Because I did such a bang up job reviewing the free items they sent me last time, CSN Stores has given me another gift certificate to use, again with the stipulation that I review whatever I purchase. My spending limit has been cut in half, however, which means I only have $40 to play with. I’ve narrowed the field down to two contenders: ice cream maker vs. slow cooker. The case for each item after the jump…

Cuisinart Automatic Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker in White:


Price: $43.95 + shipping

Pros: Ice cream! I love ice cream, and I would love to experiment with this. I don’t think I’d use it too often, but that’s alright because I don’t need to be having ice cream all the time. Still, I would love to try making frozen yogurt and sorbet and everything in between. And hello: frozen drinks! Additionally, even though its price puts me a touch over what the gift certificate covers, it’s still a great deal.

Cons: As necessary items go, this is not at the top of the list. Plus, making ice cream means I have to freeze the bowl hours in advance, which I may forget to do. Plus, while this ice cream maker is a bargain, it’s also very popular. Too popular. The damn thing is out of stock! And so is its nearest competitor from Deni. If I want this, I have to wait until who knows when.

Hamilton Beach 7 Qt. Slow Cooker in Stainless Steel:


Price: $39.99 + FREE shipping

Pros: People swear by slow cookers. I’m certain that I would use it more than an ice cream maker, and its versatility is truly impressive. Plus, it’s in stock and has free shipping, which means it’s cheaper than the ice cream maker. And available!

Cons: It’s just not as fun. I want to make ice cream. Plus, I already have a wonderful dutch oven that can achieve the same goals. But then again, I don’t know much about slow cookers; so perhaps I’m oversimplifying things.

My brain tells me slow cooker. My heart tells me ice cream maker.

In the meantime, I’m also open to using this $40 on a bundle of smaller gadgets. Share your thoughts and suggestions below…

42 replies on “WHAT TO GET? Ice Cream Maker Vs. Slow Cooker”

  1. As much as I’d love to see what you’d do with the slow cooker, since I use mine all the time and it’d be cool to see fresh ideas, I think this time of year more warrants the ice cream maker. Plus, think of what you could do with it! There’s always much excitement on Iron Chef when one of the competitors decide to give it a whirl.

  2. I like both of these units.

    The ice cream maker, I had this model. I always stored the inside base in the freezer to make ice cream at a moments notice. The only thing I will warn you about is the unit is made of PLASTIC. So if you don’t fit the housing inside properly before starting the unit, you can break some parts and ruin the unit. I know, I did that! But the ice cream on demand is great!!

    The slow cooker you will have for years and use for years. It takes awhile to get some recipes you enjoy in the crock, but the payoff is great! My husband cooks ribs in the crockpot, roast, etc. all the time now.

    I didn’t help did I? lol

      1. Absolutely!! Many long Chicago winters have been made better by warm, cheesy dips in the slow cooker. Not to mention chili!

  3. you will get bored of the ice cream maker. i’ve had both, i still use my slow cooker.

  4. also, a slow cooker and a le creuset serve WILDLY different purposes.

    if you dont know that, i will not clap for you.

    1. Although I will not yet discount clapping for you, I will agree here. Dutch Oven and Slow Cooker = similar but different. Love them both but I have tried some slow cooker recipes in the dutch oven with horrible results. (Although there are many things that the dutch oven is a life saver for!!) I also agree with the other reviews that the ice cream maker is a novelty and you will have and use the slow cooker for years.

  5. As I said in an email…Slow Cooker! It will last a lifetime. The ice cream maker is novel but quickly loses the novelty.

  6. Get the slow cooker. It is way more versatile (think simmering sauce, chili, soups, etc etc). It is great for entertaining b/c you can cook a big batch of whatever and just leave it plugged in for people to server themselves (think chili for superbowl sunday parties). and besides, don’t you like going out for ice cream where there are so many yummy choices?

  7. Hi B! I vote for the Ice Cream maker. After watching Giada and Ina use an ice cream maker on their shows, I realized I may need one. It’s the time of year for it!

    On the other hand, I use my crock pot (slow cooker) fairly often. If you get the slow cooker, my mother told me to get a large one. It’s easier to fill it up halfway than to realize that you don’t have enough space for your recipe.

  8. SLOW COOKER! I received mine for Christmas years ago, and I still use it all the time. & it’s fun coming up with different recipes or looking up different recipes!

  9. Slow cooker. Too bad it’s a Hamilton Beach though. Don’t they have one by Rival? They make the best slow cookers, IMO. They invented them, I think. Not a fan of Hamilton Beach, but I would like the slow cooker better than the ice cream maker. Read the reviews for that ice cream maker — I was not impressed.

  10. I use my slow cooker all the time. It’s great to put dinner in and be gone all day and you have it ready when you get home. I’m not a big fan of Hamilton Beach either. I have always had a Rivel Crock Pot.

    For you I’m a little worried that the slow cooker is a little big. It’s good for cooking for a group, but if you are just making dinner for yourself it’s pretty big.

    I think since you are getting it practically for free you should go with the ice cream maker. It’s something that you will probably not buy for yourself otherwise. Slow Cookers are on sale all the time (think Target) and you could probably pick one up for way less than $40 if you feel the need for one later. And it will be really fun to read about what you come up with.

    1. True knn, I have a regular sized crock pot that I use fairly often, but when we were having all of our March Madness parties (Let’s Go Mountaineers!) I got a really small – 8 cup (yes I did just go use water and a measuring cup to check) one at Wal-Mart for $12. It is the perfect size for dip.

      I say go for the ice cream maker. You were sensible with the other freebies. Also, they might decide to keep sending you free money!

  11. My sister had that ice cream maker and didn’t like it. I think she used it once. It was a few years ago, so it’s reasonable to assume they’ve improved it. She always wished for an old fashioned ice cream maker.

    I use my crockpot for all kinds of recipes. There’s nothing like coming home to the smell of dinner AND having dinner done. But you work from home so maybe it wouldn’t have the same appeal.

    Bottom line: always follow your heart. Otherwise you’ll wish you had. What the hell does your head know?

  12. ICE CREAM ICE CREAM ICE CREAM! Go with your gut (ie your heart, ie the ice cream maker). it’s a gift. A gift should be something you wouldn’t buy yourself. Don’t be practical!

  13. Team Ice Cream.
    It even has it’s own ditty – You scream, I scream, We all scream for ice cream.
    Slow cookers have nothing.


  14. I love the ice cream maker and it became my favorite appliance, once i started storing the metal bowl in the freezer all of the time. I use my slow cooker maybe three times a year and we’ve used the Cuisinart three times in the last ten days.

  15. I vote slow cooker.. they rock the world—–or Brett does.

    You will never make better ice cream than Ben or Jerry so what is the point.

    Either way Brett can’t eat much ice cream so that makes

    2 votes for a slow cooker.

  16. I was absolutely slow cooker all the way until I read the fabulous arguments for the fact that ‘its a gift’, and ‘go with your heart’, and now I’m all Ice Cream Maker all the way. Only down side to a couple of the previous arguments about being the ice-cream season and all is the fact that its not in stock, so will it still be summer when they get them in?

  17. And another thought….if you can, read the instructions on using the ice cream maker. You may find there’s more to using it than you thought.

  18. I am an ice cream fiend (converted it was a condition of marriage, I went with it) but I love the slow cooker so I would go with the slow cooker. I have two different versions, one is the traditional slow cooker with just the high and low settings which is nice for chili etc. But I feel the need to brown the meat prior to putting it in to the slow cooker which adds a step and a pan to clean. The other one I have is really called a kitchen kettle and isn’t to be used in the same manner because it has temp settings like an electric frying pan however the bonus is that it is non stick and I can brown my meat in that then turn it down when I add the additional chili ingredients. I do make a red sauce for pasta etc in both, which ever one is easier for me to reach.

  19. You forgot a major “Pro”: Ina uses that exact machine to whip up delicious frozen treats for Jeffrey. Also, since this is free, I say throw caution to the wind! Added to the fact that you live in a warm climate that warrants ice cream at any and all times, ice cream is the winner in my mind! ICE CREEEAAAAAAMMMM!!

  20. If you’re using a gift certificate, get the ice cream maker, if that is what you really want. Slow cookers (or as I call them, crock pots) are not that expensive. However, I am cooking a roast in my crock pot at this very moment and I won’t have to do a damn thing but let it cook. Never mind. Get the crock pot.

  21. I don’t think the slow cooker will make for interesting Adventures in Domesticity….

    -Put meat and vegetables into slow cooker

    -waited a few hours


  22. ICE CREAM MAKER! I have one. It’s amazing. Best ice cream you’ve ever tasted. The bowl freezing part isnt that annoying. Just keep it in the freezer when you aren’t using it.

  23. I love my crockpot. i use it for so much. so simple and nothing like the dutch oven in my opinion. also nice to cook a meal and not heat the whole house up on a hot day. agree, it is not sexy and exciting like an icecream maker, but seriously, you can make soup/stew/dip/dessert with the slow cooker, you will love it!

  24. Neither. Get this thing: Nostalgia Electrics Old Fashioned Hot Dog Roller Grill/Griddle. Then, have a Kramer-style sausage party (chatroulette optional).

  25. Homemade ice cream is mind-blowing. My favorite? Orange sherbet from fresh-squeezed neighborhood oranges.

    Ice cream makers will also break your heart – another reason to get one – good blogging material . Make ice cream enough times and you’ll have a few tragic failures and end up with cold runny cream not ice cream. Never try to rush ice cream. And don’t try to make more than one batch a day.

    No one is going to care about crock pot meals – boring. Ice cream is exciting!

  26. WTF are you people making in the slow cooker all the time?? I got one as a gift, experimented a few times, found everything to taste the same (i.e., bland and mushy) and never went back. Now I kind of want B to get one just so I can get some new ideas…

    1. I use it for beef stew, pot roast, spaghetti sauce, pulled pork, and the “I have to bring something and I don’t have time to make it – meatballs with sweet and sour sauce.”
      Also for keeping things warm during holiday/family/buffet type meals… Dips (new fav – buffalo chicken), mashed potatoes, and even used it to make stuffing last year.

  27. Update: I got the slow cooker. I just couldn’t wait for the ice cream maker. Plus, I was craving ribs last night, and I thought to myself “Man, if I had a slow cooker, I could have already been eating some ribs right now.”

    1. Well, how did the ribs turn out? Once again, so declasse for keeping us on the edge of our seats, sweetheart.

  28. The meaning of the phrase “ice cream” varies from one country to another. Phrases such as “frozen custard”, “frozen yogurt”, “sorbet”, “gelato” and others are used to distinguish different varieties and styles. In some countries, such as the United States, the phrase “ice cream” applies only to a specific variety, and most governments regulate the commercial use of the various terms according to the relative quantities of the main ingredients.

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