Product Review: Hamilton Beach Half Pint Ice Cream Maker

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I’ll save you time if you don’t want to read the whole review, DON”T BUY THIS PRODUCT!  I really wanted this product to work.  In fact, I have purchased this little machine twice now, it just looks so keto friendly; it’s small, it comes in fun colors for kids, it looks easy to use, you can take the cordless one anywhere, ect, ect… However, I have now spent more money on wasted ingredients than I have on the total cost of both machines.

Last summer I bought the model with the cord, this summer I thought maybe they improved the overall design when they came out with a model that takes batteries.  Nothing has changed since last summer except for the fact that you now have to pay for batteries and you only get 1 freezer bowl instead of 2. I tried several different ice cream recipes, one with heavy cream and whole milk, one with heavy cream and coconut milk and just straight coconut milk.  I just could not get any keto recipe to turn out.

In my opinion, the biggest problem with this product is the fact that the lid does not attach to the bowl.  Once you add ice cream to the bowl and begin to churn, the liquid starts to freeze to the sides of the bowl.  This is how ice cream makers are supposed to work!  However, as the paddle attachment spins around in the bowl, it is supposed to scrape the frozen cream OFF the sides and repeat the process until the entire mixture has frozen.  Can you see the lid lifting up from the bowl?  It should be sitting flush against the silver edge of the bowl.

With this model, the ice cream will freeze to the sides of the bowl and continue to form a thin layer of frozen ice cream, one on top of another.  The paddle does not scrape the layers off, resulting in the lid gradually rising up higher and higher until the lid is spinning and the paddle is doing nothing.  All you are left with is a layer of frozen solid ice cream filled with a center of liquid ice cream.  Can you see the layer of frozen ice cream around the edges of the bowl?  This was about 15 minutes into the churning process (the ice cream should have been done according to the directions). This is also partly a result of the ketogenic recipe. Sugar is an important factor in ice cream making that keeps the final product softer. Since there is no sugar in ketogenic ice cream, it will always freeze harder.

In the directions it states that you may have to “apply gentle pressure” to the lid to keep it from doing this.  Of course I did this, but it made no difference.  In fact, the amount of pressure it needs to scrape the bowl is enough to make the paddle stop spinning; the motor is just not strong enough.

So my final recommendation is DON”T BUY THIS MACHINE!


  1. I totally agree about the ice cream maker–not worth it to make keto ice cream…Thanks for the validation, I thought it was just me!

  2. Hi Dawn,

    I would suggest that it is partly the product, and partly the nature of making keto ice cream. I just posted my mis-adventures with ice cream making, comparing my keto versions to the regular recipes that include sugar. I would suggest that it’s not the just addition of fat that makes it freeze so hard, but the absence of sugar (see the post for my armchair food science: Sugar lowers the freezing point of the ice cream and the machine is made to freeze quickly and colder than the freezing point of water. Sugar is the secret to keeping something frozen while still maintaining that creamy scoopable ice cream texture.

    I have a Cuisinart ice cream maker that does a great job with regular ice cream recipes but also freezes hard on the edge and has to be held down to keep the scraper-arm working with keto-versions. I’m still experimenting.

    I was just about to make the strawberry-coconut popsicles posted here recently. Nora will be enjoying them tomorrow!


    • I agree, sugar is the missing link. Unfortunately, nothing can really replace sugar! I also have the Cuisinart and I have had *limited* success with keto ice cream in there. Recipes that have coconut milk in them seem to turn out better, but you have to be really fast to scoop out the ice cream. I have always had it stick to the sides in there as well, I just waited for it to start melting to finish scooping it out. I would say ice cream makers in general are not a good choice for keto ice cream. I guess I’m going to stick with freezing the portions in our silicone molds!
      I hope Nora likes the strawberry pops, I really wanted to capture the intense strawberry flavor with them!

      • Agreed, I was starting to think that ice cream machines are not suitable for keto ice cream too, as they are too cold. Probably best just freezing the mixture in the freezer and stirring occasionally, or freezing portions then letting it melt a bit and re-stirring to get a scoopable ice cream texture. In any case, the kids are happy!

        I mixed up the strawberry popsicles tonight, after buying a flat of strawberries at the farmers’ market on Wednesday. They are so sweet! Nora has been having them as her fruit for the last few days and I have been slicing and freezing them for winter use. When I made the recipe tonight, Nora ran the food processor. She is excited to try them tomorrow. They are a lot of carbs per serving so I will have to plan lunch and snack carefully, but it will be worth it. Thanks again.

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