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on May 14, 2010
1st, a great value. If you get cream at a bulk store, 6 bucks for a 50 pound sack of rock salt, ice from your freezer, and a few pennies for the other ingredients (sugar and vanilla), you're looking at a gallon of high quality ice cream for 5 bucks or less. Figure you're saving 5-7 bucks a use. That means this unit pays for itself if you use if 6 times, maybe 10-20 times if you're spending a lot on added ingredients.

2nd. Simple to use. Really well designed. Can't for the life of me understand people sticking plastic orange juice container parts to "fix" it. If it doesn't work, bring it back! Otherwise, top only goes on one way, and there's a locking feature that means that the unit must be properly assembled to fit correctly.

3rd. For people saying "it uses a lot of ice, and I had to run to the store . . . " my lord people, are we that helpless? You own a freezer, right? Make your own ice. All it takes is just a bit of planning. Just a bit people, not invading-Soviet Russia level planning. If you have an auto ice maker on your freezer, just empty it into a very large zip lock 2 or 3 times and you're good to go.

4th. The unit stops spinning when the ice cream reaches a given viscosity. I've made several batches of several different types and the only time the ice cream was "runny" was when I didn't break up the cookies and they clogged the mixer holes and caused the unit to stop prematurely - my fault. The other batches all came out about the same - like a very thick yogurt consistency. Into the freezer, and a day later it's getting there and 2 days later it's the same consistency as store bought. If you're getting runny ice cream, you're doing something wrong. BTW - if you use more crushed ice and/or salt, the mixture gets colder quicker, and you'll get more-crystally ice cream. If you use regular ice and/or less salt, the mixing takes longer and you get a creamier texture - adjust to desired consistency!

5th. As for using Ben and Jerry's recipes, be aware that this can affect the mixer. Maybe BandJ's recipes require a higher torque motor. We have made several types of ice cream from the instructions that came with the mixer, and they all work great. If you load the ice cream with pretzels and what not, this might not be a powerful enough mixer.

Great unit. Highly recommended.

EDIT - It's now late July and I've used this mixer one or two times a week since we bought it in March, which means we've done about 30 batches (lots of kids and friends and such). Still on the same 8 dollar bag of rock salt. Have made a dozen or so of the recipes that came with the book. Love it, recommend it even more than I did a few months ago.

2nd Update - It's now November, 2012, and the mixer motor is still going strong. Alas! The plastic bucket has a crack in it because a very zealous ice cream making person pounded on it to try to get some sticking salt/rock out after a run (argghh!). The new unit has just arrived. No issue whatsoever with the unit - it made a fantastic batch of vanilla with chocolate chips and walnuts right before its bucket was injured. I suppose I could have attempted to seal the crack, but at this price, I just decided to get a new one and use the old motor as a back up.

Regarding some of the negative comments, it's very clear that some folks have unrealistic expectations from this machine. "It's made out of plastic, so it's cheap." The space station has a lot of plastic on it, as do Mercedes cars. "It's too big." Really? The volume of ice cream produced was not concealed! "It never froze the mixture." You're either not using the enough salt rock and ice, or you're putting warm ingredients in - everything must be very cold prior to putting them into the mixer (cream, milk and egg mixture, and so on). "The paddle wasn't stirring because it has to be firmly pushed into the motor." True. The paddle does not stir using magic - it must be affixed to the motor. "Ice cream was not completely frozen." Correct - it's a slurry to somewhat solid when it's done. Mix a bit by hand, then put in freezer until solid! "It doesn't make Ben and Jerry's flavors." Too much stuff in the mix will hinder the mixer - go buy Ben and Jerry's. This machine works well, but it's not an industrial ice-cream maker, nor is it intended to be. Used properly, it will provide you with gallons of home made ice cream with the ingredients you choose and without chemical preservatives! Great deal.
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on August 4, 2008
I always read customer reviews here on Amazon before purchasing a product. The reviews posted for the Hamilton Beach 68330R 4-Quart Ice Cream Maker were somewhat puzzling. Some feedback was a concern and some raved about the product. I decided to buy the product and am very glad that I did. This machine is not as noisy as some have claimed and the quality of construction is pretty good. The ice cream produced by this machine is fabulous! Yes, it comes out like soft-serve but hardens perfectly when placed in the freezer for half a day. I prefer soft-serve anyway and tend to eat more than my share before it goes into the freezer. Clean-up is a snap with this thing. I really don't see any down-side for this product at this price.
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on May 12, 2007
Just received this afternoon. Ran down to the store, bought all the ingredients, and just threw our first gallon of ice cream in the freezer. It's so cool ... and FUN! We did the quick and easy vanilla recipe that came with the recipe book, chopped up some brownies and reeses PB cups, and the motor stopped like it's supposed to in just 30 minutes. Soft serve ice cream as good as anything from the store ... and better for us. The directions are VERY simple to follow. We've never made ice cream before and didn't know squat about how to do it. Including time spent going to the store, we had our first batch within two hours after FEDEX delivered the package. We were skeptical about the loudness of the motor based on a prior review we read; the motor is really not that loud, but the sound it makes is rather obnoxious after about 10 to 15 minutes. However, it sounds just like I thought an electric ice cream maker would sound like. So, no surprises and SOOOO worth it! The price was awesome too!
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on March 29, 2011
I got this guy for Christmas and proceeded to start making Ice Cream twice a week. I usually do two batches to make better use of all of the ice and salt. I was using it happily making two batches per week but this weekend the machine died. So for about 12 weeks I made two batches a weekend until this weekend when during the second batch the plastic (I presume) gears in the motor assembly gave up and now the machine no longer turns the paddle. My 2nd batch was still a little soft but I managed to salvage it.

30 bucks for approximately 24 uses, it seems pretty wasteful but that's way cheaper than most of the other ingredients.

I'm currently shopping for a new one because I love the taste of homemade ice cream and can't go back to store bought. Many of the reviews for more expensive units have me afraid that these consume lever units are just not designed to be used regularly. But for the price of a White Mountain (about 200 dollars) I can get 6 of these. And the reviews for even those units sound like they are pretty poorly built too.

Not sure what I'm going to do but I need to have a new maker in the next 5 days.


I decided to stick with the cheap and purchased two more of these. I make 2 batches a week to try to get double duty from the salt and ice. Now that i have additional makers i can swap out the motors between batches which is what i'll try to do. Lets see how long they last this time.

I've seen a few people comment on ice cream taking longer than about 30 minutes, the problem is that you're not using enough salt. You need a *lot* of salt to get down to the temperatures that you need to freeze the ice cream quickly. I use rock salt, the kind that we use to de-ice our drive way. I have a couple of 50lb bags in the basement now. I hope that's enough to get us through the summer.

Homemade Ice Cream is expensive. No getting around that. Cream is probably the most costly ingredient. I've found that the price of cream varies quite a bit from store to store. It seems though to be consistently cheaper at Target than at the local super markets.
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on November 4, 2011
I used two full pints of strawberries to make 1/2 a quart (so about 1/2 of a Breyer's) of Ice Cream.

Some cooking tips:
Using the simple recipe accompanied by the Hamilton Beach Ice Cream Maker Manual, I made some strawberry ice cream...Except, instead of using the suggested "1 cup sugar to 1 cup cream and 1 cup whole milk," I used 3/4 cup sugar to 1 cup cream and 1 cup whole milk. I felt 1 cup of sugar was too sugary, almost like jam such that I couldn't eat a tablespoon of ice cream without feeling disgusted, so I lowered the amount of sugar.

I had two pints of berries, one froze, the other fresh.
With the fresh strawberries, I sliced and cooked them over medium heat in a saucepan, creating a strawberry reduction. The point of this was so that I could extract maximum strawberry flavor and at the same time get rid of the unnecessary juice and water in the berry.
With the frozen strawberries, I chopped them into small dice pieces and put them back into the freezer to keep them frozen.

I mixed the sugar, cream, milk, and *cooled and refrigerated overnight* reduction puree with the machine. I let it churn for about 45 minutes. I then added the chopped frozen strawberries. After it finished churning, it came out like ever so slightly melted ice cream so I let it freeze overnight in the freezer to let it harden further. After that, the ice cream was ready to eat! It was so delicious. Firm, bursting with strawberry flavor (from the reduction puree), and strawberry bits (from the chopped frozen berries).

See picture uploaded above.
review image
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on September 20, 2006
This was a temporary buy because I ordered a 6 QT electric White Mountain but had to wait 10 days for delivery and I wanted ice cream now. So I had little expectations. Boy, was I surprised. It worked better than the cuisinart electric. I must say the texture and consistency was perfect. The ice cream was ready in 35 minutes. I'll keep this one and look forward to many more batches of homemade ice cream.
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on October 5, 2009
This is a great machine.

Materials. Light weight and nothing to rust, a big plus! Some of the reviews here didn't think that the materials were durable enough. They are. Clearly, it's not professional restaurant grade, and it's not going to endure being kicked around in your garage. On the other hand, though, if you're just looking for a nice machine that the whole family (including the kids) can handle, it's perfect.

Design. Really simple and easy to use. Also, no fasteners to come loose and cause problems.

Ice cream. The recipes included will all produce rich, creamy, and delicious ice cream. Some reviews stated that the consistency was too soft. If you like firmer ice cream, just leave the canister in the ice and salt for a while longer, as per the instructions. We tried some as soon as the motor stopped, and it was exactly like we used to eat as kids. The rest we left in the ice/salt for about an hour and then ate some more. After that hour it was firmer all the way through. No ice crystals or lumps.

Noise. The motor is definitely quieter than the machine we had as kids. Not sure why some of the reviews thought it was too loud. Obviously, a metal canister spinning around in ice and salt is going to make some noise. We ran it in the bathtub (for drainage) just across the hall from the room we were in. There was only one closed door in between. We could barely hear it.

In general, I'm not sure why people would want to spend more money. This is a big ice cream maker that does an excellent job of churning ice cream.

I received no coupons, special offers, or price discounts for this review. Just really liked the product. Good job Hamilton Beach!
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on September 11, 2008
I've only made about 5 batches of vanilla so far, but it is SOOO much better than store bought. So far, no problems, and the unit has worked perfectly. I considered the White Mountain one, but wasn't sure if I would really use it much, and didn't want to drop $200 on an ice cream maker to have it sit around collecting dust.

I'm too lazy to do the "custard style" ice cream where you have to bake the ingredients and then chill them before putting them in the ice cream maker. The recipe that came with the unit is quite good. I've tried varying the amount of whipping cream, and it always tastes great right after making it. However, with more whipping cream (I've settled on 4 cups after trying from 2-6 cups), it seems to stay softer and taste better out of the freezer.

Now I'm spoiled, and don't want to eat storebought ice cream any more. I had a "drumstick" (those cones with ice cream and chocolate with nuts on top) that you can buy in the grocery store, and was disgusted with the ice cream. That may be the only downside to this ice cream maker.......for thirty bucks plus shipping, you can't go wrong.

As everyone else has noted, this style of ice cream maker is noisy, and this one is no exception. I was well aware of this from all the reviews here, and initially ran it out in my garage, but since I don't have a sink out there, I again got lazy and now do it in the kitchen sink where I can tolerate the noise if I don't have to wipe up the water afterwards.

One minor knit - the power cord is too darn short at a mere 2ft long. I know most of us have an outlet in the general vicinity of the kitchen sink, but not necessarily within 2 feet. I just attached mine to an old power strip I have laying around for now. I guess copper is expensive these days, and for the price, they couldn't extend the cord another 2-4 feet, LOL.

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on October 11, 2010
Yes, the price is comparatively cheap -- but the low price is reflected in the low quality materials and workmanship in the product. After a number of uses, I found one day that it had completely stripped the chintzy aluminum fittings, rendering the machine worthless. But even worse, the metal filings from the stripped parts dropped down inside the canister around the stirring blade, completely ruining a full batch of ice cream! NOT HAPPY.
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on January 2, 2007
I am very impressed at how simple it is to make ice cream with this machine.It said it takes 20-40 mins to make but I used 2% milk instead of whole milk and it took a little longer.But who cares! It's electric.I just did like the instructions says and listened for it to slow down and or stop.It did and the ice cream was great.I used the quick and simple recipe ,not the one you have to cook.I can't wait to try out different things to add to the mix.Also I was very impressed at how quiet it is.It seems like most small appliances are very noisy but not this one.
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