Finding the best hand crank ice cream maker can be a real challenge if you don’t know what to look for. If you don’t want to settle for a more modern ice maker and would rather go for a hand crank one, you need to know its features.
Making ice cream at home nowadays is much easier than it used to be in the past. You have machines that make your ice cream without you having to put too much effort in. One of them is the hand crank ice cream maker. So, if you want to find out more about this unit, keep on reading.
What Are Hand Crank Ice Cream Makers and Who Needs Them?
Hand crank ice cream makers allow you to prepare the frozen dessert, but with a little bit of effort – especially compared to more modern units. With hand crank machines you can make smaller amounts of ice cream.
Basically, they feature a bucket and a crank, and some units have a special place for the ice and salt mixture that is meant to freeze the ice cream. Other devices have hollow walls where the coolant is being stored. It all depends on the type of hand crank ice cream maker that you choose.
These machines are also different from each other in multiple aspects. For example, they can be made of different materials. Wood, stainless steel, or plastic can be used in the construction. Some units are able to make ice cream for a single person, while others can produce larger quantities for more people. At the same time, there are cranks with one gear or cranks with more than one.
Going Old School
These units require quite some effort if you want to be able to produce ice cream, so they are intended for people who want to experience the old-school way of making the cold dessert. Some devices may be easier to use than others, but you still have to make some effort to produce the ice cream.
However, they are amazing for people who want to enjoy some quality time with their family while making delicious ice cream.
Just bear in mind that if you settle for a machine that has more than one gear, you will have more cleaning to do, and maintenance will be harder. On the plus side, though, it makes cranking easier.
Best Hand Crank Ice Cream Maker Comparison Chart
AMERIHOME ICM6C 6-Quart Old Fashion Ice Cream Maker
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PREMIUM 6 qt. Immergood Stainless Steel Ice Cream Maker
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Donvier 837450 Manual Ice Cream Maker, 1-Quart
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White Mountain F64306-X 6-Quart Hand-Crank Ice Cream Freezer
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Norpro 6840 Multicolored Ice Cream Maker
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Buffalo Tools 6 Qt. Electric/Hand Ice Cream Maker
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Best Hand Crank Ice Cream Maker Reviews
Check out these reviews of some amazing hand crank ice cream machines and you may increase your chances of finding the right unit.
1. AMERIHOME ICM6C 6-Quart Old Fashion Ice Cream Maker
This wooden hand crank ice cream maker is a great choice if you want to produce some homemade ice cream while using a traditional-looking unit. What’s cool about this device is that you have the ability to make about up to 6 quarts of ice cream.
When you purchase it, you get an aluminum can with it, as well as a clear plastic lid, ice crusher, sealed pine tub, and mixing paddle. It’s amazing how fast this machine can be done with making soft ice cream – it only takes 30 minutes to achieve that consistency.
It’s even more amazing that this product doesn’t only give you the option to crank and make your ice cream – it has an electric motor too. Thanks to that, you can switch between the two features whenever you want.
The electric motor is also a great option when you’re having a family gathering or you’re inviting some friends over and want to have ice cream together. It will make the ice cream while you’re dealing with other things, and the unit will also generate enough frozen dessert.
2. PREMIUM 6 qt. Immergood Stainless Steel Ice Cream Maker
If high-quality is the first thing on your list when you’re looking for a hand crank ice cream maker, say no more – this unit is the one to take into account. The parts have been constructed carefully and they’re made of top-notch materials, making sure you will have this machine for a long time to come.
Since you most likely don’t want to deal with leaks, the manufacturers made a triple-layer construction for the tub. It’s properly insulated, and leaks will be none of your concerns. Aside from preventing leaks, it will also do a great job of keeping the contents cold, so you can store the ice cream for hours.
But what stands out is definitely the fact that it makes some amazing ice cream with a delicious taste you will never forget. Basically, the dasher will allow you to get some proper churning for every crank, as it’s a triple action one.
The can will rotate clockwise, together with the center, whereas the dasher will rotate counterclockwise. As such, this will make sure the ice cream is constantly folded, creating an amazing texture that will make you fall in love with the frozen treat you created.
3. Donvier 837450 Manual Ice Cream Maker, 1-Quart
Do you want something that will not require you to use ice and salt every time? Then you should check out this unit. All you have to do is turn the crank for about 15-20 minutes, and no ice and salt are needed for the freezing process.
You only have to put the bowl into a refrigerator for around 7 hours, and the liquid between the walls will freeze. Later, you put the bowl in the outer case and place the paddle into your bowl. Add the ingredients, put the top in place, and turn on the crank. This will generate the ice cream you’re so eager to eat.
What’s more, you don’t have to worry that the bowl will be a total pain to clean – in fact, cleaning it is very easy. You just have to wipe it, and considering it’s made of plastic, it will be clean in just a few minutes.
Even better, you get a 10-year warranty with it as well. So, in case the machine has any issues or it breaks immediately, you will be covered by the warranty – which is a big advantage.
4. White Mountain F64306-X 6-Quart Hand-Crank Ice Cream Freezer
If you want to make sure you’re having some great family time while you enjoy a delicious ice cream, you should consider this White Mountain machine. The unit is able to produce large quantities of ice cream which are great for family get-togethers, parties, or just when the temperature is too high during the summer. It can make about 6 quarts of ice cream, and it only takes it between 30 and 45 minutes to do so.
One of the truly impressive things is the fact that the product is corrosion resistant. This increases the durability of the device and ensures you will enjoy it for an increased period.
Moreover, it is covered by a 5-year limited warranty. This way, you will not have to deal with purchasing a new unit or paying a lot for reparations in case something goes wrong with it.
It also has a nice, traditional look that will make your kitchen look picturesque no matter where you decide to store it. The bucket is made of white pine, and it has some nice, strong galvanized hoops, as well as electroplated fittings. They make it more durable too.
5. Norpro 6840 Multicolored Ice Cream Maker
You should stop for a while and admire the design of this unit. It looks just like a fancy cup of ice cream, which just fits the theme. If you care about looks just as much as you care about functionality, you should give this product a try.
This ice cream maker is suitable for people who want to prepare ice cream faster and in a smaller amount, for one person only. It has a 1.25 cup/300ml capacity, which allows you to make about 1 pint. It only takes 15 minutes to obtain the frozen treat and you can make sorbets as well.
If you don’t know what recipe to use, don’t worry – the product comes with its own instructions and recipes included.
The only thing you should know is the fact that you will have quite some cleaning to do. Since the unit is smaller, hand washing is recommended, especially since some spots will be harder to reach and clean properly.
In terms of price, the product is affordable – so, if you want to get a small and efficient ice cream maker, you could give this one a try.
6. Buffalo Tools 6 Qt. Electric/Hand Ice Cream Maker
Are you looking for a hand crank ice cream maker that also has an electric feature? Buffalo Tools has just the product for you. This machine will give you the traditional ice-making experience you need but will also make sure you can let the unit operate alone if you’re busy and want some ice cream done. This also makes it suitable for family or friend meetings when you don’t have the time to hand crank.
This outstanding ice cream maker is made of real wood, and it’s pretty big too. It can generate about 6 quarts of ice cream at one time, enough to serve an entire family or group of friends.
There’s a carrying metal handle that makes sure you can bring the ice cream maker from one place to another without too much effort Also, there’s a paddle included, which makes it easier for you to stir the mixture.
An operating manual with some recipes will be included for your convenience. So, it will be easier for you to prepare the frozen treat.
Thus, if you want both the traditional and modern experience in one product, you should go for this unit.
How To Use a Hand Crank Ice Cream Maker?
Using a hand crank ice cream maker is pretty easy once you understand its mechanism. But these units can be different from each other too. As mentioned, they can have different sizes, but may also be made from different materials.
You can use a hand crank ice cream maker by churning constantly. Basically, the secret with these devices is that they can aerate the mixture while it’s freezing. So, in order to obtain that, you will have to keep churning.
But you should be aware that there are different types of hand crank ice cream machines: some will apply a method of freezing during the cranking process, while others are pre-cooled.
With the former, you will have to add ice and salt into a different compartment, where the coolant is meant to be stored. You should use rock salt, although table salt should still work if you don’t have rock salt.
You should then sprinkle the salt over the ice, which will make the ice melt but will maintain its temperature below the freezing one thanks to the salt. This will allow the mixture to freeze slowly and turn into a savory ice cream.
On the other hand, pre-cooled units require you to place a bowl in your freezer and allow it some time to cool off. When the bowl freezes, you put it into your unit while the ingredients go in the freezer bowl. Then, you put a lid on and start cranking. While doing this, your bowl will decrease the temperature of the mixture a little and start freezing it, and you obtain ice cream as a result.
There is also a different type of hand crank ice cream maker with a hollow wall where coolant can be stored. You don’t have to add ice and salt here. Basically, you need to buy a special coolant from the store, and it will work the same way as ice and salt would. But before you start preparing your dessert, you will have to freeze the coolant for up to 24 hours.
Features to Look for In a Hand Crank Ice Cream Maker
If you want to find a good hand crank ice cream maker, you should pay attention to its features. So, here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for your ice cream machine.
1. Inner Canister
The canister inside your hand crank ice maker is very important, as this is where ice cream is going to be held. Basically, you need to look for one that is big enough to be able to hold as much ice cream as necessary. You should also take into consideration the mixing blade. All in all, the inner canister should have food grade quality.
You will have to pick between a stainless steel and plastic canister, depending on your preferences. What’s cool is that both materials are good enough for the canister, making sure there are no leaks and that your food will always be safe.
Moreover, you can find canisters with lids that are sealed securely, which will also help prevent potential leaks.
2. Crank Type
The crank is very important since it’s what helps create a delicious dessert. The crank is the part of the ice maker that turns the mixing blade and thus creates the frozen treat.
You should know that cranks will come in different materials, and you need to pick one that is sturdy enough and of high-quality. That being said, you can find them made of thick plastic or, even better, stainless steel or metal. It’s best to not settle for flimsy cranks as they lack the quality and durability needed and may break or get damaged very easily. Even though they are cheaper and may be tempting because of this, it’s best to go for a sturdier crank.
3. Tub Volume
When we say tub volume, we refer to how much ice and salt the unit is able to hold to make the ice cream faster. As mentioned before, you will have to use ice and rock salt to freeze the mix inside, and for that to be possible, you need enough of this mixture. The more ice and salt the machine is able to hold, the quicker it will make your ice cream.
Keep in mind that the ice and salt have to be stored around the inner canister during the entire process. If they are tightly packed, the ice cream will turn hard.
Make sure you look into the size of the hand crank ice maker you’re going to buy. The bigger it is, the more ice cream you will be able to produce at one time. If you make ice cream regularly and in bigger quantities, then definitely settle for a device that has the right size. But that’s not the only thing to consider – you should also think about your storage space.
On the other hand, you can go with a smaller unit if you don’t make a lot of ice cream and/or make it rarely. Such a machine is much easier to store. Also, it has the time advantage – when you’re making a smaller quantity of ice cream, it will freeze faster, which is a plus compared to bigger ice cream makers.
5. Material and Durability
It’s also important to choose a hand crank ice cream maker made from the right type of material because this will influence the durability of the unit. You can find a variety of materials to choose from. However, you should keep in mind that each material has its own pros and cons.
Those made of wood, for instance, may be very sturdy, but they are very likely to leak compared to other materials. At the same time, you will have to pre-soak them to ensure no cracks will occur later on.
Plastic is a good option because it will be more lightweight and will not rust, unlike metal. What’s even better is that plastic is easy to clean too.
As for the inner canisters, a lot of them are made from aluminum, plastic, or stainless steel which are also easy to clean after being used.
Depending on how fast you want the ice cream to be made, you should consider the speed of the unit as well. As mentioned, the size of the ice maker will matter too. So, if you’re so eager to eat your frozen treat, then a smaller unit will make the ice cream much faster.
If you don’t necessarily need the ice cream in an instant, you can go with a unit that makes it slower. Make sure to check out whether the machine’s specifications mention how long you’ll have to wait for your dessert and decide based on your wants and needs.
7. Consistency and Texture
Bear in mind that every machine is different, and this means that the texture of the ice cream will be different as well. While some make it icy and more like a sorbet style, others make smooth and creamy ice cream.
Basically, what influences the consistency and texture could be how much air is trapped in the ice cream. Aside from that, you will have more consistency with manual ice cream makers as they allow you to control the turning paddle’s speed.
If looks matter to you, search for an ice cream maker that has a fancier design. A unit made of wood has a traditional-looking aspect and goes well in a rustic home/kitchen. A plastic or stainless-steel machine will look better in a modern kitchen.
9. Freezing Method
Hand crank ice cream makers have different freezing methods. Some of them will require you to put ice in a separate compartment and then sprinkle rock salt over it, which will make it melt, yet still retain a below-freezing temperature.
On the other hand, some units will allow you to place the frozen bowl into the machine and start cranking after you add the ingredients in the bowl. This will allow the mixture to freeze as the temperature lowers, and it turns into ice cream. You can read our blog on how long does it take ice cream to freeze for details.
So, you should pick whichever method is more convenient for you.
Choosing the best hand crank ice cream maker is not easy if you don’t know what to look for in such a unit. Hopefully, we managed to help you pick your dream ice cream maker so that you don’t have to make your own.