Think outside the cone.
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I don’t know about you, but in the summer, my ice cream maker is only in one of three states: actively churning ice cream, in the freezer getting chilled for future ice cream, or being cleaned in anticipation of future ice cream. So call me a homemade ice cream fanatic (guilty as charged!), but beyond the frozen confection, I’m here to tell you that even if you don’t have your maker making ice cream every night, there are a bunch of creative ways to put it to good use (that don’t involve—gasp!—ice cream). Here are my top six.

1. Use the insert as a wine chiller.

When the dog days of summer are hovering in the upper 90s, putting ice in an ice bucket to keep your rosé cool is an exercise in near futility. But the insert of your ice cream maker is the perfect size for a self-cooling ice bucket. You can use it plain or put ice in it for a double whammy of cool.

2. Make cola slushies or homemade slurpees.

If you are a fan of a slushy icy beverage, or like me, someone who appreciates a frozen Coke, your ice cream maker can whip it up in no time! Just pour the soda or sweetened beverage of your choice into the chilled canister and churn to your desired level of iciness.

3. Make savory sorbets.

If you think a chilled soup is a great way to have a refreshing meal starter on a summer’s eve, you can take any pureed soup you like and churn it into a sorbet, for scoopable bowls of savory goodness. Think gazpacho, vichyssoise, cucumber soup, or even chilled tomato or carrot soup. Pour the chilled pureed soup into the canister and churn as you would for ice cream.

4. Use it to keep deli salads chilled.

A quart container of potato salad, cole slaw, or other BBQ side dishes will all fit really well in the chilled canister, as will a large tub of a sour cream dip. So, if you and yours are dining al fresco, just put the plastic container right in the canister to keep optimally cool. (Don’t transfer the contents to the actual canister, without the extra protection of the plastic, the parts touching the canister would freeze.)

5. Hold frozen novelties.

Are your kids spending the day in your new blow-up pool? Do they require the occasional popsicle, push up, or Icee stick? Fill your chilled canister with the individually wrapped treats so that they stay nice and cold and minimize melt factor.

6. Freeze your morning smoothie.

Whether you are taking your breakfast smoothie on a walk, or just letting it join you for your morning Zoom meeting, giving it a whirl in your ice cream maker can get it super chilled to milkshake consistency in mere minutes, which will help it stay cold longer in your cup. No one likes that last inch of warmed smoothie.

Don’t have an ice cream maker? Here are 3 of my favorites.

Ways to Use Ice Cream Maker: Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker
Credit: Williams Sonoma

Williams Sonoma

What I own: I have a Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt Ice Cream Sorbet Maker, which has always done right by me, and is a pretty rational price for something that works well and is great quality.

Buy it now: Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt Ice Cream Sorbet Maker ($70),

Ways to Use Ice Cream Maker: KitchenAid KICA0WH 2 Quart Ice Cream Maker Stand Mixer Attachment
Credit: KitchenAid


Another option I love: The KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker attachment is a good option if you have a KitchenAid mixer.

Buy it now: KitchenAid KICA0WH 2 Quart Ice Cream Maker Stand Mixer Attachment ($100),

Ways to Use Ice Cream Maker: Aucma Ice Cream Maker
Credit: Amazon


Best budget-friendly option: Get started in your ice cream making (and beyond!) with this reasonably priced Aucma Ice Cream Maker.

Buy it now: Aucma Ice Cream Maker, 1.5 Quart Electric Ice Cream Machine ($30),