gears should be sturdy as well.
The inner canister that holds your liquid mixture should be of food grade quality. You want a canister that is easy to clean and large enough to hold the maximum amount of ice cream plus the mixing blade.
Most of the time these canisters are made from plastic or stainless steel to ensure your food is safe and leak-proof. Good canisters will have lids are securely sealed to prevent any leaks or mechanical mishaps.
Depending on how much ice cream you want to make at one time, the size of your hand crank ice cream maker is important. Plan ahead and be sure that you get a sizable unit if you will regularly make large batches. Larger units will require more storage space, which should also be a consideration.
Smaller units are easier to store, but will take longer to produce bigger quantities of ice cream. Size can also influence the length of time it may take ice cream to form. Generally speaking, the more ice cream you are making, the longer it will take to freeze completely within the inner canister. If time is a factor to you, you may want to consider a smaller unit.
The more ice and rock salt you are able to pack into a manual ice cream maker, the more quickly your ice cream can be made. If you have a larger tub into which you can pack large quantities of these materials, you may have a faster ice cream machine.
On hot days, especially, you want to make sure you have lots of space for extra ice and rock salt since the heat will make freezing more difficult. Make sure there is always plenty of room within the larger tub to pack these materials around the inner canister. The key to making hard ice cream is packing the ice and rock salt layers tightly around the canister. After use, a tub should be easy to clean and towel dry.
Some hand crank ice cream machines are made of plastic materials, which are easy to clean. Plastic also will never warp or rust like metal or wood can. However, tubs made to look like old-fashioned barrels or buckets can have a handsome appearance and will always have a classic look.
Wooden buckets are more likely to leak, however, and sometimes they need to be pre-soaked in order to prevent any cracks from occuring later. Inner canisters are generally made from stainless steel, aluminum, plastic or other food-grade materials that should be easy to clean and wipe down after each use. Ideally, inner canisters have very thin walls so their contents can freeze faster.
How to Use a Hand Crank Ice Cream Maker
- Ice cream maker
- Bag(s) of ice
- Bag(s) of rock salt
- Liquid ice cream mixture
- One or more people to turn crank
Step One: Prepare the Tub
- Make your ice cream mixture and measure out the amount that will fit inside the ice cream maker's inner canister. Pour it into the inner canister, and position the inner canister in the center of the larger tub. Usually there are fittings that lock this piece into place.
- Pack some ice around the canister to prevent it from moving around the tub.
- Place the mixing blade inside the canister, and attach the crank to the top of the blade. Your mixture should be sealed inside the canister.
Step Two: Pack the Ice and Rock Salt
- Scoop in a generous layer of ice, and then scoop an equal layer of rock salt on top of that.
- Alternate these layers until you nearly fill the tub. Most tubs can take three or four layers.
- Try to always finish by topping off the tub with a layer of rock salt.
Step Three: Crank
- After tub is completely packed with rock salt and ice and the canister is all but buried, begin turning the hand crank at a steady speed. The crank should turn freely and smoothly without any snags or hesitation. If your crank meets resistance, open the inner canister and make sure the blade is positioned correctly.
- Be prepared to crank a while, and feel free to take turns with other people for a fun activity.
- It's important to continue to crank at an even, steady, and constant pace. Pausing for longer than a minute may result in parts of your mixture freezing faster than other parts, which can cause ice crystals and an inconsistent ice cream texture.
Step Four: Finishing the Ice Cream
- After about 20 minutes, check the consistency of your ice cream by removing the lid from the inner canister and looking at its contents. The ice cream should be smooth and creamy. If you want harder ice cream, pack more ice or continue churning.
- Beware of over-churning. Over-churning can result in a more buttery texture that may be too solid. When the ice cream is ready, simply spoon it into dishes to eat immediately, or store it away in a freezer.
- Empty out tub and clean all parts thoroughly.
How Long Does it Take to Hand Crank Ice Cream?
From start to finish, ice cream will begin forming within 20 to 25 minutes even in the ice cream maker. Patience is required. The chemical reaction of the rock salt and ice happens almost immediately, but the results take time.
The rock salt lowers the temperature of the ice, making it even colder and unlikely to melt. This increases the cold factor, which in turn freezes the internal contents of the inner canister. Twenty minutes is enough time to allow the ingredients to mix, freeze, and then become smooth and pleasant to eat. When making larger quantities, this time may be longer.
Ice cream is generally made from a mixture of milk, sugar, eggs, and flavoring. If your homemade ice cream is turned by hand for too long, the resulting substance will be similar to butter.
This is because the milk has been "churned" enough to create the dense, smooth texture of butter. While it may still taste great, the texture may be off-putting. Continually check the canister inside your hand crank ice cream machine to make sure you are not over-churning your mixture.
This process may take some trial and error, but eventually you will be able to make the perfect ice cream. When in doubt, check the instructions on your particular model for suggested time.
Overall, the best hand crank ice cream maker can provide you with superior homemade ice cream and take a summer picnic to the next level. Not only can you produce your own custom flavors, you can get the whole family in on the fun of cranking your ice cream to perfection.
Even if you want to enjoy homemade ice cream within your own kitchen, you can make it happen with smaller, more compact models with modern conveniences. There may be a manual ice cream maker for just about everyone.
Though there are several models available on the market today, this hand crank ice cream makers review will hopefully help you understand the benefits a hand crank ice cream maker can bring you, and how to choose the right ice cream maker. This product can bring you tasty fun for years to come.