How Ice Cream Maker Works – Science and Awesomeness Behind

How Ice Cream Maker Works – Science and Awesomeness Behind

Although the process of making ice cream may seem like a basic one, what happens behind the scenes can be a little confusing to most of us (unless you are an engineer). Basically, the ice maker is designed to continuously mix milk or sweetened cream in a freezing environment. The impact brought about by mixing and blending aerates the ingredients preventing formation of ice crystals thereby giving the final product a smooth texture. But how the best ice cream maker works can only be best explained if we take a look at some basic components of this invention.

How Ice Cream Machine Works​

The most crucial part of an ice cream maker is an electric motor. This motor performs one crucial role of driving the paddle or the bowl to create a mixture. Beyond this common denominator, there are four types of ice makers with different mechanisms as follows.​

Countertop Ice Makers​

This machine comes with a double-walled bowl filled up with a liquid of urea and distilled water between the walls. Through this special liquid, it is possible to freeze the machine to well below the normal freezing range of water in about 24 hours. Once the double-walled bowl is frozen, it is inserted into the machine, the ice-cream mixture added. The machine is then started thereby triggering the paddles to rotate, effectively stirring the mixture. As the mixture comes into contact with the frozen walls of the bowl, it completely freezes.​

Freezer Unit Ice Maker​

Although this machine closely resembles the countertop variety, its wall is not double-walled. You simply place it inside a freezer and plug it into an external power outlet. When you turn it on, its paddles mix the ice cream ingredients until it achieves the desired consistency. The main advantage with this system as compared to the double-walled counter-top model is that you can make multiple batches without having to wait for the bowl to refreeze. The only downside with the freezer unit ice maker is that the door of the freezer has to be closed over the cord which has to be plugged in an external power outlet.

Built-In Ice Cream Maker​

This is the largest and most efficient type of ice cream maker available. You simply switch on the machine and leave it to run for a couple of minutes, then pour the mixture for paddling. This prepares ice in about 20 minutes. And since coolants are built-in, you don’t have to wait in between sessions. One disadvantage of using this machine however is that you cannot move it for 12 hours before use as that would cause disturbance of the freezing system.

Ice and Salt Ice Maker​

Built with an outer tub that is filled with salt and ice, the ice maker holds ice cream mixture and blends it at speeds of up to 75RPM. Behind it is a powerful motor that rotates canisters and keeps the churn paddles stationary. The more the canisters rotate, the more the mixture freezes. Gradually, a counter-rotating scraper removes the frozen ice returning from the walls re-introducing it into the mixture. This continuous action causes the final product to be thick and smooth, ready for consumption.​


Indeed, gone are the days when hand-cracked ice cream makers were the in thing. You can now take full advantage of sophisticated electric machines that take the age-old concept to a whole new level.

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