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As one of the first of its kind, Cuisinart Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker is fairly well thought out in terms of providing everything you need for an ice cream-making session. By turning the process of making frozen desserts from a solo activity into an event the whole family can participate in, it’s sure to win a lot of fans. However, there are some aspects that could be improved: my sample struggled with sorbet, and the toppings chute is poorly positioned, meaning that sprinkles tended to litter the worktop.


  • Creates ice cream in 20 minutes
  • Can also churn non-dairy, sorbet and frozen yogurt
  • Makes up to 10 servings


  • Bowl needs 24 hours to freeze
  • Larger than bowl-style ice cream makers
  • Expensive

Key Features

  • 10 servingsMakes up to 800ml of ice cream.
  • Ready in 20 minutesIce cream is made in 20 minutes, although the bowl has to go in the freezer for 24 hours before use.


Making ice cream with a frozen bowl and paddle-style appliance is nothing new – but getting it out once the dessert is frozen can be a messy affair.

Bringing consistency and a less-mess way of dispensing to the game is Cuisinart with its Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker.

Not only does it churn the ice cream into a softly frozen consistency, it comes with everything you need to dress your desserts: a trio of topping containers for sprinkles, nuts or chocolate, a heated plate for warm sauces and a handy cone holder. It’s both functional and fun for all the family.

Design and features

  • 1.42-litre capacity bowl
  • Warming plate
  • Fold-away cone holder

Where Cuisinart’s Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker differs most from other ice cream makers is in its design. The premise is the same – a frozen bowl and a paddle – but rather than the paddle and mechanical lid being screwed on top of the bowl, a 1.42-litre insulated bowl (which accommodates 800ml of mixture) has a hole in the bottom and is elevated above a drip tray so you can dispense directly from the bowl’s base.

Cuisinart Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker bowl from the topClose-up of open Cuisinart Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker.
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

This is controlled by a dispensing arm. Behind the dispensing arm sits a chute that toppings drop down into from containers on the side of the machine.

Cuisinart Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker on the counterCuisinart Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker on kitchen counter.
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Overall, the ice cream maker doesn’t take up much space on the worktop, but it is quite tall at 45cm, making storage a challenge.

Besides three containers for toppings, there are some other thoughtful touches to reproduce the ice cream parlour experience at home.

Cuisinart Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker with accessoriesCuisinart Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker on kitchen counter.
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

These include a drop-down cone holder on one side and a small heated plate and mini stainless-steel pan at the front, which gently warms sauces.

Cuisinart Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker heating plateCuisinart Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker dispensing handle and tray.
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

There are two settings on the control knob: one just for churning, and one for churning and warming.

Cuisinart Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker controlsCuisinart Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker close-up on kitchen counter.
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Only the paddle, containers, chute, and drip tray are dishwasher-safe, meaning there are around 10 minutes of cleaning and washing up afterwards.


  • Prone to dripping after sampling
  • Practical recipe cards
  • Takes around 20 minutes to freeze

Like ice cream makers that don’t have their own freezer, the Cuisinart Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker needs its bowl to be frozen in a freezer for at least 24 hours before use. This means that, realistically, it’s best to leave the bowl in there all the time during the warmer months so you can make ice cream when the mood strikes.

I found that assembling the machine was fairly straightforward, although it does have to be done in a certain order: the dispensing arm needs to be inserted at a 90-degree angle before adding the topping chute, for example. One small gripe is that the dispensing arm positions aren’t marked as open and closed, so it’s possible to pour all your mixture in, only to have it gush through to the drip tray.

I did like that the machine came with separate recipe cards though, which covered everything from sorbet to non-dairy. I started by making vanilla ice cream, following the provided recipe. The bowl and paddle were easy to fit and the lid clicked into place.

Cuisinart Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker assembledCuisinart Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker interior view.
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

There’s a narrow gap in the lid to pour in the mixture: it was a little tricky to do so, even from a jug, so there were some dribbles.

The instructions advise setting a timer once you start churning so the ice cream doesn’t become too frozen. I felt that it would be handy if a timer were a feature of this machine, given its price. Another niggle is that there’s no separate switch for the warming plate independently of the churning – it’s easy to forget to start it warming in the excitement of making ice cream.

After about 15 minutes, I checked on the consistency and saw that ice crystals had started to form. As advised, I checked it by dispensing a little of the ice cream. However, at this point, it was still more liquid than slush.

What I did notice, is that after that initial dispense, the spout continued to drip. Presumably, this was residue that had left the bowl but not been dispensed at the time. Five minutes later, I heard the paddle start to struggle, so I dispensed the ice cream again and this time it was of a good soft serve consistency – solid enough to be piped into a cone.

Cuisinart Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker ice cream in a coneSoft serve ice cream in cone beside Cuisinart machine.
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

I found adding toppings more of a challenge. As the chute is behind the spout (which continued to drip) it’s hard to see where you’re positioning the cone. Sprinkles also bounce down the chute at speed, and most ended up on the worktop rather than on the ice cream. A wide bowl may be more suitable for using this feature.

Cuisinart Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker sprinklesCuisinart ice cream maker with freshly served cone.
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The warming plate heated the chocolate cream sauce in the pan well, without scorching it.

Scraping the rest of the ice cream out of the bowl was slightly awkward – I either had to leave the bowl in the ice cream maker and scrape out the top at an odd angle, or remove the bowl and get it out quickly before it dripped from the hole in the bottom. There’s no scraper included, which is a shame.

I also used the ice cream maker for a sorbet recipe. I found this to be more of a challenge – the sorbet took longer to freeze to a slushy consistency, dripped far more from the spout after testing a sample for consistency, and tended to dispense in blobs rather than in a stream. Plus, as it became firmer, the lid tended to detach at one side. 

Cuisinart Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker sorbetCuisinart ice cream maker with freshly made soft serve.
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

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Should you buy it?

You want a fun way to make ice cream

If you want to get the kids more involved in making their food, or are looking for an activity the whole family can enjoy, this is great fun.

You don’t need much fresh ice cream

Given the price and the amount of space this one takes up, you’d be better off with a compact model.

Final Thoughts

By adding on extras, such as toppings and warm sauces, and even a place for cones, the Cuisinart Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker does something that most ice cream makers don’t: it’s an all-in-one gelateria, albeit with one flavour at a time. However, the design isn’t without the odd flaw: while elements such as the warming plate work beautifully, the dispensing arm could use a tweak to stop it dripping excess liquid, and arrows to indicate its position.

That said, making ice cream using it does feel like more of an event, so its appeal could easily outweigh the niggles. If, however, you’re unlikely to use those extras as much, you may want to consider a more affordable model, such as the Judge Ice Cream Maker.

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How we test

We test every ice cream maker we review thoroughly over an extended period. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.

Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.

Used as our main ice cream maker for the review period.

We use different ice cream recipes and flavours to see how well the machine copes.


How quickly can the Cuisinart Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker make ice cream?

It can have ice cream ready in 20 minutes, although the bowl does need to have been kept in the freezer for at least 24 hours before use.

Can the Cuisinart Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker be cleaned in a dishwasher?

Most of the components can be put in the dishwasher, but the main unit and bowl have to be washed by hand.

Full specs

Product Description
Size (Dimensions)
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Model Number

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