Hamilton Beach 68990 Ice Cream Maker – Full Review
Love homemade ice cream but have nowhere to keep a traditional ice cream maker with a big, clunky bucket? With the Hamilton Beach 68990 Easy to Store Ice Cream Maker, there’s no need to sacrifice valuable cabinet space. With its waterproof, collapsible exterior bucket, this appliance takes up much less real estate inside your cupboard than a traditional one would!
This innovative ice cream maker is wonderfully easy to set up, use, clean, and store. It makes up to a gallon of your favorite frozen dessert per cycle, and like other ice cream makers, puts you in complete control of the ingredients that go into your ice cream, gelato, sorbet, sherbet, or frozen yogurt. The collapsible exterior bucket doubles as an ice bucket for chilling beverages, and its cheerful red and white gingham check design provides a festive look that makes the appliance even more fun to use.
The Hamilton Beach 68990 Easy to Store Ice Cream Maker is automatic, meaning you don’t have to operate a crank or do any real work. Just add your ingredients to the inner canister, attach the motor assembly, fill the collapsible bucket with ice and plenty of rock salt, and let the ice cream maker work its magic. There’s no timer to set; instead, you’ll hear the machine slow down significantly or stop once the ice cream is ready. You can then transfer it to an airtight container and allow it to ripen in the freezer, or you can enjoy it fresh.
These are just a few highlights. Read on for more details about the pros and cons that come with owning and operating the Hamilton Beach 68990 Easy to Store Ice Cream Maker.
If you dislike the idea of sacrificing a huge amount of cabinet space to a big, old-fashioned ice cream maker, you’ll appreciate the Hamilton Beach 68881 Ice Cream Maker for its innovative design. Yes, you still need a spot to put the gallon-size inner chamber, but the larger outer bucket is made of tough, flexible plastic and collapses flat for storage. I noticed another reviewer complaining that the bucket doesn’t fold up flat like it does in the images, but I had no problem getting it to lie flat. I simply tucked everything toward the inside while collapsing it, then I put it in a drawer. The nicest thing about this design is that it lets you bridge the gap between small 1.5-quart ice cream makers and gallon sized ones. It lets you make enough dessert for a crowd, but it doesn’t take up an entire cupboard.
The Hamilton Beach 68990 Easy to Store Ice Cream Maker delivers plenty of power, whipping up good-quality ice cream in 20 to 40 minutes per batch. The downside – and this is something I find is pretty much universal among ice cream makers that use salt and ice for freezing – is that this thing is loud. As I like to go into the living room and watch TV while the ice cream maker is doing its thing, this winds up almost doubling as a benefit, as I have no trouble hearing when the unit slows down significantly or shuts itself off to indicate that the ice cream is done.
I really like the way this ice cream maker looks. The red and white gingham motif on the collapsible bucket is cheerfully charming, making for a festive feel and adding to the excitement of the ice cream making process. Another reviewer said she hated the way it looked, but the majority are on the same side I am. The aluminum bucket looks a lot like the ones that come with other ice cream makers, and the white motor matches nicely with the exterior collapsible bucket. I personally like the red and white bucket so much that I use it to serve ice cubes and chill drinks outside!
Easy to Use
Not only is the Hamilton Beach 68990 Easy to Store Ice Cream Maker easy to store and assemble, it is also very easy to use. Just set it up, pour the ingredients in, attach the motor housing to the top, and activate. Be sure to follow the instructions that accompany the unit, and don’t skip any steps during assembly.
You’ll find that you get better results when you chill your ice cream ingredients before adding them to the ice cream maker, particularly if the weather is hot or if you’re using a recipe that calls for cooking the ingredients (i.e. custard type recipes with eggs) as part of the process. Your ice cream will be ready much more quickly!
The Hamilton Beach 68990 Easy to Store Ice Cream Maker is easy to keep clean. The motor housing wipes up with a soft cloth, and the rest of the parts are easy to wash by hand. The bucket can be poured right down the drain. I’d like to note here that you’ll find the entire process is much neater if you use a mixing bowl with a spout to pour your ingredients into the inner canister. Don’t be tempted to add more than the instructions call for, as your ice cream will expand during the freezing process. Overfilling the machine is almost certain to be disastrous and make cleanup a bit stickier.
Like many other ice cream makers, this one produces condensation during the freezing process, particularly when the weather is warm and muggy. I have gotten around this by setting the unit up on a dish drying mat (the microfiber kind). It absorbs the condensation that runs down the sides of the bucket and keeps the countertop a whole lot drier.
One last note about cleanup – if you choose this ice cream maker, be sure that you allow the outer bucket to dry completely before you fold it up and put it away. It is watertight just like other plastics and it’s pretty unpleasant to remove the thing from the cupboard and get old water all over the place while unfolding.
Makes All Kinds of Frozen Desserts and More
Maybe you want an ice cream maker so that you can enjoy the delicious flavor and significant cost savings homemade ice cream offers over expensive boutique brands made with premium ingredients like the ones you will be using at home. Perhaps you would like to have the ability to customize your ice cream, making exotic flavors like mango, sapodilla, or lemon custard. Maybe you want to avoid dairy altogether and make vegan treats with coconut, cashew, or almond milk, or make low fat, low sugar, or sugar-free desserts in whatever flavor you happen to be craving at the moment. Whether you love good old-fashioned ice cream, Italian gelato, fruity sherbert, or rich custard, the Hamilton Beach 68990 Ice Cream Maker gives you what you want. It’s also fun to use for mixing frozen drinks like citrus margaritas and berry daiquiris, making it a fantastic item to have on hand for your next party.
The Hamilton Beach 68990 Easy to Store Ice Cream Maker does come with a few recipes to get you started and there are many more available online and in cookbooks. The basic vanilla recipe that comes with this machine is exceptional, and it takes very well to modification and add ins. I have had good luck adding crumbled cookies, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, pureed fruit, and flavored extracts to the ice cream I’ve made with this machine. It is not terribly finicky about add-ins like some other ice cream makers are, and it does a good job of incorporating ingredients smoothly so you get good flavor in every bite.
The Hamilton Beach 68990 Easy to Store Ice Cream Maker is a surprisingly inexpensive appliance that will pay for itself very quickly, particularly if you find yourself getting into the habit of making lots of ice cream. Yes, you have to buy ingredients, but some things, such as gourmet vanilla, dark chocolate, and exotic fruits go a long way, allowing you to use just a little bit to bring incredible flavors to your ice cream. Ultimately, you will be paying pennies on the dollar for wonderful desserts and enjoying them so much more than anything that’s available in the frozen food aisle!
This is a good place to mention that some reviewers have mentioned that the components feel cheap, but keep in mind that the inner aluminum canister is thin for a purpose – that is, to allow the ice cream to freeze rapidly. It’s a lot like the canisters in other ice and salt type ice cream makers I’ve tried. Additionally, it is important to note that this is not a top-of-the line Italian ice cream maker with its own compressor and lots of snazzy settings! It is in fact a good entry level ice cream maker that distinguishes itself by offering the benefit of saving space, which is something I really appreciate. It offers good performance, and the ice cream that emerges from the tin canister is better than even the most expensive stuff at the supermarket.
“What is the outer bucket made of? Is it fabric, or plastic? Is it waterproof?”
The outer bucket is made from soft, flexible plastic. It is completely waterproof.
“Is there some kind of support that goes into the bottom of the outside bucket or does the ice cream maker just sit in there by itself?”
There is a support that fits into the bottom. You set the inner aluminum canister into place and add your ingredients, then wait two minutes so that any large air bubbles can come to the surface. You put the top on, then you add the ice and salt and start up the motor.
“Do you have to refrigerate the ingredients before putting them in the ice cream maker?”
It’s always a good idea to mix up your ingredients and refrigerate them for several hours or even overnight before using this or any other ice cream maker. You will get better results faster if you do it this way, especially in warm weather.
“Do you need to store the inner canister in the freezer before making ice cream?”
No. the inner canister is made from lightweight aluminum. It conducts cold extremely well, taking just a few seconds to freeze up.
“Can you eat the ice cream as soon as the machine stops or does it have to go into the freezer after the cycle finishes?”
Yes. The ice cream has the consistency of firm soft serve when the machine stops, and it has a delicious taste, just like the ice creams you get from gourmet shops! If you like your ice cream to have a firm texture, you can allow it to ripen in the freezer for about two hours. Be sure that you put it in an airtight container to prevent ice crystals from forming.
The Hamilton Beach 68990 Easy to Store Ice Cream Maker is an excellent appliance at an entry-level price. It makes delicious ice cream and other frozen treats in about half an hour per batch, delivering up to a full gallon of icy goodness at a time. It is very easy to set up, use, and clean, and its collapsible design allows you to easily store in a cupboard when not in use. I give this appliance top marks for its convenient design, its incredible value, and its ease of use.
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