Abby Sher

What is an Old Fashioned Hand Crank Ice Cream Maker?


If you are a big ice cream fan, then you aren’t going to want to miss out on the experience of trying an old fashioned ice cream maker.

This is a terrific activity to do as a family or with a group of friends, as you will work to hand crank the ice cream and then can enjoy eating your delicious results together. It’s funny but some have very strong preferences for the old fashioned way of making ice cream, even saying that this is the best way to do it vs. any other modern method we have today.

A hand crank ice cream maker is simple to use.

There is an inside freezer compartment or “tub” where your mixture goes. The outside is traditionally wood or metal and most often shaped like a big bucket. On the top there is a hand crank and you do exactly what you think you would: turn it around and around until you get delicious results!

The Pros & Cons:

  • It is fun to see how ice cream was made long ago. You can imagine how your great grandparents and other people once enjoyed this frozen treat.
  • Expect hand cranking to take about 30 minutes. This is an activity that will keep kids and adults busy and entertained.
  • This is not something you can do quickly. Hand cranking takes time and “sweat equity” to get the ice cream.
  • Whether you use an old fashioned ice cream maker or a modern one, it will make you smile to put your spoon into homemade ice cream you’ve created.
  • Cleanup is as expected for most other kitchen appliances, with a little more attention paid to wood ice cream makers, as they need to be dried to be kept in good condition.

How Hand Churning Works?

Personally, I have happy memories of hand cranking old fashioned ice cream machines as a child. I can tell you this is a fun family activity and that kids get excited about the thought of hand cranking to create an ice cream treat they’ve most often see come in a carton from the grocery store.

You put layers of ice and rock salt on top of the freezer container.

Then you start to hand crank.

Expect hand churning to take an average of 30 minutes. The cranking becomes tougher to do as the ice cream becomes harder, so this is a great signal to check on your frozen treat, to see if it is the consistency that you prefer. Some like a soft serve style ice cream and others like a harder type of ice cream.

For this reason you may also want to show kids how the hand cranking works and then let the younger kids have their turn first.

The adults can churn towards the end. It can be fun – and a good learning experience – to show the kids how hard the hand crank has become. But cranking at that time can prove to be very difficult for little ones and sometimes even for teens.

You’ll also want to keep an eye on when the ice cream is completed and the best way is by getting a sense of how hard it is to crank.

If you have several children – or a birthday party or group of friends – cranking the ice cream one fun thing to do is to set the timer. Give each child a few minutes to crank, depending on their age. This also means that everyone gets at least one turn, if not an additional turn.

One of the best things about having a hand cranker is that it encourages group activity.

It is the ideal ice cream machine if your kids always bring all of their friends to play at your house and not the other kids. Or you like to have a lot of at-home gatherings or social activities. Don’t worry about thinking that ice cream making would only be a warm weather activity because many kids and adults find it a lot of fun to make no matter what season or temperature it is outside.

Preparing Your Ice Cream

Some wonder how ice cream recipes work with this type of machine.

You should be able to use most ice cream recipes, you are adding the mixture when it has reached the step where it has chilled in your refrigerator for about 8 hours and you would otherwise pour it into a modern machine. One of the best things about this is you have the ability to access so many ice cream recipes to try.

The biggest difference about the old fashioned ice cream maker is the hand cranking.

Who Will Enjoy An Old Fashioned Ice Cream Maker?

Trying to decide if this machine is for you? Here are some types who are going to think this maker is terrific!

  • Social butterflies/Entertainer – Do you plan BBQs, get togethers and lots of gatherings? Are you always connecting friends, family members and business colleagues with each other with ease? Do you put together party menus in your sleep? This type of machine is super social, with everyone gathering around it to join in on the fun. It’s the perfect addition!
  • Families – Whether you have 1 kid or an even dozen, this is a machine that will certainly have the generations gather together. Younger kids and teens especially will enjoy cranking to create the ice cream. Grandparents may have tales to share about using old fashioned ice cream makers with their families, perhaps ones that have been handed down through family members.
  • College kids – If you are in a fraternity, sorority or live in the college dorms, then getting one of these gadgets is a terrific way to bring your friends together. It’s a fun “ice breaker” to get to know new-to-you college friends and classmates. You can host an ice cream social party. Or even have a contest where teams create the best, yummiest ice cream flavor!
  • Foodies – Some people adore everything about making & eating food, known as “foodies.” They will certainly appreciate a hand cranker. It’s a unique machine to have because not everyone gets this to make ice cream – this is considered a classic. With this old fashioned gadget you also can hand craft custom ice cream to anyone’s tastes, adding special ingredients to make friends and family smile!

About the Author Abby

Hey there, my name is Abby and I am the creator and editor of this website. I have always loved cooking and kitchen gadgets. I hope my website helps you pick out the right products for your kitchen. Thanks for reading!

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