When it comes to ice cream, you can’t beat the taste of a homemade batch. But if you’re tired of spending hours churning your own ice cream and want to save time and energy, then investing in a commercial ice cream maker for your restaurant or catering business is a smart move.
So, what exactly is a commercial ice cream maker? How do they differ from regular home models? And what should you look for when shopping for one?
Commercial ice cream makers are machines that churn your favorite frozen treats. They provide a way for anyone to enjoy professional-quality homemade frozen desserts and a way to serve a much higher standard of dessert to your guests. This is perfect if you have a business and want to offer them as an option for customers, whether you have a restaurant, hotel, or ice cream stall.
In this blog article, we will take a look at what commercial ice cream makers are and how they can help create the best possible frozen treats. We’ll also give some of our top recommendations for buyers who want to purchase a high-quality machine.
What Is A Commercial Ice Cream Maker?
A commercial ice cream maker is a larger, more powerful machine that allows you to churn out a lot of ice cream quickly. They often have several bowls so you can make multiple flavors at once and they’re designed for heavy-duty use, making them perfect choices for restaurants or other food service establishments.
You might not know it, but there are actually a lot of different types of ice cream makers out there. The traditional home models that you can buy for your home kitchen differ greatly from the commercial versions that are used in restaurants and other small businesses.
You may also come across a type of ice cream maker called semi-commercial or semi-professional. These machines are for someone who is in the foodservice industry that might want to make a few hundred gallons of ice cream at once instead of just one quart – for instance a wholesaler.
It’s important to know what type of machine you’re looking for before you start shopping around because some features will only be found on certain models.
What Criteria Are We Using To Make These Selections?
In order to decide what the best commercial ice cream makers are, we took a look at the most popular and highest-rated models. We looked for ones that had outstanding reviews from happy customers, as well as high ratings overall.
First, we also looked at capacity because this is an important factor to consider when buying any commercial ice cream maker, but especially if you have a lot of customers. This went hand in hand with the size of the machine – big and bulky may work for some, but smaller businesses are going to want something much more compact.
We then considered the power output and eliminated anything that we thought may not be powerful enough to handle the high demands of a busy kitchen.
Next, we evaluated the features of the ice cream makers, such as any special settings for making different types of frozen desserts. We also looked at things like noise levels because you don’t want an ice cream maker that is too loud and can disturb your customers while they’re eating their desserts.
We also took durability into account as well. If it is made with stainless steel exterior then you know that it will last for many years without getting damaged or having to be replaced, which saves you money in the long run. It will also be easier to clean if it’s made from a more durable material.
Finally, we took price into consideration because it’s important to get value out of every purchase you make.
How Do Commercial Ice Cream Makers Work?
Commercial ice cream makers work because they have the ability to freeze and churn your ice cream. The ice cream-making process is split into mixing and freezing. This means it will take all of the ingredients in, stir them together until they’re mixed evenly, then put them on a frozen surface where they’ll be chilled into blocks before being cut up into individual servings.
One of the most popular types is called an “interior design” style commercial ice cream maker because you can’t see any part of the machine from outside when looking at it. The other type? You guessed it- exterior design models! These are equipped with doors so people can watch as their favorite flavors come out one delicious scoop at a time.
What Are The Different Types Of Commercial Ice Cream Makers?
As mentioned, there are a few different types of commercial ice cream makers on the market today. If you’re planning on buying one of these machines, then you’ll want to make sure you know the difference between them before making a purchase.
Here are some of the most popular types of ice cream makers:
Manual Ice Cream Maker
Just like it sounds, this is a machine that you can use by hand. This might be a good option for someone who doesn’t want to spend too much money on an ice cream maker and wants something they can store away easily.
Automatic Ice Cream Maker
In comparison, this is a machine that will do all of the work for you. An automatic ice cream maker is powered by electricity and is programmed to turn off when it senses that the mixture inside has reached a certain temperature. You just have to pour your ingredients in and then wait while it does its thing.
Pre-freeze Ice Cream Maker
This is just what it sounds like – an ice cream maker where you need to freeze the components first in order for it to work. The part that usually needs to go in the freezer is the internal bowl. This bowl is double-walled and between the walls is filled with a coolant gel which is cooled with a refrigerant. When you freeze the bowl, the coolant also freezes which will make the bowl cold enough to make ice cream.
Soft serve Ice Cream Machine
If you’re looking for a machine that doesn’t require pre-freezing, then this is the type of commercial ice cream maker you want. Soft serve machines are perfect whether you need to prepare large batches and just want a small amount at any given time as they come in a range of different sizes. They produce the popular “soft serve” ice cream style that you might be familiar with in Mr. Whippy cones or the Pizza Hut buffet!
This is a type of ice cream maker that doesn’t require the use of any preservatives. It’s perfect if you’re someone with dietary restrictions or just don’t want to put anything extra into your food. Gelato machines are usually made out of stainless steel and have an external compressor unit that will keep the machine cool enough for it to work.
Frozen Yogurt Machine
For all your frozen yogurt treats, this machine will be perfect. A frozen yogurt machine will usually come with an electric paddle that’s attached at the bottom, which can be turned on and off to whip up your blend until it reaches its desired consistency. They are often cheaper than traditional ice cream machines, but they produce a dessert that is just as yummy.
Frozen Custard Machine
Frozen custard is a type of ice cream that’s extremely smooth and rich in flavor. It usually has egg yolks, sugar, heavy whipping cream as well as other ingredients which will make it have the perfect texture. You can once again buy a machine to make this entire process easier.
What Should You Look For In A Commercial Ice Cream Maker?
If you’re buying a machine, then there are some important factors that you’ll want to keep an eye out for. Here’s what to consider before making your purchase:
The size of the bowl is going to be one of the most important factors to think about when you’re looking for an ice cream maker. If you have a small restaurant and don’t need to make a lot at once or if your kitchen isn’t very big, then it’s probably best that you buy machines with smaller bowls so they take up less space.
The size of the machine, as well as your needs, will also determine how many quarts (or liters) it can produce at once.
On the other hand, if you’re someone who needs to make a lot of ice cream all at once or is going to be running an entire catering business out of this machine, then it’s probably best that you go with a larger bowl. Keep in mind that the bigger the bowl is, the more expensive your purchase will become – so be sure you need a big bowl before buying.
The price range will depend on what type of commercial ice cream maker you’re going to get as well as its quality. If you can’t afford anything expensive but are looking for basic machines (like soft-serve ones), there are plenty available for a pretty decent price.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for heavy-duty commercial ice cream makers that can make large batches (or want one with more advanced features), then prices will start at around $1200 and go all the way up to over $5000! So, just be sure you know what kind of machine it is you need before making any purchases.
Another important thing to remember when you’re buying a commercial ice cream maker is efficiency. The efficiency of your machine will determine how much extra money is spent on running it as well as the cost of the actual machine, and the cost of the ingredients.
The more efficient the machine, the cheaper it will be to run, and this can make a huge difference to the overall cost in the long run. Then, they’ll do all the hard work while you keep things running smoothly behind the scenes.
Ease of Cleaning
Many people overlook how important it is to find an ice cream maker that’s easy to clean. If you’re someone who needs something electric-free, then there are plenty of models available for purchase on the market already and they’ll be a lot easier to maintain.
On the other hand, if your machine has attachments like an attached paddle or scraper which store in the unit itself (like many electric machines), then chances are these will need some extra attention at cleaning time in order to make sure nothing gets stuck inside. So again – just keep this information in mind so you don’t end up with tons of work after using your ice cream maker.
Another important consideration is whether or not your ice cream maker has a built-in freezer – trust us, make sure to buy one with this addition! This will ensure your machine is working at top performance and the quality of your final product. It will save you time having to pre-freeze components, save you space in your commercial freezer, and save you time when you need to use the machine.
The durability of your ice cream maker will depend on what kind it is, how much you use it, and for how long. Some machines are more durable than others, but ultimately, you’re going to want to buy an ice cream maker that will last.
So be sure to read reviews about any product before purchasing in order to ensure that the machine meets all your needs as well as has a strong reputation among other commercial users. Also, steer clear of plastic and construction by other materials that can easily break
Your ice cream maker will have a power rating that is measured in amps. This tells you how much work the machine can do and what capacity it has to make batches of your favorite frozen treats. If you’re looking for something with an amp of at least 20, then this would be considered medium-duty – perfect for any small business or restaurant that needs to make up to 1000 liters every day.
On the other hand, if you’ve got lots of money and don’t mind spending around $5000 on commercial catering equipment like heavy-duty machines (which typically come with higher ratings), then just look out for anything over 100 amps as these are very heavy-duty products capable of making large amounts so they’re great when catering events where there are tons of hungry people!
It’s always important to have a warranty for your ice cream maker, as this will ensure that you’re protected in the event anything goes wrong with it.
Warranties can vary between different products on the market now and they’ll typically range from about one year up to five years. So just be sure to factor this into your final decisions.
What’s The Difference Between a Manual And An Electric Ice Cream Maker?
There are lots of differences between a manual and an electric ice cream maker. For example, many electric models require a freezer to use while manual ones don’t. You’ll also need to pay close attention to the power rating of your machine – which is measured in amps and determines how much work it can do.
You’ll also need to consider the capacity for making batches of ice cream, the size, volume, and where the machine will fit in your kitchen. There are definitely other differences that you may want to look out for when shopping around, but these are some important ones if you’re just getting started.
The Advantages of Manual Commercial Ice Cream Makers
- They are cheaper – manual commercial ice cream makers are typically less expensive than electric ones, which will make them more affordable for small businesses and restaurants.
- They can be moved very easily as they’re not reliant on an electricity supply to work.
- Their portability is another added bonus in case you have upcoming catering events planned where it needs to be placed somewhere else outside of its designated kitchen space.
- Manual machines are aesthetically pleasing – many people prefer an old-fashioned look when it comes to their equipment and many times these models come with vintage designs like bright reds or stainless steel appliances from the 50s. This helps maintain some sort of uniformity across any kitchen, restaurant, or other space you may be using it in.
- Much easier cleaning – manual commercial ice cream makers are much easier to clean as they have fewer parts.
- They are also often more durable and longer-lasting because they don’t have problematic motors that go wrong.
- Manual machines are often quieter than their electric counterparts which can have quite noisy motors.
- Lastly, some say that hand-churned ice cream is superior and better tasting.
The Advantages Of Electric Commercial Ice Cream Makers
- Much easier to use – All you need to do is put some ingredients and steps in, then let it churn for 20-30 minutes. After that take it out and voila – a tasty treat. In comparison, hand-churned ice cream requires much more strength, patience, and will take a lot longer.
- More versatile than manual models as they don’t rely solely on hand-cranking, so they are great for when there aren’t enough hands available (like during busy restaurant rushes).
- Great for multi-tasking – Electric ice cream makers save time as you don’t need to be there constantly cranking it and can do other things. Ideal for a busy restaurant kitchen.
- It’s much easier to produce larger batches – manual machines can be seriously taxing if you want to produce a lot of ice cream at once (which many commercial organizations do)/ So, an electric machine is often better because it saves time and saves the staff’s arms!
Commercial Ice Cream Maker Best Use Tips
Here are some of the best tips for using and getting the most out of your commercial ice cream maker:
- Don’t overfill the machine – don’t attempt to make a large batch in one go. Instead, fill it halfway and then come back later and add the rest of the ingredients for another round – this will ensure your machine is able to do its best work.
- Start with a well-frozen base – having a solid frozen base is essential for getting the best results. This means it needs to be in there at least overnight before you start churning.
- If using an electric machine, don’t overwork or strain – if your machine has a timer on it then leave it running until just after the cycle is finished, and then take out your ice cream and enjoy.
- Keep the machine in good condition – To ensure your ice cream maker is always working at its best, you need to clean it after every use and dry it thoroughly before storing it as this will prevent rusting or any other damage from occurring. It’s also important that when you go to store them away they are fully defrosted so that the motor doesn’t get damaged.
- Not all ice cream is created equal – don’t expect every machine to churn out the same results. If you want your ice cream to be extra smooth, then it’s essential that you get one with a double-insulated dasher and bowl which will keep everything cool for much longer. The higher the quality of the machine, the higher quality of the ice cream you will produce.
- Wrap the ice cream well before you store it – if you want to store your ice cream for a long period of time, it’s best that you wrap it well in cling film or other freezer-proof plastics.
- Keep the machine clean – always ensure that your machine is kept thoroughly clean and free from any dirt before putting it away. If there are bits of food left inside then they will contaminate your ice cream and reduce its quality.
- Avoid overworking the mix – to start with, you only want to churn it for around 20 minutes or so until everything starts becoming thick and creamy looking. After that time has passed, stop what you are doing as stirring too much will create a ton of air bubbles which isn’t good for the texture. Overworking the mix will also cause it to heat up and melt a bit which is bad for your ice cream.
- Always read and follow manufacturer guidelines – never exceed or go below what is recommended in terms of ingredients, length of time churning, temperature settings, etc. In fact, many manufacturers recommend using a certain brand’s ingredients and flavors to get the best results.
- Don’t store it for too long – this one is pretty self-explanatory! Ice cream should always be eaten within a reasonable timeframe of being made as you don’t want any freezer burn damage taking place. On average, homemade ice cream starts to deteriorate after 2-3 days.
- Always taste your ice cream before serving – if you think that there are some adjustments that need to be made, then you can either add more of the same ingredients or try something else.
My Top Commercial Ice Cream Maker Recommendations
VEVOR Commercial Ice Cream Machine 5.3 to 7.4Gal per Hour Soft Serve with LED Display
The soft-serve dessert machine from VEVOR is among the best options for restaurants that want to consistently produce their customers’ favorite, delicious soft-serve ice cream. This 2,200-watt machine has plenty of power for supplying any type of catering business.
It also allows you to offer 3 different flavors of ice cream – two single flavors and a combination of them both. You can also add chocolate chips, berries, and nuts into the mix during mixing.
The VEVOR soft serve ice cream machine can produce 7.4 gallons of soft-serve ice cream per hour, allowing you to make a lot of servings in a short period of time. The best thing about the machine is that it requires minimal effort to produce large amounts of ice cream. It has an intelligent LED interface that displays different alerts in multiple languages. The clever LED technology of this model lets you adjust the hardness, quantity, and temperature at any time.
This ice cream machine also has a stainless steel body and an air compressor that makes the whole equipment sturdy and durable.
- The ice cream machine has a high production capacity
- It is easy to use and maintain
- Clever LED display
- Durable stainless steel construction
Magimix Gelato Expert 11680
Magimix designs and manufactures commercial ice cream makers that require much less work than the typical commercial freezer. The Gelato Expert ice cream maker has three automated settings and manual controls for those who prefer to be more precise.
It’s stylishly made and designed to be simple to use regardless of whether you want to make ice cream, sorbet, frozen yogurt, or granita. It’s an incredibly reliable choice for your kitchen, and the built-in freezer saves you from the tedious process of having to pre-freeze mixing bowls.
Moreover, there’s a storage mode that keeps your mixture at the ideal serving temperature for up to two hours. This is a great feature when you’re entertaining a large party or during a busy summer service.
- It has an excellent build quality
- Built-in freezer means there’s no need to pre-freeze bowls
- Automated and manual controls
- Smaller size means it can’t produce large batches of ice cream at once
Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker
This Breville ice cream maker is a smart choice because it’s so versatile. It can make ice cream, gelato, sorbet, and frozen yogurt easily and without complications. Plus, you’ll get 12 hardness settings with this machine so you can choose the perfect consistency for your desserts.
It is also very easy to clean because of its removable bowl and lid that are dishwasher-safe (but on the top rack only). And the best part about this excellent purchase is how little noise it makes while operating, which is surprising because of the powerful 165-watt motor.
It’s also very appealing to look at. This Breville ice cream maker has a sleek design and neutral color. It’s not as bulky or dramatic as other machines, which is great if you have limited kitchen space.
- Easy to use and clean
- Powerful motor that operates quietly
- Highly durable stainless steel construction
- 12 hardness settings for different types of frozen desserts
- Aesthetically appealing with a sleek, modern look
- Expensive machine for its size
- It may be too small for some kitchens
Happybuy 1400W Commercial Hard Ice Cream Machine
This clever ice cream machine by Happybuy is an absolute must-have for a busy kitchen. It has everything you need to keep up with customer demand and produce high volumes of ice cream at once. It has a massive output of 20 liters (about 5.2 gallons) per hour, this will be suitable for a wide range of ice-cream-making use cases.
The self-contained refrigeration system means there’s no unnecessary cold loss, which is great if your catering establishment doesn’t have very good insulation. And the digital display makes it easy for anyone in the kitchen to operate this machine because it takes less than five minutes to learn how each function works.
It also produces minimal noise while running so that you don’t disturb customers or other staff members on your production floor who are trying to rest between shifts (or take orders). It also uses R404A as its refrigerant, which is easy to replace and is environment-friendly.
- Uses R404A refrigerant
- Environmentally friendly
- Durable stainless steel exterior is extremely hygienic
- Large capacity of 20 liters per hour makes it suitable for busy processing floors/shops
- Minimal noise levels while running
- It may be on the pricey side compared to other ice cream makers with similar features and performance
- It’s a bulky machine that takes up a lot of counter space.
- On the pricey side
Question: Who makes the best commercial ice cream machine?
Answer: There are lots of different brands that make wonderful commercial ice cream machines and the best one for your restaurant will depend on a range of specific factors. However, a few of our favorites include Breville and VEVOR.
Question: How do you make commercial ice cream?
Answer: You can make nice-tasting ice cream without investing in a commercial machine. However, most people find it easier to use an automatic model that produces the perfect consistency every time and ensures you get consistent results batch after batch. It also produced a much more professional quality for your dessert.
To make the ice cream, you first need to make a custard base by whisking egg yolks with sugar and some other ingredients. Then, slowly add in the hot cream while continuously stirring until it thickens and has a very smooth consistency.
You then load this mixture into an ice bath that’s been pre-cooled to below 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius) and stir the custard until it cools down completely. Next, pour your ice cream into the machine’s cold chamber so that it can be churned before freezing in a freezer for at least four hours to harden up.
Question: What is commercial soft serve ice cream?
Answer: Soft serve refers to any type of frozen dessert with an aerated, ice cream-like texture. It’s very light and airy so you can usually eat it with a spoon or cone without any trouble at all.
The most common type of soft serve is vanilla flavored because it’s the easiest flavor to produce using just sweetened condensed milk as an ingredient base. However, there are lots of other types of soft serve that you can make at home with a commercial machine, including chocolate and strawberry.
Question: How do I clean my ice cream machine?
Answer: Most commercial machines are dishwasher safe so they’re very easy to clean after use. However, be sure to read the instruction manual before cleaning or disassembling any parts yourself. If your unit isn’t dishwasher safe, then you can use a damp cloth to wipe down the interior and exterior of your machine after each session.
Question: Is soft serve ice cream really ice cream?
Answer: Yes! Soft serve is a type of ice cream that has been aerated so you can eat it with a spoon. It’s often served in the same manner as regular hard scooped ice cream cones and cups, but they’re usually much lighter than their harder counterparts.
Soft serve contains less fat than traditional ice creams because lots of air is whipped into it during the churning process. This gives you a lighter, airier texture that’s easier to eat with a spoon or cone than regular ice cream while still having essentially the same ingredients (milk-based products like sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream).
Question: What is the best way to portion ice cream?
Answer: There are lots of different ways to portion out your ice cream when using a commercial soft serve machine. For instance, you could use the built-in scoops or cones that come with most machines, put them into cups and waffle bowls (frozen yogurt shops often do this), or put them in small takeout containers for customers who order their ice cream by the scoop.
Question: How long does it take to make ice cream in a commercial ice cream machine?
Answer: It usually takes between 20 and 25 minutes to make a batch of ice cream using a commercial machine. You can reduce this time by pre-chilling your ingredients before adding them into the mix, but you’ll still need some waiting time for the entire process (custard base + freezing) so it’s best not to cut corners too much.
Question: How much does an ice cream machine cost?
Answer: The best commercial machines usually start at around $600, but there are lots of other models that you can buy for as little as $300. However, some large commercial ice cream makers can cost as much as $5000.
The price is often determined by the size and capacity of your unit so make sure to check out those details before buying any new equipment. You’ll also need to factor in the cost of ingredients and labor, so it’s worth doing some research before running your own ice cream business.
Question: Who invented soft-serve ice cream?
Answer: The first soft serve machines were developed by Tom Carvel back in the late 1930s. Carvel was a local ice cream vendor and he wanted to find an easier way to make the dessert. He discovered that the right mix of ingredients could be aerated and created a much lighter ice cream, so he experimented until he found the perfect formula for his own soft-serve ice cream.
The idea soon spread to the United States where entrepreneurs began adding new flavors and toppings that are now synonymous with soft-serve ice cream (like chocolate sauce, whipped cream, sprinkles, etc.). Today there are over 20 countries around the world that sell their own version of this yummy dessert so it’s definitely a global phenomenon.
Question: Is soft-serve healthier than hard ice cream?
Answer: Soft serve is typically lower in fat and calories than hard ice cream, but it’s not always the case. In general, though, soft-serve usually has less saturated fats so it’s better for you overall if you’re looking to eat healthier.
Question: What is the life expectancy of a commercial ice cream maker?
Answer: The life expectancy of a commercial ice cream maker will depend on how often you use it and what kind of ingredients you put into your concoctions. If you’re using it every day, then expect to replace the machine after around 5 to 6 years (or sooner if something goes wrong). If it’s once a month then it could last for closer to 8 years or more without any problems.
Ice cream has been a popular dessert choice for centuries and with the invention of soft serve, gelato, and hundreds of different ice cream flavors, this yummy treat is available year-round. If you’re looking to invest in a commercial ice cream maker, then this blog post should give you everything you need to know about the best commercial ice cream machines.
In terms of our top frozen dessert machine, we absolutely love the VEVOR Commercial Ice Cream Machine. The powerful machine is able to produce a good amount of soft scoops daily, which should be plenty for a wide range of restaurants. The funky LED display is also incredibly helpful. However, if you’re not a fan of soft scoop and would prefer a more traditional type of ice cream, the Happybuy 1400W Commercial Hard Ice Cream Machine is our next top choice.
Whether you’re a restaurant owner looking to serve more frozen treats or just an ice cream lover looking to invest in a professional-grade machine, we hope this guide has helped answer your questions. Happy reading and happy eating (you deserve it)!