Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Ice Cream and Gelato Maker Review

I love gelato and not being in Italy (summer holidays are over for this year), I am always on the lookout for a fix for my gelato cravings, and store bought is steadily getting more and more expensive.

For a long time, the Lello Musso series have made the best home made gelato makers. Being of Italian heritage themselves, the machines knew exactly what made a proper gelato.

Lello has held this monopoly for a number of years, but now there is a new kid on the block. Cuisinart has introduced an ice cream maker that is specifically built to be able to produce gelato too. Can their double barreled approach work? This review tries to find that out.

Many appliances claim to be able to make gelato. Most of them fall short, because there are a few differences between gelato and ice cream. The main differences between ice cream and gelato is down to 3 factors, the level of overrun (air that is mixed into it during production), the amount of fat in the mix (from cream and eggs) and also the serving temperature. Gelato needs only a minimum level of air to be mixed into it while it’s being made, while ice cream actually needs loads of air to make it increase in volume.

Features at a glance

Like a proper gelato maker should be, it has an inbuilt compressor. It comes with the following parts –

  1. A strong internal motor, at the base of the machine, capable of churning through either the thicker gelato or airier ice cream.
  2. Sturdy plastic paddles – There are 2 distinctly shaped paddles that you can interchange, depending on what you are making. There is one for gelato, with 3 wide set blades to churn the mix, but minimize the amount of air it whips in. The second paddle has 2 close set paddles to ensure there is more air whipped inside to give the airy taste and feel of ice cream.
  3. A removable bowl that makes up to 1.5 quarts of dessert. Being removable takes most of the hassle out of cleaning up. Most ice cream machines with inbuilt compressors, have the bowl joined to the base that contains the motor as one, hence it’s difficult to get clean. Not with the Cuisinart ICE-100 though. Simply lift the handle and pull out the bowl. Wash, dry and place it back ready to go. This feature makes whipping up different flavors a total cinch.

Ease of use

Using it is dead easy too. Turn on the unit and you are greeted by a red LED that indicates it is all ready to work. There is an in built timer that you can set from 10 to 60 minutes, depending on what you are preparing.

  1. Turn on the machine to start the cooling/chilling process.
  2. Slowly pour your mix in, ensuring it doesn’t go past the top dasher as ice cream will fluff out and we don’t wanna make a mess.
  3. Place the removable bowl in the base of the machine. Place paddle in the middle of bowl.
  4. Pour in ice cream mix. Turn on the unit and set the timer.
  5. Place lid on and walk away.

You can choose to add other ingredients towards the end of the process as the mix thickens. When done, transfer or eat it all.

As long as the ice cream base is prepared before hand and chilled for up to an hour, anyone can use this machine. I see a lot of people complaining that ice cream makers don’t work. I don’t get how they expect to pour a warm to hot mixture in a bowl and expect it to freeze solid in 20 minutes. When you prepare your preferred base, store it in the freezer for up to an hour. Take it out just before it starts to freeze. This will make the dessert production process much faster and smoother.

It is easy to make batch after batch of frozen treats without waiting. This is because the bowl stays so cold that you can immediately pour in a fresh batch. Ideal when you have guests who want different flavors. Or simply if u want to pig out on 4 different flavors all by yourself.

Quick clean?

Easy to clean up, as the necessary parts are easily disassembled. Wash the lid, mixing paddles and mixing bowl, by hand and dry. The base of the machine containing the motor can be wiped clean with a damp cloth, and its all ready to go again.

Design + extras

At 13.8 x 18.8 x 11.6 inches, this gadget will require some space on your counter top, but that is to be expected as it has an inbuilt compressor. The black and brushed stainless steel finish is thoroughly modern and will look super cool in any kitchen space. Even at 27.2 pounds, the streamlined shape makes it look like it weighs less.

The transparent lid allows you to watch the frozen treat being prepared and the lift-off flap on the side lets you add in any extras you want, be it cookies, syrup, sprinkles or M and Ms, all in a bid to make a totally awesome treat.

This amazing piece of kit, comes with a patented mode, the 10-minute Keep Cool Cycle, which also keeps your dessert cool, even after the timer goes off. If you want your dessert firmer, transfer into an airtight plastic container and put in the freezer for 2 hours.

A basic instruction manual comes with this, but the recipe booklet included is really neat. 31 different recipes catering to all kinds of people. From alcoholic ice creams, to non dairy ice creams to yoghurts to sorbets, this booklet has you covered. It is good to see when companies take time to actually provide the things you need to make appliances work well.

My opinion

Cuisinart has stepped up the game from the Cuisinart ICE-50, which tried to do these things but failed as everyone complained about the terrible loud noise it produced. This new ICE-100 model seems too be ticking all the boxes so far. Look out, Lello, Cuisinart has finally gotten a worthy competitor.

Pick up your Cuisinart here on Amazon with free shipping!



Photo Credit: gelato fritto

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