The season for homemade ice cream has well and truly arrived. From a simple vanilla to innovative homemade blends, making ice cream from home can be surprisingly easy, and it offers a way to know exactly what goes into your dessert. Plus, this surprisingly hands-off device is perfect for wowing guests at garden parties and summer soirées.
I have tried a handful of ice cream makers in my time. Truthfully, it's not a crowded market, and a lot of them work in very similar ways. That said, this Magimix Gelato Expert review has boosted the brand's automatic ice cream maker straight to the top of my best ice cream maker list. Why? Well, it's very speedy, thoughtfully designed, and comes with a durable construction that will withstand spills and mishaps.
This ice cream maker has three preset churning modes and comes with in-built cooling to save you from having to clear space in your freezer to freeze the churning bowl ahead of use. This is a winner in my book, because I've got a small-ish freezer that's overcrowded enough as it is. Be warned though, there are some downsides to self-cooling ice cream makers, such as the significant space demands and the prep that goes into setting it up.
Magimix Gelato Expert review: specs
- Dimensions: 29 x 37 x 26 cm
- Capacity: two 2-litre bowls
- Weight: 13.4 kg
- Warranty: 3-year guarantee
- Dishwasher-safe? Removable parts
The Magimix Gelato Expert comes in a very large box, packaged securely in polystyrene packaging. I usually resent non-recyclable packaging such as this but in the case of the Gelato Expert, it's one of the rare times where I find the packaging to be necessary. The machine is very heavy at over 13kg, and could easily take a battering if not packaged snugly.
Included with this ice cream maker is an external bowl, and an in-built churning bowl. Both come with their own churning attachments which will require a little storage space, but the removable bowl sits securely on top of the in-built one and can be screwed onto place.
There is also a lid, a spatula, and a little measuring cup which is used to measure out the perfect amount of brine to use the smaller mixing bowl.
I have also tried the Magimix Cook Expert and am currently reviewing a Magimix food processor, both of which came with a recipe book. I'd have liked for the Magimix Gelato Expert to have come with one too, but there are a few on the Magimix cooking app which I downloaded for this review. Once you are confident enough there are plenty of online recipes to follow to mix up your ice cream recipes as well.
This ice cream maker has a straightforward control panel with three pre-set churning options, and a manual setting. You will need to turn on the left button to pre-chill the machine for a few minutes before the first use, and then select your setting. This button also doubles up as a power button.
The controls were very user-friendly throughout. The granita setting (on the far right) can be used for a more icey type of sorbet, which is very refreshing and often quite a healthy alternative to ice cream. The ice cream button (second from the right) makes ice cream, sorbet, and frozen yoghurt, and the gelato button (third from the right) is designed to make a lighter and more aerated ice dessert. Many ice cream makers do not have pre-set churning modes, so this is quite an impressive feature.
Another thing I liked was that the buttons are coated, meaning there are no cracks for water or spilled ice cream to slip down. Despite its premium appearance, the machine wipes clean.
Making gelato in the Magimix Gelato Expert
The first dessert I made in the Magimix Gelato Expert had to be its namesake, a gelato. To do this I followed a recipe on the Magimix app for vanilla gelato. This was the most drawn-out process of the desserts I tested, as I had to make a custard and then chill it for six hours before churning it. This is still faster than in a manual ice cream maker where you would have to freeze the freezer bowl overnight, and it also beats Ninja's ice cream maker.
In my Ninja Creami review I found that having to freeze my ingredients for a full 42 hours completely removed any spontaneity from the equation, whereas I could at least make my custard and churn it on the same day using the Magimix Gelato Expert.
The recipe came off without a hitch, and I was actually very pleased with the taste. After chilling I set the ice cream maker up to pre-chill, which took five minutes. Another part of the setup is adding a brine or alcohol between the built-in and removable bowl. This is to ensure that the cold temperature can conduct between the two bowls.
In the instruction booklet you are advised to use an alcohol of 60-proof or higher, which is something I didn't have at home, so I chose the second option and made a brine of 35ml of water and eight grams of salt. I added this to the bowl, topped it with the removable bowl, before inserting the churning attachment and screwing everything into place.
Although the ice cream maker came with pre-set modes, it only took about 15 minutes of churning for my ice cream to be finished, so I shut it off early. The texture was smooth and it was easy to remove from the bowl using the spatula included with the machine.
With any ice cream maker you'll find that your homemade ice cream melts faster than shop-bought brands, because it's got none of the preservatives and chemicals required to keep it solidified for longer. The best way to get around this is to eat your ice cream in record time, but I found that this ice cream froze very well and got me through a week of warm weather very happily.
Magimix has a recipe for gin and tonic sorbet, which was the perfect dessert to make for a vegan friend I was entertaining one evening. The recipe was very easy, I mixed lemon juice, sugar and water over a low heat until the sugar was dissolved, then stirred in some tonic. Admittedly the gin measure is quite low, so I never expected it to provide a strong flavor in my finished recipe. This is because alcohol requires very cold temperatures to freeze (hence why Magimix calls for an alcoholic heat conductor between the bowls), so it's not best for use in ice cream and sorbets.
Because I wanted to test every setting, I decided to turn this dessert into a granita. After only a few hours of chilling it was at the right temperature to churn. Magimix advises to chill for 12 hours, but I don't think this is always necessary.
The granita mode churns intermittently, which allows the mix to freeze into a more ice-like consistency before breaking it up into tiny flakes.
After about 15 minutes the mix started to form lumps where the ice was forming and then being broken up. After another ten, my granita was ready. It tasted very similar to a lemon sorbet, but with a grown-up twist that my friends and I really enjoyed.
Making frozen yogurt
Making frozen yogurt in an ice cream maker is so, so easy. There is virtually no prep involved: I bought a passionfruit-flavored yogurt and left it in the fridge until I was in the mood for fro-yo.
Is it weird that I topped this with berries and granola and had it for breakfast? Maybe, but it has the same essential components as one of my favorite morning treats, and it was like a delicious twist on a smoothie bowl.
This was one of the speediest recipes I tried, and it was ready to scoop in just over ten minutes.
If you want to buy an ice cream maker, I would definitely recommend making frozen yogurt. It's so easy, and there is a huge range of yogurt to choose from. You could use greek yogurt for that delicious tangy flavor, or even opt for a soy vanilla flavor to make a vegan twist. I honestly could not tell the difference.
There are some big plus points when it comes to cleaning the Magimix Gelato Expert. The removable bowl can go through the dishwasher, as can the rest of the removable parts. For this reason alone I'd recommend using the removable bowl, because I think it would be a bit tricky to clean the actual in-built one.
I did find the process of cleaning out the brine quite time-intensive. I used absorbent towels to remove the excess salt water, and then scrubbed it down with a cleaning spray before wiping the bowl dry. Despite what felt like quite a lot of effort to keep the bowl completely clean, I was a little horrified to find some oxidation in the bowl the next morning, and it took a bit of scuffing (you're not meant to use abrasive cleaners, so I used a soft sponge) to remove it. The only thing I think could prevent this is doing it as soon as your ice cream has finished because I left mine an hour or so before cleaning it.
The Magimix Gelato Expert does warn that this can happen if you don't keep the bowl clean, but after seeing how easy it is to oxidize the cleaning bowl I would definitely recommend using food-grade alcohol as opposed to a homemade brine. You'll only get through a shot measure at a time, and won't have to worry about damaging the machine.
Should you buy the Magimix Gelato Expert?
At a frosty £500, there is no denying that the Magimix Gelato Expert will set you back some serious bank. I can't honestly say it's the kind of appliance I'd buy for myself, because I don't know if I'd make ice cream often enough to justify the investment. But, if you are someone who seriously wants to get into making homemade ice cream, or if you eat enough Ben & Jerry's to actually make your money back by making it at home, I don't thing you can go far wrong with this machine.
The design is immensely thoughtful, even down to the recipe app which walks you through the entire process, and it is a real time-saver when compared to ice cream makers that come without an in-built freezer mechanism. For the homemade gelato alone, it's the kind of machine that I'd find myself using again and again throughout the summer to impress guests, or experiment with new recipes.
About this review, and the reviewer
Millie Fender is an Ecommerce Editor at Real Homes, specializing in small appliances and all things cooking. She loves putting new products to the test, whether they're air fryers, blenders, or even pizza ovens, and her family and friends love eating the results.
Millie has a constant stream of new products waiting to be reviewed in her kitchen. It's a little snug, so if she thinks anything deserves to stay there, you know it's something special.