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Making Frozen Desserts in the Cuisinart ICE-21

Updated on August 23, 2017

Enjoy Yummy Homemade Ice Cream, Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, or Frozen Drinks the Easy Way

A few months ago, my husband came home with the shiny new (red) appliance you see here. Gently setting his new purchase on the counter with a smile, he announced that we would now be the happy makers of homemade frozen treats for years to come.

Wrinkling my nose as I spooned some Ben & Jerry's mint chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream into my face, swearing that I'd stop at just a few bites (yeah, right), I was skeptical that the concoctions we'd make with that gadget could ever come close to what came in a colorful, store-bought carton.

I was wrong.

Okay, so sorbet took us a little while longer to master, but the ice cream that came out of our new Cuisinart ICE-21 was DE-lish from the start. And it was quick and easy, too.

Here, let me show you around this handy and colorful appliance, how it works, and how to clean and store it. Then Jeremy and I will make you (okay, us) a vanilla ice cream base for countless mix-ins and toppings ... unless, of course, you like your ice cream pure and simple.

Please, come to our humble kitchen....

Introducing Our Cuisinart ICE-21's Berry Blue Mate

Actually, there are 11 different colors to choose from

While ours is bright and cheerful cherry red, I wanted to show you some other fun colors that are available.

Behold the beautiful.....

Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream, Sorbet-Maker

Cuisinart ICE-21BLSLT Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker, Berry Blue
Cuisinart ICE-21BLSLT Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker, Berry Blue

These lovely machines make a maximum of 1-1/2 quarts of yummy deliciousness at a time. I like that capacity, because it's just too easy to eat a whole batch at one sitting, so at least there's SOME limitation on the amount. But it's still plenty. I mean, think about the size of a pint of ice cream. This makes three times that much. (Which I CAN eat all by myself, all at once ... if I wanted to ... which I do but, luckily, can't because I have to share with Jer.)

Cuisinart ICE-21 Recipe book
Cuisinart ICE-21 Recipe book

The Cuisinart machine comes with this recipe booklet....

The booklet includes recipes like simple chocolate, peppermint, and cheesecake ice creams; lemon-basil, dark chocolate, and raspberry sorbets; mango, chocolate-pretzel, and lowfat strawberry frozen yogurts; and other types of frozen desserts -- like bonbons, ice cream sandwich cookies -- and sauces for toppings too.

There's also a recipe for chocolate brownies from scratch, which are my personal favorite choice of accompaniment for this simple vanilla ice cream we're about to make.

First, though, I'll show you the machine.....

The Parts of the Cuisinart ICE-21 - Let me show you ours....

Ice cream maker parts
Ice cream maker parts

1 You've got your base, which houses the motor that can churn through thick ice cream. The base has rubber feet, so it won't dance off your counter in the process. That means you have your hands free to chop or crush your cookies, nuts, candy, or other mixins while the machine is working on your choice of frozen treat.

Also, the cord stores in the base by pushing it back in.

2 Then there's the mixing paddle, which is placed in the bowl, circle-side up.

3 The thick bowl is double insulated and contains a cooling liquid for evenly distributed freezing. This is the part that actually spins during use, while the mixing paddle is stationary.

4 Finally, you have your clear cover, which locks into place and allows you to watch the mixing in progress.

You pour your liquid ingredients and, later, any mixins in through the opening -- or "ingredient spout" -- in the top while the bowl is turning.

Some Tips for Storing and Cleaning Your Cuisinart Ice Cream (etc.) Maker

My husband is very particular about his ice cream AND his precious ice cream maker. If I accidentally BEGIN to reach for the wrong utensil or cleaning supply to use on the machine, I get ornery commentary.

And even when I don't even look like I'm about to make a mistake, Jeremy reminds me of the proper way to use and care for our Cuisinart. (Now apply that to most of the other gadgets we own. Ugh.)

So, this is what he wants us all to know about the proper care and storage of the ICE-21.....

  1. Don't put the freezer bowl in the freezer unless it's completely dry. The bowl needs to be fully frozen to make ice cream or other desserts.
  2. So that it's always ready for use, we recommend storing the freezer bowl in your freezer at all times, in the back (the coldest part) on a level surface for best results. It takes anywhere from about 16 to 24 hours for the bowl to completely freeze. Shake it, and if you don't hear any liquid moving around, then it's frozen and ready to be used.

    You don't have to store the bowl in your freezer, but then be prepared to wait up to a day before its ready for use when you put it back in.

    **Important note: When you're preparing to make your frozen dessert, don't take the bowl out of the freezer until right before you're ready to pour your ingredients in there for the fast, automatic mixing. Otherwise, the bowl will begin to thaw out very quickly.

  3. Make sure the lid is locked before you turn your machine on. Place the bowl in the center, then the mixing paddle inside of it, and then set the lid on the unit and turn it clockwise to lock it. Doesn't take much.
  4. Pour your liquid ingredients in after you turn on the machine. Then add any mix-ins about 5 minutes before the churning is done by pouring them through the opening on top, just like you did the ice cream ingredients. Nuts and other crunchies should be about the size of a chocolate chip, or smaller.
  5. DON'T (sorry, Jeremy gets worked up over this and raises his voice sometimes) ... That is, don't store your ice cream in the Cuisinart freezer bowl. Transfer it to another container. We re-use a plastic ice cream tub that once held that store-bought stuff.
  6. Use a rubber spatula, not a metal spoon, to scoop the ice cream out of the machine and off of the mixing blade, so you don't scratch it.
  7. Don't put the freezer bowl in the dishwasher. In fact, I wouldn't put any of the parts in the dishwasher, and never immerse the base in water. Just wipe that part off. Wash the rest of the parts in warm, soapy water.
  8. Don't use abrasive cleaners or scrubbies on your machine and especially not the freezer bowl. For cleaning the bowl, Jeremy suggests just letting what's left in there melt (won't take long), then rinsing it out under the faucet, using a soft sponge if necessary. Air dry thoroughly or wipe with a soft cloth.

Making homemade ice cream
Making homemade ice cream

Now Let's Make Some Ice Cream

You choose your topping or mix-ins

I know I said we were going to make plain vanilla, but we're feeling adventurous today. So, this time, Jeremy and I are going to mix some Oreo cookies into our ice cream, which we'll add in while it's churning. Of course, you don't have to add anything but the first five ingredients here, and we've often forgotten to add the pinch of salt too, which doesn't seem to make much if any difference (although I'm sure it has some sort of purpose).

Here's our list of ingredients:

  • 1 cup of whole milk

  • 2 cups of heavy cream

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

  • Pinch of Salt

  • and however much crushed Oreo cookie we feel compelled to throw in

Want a lighter version?

You can substitute lower fat milk -- even non-dairy like soy, almond or coconut -- for the whole milk, half-and-half instead of full-fat cream, and artificial sweetener. Just use the same amounts as listed above. (Leave out the Oreo cookies of course, if you really want to go lighter, or use fruit instead.)

Just be aware that the consistency and texture will change if you substitute, just as if you buy "ice milk" or light ice cream at the store.

The Simple Preparation - Before pouring the mixture into the ice cream machine.....

Chill the mix for at least an hour or even overnight
Chill the mix for at least an hour or even overnight

Whisk together the milk, sugar, and the pinch of salt until the sugar is dissolved. Then add the cream and vanilla extract. That takes just a couple of minutes.

Now, though, I'm afraid you have to wait. Put this mixture in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour. You can even leave it in there overnight. All the better.

Pouring the mix into the ice cream maker
Pouring the mix into the ice cream maker

Ready to Pour!

The final stage of ice cream making

Okay, here's the exciting part. Retrieve your liquid ingredients from the fridge, set your machine base on the counter if it isn't there already, plug it in, get the icy-cold bowl out of the freezer, and assemble the machine with the mixing arm in there and the lid locked in place. Turn it on and then pour your liquid ingredients in through the top.

If you want mix-ins that aren't chopped or crushed yet, go ahead and do that now. Add them in through the top of the lid about five minutes before the churning is done.

And when is the churning done? Oh, whenever you feel the consistency is right, but that's usually about 15 minutes total.

This recipe yields about 5 cups of ice cream ... which I know seems odd since we're adding just three cups of liquid. But it expands, you see.

The Ice Cream Progression

Watch it grow and change....

Starting to freeze.....

Starting to freeze.....
Starting to freeze.....

About five minutes in....

About five minutes in....
About five minutes in....

Adding our mix-in after 10 minutes of churning....

Adding our mix-in after 10 minutes of churning....
Adding our mix-in after 10 minutes of churning....

Looks like our ice cream is done at 15 minutes....

Looks like our ice cream is done at 15 minutes....
Looks like our ice cream is done at 15 minutes....

If You Can Wait Even Longer....

Transfer your ice cream to a different container and stick it in the freezer for an hour or two, so it can firm up. It won't get rock hard, but it'll be more of a regular ice cream consistency if you can manage to tough it out and be patient, so it won't melt so fast. If you don't, you'll quickly be eating cold and delicious ice cream soup.

Use a rubber spatula to salvage all the ice cream you can.

Use a rubber spatula to salvage all the ice cream you can.
Use a rubber spatula to salvage all the ice cream you can.

Delayed and Delicious Gratification

Delayed and Delicious Gratification
Delayed and Delicious Gratification

A Question for You: Homemade or Store-Bought? Which do you prefer?

Is making it yourself too much trouble? Does it not come out quite right? Or maybe you'd just rather reach for the Ben & Jerry's or Hagen Daas.

On the other hand, there are those who go homemade and never go back to cartons of commercial cold and creamy things.

What about you?

Do you prefer to make your ice cream, frozen yogurt, or sorbet at home, or is the frozen dessert section of your local grocery store more to your liking?

Here's the Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe for Your Cuisinart ICE

Add your own mix-ins.

Making homemade vanilla ice cream in the Cuisinart ICE-21
Making homemade vanilla ice cream in the Cuisinart ICE-21
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 25 min
Yields: Depends how much you can eat! (But normally up to 5)


  • 1 c. Whole milk
  • 2 c. Heavy cream
  • 3/4 c. Granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Add the milk, sugar and salt to your mixing bowl and whisk until the sugar is dissolved, or use a hand mixer on low.
  2. Stir in the cream and vanilla.
  3. Let that mixture chill in the refrigerator anywhere from 1 hour to overnight.
  4. Turn on the machine and pour the liquid mix in through the opening on top. Let the mixing continue until the ice cream is thick, which takes about 15 minutes.
  5. Pour in any mix-ins about five minutes before the churning cycle is done.
  6. Freeze for a minimum of 1 hour.
5 stars from 1 rating of Simple Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

More Ice Cream Recipes - You can make any type of ice cream in the Cuisinart ICE-21

As long as the recipe doesn't yield more than 1-1/2 quarts, you're fine.

© 2013 Deb Kingsbury

Have You Ever Made Ice Cream or Other Frozen Desserts? If so, how did they turn out? Have a favorite recipe or ice cream maker?

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    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      6 years ago from Colorado

      One of my favorite childhood memories involves making homemade ice cream. Of course, that's when we made it with snow (not yellow) and a hand-cranked ice cream maker. Excellent workout and the ice cream was very tasty, too.

    • jlshernandez profile image


      6 years ago

      I have to try this. I actaully have a 2 cup ice cream maker and have never used it yet.

    • chi kung profile image

      chi kung 

      6 years ago

      It's so simple to make icecream at home now :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have been trying to make ice cream without an ice cream machine, but without success. My ice cream turns out like sorbet, and not creamy at all. Guess ice cream maker makes all the difference?

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have not, but probably in the future I will!

    • Loretta L profile image

      Loretta Livingstone 

      6 years ago from Chilterns, UK.

      I made granita di limone many years ago when I was in my teens. I wanted to impress at a dinner party. My guests spent a lot of time stirring it with their spoons, but very little reached their mouths! We still laugh about it, but hey - I married one of the dinner guests (eventually) so I did something right!

    • Vikk Simmons profile image

      'Vikk Simmons 

      6 years ago from Houston

      Never made any ice cream. Chocolate Mint is one of my favorite flavors, though.

    • mrdata profile image


      6 years ago

      Your ice cream look delicious! Thanks for your ice cream recipe and congrats for your LOTD!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I like to make snow ice cream. Making some ice cream at home with my kids in the summer would be fun too.


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