Is your ice cream maker not freezing? The temperature of your ingredients could be playing a significant role in the situation. Here’s 7 tips that can help.

Having an ice cream maker at home is one of the most convenient and quick ways to get a delicious dessert. With so many recipes and ingredients out there, it just makes sense to own one.

The possibilities are nearly endless, not to mention the amount of money you will be saving in the long run from not having to buy ice cream from the grocery store.  

That being said, as wonderful as they are, they can give you some trouble from time to time. Be it the infamous blue liquid leak, a crack in the bowl, or an inability to freeze your ice cream properly. Whatever the case, it can be very frustrating.

You’ll be happy to hear, though, that if you’re experiencing the latter, you’re not alone, as thousands of ice cream maker owners all across the world suffer from this issue frequently.

But don’t worry! More often than not, a small change in the way you prepare it can solve the inconvenience.

Below, I’ve prepared a list of the most common causes behind this occurrence. Rest assured that, if you follow them to a tee, you’ll be able to find the source of the problem and address it in no time.

You’ll be back to making delicious, frozen ice cream in the blink of an eye.

Are you ready? Let’s begin!

Fixing an Ice Cream Maker That Won’t Freeze

Even if you’ve owned your appliance for a very long time, food chemistry is not a simple thing to get the hang of. You’ll be surprised to learn that even the fat content in your milk can play an important role in how your ice cream freezes.

Your ice cream maker might not be freezing due to:

  1. Overfilling
  2. Using low fat milk
  3. Using warm ingredients
  4. Using too much water
  5. Using your ice cream maker base at room temperature
  6. Not using enough salt or ice
  7. A bad thermostat

#1 Overfilling

Read your user manual to find your appliance’s maximum recommended capacity

Just because your ice cream maker’s base can take a certain amount of ingredients, doesn’t mean you have to fill it up completely.

Preparing your batches responsibly can go a long way. In fact, most manufacturers suggest not to exceed 3/4 of the maximum bowl or base capacity to get best results.

Your appliance is designed to adequately freeze a certain amount of ingredients, which means that exceeding that specific limit will result in watery results.

Solution: If you own an appliance, try reading your user manual again to find what your maximum capacity is.

In case you’re trying a homemade method that uses ice, salt, and a metal bucket, do your best to stay below the 75% mark. This will provide you with the best ice cream consistency.

#2 Using Low Fat Milk

Remember a while ago when I was talking about food chemistry? This is what I meant.

Believe it or not, the molecules in your food will highly impact the result you get when preparing your recipes. Using low fat or skim milk could be the reason why your ice cream maker is not freezing properly.

The higher the fat content in your milk of choice, the better the ice cream will turn out. This doesn’t mean that you can’t prepare ice cream with low fat milk, it’s totally doable, you’ll just have to adjust the recipes and go through a small process of trial and error.

Solution: Try and do a little troubleshooting. If you have prepared the perfect ice cream recipes with only low fat or skimmed milk, the issue may lie with a different ingredient.

Moreover, if you’re new to the ice cream-making world and are lactose intolerant, you can still enjoy the delicious dessert at home. There are several online recipes for soy and almond milk-based ice creams that you can try.

#3 Using Warm Ingredients

I can’t stress this enough, homemade ice cream is delicious and convenient, but sometimes getting it right can be extremely tricky.

As I said before, if you’re 100% certain that the milk you’re using is not the culprit, another ingredient could be to blame. Some foods, like almonds or other dried fruits, could make the freezing process a bit more challenging, especially if they’re at room temperature.

Again, I’m not saying you cannot use them to prepare your ice cream, I’m just saying you have to add them carefully and under specific conditions for everything to work adequately. Nothing is impossible!

Solution: Try and put your ingredients in the fridge overnight before preparing your ice cream, this will help it freeze and guarantee that you’ll get the right consistency every time.  And as a nice bonus, it will be ready faster.

#4 Using Too Much Water

pouring water in a glass
Add water gradually instead of doing it all at once

Water is an essential ingredient to the ice cream-making process, there’s no denying that, but using too much can be detrimental and counterproductive.

It might not seem like it, but getting ice cream right can be very challenging. Most people have to undergo a long trial and error process before reaching the results they’re looking for.

While you’ll have to do some experimenting with other ingredients, one thing’s for sure. If you use too much water, you will end up with a runny consistency that will not freeze properly.

Solution: When churning your ice cream, try adding water gradually instead of doing it all at once. This will not only help you control the consistency that you’re getting, but also save you from having to throw away several batches.

It goes without saying, but you should always make sure that the water you’re adding is cold or at least room temperature to get the best results.

#5 Using Your Ice Cream Maker Base at Room Temperature

Being temperature such an important part of this process, you will not be surprised to learn that your ice cream maker base should also be at very cold temperatures before you begin churning.

The temperature of your ingredients will not matter if the base you’re using to prepare the ice cream is at room temperature, or even warm.

As you can imagine, this part of your appliance is the most influential factor when it comes to how the consistency will turn out.

Most ice cream maker bases are filled with blue coolant liquid, which is what keeps them at sub-zero temperatures when in use. While the substance is highly effective at maintaining chilling conditions, it will always need a little help from your freezer.

Solution: Just as you would do with your ingredients, try to put your ice cream maker base in the freezer for at least a couple of hours to guarantee the ideal churning temperatures.

Be careful, though. Not all ice cream maker bases are designed to be stored in the freezer forever. I understand how this would seem like a good idea to keep it ready to go at all times, but proceed with caution.

While some manufacturers will say it’s okay, others will strongly advise against it, as it could damage the part significantly.

#6 Not Using Enough Ice or Salt

isolated image of ice cubes
Experiment with your ingredients to get the right result

Granted, this is something that can be much more troublesome for people who prepare their ice cream with homemade methods rather than appliances; however, it’s not exclusive.

If you’re one of those adventurous ice cream makers that like to use salt and ice to give their appliance an extra push, you could be adding too much or too little of them in your recipes.

As you know, the combination of both of these ingredients makes for a chemical reaction that speeds up the freezing process. And while this is great in some cases, in some others, it can result in an icy consistency that is hard to eat.

In theory, if you own an ice cream maker, you should not need to add these, but if you absolutely must, be careful.

Solution: Try isolating your ingredients to find out which ones are contributing to making the process better, and which ones are hindering it.

Again, if you do own an appliance, you don’t need salt or ice, as your machine is designed to provide you with great results on its own.

Having to constantly use these ingredients to get the consistency you want is a sign that some others are not being incorporated correctly, or in the right amount.

Look at the other factors first!

#7 A Bad Thermostat

Now that we’ve covered all the possible things that could be going wrong in the actual process, I want to finish this list by looking at the possibility of a failing internal component. The thermostat.

This part is not present in all makes and models. In fact, it is most commonly found in commercial variants; however, if your ice cream maker is professional-grade, there’s a chance that it has one.

In case you’re not familiar with what a thermostat does, you can think of it as the part responsible for measuring the temperature inside your appliance and determining how to regulate it depending on the situation.

If your ice cream maker is not freezing, this component could be failing.

When this happens, your appliance is rendered unable to regulate itself, thus contributing to overheating, which is the last thing you want when it comes to making ice cream, right?

If you suspect this to be the cause of your problem, it’s vital that you address it right away.

Solution: Disassembling an ice cream maker, especially if it’s a big one, can be a big challenge, even more so if you’re not familiar with its internal components. If this is the case, the best thing you can do is call a professional.

If you’re still under warranty coverage, you shouldn’t have to pay a dime for the service.

But this will depend on your make and model, as the coverage will vary; however, if your thermostat is failing due to factory defects, you should have no problem getting it repaired or serviced.

Conclusion

To have your ice cream maker fail to do the one thing it’s supposed to, can be very frustrating.

Every year, thousands of people spend copious amounts of money trying to find out what’s wrong with their appliances’ internal components, only to realize that the solution lied with the way they were using it.

If you’re 100% positive that your recipe is not the problem, do not hesitate to call a technician and have them take a look at your appliance. More often than not, the solution will be simple, and should not burn a hole through your wallet.

Thank you for sticking with me all the way to the end. If you found this article useful, why not keep learning with our other incredible resources below?

Bon Appétit!