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4 Ways to Use Your Ice Cream Maker That Aren’t Making Ice Cream

This seemingly one-use appliance can actually multitask to make your life easier.

Published May 25, 2023.

As an ice cream aficionado, I think it’s worth owning an ice cream maker so you can make creamy homemade ice cream, frozen yogurt, or sorbet any time (or, in my case, all the time). 


Strawberry Sorbet

Strawberry season is a great time to dust off your ice cream maker to make this light, bright sorbet.
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Ice cream machines come in two main styles: canister-style and self-refrigerating. Canister-style machines are the ones with a removable coolant-lined canister that you have to freeze before using. This style is less expensive and more common.

That said, the canister can take up a lot of freezer space. Is it worth having it in there even when you’re not regularly making ice cream? Yes!

Here are four ways to use that frozen ice cream maker insert that aren’t churning ice cream. 

1. To keep white wine or rosé chilled on the table. The insert acts similarly to a bucket of ice at a fancy restaurant.

2. To cool down a batch of soup quickly. Let a soup, stew, or chili cool down a little so it’s not piping hot. Then place a double layer of gallon-size zipper-lock bags over the base of the ice cream maker and pour the warm soup in. Let it sit in the frozen canister until it’s cool enough to transfer to the freezer.

3. To serve cold items at a barbecue. Place a quart container of egg salad or potato salad in the frozen canister to keep it cold and food-safe on a hot day. The insert is like a mini cooler. 

4. To make slushy margaritas. Add the ingredients for a margarita or other frozen cocktail to the frozen canister and churn until it gets slushy—so fun for a party! Similarly, you can add soda, lemonade, or juice to an ice cream maker and churn it to make a kid-friendly frozen drink.

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And, yes, if you keep the insert in the freezer, you also have it ready anytime you have a craving to make delightful ice cream or sorbet. 

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