Whynter ICM-15LS Ice Cream Maker – Full Review
If you crave the amazing flavor of homemade ice cream and are looking for the ultimate in convenience, consider the Whynter ICM-15LS Ice Cream Maker. Capable of delivering high-quality desserts just like the ones found at high-priced boutique ice cream parlors, this appliance lets you make your favorite recipes in under an hour. There’s no need to make a mess with ice and salt, and there’s no need to keep a chilled freezer bowl on standby. Just add the mix of your choice, activate the machine, and let it work its magic. In the event you want to make several batches of ice cream one after another, you can do so without waiting.
Just like pricey all-in-one ice cream makers that cost about three times its price, the Whynter delivers smooth, delicious ice cream with a firm texture that will remind you of super-premium brands found at the supermarket.
Although the Whynter makes quite a bit of noise during the ice cream-making process, it requires no supervision from the user, so you can simply go into another room and keep yourself occupied while keeping an ear out for the machine to stop.
Because this ice cream maker has its own compressor, it weighs more than you might imagine, given its size (about the same as a bread maker). Luckily, it looks fantastic on the countertop, and if you’re at all like I am, you will find yourself using this machine not just for ice cream, but for chilling drinks quickly, making icy cocktails, and more. It’s very easy to set up – just add the ingredients, put the lid in place, and turn it on. If you are making a recipe with chunky bits like cookies or fruit, let the ice cream freeze almost all the way before adding them and then give it just a little more time to finish. If you add them at the beginning, like I did when I first received this machine, you’ll end up with smashed bits and the ice cream will not freeze as well as it does when only smooth ingredients are in the mixing chamber.
These are just a few highlights. Read on for more details about the pros and cons that come with owning and operating the Whynter ICM-15LS Ice Cream Maker.
Easy to Use
Because the Whynter ICM-15LS Ice Cream Maker is fully automatic, it is easier to use than the old-fashioned kind that require you to add salt to copious amounts of ice in order to get the ice cream to freeze. While I have plenty of appreciation for those old, nostalgic ice cream makers, I appreciate the fact that very little work is required to make fresh desserts using this model. Most of the prep work goes into making your recipe, maybe chilling it for a while to speed up the actual freezing process, and watching TV while anticipating a sweet treat!
Works in Hot Weather
If you’re at all like most people, you enjoy frozen desserts more during warm weather. While you can get an old-fashioned ice cream maker to produce nice soft serve in hot water, it takes quite a bit of salt and ice to get the process to complete, and the minute you’re done, you’ve got to either put the ice cream into the freezer or eat it quickly before it turns back into liquid. Because the Whynter ice cream maker has its own compressor and acts as an independent freezer, it works well in hot weather or in a hot kitchen where there is a lot going on.
While the manufacturer says that it takes about an hour to make frozen desserts in the Whynter ICM-15LS Ice Cream Maker, I’ve had better luck, with most things taking 30 to 40 minutes to freeze up. It’s taken even less time when I’ve chilled the ingredients overnight before making ice cream. Considering that it takes time to get ready to go to the market, stare longingly into the freezer case, and then bring ice cream home from the store, this doesn’t seem even a little bit inconvenient!
Luckily, the Whynter ice cream maker offers an intuitive blending and process, as the user’s manual provides very little in the way of useful details. There are no recipes in the manual, although the machine does come with a link to an online pdf file with some decent ones to try. In the event you don’t want to mess with a pdf file, you can find plenty of other recipes by just running a web search! This is a good place to mention that each and every recipe I’ve tried with this machine has been just fantastic. I had to freeze some of them in batches to avoid causing the ice cream maker to overflow, which again underscores the ability of this machine to deliver plenty of frozen treats on demand.
Cleaning up is never really fun, but when comparing the Whynter ICM-15LS Ice Cream Maker to some others, I give it a rating of “simple.” Although the parts need to be hand-washed, it takes just a few minutes and you’re ready to go again. The exterior wipes clean with a soft cloth and a little bit of all-purpose cleaner or glass cleaner.
Stay Cool Function
With most other types of ice cream makers, your ice cream starts melting almost as soon as the freezing process comes to an end. The Whynter ICM-15LS Ice Cream Maker features a one-hour stay cool function so you don’t have to come running the second the cycle stops.
Gourmet ice cream, fantastic Italian gelato, and other desserts emerge from this machine one after another. I keep waiting for a new recipe to turn out not so great, but everything from amaretto to pistachio has turned out fabulous. Coconut, strawberry, salted caramel, blueberry cheesecake, coffee…the list goes on and on! The flavors are rich, the texture is out of this world, whether I pre-chill or put the ingredients in at room temperature. If you prefer fluffy ice creams like you’ll find at the store (i.e. with a lot of air mixed in) then you may not like the stuff that comes out of this machine. It’s very dense, very creamy, and very rich. If you put in premium ingredients, the flavors are pretty intense, meaning you get quite a lot of satisfaction out of a fairly small serving.
When comparing the price of the Whynter ICM-15LS Ice Cream Maker with the cost of an entry-level unit that takes ice and salt or uses a freezer canister, you might feel a little bit of sticker shock. I have to admit that I felt the same way at first, but considering that I love ice cream and gelato and used to spend a shameful portion of my grocery budget on them before I started making homemade treats, I realized that this thing pays for itself pretty quickly. Better yet, the end product is even better than what I’ve had in some high-end shops. While it’s true that you’ll need to spend a little money on certain ingredients, you are in complete control and can make dairy free, sugar free, desserts if you like! Overall, you’ll find yourself paying just pennies on the dollar for your goodies, plus you’ll discover that they taste far better than the stuff you find at the grocery store.
“Do you have to chill the ingredients before transferring them to the ice cream maker?”
You do not have to chill your ingredients before making ice cream with the Whynter ice cream maker, but taking the time to make your recipe ahead and chill it for a few hours or overnight significantly shortens the amount of time the process requires. If you’re craving ice cream and don’t want to spend hours waiting, you can put the ingredients in without chilling.
“Do ice crystals form in the mix during the churning process?”
I have read a few reviews where users have noted ice crystals in their ice cream, but some of those same reviewers mentioned that they were using fruit, and that’s something that can happen with any ice cream maker unless you pre-freeze the fruit and add it to the ice cream toward the end of the freezing process. I have not had an issue with ice crystals forming!
“Is the Whynter ICM-15LS Ice Cream Maker suitable for commercial use?”
This machine is marketed for home use. It makes 1 ½ quarts of ice cream per cycle, which is fantastic for anywhere from 6 to 8 people. I have heard of small businesses using ice cream freezers with similar capacity, particularly when ice cream isn’t their main product.
“Is there an easy way to add mix-ins when it’s time?”
Yes, there is a lift-off cap specifically for adding cookies, nuts, fruit, etc. toward the end of the cycle. It is very simple to use.
“Can you eat the fresh ice cream as soon as the cycle finishes, or does it have to go into the freezer for a while?”
Yes, you can eat your ice cream right away if you want to. There is usually a bit of softer stuff toward the center, where the blade is, which is always good for a little test bite or two!
“Are the components dishwasher safe?”
No, you have to wash everything by hand. Luckily this is quick and easy unless for some reason you just let everything sit! Wash up right away and you’ll find it takes a grand total of about two minutes.
“Does this make soft-serve ice cream or is it more like what you get at the store?”
The Whynter makes ice cream that’s firmer than soft serve if you let it run all the way through its cycle. If you prefer a soft serve consistency, pay attention to the machine and stop it before it finishes the freezing cycle
“What is the inner canister made of?”
Like most ice cream makers, the Whynter has an aluminum canister that is very thin. This makes for quick transmission of cold and cuts back on the amount of time it takes to finish the blending process.
“What is the noise level of the machine compared to a blender?”
The Whynter does make noise, but not nearly as much as a blender does. This having been said, all ice cream makers make some level of noise!
“Can you store the ice cream and canister inside the freezer after the machine finishes?”
No, you’ll need to transfer the ice cream to an airtight container for storage in the freezer.
The Whynter ICM-15LS Ice Cream Maker is a very convenient appliance that delivers wonderful ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt and more with only a small amount of effort on the user’s part. It is incredibly convenient, makes just the right amount of dessert for a small group, and is very easy to clean up after the freezing process has come to an end. While it does cost a bit more than some other ice cream makers, it’s a technological marvel that prevents you from having to use lots of ice or take up any freezer space with a canister the way other types of ice cream makers do. Just like other ice cream makers, it puts you in total control of every ingredient that goes into your dessert, and in the end, you pay less for your treats than you would if you bought them at the store or visited an ice cream shop.
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