Ice cream is a dessert that we all chased after in childhood and still hold in delight all throughout adulthood. And who could blame us? The stuff rocks! Homemade ice cream tastes even better and you can be more adventurous on the flavors.
If you’re planning on making this delicious treat at home, then you’re going to need an ice cream maker. Of course, not all ice cream machines are made equal. And we’re not talking about the hand-crank models. There are different kinds of ice cream makers to suit different preferences and needs. To help you find the right ice cream machine for your home, we’ve rounded up the 10 best ice cream makers and machines on the market today.
Top 10 Ice Cream Makers And Machines Of 2020 Reviewed\
1. Cuisinart ICE-30RBest Freezer Bowl Ice Cream Maker
If you don’t have the budget for a compressor ice cream maker, then this freezer bowl machine should be right up your alley. For less than $100, you can’t beat the frozen desserts that this baby can churn out. It features a heavy-duty motor that can finish churning ice cream in just 25 minutes.
It also has a large ingredient spout so you can easily add mix-ins (you know, the chocolate, nuts, or fruit bits you want in your ice cream). And unlike our previous picks, this machine can give you 2 whole quarts of creamy ice cream. However, you’ll need to freeze the bowl for at least 12 hours before using it. The machine is noisy. And there’s a small gap between the paddle and the walls of the bowl which some parts of the mixture untouched.
- Easy to use
- Large opening for adding mix-ins
- Produces 2 quarts of ice cream
- Requires you to freeze the bowl for at least 12 hours
- A gap between the paddle and the walls of the bowl
2. KitchenAid KICA0WH Ice Cream Maker
If you already have a KitchenAid mixer in your arsenal, then you don’t need to buy a separate ice cream machine. All you’ll need is this – the KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment. You can use this attachment with the tilt-head style mixer as well as with the bowl-lift style ones. You may need to use an adapter ring to ensure that the dasher fits properly. Like other freezer bowl machines, you’ll need to freeze the bowl prior to use, though this one requires at least 24 hours.
You can make up to 2 quarts of frozen goodness with this attachment. This attachment will cost you almost as much as a decent freezer bowl machine. But it won’t come with a lid or a cover. Also, this attachment doesn’t come with an automatic shutoff feature so you need to keep an eye on your ice cream to make sure it doesn’t get overturned. You may also want to keep a kitchen towel nearby in case your kitchen is a bit on the warm side. This is because the bowl will warm up quickly and start to drip water.
- Easy to assemble
- Doesn’t require buying a separate appliance
- Produces 2 quarts of ice cream
- Costs as much as a whole freezer bowl machine
- No automatic shutoff feature
- Requires freezing the bowl at least 24 hours
3. Yonanas Frozen Healthy Dessert MakerBest Ice Cream Maker For Vegan Ice Cream
If you want a healthier version of ice cream, this fruit soft serve machine is just the thing. The Yonanas Frozen Healthy Dessert Maker makes use of frozen over-ripe fruits, chocolates, or even veggies and turns them into a smooth “soft serve ice cream” like dessert. And it’s incredibly easy to use. Just put the frozen food into the chute and push down to get the “ice cream.”
This machine is easily disassembled for cleaning and the parts are dishwasher-safe. However, it does make a lot of noise. And you can’t really make this in bulk because it will freeze like an ice cube, not like ice cream. In addition, a lot of the “ice cream” gets stuck inside the machine so you’ll need to open it and scoop it out or place that part into the sink so that it won’t make a mess when the ice cream starts to melt.
- Healthy “ice cream-like” dessert
- Easy to use
- Easy to clean
- Very noisy
- Can’t be used to make bulk ice cream
- Some of the ice cream gets stuck inside the chute
4. Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop Ice Cream MakerBest Ice Cream Maker With Compressor
If you’re serious about ice cream making and you want all the bells and whistles, then the Breville Smart Scoop is the only option for you. It has 12 hardness settings that will allow you to choose what kind of frozen delight you’re in the mood for – gelato, yogurt, sorbet, or just a plain vanilla scoop to go on your root beer float. The bowl and churn blade are removable to make them easier to clean.
And there’s even an automatic hardness setting which means that the machine will sense the hardness of the mixture based on the type of treat you’ve chosen and stop churning, keeping it cool until you’re ready to serve. The results are probably the creamiest frozen delights we’ve ever tasted. The controls are intuitive and the machine has audible alarms to let you know when it’s done. It even has a manual function if you want complete control. However, it does cost a lot, more than what a lot of people would want to spend on an ice cream machine. And some owners feel that the machine is too noisy.
- Consistently creamy frozen delights
- Fully automated
- Keep-cool function
- Very expensive
- Slightly noisy
5. Whynter ICM-15LS Ice Cream MakerBest Ice Cream Maker To Buy
For less than $100, you can get the almost the same delicious frozen treats from the Whynter ICM-15LS Ice Cream Maker. The difference in creaminess isn’t that big which means that this machine strikes that perfect balance between price and taste. Compared to the Breville Smart Scoop, this is also much smaller (though it weighs pretty much the same) which means less counter space. Another thing we noticed about the Whynter model is that it’s easy to use and very quiet in operation.
The bowl is removable and even has a built-in handle which makes it easy to scoop out the ice cream and clean the bowl for the next batch of frozen goodness. And should you forget about it, the machine will automatically shut off to prevent damage from occurring should the ice cream freeze solid. The LCD control panel is easy to use as well. However, it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that you’ll find with the Breville Smart Scoop which takes a lot of the guesswork out of making the different types of ice cream.
- Delicious results
- Easy to use and clean
- Quiet compared to other units
- Still expensive
- Heavy (32 pounds)
- Only has the 1.5-quart capacity
6. Hamilton Beach 68330N Automatic Ice-Cream MakerBest Large Ice Cream Maker
Traditional ice cream makers don’t necessarily have to require physical labor. With the Hamilton Beach 68330R, you can have your ice cream made old school without the intensive hand-cranking because the motor will do that for you. Unlike freezer bowl machines, this does not require you to freeze anything prior to use. You just have to have a lot of rock salt and ice on hand. What we love about this ice cream machine is that it makes 4 whole quarts! And if you don’t have any idea on where to start, the recipe book that comes with the machine can help.
- No freezing required
- Comes with a recipe book
- Automated churning
- Requires you to have lots of ice and rock salt at hand
- Can be messy (melted saltwater)
- Very loud
7. Nostalgia ICMP400BLUE Electric Ice Cream Maker
Another budget-friendly option for those who want to do ice cream making a bit like the old days. The Nostalgia ICMP400 lets you use good old-fashioned rock salt and ice to freeze the mixture while a motor does the physical work for you. Of course, the Nostalgia won’t be producing the creamiest of textures, especially compared to the ones churned out by compressor machines.
However, it does produce decent ice cream (better than store bought ones) and you can make up to 4 quarts. Compared to the Hamilton model, the results are comparable but the aesthetics could be better. This machine can be very loud and it doesn’t have an on/off function. But for the price, you’ll be able to afford a lot of guilty pleasures — ice cream!
- Easy to use
- Produces 4 quarts of ice cream
- Very affordable
- Very loud
- No on/off switch
- Not aesthetically pleasing
8. Cuisinart ICE-70 Electronic Ice Cream MakerBest Ice Cream Maker For The Money
What we love about Cuisinart ICE-70 is the fact that it takes the guesswork out of making our favorite frozen treats at more than half the price of the Breville Smart Scoop. You can choose the setting for ice cream, gelato, or sorbet and the speed of the machine will follow. You can also opt to adjust the speed manually if you feel like having more control. And when it’s done churning, the machine will automatically shut off.
One of the cute features of this Cuisinart model is the integrated measuring cup on the lid that you can use for add-ins. You also get a recipe book to help you get started in making ice cream at home. However, you do only get 3 settings which means if you want to do soft serve ice cream or frozen yogurt, you’ll have to manually adjust the speed. Not really a big deal. Also, we noticed that the lid doesn’t fit that well, doesn’t click or anything. But for the price, it just might be worth it to some. Remember, this is a freezer bowl machine so you’ll need to freeze the bowl overnight or longer to get the best results.
- Easy to use and clean
- Automatic settings for ice cream, gelato, and sorbet
- Integrated measuring cup
- No automatic setting for yogurt or soft serve ice cream
- The lid is poorly designed
- Requires planning ahead of time
9. Lello 4080 Musso Lussino Ice Cream MakerBest Ice Cream Maker For Gelato
If you want truly luxurious tasting homemade ice cream, then you better have the cash to burn because the Lello 4080 Musso Lussino is incredibly expensive. Weighing an impressive 40 pounds, this big and heavy machine features stainless steel parts – the housing, bowl, and paddle. Sleek and shiny, it definitely looks expensive. And it’s very easy to use. As for the results, it tastes much like premium ice cream from the store.
This is because the machine finishes churning within 22-25 minutes, faster than any of the ones on our list, decreasing the number of ice crystals that form in the mixture. We like the fact that the machine will automatically shut off If the ice cream starts to become too hard, You definitely don’t want this machine getting damaged. However, the bowl cannot be removed so cleaning it is a bit of a pain. All in all, this is a machine that only people who are serious about making luxurious homemade ice cream would consider. But if you do get it, you won’t regret it.
- Easy to use
- Produces the best ice cream
- Fast results
- Very expensive
- Hard to clean
10. Donvier Manual Ice Cream MakerBest Non Electric Ice Cream Maker
If you want a bit of exercise before you indulge in some creamy frozen delights, then the Donvier Manual Ice Cream Maker should do the trick. This is a freezer bowl ice cream maker which means it has a bowl that you’ll need to freeze for at least several hours (manufacturer claims 7 is good enough). But there’s no motor to do the churning for you. Instead, there’s a handle which you can crank, and crank, and craaaank. For a whole 15 to 20 minutes.
The result? Soft serve ice cream that you can eat right away or store in the freezer if you prefer it to be firmer. Unlike traditional ice cream makers, you don’t need rock salt and ice. But you will need to plan ahead and freeze the bowl. You can make 1 quart of ice cream with this machine which is just like other regular freezer bowl machines. The result is delicious and kids tend to have fun with this machine, seeing the result of their efforts. But it is a bit on the expensive side considering there’s no motor to do the churning. Also, the paddle is a bit fragile and seems like it’ll break at any time.
- Delicious results
- Fun for kids
- Easy to clean
- Slightly expensive
- Fragile plastic paddle
- Only 1 quart of ice cream produced
How to Choose the Best Ice Cream Maker: The Ultimate Buying Guide
Hot or cold, sunny or snowing, we all seem to scream for good ole ice cream. It’s a childhood delight and a source of comfort. Is it any wonder that the market size of this one treat is worth $56.91 billion dollars? That’s a lot of ice cream. While there’s certainly never going to be a shortage of ice cream in your local grocery store, there’s something to be said about making this delicious delight in your home.
Aside from having that freshly made taste, homemade ice cream can have flavors that you’ve only dreamed of but no one else ever made. If you’re in the market for an ice cream maker, we’ve got just the guide to help you. Below, we break down the different types of ice cream makers, the features you want to look at, and how long you have to wait until you can taste your own creation.
How Does an Ice Cream Machine Work Anyway?
All ice cream makers basically operate the same. After pouring in the ice cream mixture into the machine, just lie you do with juicers and mixers (yes, this is still something you have to do on your own), the machine’s paddle will churn the soon-to-be-ice-cream mixture while freezing it. By churning it, air is mixed into the ice cream to give it that creamy smooth texture. This also ensures that ice crystals don’t form which will destroy the ice cream’s flavor.
Are There Different Types of Ice Cream Makers?
Yes, there are. The type you choose will depend on several factors: how much ice cream you need to make, how often you’ll use it, how good are you at planning ahead, and how much space you have (both in your kitchen and in your freezer).
Traditional Ice Cream Maker
This is much like the one you probably saw in your childhood. It has an outer tub filled with rock salt and ice which will freeze the ice cream while it is getting churned. The ice cream mixture will be in the inner tub or container. Then there’s a handle that you will crank, and crank, and craaaaank (at least 30 minutes) until the ice cream is set. If physical labor is not your thing, you can opt to get a traditional ice cream maker that features an electric churner like the Hamilton Beach 68330N Automatic Ice-Cream Maker. Some models will have the tubs rotate while the churning paddle remains stationary. A counter-rotating scraper will ensure that any ice crystals forming on the sides of the container will get re-mixed into the ice cream.
- Usually makes more ice cream (a gallon or more per session)
- No planning required (i.e. nothing needs to be frozen before you start making ice cream)
- Most affordable type of ice cream maker; a decent one can cost less than $50
- Can be messy
- Requires you to have lots of ice and rock salt on hand
- Manual machines require lots of physical labor
Frozen Bowl Ice Cream Maker
These are the ice cream makers that you often see today. This type of machine features a double-walled bowl. Between those walls is a liquid or a gel that will freeze when placed in the freezer. You will need to plan ahead when using this ice cream maker because you’ll need to freeze the bowl (hence the name) for 12 to 24 hours. Once the bowl is frozen, you can add your ingredients, put it inside the machine, plug it in, and let the ice cream maker do the rest of the work. A decent ice cream maker of this type like the Cuisinart ICE-30R can cost between $50 to $100.
- No need to have salt and ice on hand
- Less mess to clean up
- Minimal physical labor required
- Need to plan ahead
- The small amount of ice cream made per session, typically one or two quarts only
Built-in Freezer/ Compressor Ice Cream Machine
These are the top-of-the-line models that have everything you’ll need to make ice cream (except the mixture, of course). No need to freeze the bowl ahead of time. No need to get ice and rock salt. This machine allows you to make ice cream whenever you like. Just pour in the ingredients and turn the machine on.
Aside from the ultimate convenience, this type of ice cream maker like the Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker tends to produce the smoother, creamier ice cream than other types. This is because the machine can maintain a constant temperature, enabling you to create ice cream faster and lessening the number of ice crystals that are formed.
A lot of these machines also have additional features that allow you to create other frozen delights such as gelato, sorbet, and frozen yogurt. However, these machines are almost twice the size of a freezer bowl ice cream maker which takes up a lot of counter space. They also don’t make a lot of ice cream – 1 to 2 quarts only – despite their large size. Of course, convenience comes with a price. With this type of ice cream machine, you can expect to spend at least $200 for a quality model.
- No planning required
- Produces better ice cream
- Only makes 1-2 quarts
- Takes up a lot of counter space
- Very expensive
KitchenAid Ice Cream Bowl
If you already have one of the popular KitchenAid mixers in your kitchen, you don’t need to go all out and buy a separate ice cream maker. KitchenAid actually sells an attachment, the KitchenAid KICA0WH Ice Cream Maker, that works much like a frozen bowl ice cream maker. You’ll just need to freeze the bowl ahead of time and use the mixer to churn the ice cream for you.
- No need for an extra appliance; just buy the attachment
- Adds versatility to your KitchenAid mixer
- Requires planning ahead/freezing the bowl
Ice Cream Ball
Basically, this makes use of the traditional way of making ice cream and adds a twist. This ball is made up of two compartments. One will be filled with rock salt and ice while the other will be your ice cream mixture (mixed already before getting poured into the ball). But instead of cranking the ice cream by hand, you can roll the ball around and play with it while waiting for the ice cream to form.
The ball has a wide opening so you can scoop the ice cream out once you’re done playing. 25 minutes should do it. You can choose between a pint or a quart sized ball. While innovative, these ice cream makers don’t really taste as smooth as the churned kind. And they cost almost as much as a frozen bowl ice cream maker. But it doesn’t require electricity and if you have kids, it could be fun.
- No electricity required
- Doesn’t require freezing ahead of time
- Fun for kids
- Can choose between one pint or one quart
- Not as smooth as regularly churned ice cream
- Can be messy with the ice and rock salt
How Long Does it Take For the Ice Cream to be Done?
It depends on the machine you used but it usually takes 25 to 40 minutes for the ice cream to be ready. However, keep in mind that you’ll need to put the ice cream in the freezer for at least 2 hours after getting churned to get the right consistency. Remember to clean it every time you finish making the ice cream.
How Much Space Do I Need For An Ice Cream Maker?
Ice cream makers come in various shapes and sizes. You can find one that would be the size of a kettle but you’ll also find one as big as a food processor. The Whynter ICM-15LS Ice Cream Maker may not be as large as some built-in freezer machines but it still takes up quite a bit of space and is heavy to boot. While counter space is one consideration, you’ll also need to consider freezer space. If you’re going to buy a freezer bowl machine, you’ll need to make sure that the bowl will fit inside your freezer.
What do I Need to Look at When Choosing an Ice Cream Maker?
As we’ve already mentioned, you’ll need to consider several factors. One, how often will you be making the ice cream? If you plan on making ice cream frequently, you may want to get a compressor ice cream maker such as the Lello 4080 Musso Lussino Ice Cream Maker as this allows you to make the delicious dessert on a whim. If you don’t mind stocking up on rock salt and ice, then you can choose the less expensive traditional machine instead like the Nostalgia ICMP400BLUE Electric Ice Cream Maker.
Two, how much ice cream do you want to make per session? Traditional ice cream makers can make a gallon or more of ice cream per session. Compressor ice cream makers can also make batches of ice cream continuously. Other types such as the freezer bowl machines like the KitchenAid KICA0WH Ice Cream Maker can only make a 1 to 2 quarts per session.
Three, how much space do you have in your kitchen and freezer? Compressor machines take up a lot of counter space and so do some ice cream machines of various types. But you can also find some that are as small as a tea kettle. If you already have a KitchenAid mixer on your countertop, then you might be interested in just getting the freezer bowl attachment. However, you also need to keep in mind how much space your freezer has to accommodate the bowl or container from your machine. Remember, you’ll need to freeze the ice cream after it’s done churning for the best results.
How Much Should I Spend?
It depends on your budget and your ice cream making needs. You can get a decent traditional ice cream maker or freezer bowl machine for $50. Compressor ice cream makers will cost you at least $200. The rule of thumb is this: the more convenience the machine provides, the higher the price tag.