Thanks for visiting! This post may contain affiliate links. You can read my disclosure for more info.
So you want to make homemade gelato, eh? That’s great!! Making your own gelato is a blast and it’s becoming increasingly popular as the acceptance of “Italian ice cream” continues to gain popularity.
Three Methods for Making Homemade Gelato – Which is Best?
To make your own gelato it’s important to understand the three methods gelato can be made at home. Which method you choose will determine:
- How much time and attention to put into it
- The ingredients you want to use
- How much money you are willing to spend
From making it from scratch over the stove to using an completely automated gelato machine to do all the work, gelato is a special dessert any day, any time!
Method 1: 100% Homemade Gelato from Scratch Over the Stove
The first way of making gelato is 100% by hand. No machines, no special equipment.
All you need is a stove, ingredients and a freezer… and time. I won’t give you a specific recipe or ingredients, because it ranges depending on what kind of gelato you want. There are a good number of gelato recipe books Amazon which gives you many more recipes than I could!
- With this 100% from scratch method, the general idea is you mix the eggs and sugar separately while you bring the milk and cream to a near boil on a stove. By the way, not all recipes require eggs.
- Then you mix the ingredients and cook until it hits the right consistency (when it coats the spoon is a good indicator) remove from the heat and remove any lumps and make sure to get it super smooth. Stir it and cool it down – keep stirring frequently until the temperature has fully cooled down.
- Next, you then move it to the freezer checking it every 30 minutes or so and giving it a really good stir. This helps keep the freezing process evenly distributed throughout the mixture and also mixes some air into the mixture. Without the air, it would become way too dense.
- Once finished, you can keep it in the same container or transfer to a new container made specifically for holding ice cream or gelato. You can purchase them online, they are actually very reasonable in cost.
- Eat the frozen dessert within a few months… as if that is hard to do!
As you can see, this requires a bit of attention and effort, and is certainly not a set and forget it method. But some people swear by this method and I envy those who have the time and the art to do this to perfection!
Method 2: Making Gelato Using a Stove and a Machine
The second method is mezzo-mezzo (half and half) where you still use both the stove and freezer, but also an ice cream maker. One of the downsides of using the first method is the process of mixing it periodically on and off is time consuming.
By using the ice cream maker, you are able to first blend the ingredients on the stove to create the mixture, then chill it down just as above.
Then once cooled, add it to the ice cream maker to blend it while it brings the temperature down. Once it is cooled or thickened, you will need to transfer the mixture to plastic containers and leave it in a freezer for approximately 8 hours.
One thing to note is that while these machines are less expensive, some of them require you to freeze the bowl for about 8 hours PRIOR to being able to churn the previously mixed ingredients. Some even longer.
That means you need to know ahead of time to get it ready by at least 8 hours. For some this is no big deal as they’ll just pop the bowl in the freeze the night before.
So while this saves time with the manual process of mixing, you still need some prep work and time. Keep in mind that becaues of the pre-freezing requirement, if you want to do multiple batches, you’ll need to prefreeze multiple bowls.
Not all machines in this category require you to pre-freeze the bowl, but some do. Here is a Cuisinart that fits this category.
Method 3: Making Gelato only with a Gelato Maker
The third method is the most convenient method as it requires only a machine made specifically for gelato. In this method, you add the ingredients to the machine and in over simplified terms, you turn the machine on and let it work its magic.
When the full cycle has completed you’ll have your gelato ready to serve or to put into containers and freeze.
You’ll find that these machines also can make sorbet, or some other desserts as well. They will usually cost more, but for good reason. These machines demand the least amount of time from you, they create the gelato faster than any other method, and most of them are capable of doing multiple batches.
The Musso Lussino frozen dessert maker is a good example. It’s 100% automatic, meaning no extra steps before or after mixing the ingredients. It also uses stainless steel parts which is impressive, and explains the higher price. It’s also made in Italy.
This is the Cuisinart ICE 100 Compressor Ice Cream & Gelato Maker. It too is 100% automatic. Keep in mind some of the parts are not stainless steel like the Musso, but this one fits the mid-range in price.
Recipe Books for Gelato Making
As I mentioned above, I won’t give specific recipes because it varies by method and machine. Most machines will come with a small book of recipes, but there is certainly nothing wrong with getting your own recipe books to experiment with.
Having your own gelato recipe books are helpful especially when starting out and not being sure of the exact measurements you might need for various flavors.
No matter which method you choose above for your gelato making, the main benefit to this is the ability to have complete control over the ingredients and flavors used. You can make 100% organic gelato, you can add in your own chocolate chips, or a mix of nuts, or make a blueberry concoction too.
Containers of homemade gelato make great gifts too!
For those who enjoy thinking up their own creations – this is one type of dessert you’ve got to try – regardless of method!