6 unusual ways to use your ice cream maker

You can make WHAT in your ice cream machine?!

Fun things to make with an ice cream maker
(Image credit: Ninja)

The summer months call for ice cream but if the weather where you are is anything like the cold rainy weather we’re currently experiencing in the UK, chances are you’re probably not in the mood for an ice lolly. But what if I told you that you don’t just have to use your ice cream maker to make ice cream? 

The best ice cream makers are clever churners that make delicious frozen desserts from home, including ice cream, sorbet, gelato, frozen yoghurt and other sweet treats. The way ice cream machines work is by adding your pre-made mixture into the internal bowl which is stirred by a rotating paddle inserted into the machine. The maker will have a built-in insert or freezer around the bowl which brings the temperature down and helps freeze the ice cream.

Due to its churning and freezing mechanisms, you might be thinking that all you can use your ice cream maker for is, you guessed it, ice cream. Well, you’d be wrong! If you want to get more out of your machine, here are 6 things you can do with an ice cream maker.

1. Slushies

Perfect for summer, slushies are cooling, refreshing and nostalgic… and you can make them in an ice cream maker! To make your own slushies, pour your slushy mixture into the machine and let it churn for around 20 minutes. Doing this gives your slushy the right consistency that’s not too smooth but not too flaky. There are many slushy recipes you can make using an ice cream machine, but some popular ones are fizzy drink slushies using lemonade or cola, and alcoholic slushies with whisky, bourbon or rosé.

2. Frozen alcoholic drinks

Speaking of alcohol, you can use your ice cream machine to make frozen alcoholic beverages. Frozen cocktails are a fun refreshing twist on traditional alcoholic drinks and they keep you cool while you enjoy the sun in your nearest beer garden. Similar to slushies, it’s recommended to pour your pre-made cocktail mix into your ice cream machine and churn it for 20 minutes. If you’d prefer it to be a bit smoother, let your ice cream maker run for a few more minutes so there aren’t any ice chunks in it. You can turn almost any cocktail into a frozen drink but margaritas, daiquiris and mojitos are the most popular.

3. Flavoured ice cubes

Making your own ice cubes is quick, easy and cost-effective. But if you fancy making flavoured ice cubes or frozen smoothie blocks and you don’t want to get your ice cube trays dirty, you can use your ice cream maker instead. You don’t need to use the churning function for this, but instead, pour in your flavoured mixture like fruit juices and leave them to freeze. As an ice cream maker doesn’t have dividers like an ice cube tray, you might need to chip away at your frozen ice to get a cube out for your drink. Is this more time consuming than just using an ice cube tray? Yes, but it keeps your trays clean and non-sticky if that’s something you’re worried about!

Close up into an ice cream maker

(Image credit: John Lewis)

4. Iced coffee

Iced coffee is pretty easy to make: you make a hot cup of coffee, pour it over ice and you’re ready to go. But if you don’t want your iced coffee to be watered down or you don’t own a special maker like the Breville Iced, you can use your ice cream maker to speed up the cooling process. With your ice cream maker in the freezer, pour your hot coffee into the bowl and let it sit for a couple minutes… that’s it! As the internal bowl is cold and your coffee is hot, your drink won’t freeze but it’ll cool down quickly to the perfect iced coffee temperature, and won’t be watered down.

5. Use the insert as a wine cooler

Picture this: you’re having friends over for drinks and you don’t want to keep running back and forth to the fridge to top up everyone’s drinks. While you can invest in the best wine cooler, you can also use your ice cream maker as an ice bucket. Remove your ice cream insert or bowl from the freezer and pop your wine or champagne inside it. To make things even colder, you can fill the bowl with water or ice so your drinks stay chilled for longer.

6. Use your ice cream maker as a cool box

Similar to using your ice cream maker as an ice bucket, you can also use it as a makeshift cool box. Depending on the shape and size of your machine, it can hold a good amount of food and drinks, so take it out of the freezer and use it to store your snacks. This is handy if you’re having a pool party or barbecue, and you don’t want to keep going into the kitchen to get things. While an ice cream maker can’t hold as much as the best cool boxes, you can use this trick to keep individually wrapped ice lollies cold and prevent them from melting. Alternatively, if you have any food that doesn’t react well to sitting out in the heat like dips, cheeses and mayonnaise-based foods like coleslaw and potato salad, you can pop them in your ice cream maker to stay cool.

For more keeping cool advice, check out these 6 cooling products for entertaining your guests.

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Home Editor

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!