Going out for ice cream is the ultimate American family favorite, but have you ever stopped to think how much money you’re annually spending on ice cream.
Believe it or not, you’re spending a couple of hundred dollars a year on something that you can make at home for a fraction of the price. More and more people are opting out from buying ice cream and are making ice cream at home.
Continue reading to figure out which in-home ice cream maker is the one for you.
*Notice: On mobile devices, scroll right to see entire table
Best Home Ice Cream Maker
|Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker|
|Hamilton Beach Ice Cream Maker|
|Rival Ice Cream Maker|
|Kitchenaid Ice Cream Maker|
Best Electric Ice Cream Maker
|White Mountain Ice Cream Maker|
|Nostalgia Ice Cream Maker|
|Best Hand-Crank Ice Cream Maker|
|Donvier Ice Cream Maker|
An ice cream maker isn’t something you buy on a whim. In fact, there’s a lot of research required before you make the final decision as to which ice cream maker you’ll buy.
These machines typically cost a significant amount of money, so do your homework before you dish out your money.
Hopefully, the reviews below will be of some use in helping you narrow down which ice cream maker you want.
An ice cream maker with a freezable bowl typically doesn’t require ice and salt since the chilled bowl provides the cold temperature necessary for the ice cream mixture to harden.
An ice cream maker with a built-in freezer is one that requires salt and ice to finalize the ice cream making process.
It’s up to you to decide if you want an ice cream machine that needs extra materials or one that’s good to use as is.
You need to check out the size of your ice cream maker before you go ahead and buy it. First, you should make sure you have the space to accommodate your ice cream, maker. Some people place big ice cream machines in their garage, but you can position the machine anywhere in your home.
On top of knowing the physical size of the ice cream maker, you should inquire as to how much ice cream the machine makes in one go. If you’re using the machine for personal purposes, you won’t require an ice cream maker that produces up to five quarts.
For those who prefer to make their own ice cream for big family parties, then an ice cream maker that makes about six quarts of ice cream would be preferable.
For those who love to expand their taste buds, you should consider buying a machine that doesn’t just produce ice cream. There are machines out there that can produce sorbet, frozen yogurt, or even gelato. For those who are lactose intolerant, this may be the ideal option for you.
How Fast Do You Expect Ice Cream?
If you are an impatient person, then you should take that into account when you’re buying an ice cream maker. There are ice cream makers that take only 20 minutes to produce fully churned ice cream while others take 30-60 minutes.
If you’re using a freezer-assisted ice cream maker, expect it to take a long time because you have to wait for the container to freeze every time you make a batch of ice cream. Some people shorten this waiting time by putting several containers in the freezer, so you have constantly frozen buckets.
The insulation is the make it or break it aspect of the ice cream maker. When you’re buying an ice cream maker, you should look whether or not the machine has a hermetic seal as well as a double insulated bowl.
A properly insulated ice cream maker will produce ice cream with a creamy and smooth consistency throughout. Also, a double insulated bowl removes the need to add ice to the bucket continuously. This saves you time and labor.
You don’t want to buy a machine that is hard to clean up. When you buy an ice cream maker with a large sprout, you’ll notice how the ingredients you use end up inside the mixer rather than all over your counter.
The easier the machine is to take apart, the easier your clean-up will be. Making something as delicious as ice cream shouldn’t be a hassle to clean up.
Below we will be answering the question of what is the best ice cream maker?
Homemade ice cream always ranks superior to store-bought ice cream, but not all ice cream makers produce high-quality results. For some models, you need to get the hang of using the machine before you expertly make ice cream.
A majority of the ice cream makers reviewed below can mostly be used by individuals of all levels, but keep in mind that if your first batch doesn’t come out great, you should try again. It takes a lot of practice to get the hang of an ice cream maker.
When you take a look around your kitchen, make note if you see any Cuisinart products. If a majority of your kitchen is full of Cuisinart appliances, then you should buy Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker.
Out of all the ice cream makers available on the market, Cuisinart is the only one meant for in-home use that can pass as a proffesional ice cream maker.
- Double insulated freezer bowl
- Heavy-duty motor
- Large ingredient spout
- Brushed metal housing
- Limited three-year warranty
Who Is Cuisinart?
Cuisinart has a long history involving culinary experts to help develop their products. This company is also the one with the most professional sponsors, dating all the way back to Julia Child.
Cuisinart first made a name for itself when it manufactured a unique food processor around the early 1970’s that was being used by culinary professionals everywhere. Several decades later, Cuisinart is internationally known for producing high-grade kitchen supplies at prices people can afford.
Cuisinart manufactures a wide array of kitchen supplies that range over 20 sections of your kitchen. From can openers to espresso machines to ice cream makers, Cuisinart has got you covered.
Who Can Benefit?
Those who want an automatic ice cream maker that comes with freezer-assisted features will find great use out of Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. Manual ice cream makers function differently from this model because this one doesn’t come with a hand crank.
You can forget about manually churning ice cream when Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker does it for you. Typically, people make more use out of their ice cream maker when its automatic rather than manual.
What’s The Design?
So what are the design features:
Composed Of Four Parts
Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker is similar to many other freezer bowl models since it consists of four parts. The ice cream maker comes with a base, a dasher, a freezer bowl, and a cover. None of these parts are dishwasher safe, so keep that in mind while you are cleaning up.
If this machine were to have come with a compressor, it would cost a lot more but wouldn’t require the pre-freezing process. The freezing bowl needs to be put in the freezer approximately 24 hours before you start making ice cream.
Since Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker comes with a large spout, you can easily add fresh ingredients to the ice cream mixture while it’s churning. This won’t hinder the churning process in any way. In some ice cream maker models, you can’t lift the lid once the machine has started churning the ice cream mixture.
Even though the parts aren’t dishwasher safe, you can easily clean it up. The entire cleaning process involves a wet paper towel and a little bit of dish soap. All you have to do is scrub away at the parts that got dirty, and Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker is good to go.
Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker can hold up to two quarts of ice cream mixture. For a fairly large group, this won’t be enough, so keep this in mind when you’re making ice cream for a party or BBQ.
It’s important to note that the ice cream mixture will expand when it becomes frozen, so don’t fill up the freezer bowl all the way to the top. Leave a couple of inches to account of the expanding ice cream mixture.
If you’re looking for a practical ice cream maker that also has automatic features, Hamilton Beach Ice Cream Maker will perform up to standards. Unlike the previously reviewed ice cream maker, you can make continuous batches with Hamilton Beach Ice Cream Maker.
This ice cream maker doesn’t follow your standard freezer-assisted model because you need to use ice and salt to make ice cream. The ice cream maker detailed above doesn’t require ice and salt because it comes with a freezer bowl.
Out of all the ice cream makers, Hamilton Beach Ice Cream Maker is the most cost efficient and is better suited for people who just started making homemade ice cream.
Keep in mind that the machine is primarily made of plastic parts. Due to its plastic inner parts, it’s not advisable to overuse Hamilton Beach Ice Cream Maker. If you were to over exhaust the machine, it would break down within a matter of weeks.
- Four Quarts
- Takes 20 to 40 minutes
- Fully automatic
- Hand wash
- Easy lock lid
- Comes with one-year limited warranty
- Measurement: 15.3 inches x 12.5 inches x 11.1 inches
Who Is Hamilton Beach?
Similar to Cuisinart products, you’ll notice that you have a couple of Hamilton Beach products already located in your kitchen. If you feel comfortable using Hamilton Beach products, then its ice cream maker should suit you well.
Around the early 1900’s, Hamilton Beach emerged as a solution for affordable motor operated in-home appliances that are readily available. After several company mergers, Hamilton Beach became internationally known as the prime manufacturer of in-home appliances.
The company holds its base in Virginia and sells approximately 33 million products a year. You can tell a lot of households depend on Hamilton Beach products. You can make the smart decision and incorporate Hamilton Beach Ice Cream Maker to your kitchen as well.
Who Can Benefit?
In regards to lifestyle, Hamilton Beach Ice Cream Maker will greatly improve your diet since you won’t be buying store brand ice cream anymore. You can say goodbye to all those unhealthy sugars and artificial ingredients when you make your own ice cream at home.
How To Use?
Hamilton Beach Ice Cream Maker comes in several parts, each specific to a certain portion of the ice cream making process.
When the machine is already assembled, and you have the necessary ice and salt, you may begin using Hamilton Beach Ice, Cream Maker.
All you have to do initially is pack the inner plastic bowl with the ice cream mixture and place it inside the aluminum bucket. Then you have to tightly secure the easy lock lid, which comes in handy when the ice cream is churning. This prevents any ice cream from spilling and causing a mess.
After everything is locked and loaded, you need to turn on the machine. Once Hamilton Beach Ice Cream Maker is on, you should start packing the outer aluminum casing in layers of ice and rock salt.
The recommended layers are two inches of ice and salt, and you should repeat this until the ice has reached the top of the lid. It’s essential the machine is running at this point, so your ice cream mixture can start chilling right away.
For those who want a visually appealing ice cream maker, Rival Ice Cream Maker is as visually appealing as they get. Rival designs its ice cream makers with children in mind since all of them are colorful and in the shape of ice cream cones.
- Holds up to Four Quarts
- Aluminum Mixing Canister
- Open design
- Dimensions: 8.60 inches x 12.90 inches x 12.50 inches
- Can make ice cream, fruity sorbet, or frozen yogurt
- Requires salt and ice
Who Can Benefit?
If you plan on making homemade ice cream a family fun activity, then Rival Ice Cream Maker is the proper ice cream maker. Your children will gladly help you make ice cream since the ice cream maker is colorful and in the shape of an ice cream cone.
Ice cream makers that require both ice and salt are great introductory models for making homemade ice cream. In fact, ice cream was originally made using ice and salt. The only difference lies in the fact that traditional models require manual labor while Rival Ice Cream Maker runs automatically.
How To Use?
After you prepare and refrigerate the ice cream recipe you chose, pour the cold ice cream mixture into the cooled canister. It’s recommended to fill the canister 3/4 of the way full since the mixture will expand once exposed to the churning process.
Once the ice cream mixture is in place, you should correctly position the dasher to insert it into the canister. Then place the lid on the canister and put it in the bucket. It’s important to make sure that the canister is placed in the designated area of the bucket.
Next, you have to place the motor driver over the canister cover so that the dasher can automatically move to churn the ice cream. This is when you plug in Rival Ice Cream Maker.
Once Rival Ice Cream Maker is up and running, you should add about two inches of ice to the bottom of the bucket and 1/4 a cup of rock salt over the ice. Without the salt, the ice cream making process won’t be successful.
You have to continuously layer the rock salt and ice until you reach the top of the canister. After 20 to 40 minutes, the machine will stop churning. Once Rival Ice Cream Maker stops churning, you know that the ice cream is finished.
Kitchenaid Ice Cream Maker
When we hear “Kitchenaid”, the first thing that comes to mind is the one and only stand mixer. That kitchen appliance is universally known, just about everyone owns one. If you own a stand mixer, or if you want to jump on the bandwagon and invest in one, you’ve got to try out the Kitchenaid ice cream attachment. Composed of the highest quality parts, this handy attachment will last for a lifetime.
It makes the most creamy and delicious homemade ice cream in under 30 minutes. You’ve got us sold!
- Holds up to Two Quarts
- Anodized Aluminum Inner Canister – No Flaking
- Double Walls Contain Specially Formulated Liquid for Perfect Freezing Every Time
- Dimensions: 10.9 x 10.3 x 10.3 inches
- Best Homemade Ice Cream, Soft Serve, Sorbet, or Frozen Yogurt
- 1-Year Full Replacement Warranty
Who Can Benefit?
Let’s get real: None of us really know the true extent of how many additives, preservatives, and/or added sugar store-bought ice cream contains. It’s a scary thought, as the majority of the ingredients listed on an ice cream carton are foreign to us.
But, what if I told you that ice cream can be healthy?
With a homemade ice cream maker, you can create endless frozen desserts, all while being in complete control of what ingredients go into those desserts. Whether you’re a homemade chocolate ice cream fan, or a strawberry sorbet person, the recipes are endless – especially with the Kitchenaid Ice Cream Maker Attachment.
How To Use?
No need to hand crank the ice cream machine with this Kitchenaid attachment! Once your ice cream mix has been prepared, simply add it to the frozen bucket, along with crushed ice and salt, and turn this electric ice cream maker on. Wait for 30 to 45 minutes (depending on the recipe you are making), and BAM! You’ll have freshly prepared soft serve ice cream, frozen yogurt, or sorbet. If you’re the type of person who favors firm ice cream over soft serve, you will need to place the ice cream back into the freezer for a few hours before serving. You can store your homemade ice cream in the freezer for up to two weeks.
The best electric ice makers in our opinions:
White Mountain Ice Cream Maker
For those who love traditional looking ice cream makers but don’t prefer the manual aspect, White Mountain has come up with a solution. White Mountain has been manufacturing ice cream makers for over 150 years, so they’ve had a long time to perfect their models.
White Mountain initially made one of the best quality manual ice cream makers, but as technology progressed the company had to accommodate. That’s why White Mountain converted one of their bestselling manual ice cream makers to an electric model.
Ultimately, White Mountain Ice Cream Maker is a commercial grade product that is suitable for in-home use.
- Holds up to Six Quarts
- Triple-action dasher system
- Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Lid & Canister
- Comes with galvanized hoops
- Universal Electric Motor: 12,000 RPM
- Made with New England Pine
Who Is White Mountain?
White Mountain has a long history in regards to ice cream makers since they were the first to manufacture an ice cream maker that can be used at home. Around the 1800’s, White Mountain bought the patents for the manual ice cream maker to produce a revolutionary machine.
The brand has not changed the makeup of its ice cream maker since they still use New England Pine as the main material for the body of the bucket. The only change White Mountain Ice Cream Maker went through was the incorporation of an electric motor.
What’s The Design?
White Mountain’s secret behind such a top-grade ice cream maker is its patented systems. Without the unique patents, White Mountain would be producing the same ice cream maker as the ones reviewed above.
Triple-Action Dasher System
White Mountain patented their unique dasher system, so they can be the only manufacturers with an ice cream maker that produces high-quality results. The dasher system consists of durable cast iron that is electroplated for even more added durability.
A problem most people run into with their dasher systems is that it loses its shape over time, which decreases its effectiveness. White Mountain fixed this issue as well as making the blades on the dasher system adjustable on their own.
These beech wood blades provide uniform gathering and folding of the ice cream mixture that’s stuck on the sides of the canister.
Nostalgia Nostalgic Ice Cream Maker
Who else remembers the nostalgic ice cream maker from their childhood?
Well, now you can purchase an old-fashioned ice cream maker that features modern technology – making it easy and fun to use. Re-live those childhood memories with your own kids, or family and friends! This machine is incredibly simple to use, and although it looks like a blast from the past, it requires no hand churning efforts.
The Nostalgia ice cream maker has an electric churn mechanism that creates delicious frozen desserts in less than 30 minutes. Plus, this ice cream maker has nothing but glowing 5-star reviews from its users. You can’t go wrong!
- Holds up to 1 Gallon
- Dasher system is very powerful and effective
- Includes bucket, canister, electric motor, lip cap, dasher, and easy to use user manual
- Product Dimensions: 15 x 13 x 16 inches
- One Year Full Warranty
Who Is Nostalgia Electrics?
Nostalgia Electrics is a company known for producing and manufacturing several kitchen appliances with modern technology, that feature a retro aesthetic.
The Nostalgia Ice Cream Maker is truly revolutionary. Anyone who’s ever used a traditional hand-crank ice cream machine will tell you that this machine looks just like those traditional dessert makers. However, you don’t need to be strong or built with an incredible level of stamina to operate and produce creamy ice cream when you’re using this machine.
Nostalgia pulled all the bells and whistles with this one. Featuring rich red cedar wood staves, along with brass-colored hoops. Underneath the beautiful red planks, you’ll find a sturdy and durable plastic bucket that can withstand the corrosive effects of course salt and ice. The antique label reads “Ice Cream Maker”, and it’s guaranteed to bring back those childhood ice cream churning memories.
Operation of the Nostalgia Ice Cream Maker
Operating the Nostalgia Ice Cream Maker is incredibly simple, even your kids could do it!
Simply place the aluminum mixing canister in the machine, and add your chilled ice cream mixture. Fill the gap between the canister and the bucket with course salt and ice. Then, turn it on. It’s that simple! Just be sure to continuously stir the ice and salt every 10 minutes or so, for the most even freezing.
Once the ice cream is done, this machine will turn itself off. You can eat the soft serve ice cream right away, or place it in the freezer for a few hours if you prefer a firmer texture. You can store the ice cream for up to 2 weeks in the freezer.
If you prefer fruit sorbets or gelato, you can make those in this machine as well.
Best hand cranked ice cream makers in our options:
Donvier Ice Cream Maker
For those who don’t mind putting some physical effort towards making ice cream will find that Donvier Ice Cream Maker is the ideal machine. Out of all the ice cream makers reviewed above, this ice cream maker is the only one that requires manual functions.
When an ice cream maker is classified as manual, it usually means that you need to churn the ice cream mixture using the designated hand crank. All the previous ice cream makers had motors that churned the ice cream mixture for you. Donvier Ice Cream Maker requires some effort, but you’d be surprised how little effort is required.
- Holds up to One Quart
- Can make sorbet, ice cream, frozen yogurt, & frozen drink
- No salt or ice needed
- Comes with freezer bowl
- Recipes Included
- Height: 9-1/2-inches
- Diameter: 8 inches
- Comes in three different colors
Who Is Donvier?
While not a lot of information exists about Donvier itself, there are significant people sponsoring the manufacturer that qualify it as a top-quality producer of ice cream supplies.
In fact, Martha Stewart is shown using Donvier Ice Cream Maker while making homemade ice cream. She highly recommends using this machine especially if you’re only making ice cream for yourself.
Ease Of Use
A primary reason people prefer Donvier Ice Cream Maker even though it runs manually is that it’s incredibly easy to assemble and effortless to use. The lack of ice and salt makes the entire ice cream making process less messy and much cheaper. You can thank the Aluminum freezer bowl that comes with Donvier Ice Cream Maker.
The key is placing the aluminum bowl in the freezer for around 24 hours for it to chill to the proper temperature. Since Donvier Ice Cream Maker is extremely small when you compare it to the other ice cream maker models, you can place it in the freezer without it being a hassle.
Once everything is properly chilled, all you have to do is place all the parts in their designated locations, and you can start making your ice cream.
Expect to turn the handle two to three times every five minutes to create a smooth and creamy texture. For 20 minutes, the manual labor doesn’t require much labor.
Is it worth buying an ice cream maker?
If you’re an ice cream lover, then an ice cream maker is definitely worth the investment! Not only will it save you money in the long run, but you’ll also be able to create unique and delicious flavor combinations that you won’t find at your local ice cream shop. Plus, making batches of ice cream is a fun activity that the whole family can enjoy.
What are the different types of ice cream makers?
There are four main types of ice cream makers: manual, electric, soft serve, and compressor ice cream makers. Manual ice cream makers require you to churn the mixture by hand, while electric models come with a built-in motor. Powerful compressors are the most expensive option, but they produce the creamiest results. Soft serve ice cream makers are perfect for those who want to enjoy a quick and easy treat.
Is there an ice cream maker that doesn’t require you to freeze the bowl beforehand?
Yes, there are a few ice cream makers on the market that don’t require you to freeze the bowl ahead of time. These models usually have a built-in freezer, so all you need to do is add the ingredients and turn it on. Keep in mind, however, that these ice cream makers are usually more expensive than traditional models.
What is the best ice cream maker for a beginner?
If you’re new to making ice cream at home, we recommend getting an electric ice cream maker. These models are easy to use and don’t require any special skills or knowledge. Plus, they come with helpful features like timers and automatic shut-off, so you’ll never have to worry about overchurning your ice cream.
What is the best ice cream maker for a professional?
If you’re an experienced ice cream maker, you might want to consider investing in a compressor-style ice cream maker. These models produce restaurant-quality results and come with all the bells and whistles you need to create complex flavor combinations. Just keep in mind that they’re also the most expensive option on the market.
Is there a difference between an ice cream maker and a gelato maker?
Yes, there is a difference between ice cream makers and gelato makers. Ice cream makers are designed to churn the mixture until it’s thick and creamy, while gelato makers work by gently stirring the mixture to keep it smooth and dense. Gelato also has a higher milk fat content than ice cream, so it’s richer and creamier.
What is the difference between ice cream and gelato?
Ice cream is a frozen dessert made with milk, cream, sugar, and flavors. Gelato is a frozen dessert made with those same ingredients, but it has a higher milk fat content. This makes gelato richer and creamier.
How long does it take to make ice cream in an ice cream maker?
It usually takes about 20-30 minutes to make ice cream in an ice cream maker. The exact time will depend on the recipe you’re using and the type of ice cream maker you have.
Out of all the ice cream makers reviewed above, Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker will give you the more consistent results without breaking down on you. Hamilton Beach is the cheapest option, but the one that will most likely be the first to break.
You need to choose an ice cream maker based on how often you expect to use the machine. If this is just a hobby for you, go for the cheapest option. If you want to get fancy with it, you should expand your options to the other one’s reviewed above.