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on December 19, 2010
I picked this unit up for under $30.00 at Penney's last year, after our old wooden bucket unit gave up the ghost. We'd had that one for about 15 yrs. The problem with the wooden buckets, was that the brass bands holding it together, always rusted from the corrosion of salt water that came into contact with it. The plastic bucket on this unit eliminates the rust issue. It has a large capacity; about 5 or 6 qts, which is good for large families or a crowd. The problem with the new units like cuisinart, is that they only hold 1 or 2 pints! Why go through that much work, for such a small amount? Plus, those only work if you think ahead to pre-freeze the interior canister for overnight. That eliminates the possibility of deciding on spur of the moment some summer day, to say "hey, let's make some ice cream! NOW!"
Yeah, yeah, you have to use a cheap box of rock salt and pick up a bag of ice. Using ice and salt, really aren't a big deal though. After making your custard or ice cream base, and place into the canister and putting the whole thing into the plastic bucket, you just add lots of shallow layers of ice and rock salt, till you get to the top. Then turn the thing on, and it's done in about 25 minutes. Perfect! We've used ours for 2 yrs, with absolutely no problems. Ok, well maybe the box it was packaged in, looked tacky, and like it would be kind of cheap. But so what! I don't care about the packaging, we just wanted a great, dependable ice cream maker that didn't cost $100 or $200! This unit works flawlessly, and turns out amazing ice cream! Our family of 8 loves it!
*** Just a side note, to recommend that you purchase some Mexican vanilla online, or find someone going to Mexico, and have them pick some up for you. It makes an enormous difference to vanilla ice cream! You won't believe how incredible it'll make it taste!
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on March 21, 2011
We have committed ourselves to make ice cream for a fund raiser. Now we've been making ice cream for a long time with our small old one. Knew that wouldn't even begin to keep up with hundreds of ice cream lovers. Both my husband and I searched the reviews and made our purchases he got Nostalgia Electrics ICMP-400BLUE 4-Quart Plastic Bucket, and I got Hamilton Beach 68330R 4-Quart Automatic. We tested both out and in compared them. They both produced excellent ice cream! The Nostalgia motor slowed then stopped when the ice cream began to thicken, the Hamilton Beach kept going but you could smell the motor heating up as it worked harder, we had to turn it off ourselves, so keep a close eye on the Hamilton as not to burn up the very strong motor that won't give up so it doesn't burn up.

What we loved about our choices is that they were very fast, took about 30 minutes to produce excellent homemade ice cream. Oh do make sure to go that extra mile and get only REAL 100% vanilla it is well worth the added expense and makes a world of difference in the flavor. That is why you wanted homemade right?

Our decision as to which one we will buy more of? We decided to buy 2 more of each of them, the price is excellent, they both did excellent job!

UPDATE: After a year we are still enjoying homemade ice cream and made homemade ice cream for our towns parade, getting ready for our third round of over working our machines. They have well payed for themselves and then some. I would guess that the work out they get is more like 6 years of normal household usage.
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I've wanted an ice cream maker for YEARS but they were always out of our price range and didn't make enough ice cream for it to be worth the while. When I came across this one, I decided to give it a try since it fit into my budget and had good reviews.

DEFINITELY made a great choice!! It works great and makes a gallon of delicious ice cream each time. The best ice cream I've ever tasted. It takes about 35-40 minutes to go from ingredients to a soft-serve type ice cream, a little longer if you want hard ice cream (just take the soft-serve and pop it in the freezer for about 20-30 mins)

We use an old plastic 1 gallon ice cream container to put our homemade ice cream in after we make it so we have it available whenever we want it. At first, I was expected (but skeptical) hard ice cream like you get on a cone at an ice cream shop, not soft serve like from Dairy Queen. But once I realized that it really only took around 30 mins to make the soft serve and maybe an hour total if you want more firm texture, I was sold.

Tips:

we DO keep the clean, aluminum inside container in the freezer after we use it. It seems to help set the ice cream faster

we DO use heavy whipping cream instead of the half-and-half the recipe calls for. It makes for a thicker, creamier ice cream that doesn't form ice crystals or come out grainy or gross after re-freezing it.

As for the reviews that said it was too soupy, too hard at one end & too liquid on the other, too grainy, etc. All I can say is: You didn't follow the directions, you did it wrong. Because we've been making ice cream with this very machine all summer about every other day (we have a large family) and have NEVER had ANY of those issues at all, UNLESS we just dumped the salt, ice, etc. and didn't layer. If yours is coming out too "soft" then put it in the freezer and let it get harder. And do NOT freeze it in the aluminum container for heaven's sake, put the ice cream in a clean, new plastic container with a tight fitting lid (you know, like you buy it at the grocery store?!?) and it won't freeze to the sides or be impossible to get out. Common sense apparently isn't that common in the ice-cream making world, I guess.. It's not rocket science, it's ice cream!!

we DO layer the rock salt (we just bought a giant bag of water softener salt at a home improvement store for about $5 and the bag is HUGE, like the size of a bag of mulch) and layer it with about 1/2 inch salt, then ice, then salt, then ice, repeating until the entire aluminum canister is surrounded by this layer. Anything else seemed to make the entire process take longer.

The entire device seems to be of good, sturdy quality, it's not THAT loud (noticeable but not earth-shattering) and really does make real, fresh homemade ice cream with minimal fuss and it makes an entire GALLON. We store it in an old (clean) plastic lidded gallon ice cream bucket that we had and then add in any toppings we want with each individual servings. Definitely recommend!
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on May 30, 2012
I write this with the caveat that I purchased this item about a week ago at a price that was $15 lower than the currently listed price. That given, I think it's still a worthwhile purchase if you want an easy, but, somewhat old school method of making great ice cream.

1. The documentation sucks. Fortunately, most people will be able to get around the shortcomings and figure things out for themselves.
2. You really do need to add water to the ice in the bucket. I'd go into a rant about thermodynamics and salted ice freezing to the side of the container without water, but, that's beyond the scope of this review. Just add the water as the directions indicate.
3. A solid indicator that you've got the whole ice/water/salt ratio in the proper range is that you'll have a bucket full of ice water, but, the condensation on the outside of the bucket will be frozen solid. That whole pesky thermodynamics thing again.
4. This unit tends to work better with old school ice cream recipes and slightly less well with the no cook type. It still does a great job on both, but, the results from a primarily heavy cream based recipe are heavenly.
5. I've tried both the no cook and traditional recipes and in both cases I was able to get a full container of finished product from half to slightly over half a container full of initial ingredients as opposed to 2/3 as suggested by the documentation.
6. Do NOT expect to have ice cream within half an hour as the documentation suggests. I have had consistently good results (soft serve quality) at about an hour and a half with chilled ingredients and container.
7. You will need to add ice and salt throughout the process, approximately every 15 minutes.

In summary, this is a great little device which really can deliver great quality ice cream if you're willing to put in the time. As with anything, the ingredients determine the quality of the results. I can personally attest to the following taking about two hours total time and creating possibly the best strawberry ice cream I have ever had:

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 cup turbinado raw cane sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 lbs fresh pureed strawberries

Enjoy!
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on March 26, 2011
It works well. I like the plastic bucket. I think it's easier to handle than the big wood ones. Also if you think about it 4 quarts is a lot of ice cream! You have to be making ice cream for a huge crowd to need more. This is very much like one we had for years. I'm looking forward to summer and home made ice cream!
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on July 28, 2014
It was a Monday afternoon when I decided it was time to invest in an Ice Cream maker, I figured that I love ice cream so I might as well. Thanks to my Amazon Prime account and my two day shipping it only took my 2 days to lose control of my life.
On Wednesday my Nostalgia Electrics 4 quart Ice Cream maker arrived at the house where I proceeded to open it immediately. I planned the day before to make a Death by Chocolate Ice Cream as my first experiment, I like chocolate, my housemates like chocolate, everyone loves chocolate.
Putting the machine together was relatively easy, you put the metal container in, fill around it with a mixture of rock salt and ice, then place the mixed ingredients inside along with the mixer and the motor on top, easy. It’s not quiet, you can hear it working, you can hear it doing all the work, and mixing your soon to be ice cream.
20 minutes into the making I stopped the mixer, I took the motor off, I tasted the now thick soft serve consistency and my life changed forever. I MADE ICE CREAM, but not just any ice cream Death by Chocolate Ice Cream and this was the most chocolaty, creamy, beautiful ice cream I had ever had. I had to make more, I had to make different flavors. I found myself looking up flavors and mixtures and concoctions. From caramel swirl to Vanilla Lavender no ice cream flavor shall go untested!
Buy Tupperware, buy ice cream cartons, THIS MACHINE HAS TURNED ME INTO AN ICE CREAM LUNATIC! I have ice cream in my dreams, I see it when I close my eyes, and I can’t put it down at all. This Ice Cream maker has ruined my life, I cannot think of anything other than ice cream.
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on January 20, 2011
I got this as a Christmas gift from my mom. It's simply the best present ever. It's so easy to set up, so easy to clean and so easy to make ice cream...put all the ingredients in, let it churn for about 30 or so minutes, and it's done. I like to put it in the freezer for an extra 2 hours, then put it in the microwave for about 20 seconds, and to me, it tastes way better than anything at a store. I've made all kinds of awesome flavors just using the "easy ice cream". Mint chocolate chip, peanut butter swirl vanilla, plain vanilla, egg nog ice cream. I love my ice cream to death and this thing lets me experiment in ways I never could have imagined...awesome...simply awesome. It makes a lot too, which was great compared to some of the others that looked to produce about 1/4 as much as this one does.

5 Stars all the way...HIGHLY recommended.
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on August 30, 2012
Used it twice yesterday, and once today, and it is GREAT!!! Had no issues with runny ice cream, I just followed the instructions, and made sure my bases were chilled over night. The canister I only froze an hour (I made bases the night before receiving it I was so excited) and when transferring them from the canister they were very firm. Only took 30 minutes at most, and only had to refil the ice about an inch or two for the last 10 minutes. Had no jaming issues. BUT for some reason I didnt think about condensation, and my counter was really damp. Next few times I put a few paper towels and it helped alot.
A few suggestions:
*Chill your ice cream base if pre-cooked for 8-12 hours at lest.
*Chill "easy" bases at lest 2 hours
*Dont skip chilling the canister
*DONT skimp on the rock salt.
*Dont over fill. 2/3 full, or less. It does expand, and it you dont want to have it churning too long or it wont set up/could have alot of ice crystals.
* Even though the instructions say you can freeze in canister it will make it very difficult to use the ice cream. I suggest a few 2 cup tupperwear so you can scoop easy, and label if you make a lot.
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on July 25, 2011
My old ice cream machine broke after 35 years and as I searched for a new one I found this got the best rating of all. It is reasonally priced and very easy to use, and makes 4 quarts of ice cream, my old machine made 1 1/2 quarts. My old machine used table salt instead of rock salt and this machine can also use table salt, that was a big plus for me. The ice cream comes out very creamy, I have been able to take my old recipes and adjust them for this machine. It makes great ice cream, Italian ices and lemon ice. I would recommend this machine to anyone who enjoys making homemade ice cream without alot of mess.
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on April 5, 2011
This reminds me of my younger days.Homemade icecream in a gallon maker watching it churr instead of
cranking.It takes a lot of ice but I have a ice maker. the icecream came out great after 30 or 40 min.
We set into the freezer for about 45mins. and it was out of this world.(70yrs old)
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