As we’ve shown you with our quick and simple recipe, you can make homemade ice cream without an ice cream maker. However, if you want a light and fluffy consistency like you’d get in shop-bought ice cream, then you really need to use a machine. Today, we’re taking a look at the cheapest ice cream maker on the market, the Kenwood IM200.
This is an electric ice cream maker with an insulated bowl; inside the bowl is a liquid coolant similar to what is used in a standard cool pack. All you need to do, is place the bowl in your freezer for 24 hours before use. This freezes the coolant inside, and then you’re ready to make ice cream! Once the bowl is frozen, the ice cream making process takes just 25 to 40 minutes. This machine can be used to make ice cream, or sorbet. It can even be used to make frozen yogurt too (good news if you’re on a diet or a particularly health-conscious individual)!
The bowl has a 1.1 litre capacity and, of course, comes with the usual automatic paddle which keeps the mixture moving while it is being frozen. This constant movement is essential; it introduces air into the mixture which makes lovely soft ice cream, and it also stops ice crystals from forming.
For the best results, you need to prepare your ice cream mixture and refrigerate it before using the machine. Once the mixture is cool, turn on the machine and then begin to pour in the mixture slowly using the provided chute. The machine will now churn the mixture whilst freezing it, and within 40 minutes, you’ll have delicious, soft and fluffy ice cream to enjoy!
The process sounds nice and simple, and we’ll be letting you know how we got on with the machine (and how tasty our ice cream was) later on.
The instruction manual is quite basic, although it does come with 7 recipes to try out. However, to get the most out of the machine we’d recommend a good recipe book to go along with it. Of course, the great thing about ice cream is that it is quite simple to make, so you can always let your imagination run wild and have good fun experimenting too!
The machine comes with a 1 year guarantee, and is available from most retailers that sell small kitchen appliances. It isn’t going to break the bank either, and is available for well under £30.
We found that most ice cream makers were cheapest at Amazon.co.uk, including the Kenwood IM200 which is currently available for 29% off.
Kenwood IM200 Ice Cream Maker Features and Specifications
- Fresh homemade ice cream in 20 to 40 minutes
- Makes ice cream, sorbet or healthy frozen yoghurt
- Fast-freezing insulated bowl
- 1.1 Litre capacity – enough for a family of 4
- 1 Year Manufacturer’s Guarantee
Putting The IM200 To The Test
The first thing that is obvious when you first get the machine out of the box, is that it’s well made. The white bowl is very weighty and sturdy feeling, if a little bulky. The lid is made of plastic, but it’s thick enough that it too feels nice and strong. Even though it’s a cheap device, it does feel like it’s going to be quite durable.
We froze the bowl for a good 24 hours before our test, and we were suitably impressed with the results.
The machine was super-simple to use; grab the bowl from the freezer, screw on the lid, turn it on and pour in the ice cream mixture. Extra ingredients are added towards the end (you don’t want to end up with soggy cookies), and we found the ingredients opening to be more than adequate. We did pour through the ice cream mixture using a jug (common sense really) and 100% of it went into the machine. No splashes or mess anywhere.
The sound of the motor does ramp up a tiny bit once the mixture goes in. While it may not be whisper quiet, it didn’t exactly cause a racket either. Personally, we had no problem with the sound of the motor at all.
In our test, the ice cream started to thicken almost straight away, and we were very impressed with the amount of time it took to complete. The ice cream was ready in just 20 minutes. The process is certainly speedy, and it was much quicker than the other budget ice cream makers that we’ve tested, all of which took around 30 to 40 minutes. The ice cream was good and thick too!
The only thing we didn’t like about the device was it’s capacity. Compared to more expensive machines on the market, it doesn’t make as much ice cream in one sitting. That said, you’ll get enough for a family of four each time you use it.
Customer Reviews and Feedback
Rather than simply rely on our own experience when reviewing a product, we do like to take into account what other users of the device have been saying. Taking a look at the various customer reviews and feedback available online, it seems the vast majority of customers have been pleased with their purchase; around 90% of customers rated this ice cream maker 3 stars or above. In fact, over 50% of customers who left a review gave it a full 5 stars. Let’s take a look at what people liked, and disliked, about this ice cream maker.
First of all, it seems that quite a few people who bought the machine wanted the ability to control what goes into their ice cream. Many were concerned about the additives in shop bought ice cream, and particularly the effect that these may have on kids. The ability to whip up your own ice cream using only natural ingredients is definitely a plus, whatever you think about shop bought ice cream.
Most of the reviews that we read mentioned that, although the recipe section of the instruction manual is rather small, ice cream made following these recipes was delicious (the banana ice cream seems to be a favourite, so you might want to start with that). It was generally agreed that the quantity that it makes is enough for a family of four, and that the ice cream retained its consistency and softness upon further freezing.
One of the main bugbears with this machine, was that the bowl is rather large and can be difficult to fit into a full freezer. We don’t feel that it’s a major negative point, however. If it were smaller it would not make a satisfactory amount of ice cream (and then people would complain about that too)! One handy trick is to use the space in the bowl to hold smaller items; one customer found her bags of frozen peas fit in nicely and helped make plenty of space!
For the most part, the few negative reviews of the machine seemed to have been left by people who had failed to follow the instructions carefully. The main mistake seemed to be either adding too much mixture, or adding mixture before turning on the machine; this can cause the paddle to stick. Thankfully though, only a small minority of people experienced these problems. Just be aware that you do need to follow the instructions carefully.
All in all, with 90%+ of customers happy, we’re satisfied that this ice cream maker is hitting the right notes and filling up hungry tums nicely!
We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the Kenwood IM200. It’s cheap, durable, quick and was actually a joy to use in every way. The capacity is a little on the small side, but you’ll easily get enough ice cream for a family of four on each go. If you’re on the fence about getting an ice cream maker then the IM200 would be a great starter machine; it’s not going to break the bank, and does a really good job!