A budget buy
Pretty large capacity
Lightweight when empty
Loud, obnoxious operation
Requires a lot of ice
Can’t make small batches
A popular name in the small appliance world, Hamilton Beach delivers reliable products at reasonable prices. The brand’s 4 Quart Ice Cream Maker is no exception when it comes to cost, but how well does it work? We wanted to see if this high-capacity ice cream maker could produce a single quart of vanilla ice cream. Simple, right? That’s what we thought, too.
Performance: Loud and time-consuming
Hamilton Beach claims this machine makes “up to” four quarts, so we selected a vanilla ice cream recipe that yielded 1.25 quarts. After combining and chilling the ingredients, we put the resulting pint’s worth of liquid into the chilled metal canister. Though the internal churning spatula goes all the way to the bottom, the blades do not. The lowest blades just barely touched the surface of the ice cream mixture.
As soon as we turned on this ice cream maker, we knew that any hope of listening to a podcast as our ice cream churned was gone. The spinning motor is loud. After 20 minutes of the recommended 20- to 40-minute cycle, the mixture was slowly starting to come together and had expanded enough to hit the blades, but it was definitely not done.
After another 20 minutes, the liquid was a bit like a runny milkshake. Wanting to give it a chance, we let the roar of the motor consume the kitchen space for another 20 minutes. That final stretch didn’t do much for the mixture, but it came together enough so that it could harden in the freezer. After a few hours, the consistency was somewhere between gelato and sherbet.
It’s possible that this appliance is simply better suited to bigger batches. The motor is supposed to stop churning or significantly slow down when your ice cream is ready, but after a full hour, we still hadn’t reached that point.
Do you have rock salt and at least 8 pounds of ice in your home right now? Neither did we, but that’s what you need to make ice cream with this appliance.
Take a peek at some of the other best ice cream scoops you can buy.
Design: If looks could cause freezer burn ...
This ice cream maker may not be the most attractive machine, but it definitely seems durable. If you don’t mind lugging around extra ice and rock salt, it would be a great option for RV camping. There’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to attaching the motor, because it needs to snap perfectly onto the bucket, the spatula rod, and the canister cover. Once it all clicks into place, you know you’re good to go.
While the ice cream maker itself is comparatively small, and the canister and cover are freezer-ready, they’re a bit large for the average freezer. We would have had to lay the canister on its side or remove the shelf to fit, so instead we transferred the sherbet-gelato hybrid into an empty ice cream container prior to freezing.
Check out our guide to the best popsicle molds you can buy today.
Setup Process: Time to get salty
Do you have rock salt and at least 8 pounds of ice in your home right now? Neither did we, but that’s what you need to make ice cream with this appliance. We went out and got the rock salt, but we wanted to see if the machine could accommodate larger ice cubes from our freezer. We made 8 pounds of ice over the course of two days, and while possible, we highly recommend buying a bag at the store to save yourself some hassle.
With the canister in the center of the bucket and the cover securely in place, we layered ice and rock salt around it as directed. (Tip: Use an ice scooper or gloves.) Once you’re finished, fill the canister with your ice cream mix and attach the motor. No buttons here—just plug and play.
The instructions suggest placing the bucket somewhere with good drainage due to condensation and melting ice, but we found this to be unnecessary. There were no counter puddles, even after running the machine for twice as long as recommended in a 75-degree home.
As soon as we turned on the appliance, we knew that any hope of listening to a podcast as our ice cream churned was gone.
Price: Great for the capacity
This ice cream maker is honestly a steal, especially considering it can make a gallon of ice cream. As ice cream makers get more expensive, their capacities often get smaller, with some high-end models making less than two quarts. However, the tradeoff for a low price is loud, obnoxious operation and a trip to the store to get rock salt and ice cubes.
Hamilton Beach 4 Quart Ice Cream Maker vs. Nostalgia 4-Quart Electric Ice Cream Maker
The Nostalgia 4-Quart Electric Ice Cream Maker is priced similarly to the Hamilton Beach model, and the striking blue bucket has a carrying handle. Nostalgia owners note that it’s also noisy, but we like that the canister cover is clear so you don’t have to dismantle everything to check on your mixture. Otherwise, both companies have made pretty much identical machines. If you want to make a lot of ice cream, you’re better off with Nostalgia, due to these small upgrades—they even make a 6-quart model.
Between the large amount of ice required and the obnoxiously loud operation, the Hamilton Beach 4 Quart Ice Cream Maker probably isn’t your best choice, even if it is a budget pick. Overall, we think it’s worth it to splurge on a nicer model that requires fewer materials and can make smaller batches.
- Product Name 4 Quart Ice Cream Maker
- Product Brand Hamilton Beach
- Price $36.99
- Color Cream
- Model Number 68330N
- Material Plastic, metal
- Capacity 4 quarts
- Warranty 1 year, limited