I started making my own ice cream this year. While the French type works quite well, I've been having trouble with American and Gelato types.

I don't have an ice cream machine. I freeze small portions of icecream on a prefrozen wide porcelain plate. While a pinch of xanthan keeps the result reasonably smooth, the texture isn't great. It melts almost instantly, and when melted, it is as liquid as it was before - it turns to sweetened milk in my mouth even before I have swallowed it.

So while I prefer denser ice cream, I think that some recipes were created with a lot of overrun in mind. I thought of trying the Serious eats idea and creating the overrun after the freezing. But first, I don't have a food processor, and don't think an immersion blender will be good enough. Second, it will melt while I am blending.

I don't want to pay the money and simply don't have the space for a gelateria style ice cream machine with a compressor. I was wondering if the prefrozen churner type machines will help with my problem.

  1. How much overrun do they produce with a typical ice cream recipe (say 2/3 3.6%, 1/3 30% cream)?
  2. Does the texture suffer from the same problems (instant melting)?

Edit Overrun is measured in percent. If 500 ml of mixture go into the machine and out come 750 ml of ice cream, this is 50% overrun (the air volume in the ice cream is 50% of the ice cream base volume).

  • You might be able to get get some air into your method by using a granita-like technique, then returning it to the freezer to firm up. If might mitigate your problem, but doesn't answer the question being asked.
    – Joe
    Jun 23, 2011 at 18:52

4 Answers 4


Cooks Illustrated reviewed and measured overrun in a bunch of ice cream makers: http://www.cooksillustrated.com/equipment/results.asp?docid=25989

Most were 20–30%, with the exception of one that attached to a stand mixer, which had an astonishing 80%, and one which completely failed (3%). Most are compressorless models costing under $100.

So, if you're going for around for 20-30%, a pre-frozen churner can do that.

(Note: you have to pull up the details of each model to see the overrun percentage, it's not in the recommendation summary table).

  • Interesting. I can't read the article because it requires a subscription. I am going to have to make ice cream and measure it now because 20-30% seems too low. Jun 23, 2011 at 21:03
  • @Sobachatina: Yeah, it's unfortunate it's behind a paywall. They do have a free trial, I believe. 20–30% is normal for premium ice creams. Ben & Jerry's and Häagen-Dazs are both around 25%; cheaper ones (e.g., Edy's, Breyers) are almost 100% (these numbers also according to tests Cooks Illustrated did in two of their ice creme taste tests)
    – derobert
    Jun 23, 2011 at 21:44

I have a 1.5 qt cuisinart prefrozen-bowl style ice cream maker.

I haven't measured it specifically but eyeballing it I would say that my overrun is 50-75%. I know that is a wide range but it seems to change depending on recipe, additions, and how long I let it churn.

My ice cream maker has performed well for 3 years now and I recommend it.

I suspect your instant melting problem may be because you are freezing the mixture on a flat surface it has too much surface area when you scrape it off. The serious eats experiment used ice cube trays which would help reduce this problem.

Personally I haven't done experiments to try and reduce overrun because I like overrun. The air gives a nice buffer that makes the product melt more slowly, gives a smoother texture, and makes it easier to taste added flavors.

It also makes the ice cream less rich so I can eat more of it.

  • 1
    I have a very similar maker, and my experience is very much the same: overrun depends on recipe & time running. BTW, you may also want to check out Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book." It has some good info on "Ice Cream Theory" along with some recipes.
    – jwernerny
    Jun 24, 2011 at 16:35

I have no idea how overrun is measured, but from my experience the churner type machines do not move fast enough to whip much air into the mixture. I have owned two cheap ones (no-name brands) and I think they moved at similar speeds (slow). But the ice cream does not melt instantly like you say yours does. One way to slow down the melting process is to freeze the serving bowls for 30 minutes or so before serving the ice cream.

  • Thank you for the info. The serving bowl doesn't help here; I eat it directly from the plate it was frozen in. It melts in the spoon on the way to my mouth :)
    – rumtscho
    Jun 23, 2011 at 13:56

My advice is to get the frozen bowl attachment set for the basic kitchen aid stand mixer (link). The mixers have a godawful amount of power to burn and multiple speed settings, so you don't have the issue with the all-in-one machines that are geared for ice cream alone.

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