I love my Cuisinart ice cream maker. It's a simple machine and it works great to create small batches of homemade ice cream with healthier ingredients and less preservatives.
For me and my kids we are mainly dairy-free so it's nice to be able to create delicious ice cream without having to spend an arm and a leg on coconut ice cream at the store.
But whether your milk-based or plant-based it's important to know exactly how long to churn ice cream for in the Cuisinart machine.
Churn too much and it ruins the texture of your ice cream, churn too little and your ice cream might not freeze at all and will just end up liquid mush (or a solid block after being placed in the freezer).
But how long exactly should you churn your ice cream for in a Cuisinart.
Churning in a Cuisinart takes on average 12-20 minutes to complete churning. For best results check ice cream after 8-10 minutes. Listen for a deeper, more labored sound and look for a soft-serve consistency of your ice cream to know it's time to stop churning.
While there are some rough time guides, there actually is some skill involved in making homemade ice cream, and you’ll have to learn how to get the churning process just right to achieve the best results.
Getting the churning time right takes some practice and experience but it's not too difficult to master.
You want to avoid over churning or under churning and for that it's best to good off sound, look and feel rather than time guides alone.
The Freezer Bowl Must Be Frozen to Start
Before you can effectively churn ice cream with your Cuisinart, you must fully freeze the ice cream bowl. The insulated bowl has a cooling liquid that must be frozen completely to create ice cream properly.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when making homemade ice cream is they rush things and don't allow time for the outer bowl to full come down to temperature. This will lead to your ice cream not freezing properly.
Fully freezing the bowl takes between 12 and 24 hours. Shake the bowl, and if no sloshing occurs, it’s usually ready for use. If you can hear sloshing then it's not quite ready.
You also want to make sure you pre-chill your ice cream base mixture as well. If you mixture is room temperature it may fail to freeze plus giving it time to sit in the fridge will lead to fluffier, softer ice cream.
You can see these instructions in the Cuisinart video below:
Make an Average of 6 Cups of Ice Cream
The Cuisinart ice cream makers are designed to make an average of 6 cups of ice cream. If you prepare one of the recipes described in the Cuisinart manual, you’ll create between 5 and 6 cups of finished ice cream.
Making a standard-sized batch usually takes between 12 and 20 minutes. But this time will vary based on a variety of factors like how full the bowl is, any substitutions (like me with plant based milks) as well as add ins and how cold the base starts out at.
Overfilling the bowl will increase your required churning time and can impact the final consistency. Making a smaller batch will decrease the time it takes to churn your ice cream.
Churning In a Cuisinart Usually Takes Between 12 and 20 Minutes
When you churn your ice cream in your Cuisinart machine, you should press the ice cream button and let it go.
Listen to the machine closely after it’s been churning for around 10 minutes because things will begin to thicken from here.
You should get the perfect ice cream consistency at between 12 and 20 minutes of regular churning with the Cuisinart machine.
You can’t rely on time alone, though, and you must listen to the ice cream machine and test the consistency of your ice cream to determine when it’s ready.
How to Know When Churning is Complete
There are many factors that impact how long it takes to churn ice cream precisely. You can get in-depth information about all these factors here.
When running the mixer, you’ll notice the sound changes over time. It starts as a rapid whirring noise that’s high-pitched. As the cream thickens, the high-pitched whirr becomes a deep and steady thrum. The machine begins working harder to mix the hardened cream.
When you hear the change in sound, press a spoon into the cream and see if the indent holds its shape when the spoon is gone. If so, the cream is likely done.
It should look like a fluffier version of soft-serve ice cream when it’s finished.
If it looks soupy, you probably still need a few more minutes. For more details about when to stop, read this Cuisinart ice cream guide.
Signs Your Ice Cream is Under-Churned
If the ice cream isn’t yet churned enough, it will have a very thin texture.
If the ice cream looks like soup, it needs more time!
Start the ice cream maker back up and keep going until you have a product that looks like soft-serve ice cream.
Signs Your Ice Cream is Over-Churned
If you churn your ice cream for too long, you’ll notice it has an unpleasant icy texture.
This is because you’re freezing the cream as you churn it.
When you do this for too long, you’re adding too many ice crystals to the ice cream.
Store the Ice Cream for a Thicker Product
Many people make homemade ice cream because they prefer the soft-serve-like texture that they get from using a machine at home.
If you would rather have a harder ice cream, similar to what you get at the store, you can achieve that by storing the finished ice cream.
Place the ice cream in an air-tight container, and store it in the freezer for several hours to thicken things up.
When you pull the ice cream out again, it will have a harder texture.
You can use old ice cream tubs from the store or you can purchase reusable ice cream containers specifically designed for homemade ice cream. These are long and thin which makes scooping easy.
I recommend the Sumo Ice Cream Containers (at Amazon) as they are very affordable and stackable which helps to save space in your freezer. They have a long length for easy scooping and are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
The conveniently stacking ice cream containers are great for homemade ice cream. Their long length makes ice cream easy to scoop and they are insulated with a lid that locks on tight.
These ice cream containers are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning and are backed by a lifetime guarantee.