If you prefer making your own deserts to buying them, having an ice cream maker can be a great decision. Making your own ice cream can be fun, simple, and cheaper in the long run. If you want to find the best ice cream maker for your home, there are some questions that you need to answer, since there are many of them out there. Some ice cream makers are more capable than others. This is why my top pick is the Cuisinart ICE-30R Pure Indulgence. It makes ice cream-making easy and convenient, and you can use it to create your favorite desserts in very little time.
However, there will always be some ice cream makers that are more suitable for other people. This is why I want to show you my favorite machines, along with their most noteworthy features, so you can find the perfect machine for your kitchen.
If you need the simplest way of mixing your favorite ingredients into a delicious dessert, the Cuisinart ICE-30R Pure Indulgence might be your best option. It features multiple options, requires very little preparation, and delivers a variety of desserts in around 20 minutes.
Top 5 Ice Cream Makers Comparison Chart
|Cuisinart ICE-30R Pure Indulgence||2 quarts||Motored freezer bowl||Check Price|
|Whynter ICM-200LS||2.1 quarts||Motored compressor freezer||Check Price|
|Hamilton Beach 68330N||4 quarts||Motored ice and salt||Check Price|
|Nostalgia ICMP400WD||4 quarts||Motored ice and salt||Check Price|
|Donvier 837450||1 quart||Manual freezer bowl||Check Price|
1. The Best Overall Ice Cream Maker
Cuisinart ICE-30R Pure Indulgence
The main reason why I believe that this is the best ice cream maker on the market is because it offers pretty much the right amount of everything. It eliminates the need for long preparation and manual work, has a variety of uses, and does everything you need in one flip of the switch.
You can make 2 quarts of ice cream, sorbet, gelato, or frozen yogurt easily. All you have to do is let the freezer bowl cool in the freezer overnight, then add the ingredients, and turn the machine on. Depending on the type of dessert you’re making, you’ll give it more or less time, but ice cream doesn’t take long to prepare.
Thanks to the freezer bowl, there’s no need to prepare any kind of chilling. The device will both mix the ingredients and cool them for you, so you can enjoy your ice cream in around 25 minutes. Other frozen desserts take even less time to prepare.
A potential downside of this ice cream maker could be the durability of the bowl. Even though it doesn’t happen often, long periods of heavy use can shorten its lifespan. In all fairness, this is a fairly affordable solution, so this is expected, and you do can get your money’s worth out of it. Moreover, replacement bowls are available at a fraction of the cost.
Another thing that users might find bothersome is the sound. It’s not extremely loud, but does make enough noise to annoy some people.
Pros and Cons
- Freezer bowl
- Metal housing
- Easy to use
- Fast-working motor
- Variety of recipes
- The bowl could be more durable
2. Best Ice Cream Maker with Built-in Freezer
If you’re really passionate about homemade ice cream, and won’t settle for less than a premium device, the Whynter ICM-200LS might be a good choice. You will love the built-in freezer (compressor type, so environmentally friendly) and how you won’t have to stick the freezer bowl in your icebox overnight.
The next thing about this ice cream maker that makes it worth the money is the build quality. The stainless steel housing will ensure that this device will serve you for a long time to come. The components are sturdy and everything fits together perfectly, so there’s no need to worry about the machine’s durability.
Another cool thing is that this ice cream maker takes care of itself. The motor turns itself off as soon as the mixture starts freezing. The freezer bowl will hold the dessert at the right temperature ensure that it comes out the way you want it.
With cooling capacity of -0.4 to -31 degrees F, you can rest assured that this machine can make great ice cream. It also features an LCD display and a timer.
All of this doesn’t mean that the machine is perfect. It is not very fast. Some users report that it takes around 45 minutes to make a 2.1-quart batch of ice cream. In general, ice cream makers with built-in freezer will take longer, but don’t forget to consider that you don’t have to chill the bowl overnight.
Pros and Cons
- Premium build
- Built-in compressor freezer
- Motor protection circuitry
3. Best Budget Ice Cream Maker
Hamilton Beach 68330N
Since one of the main advantages of making ice cream at home is cost efficiency, going with a very affordable option that can do a great job at making frozen desserts can be a good idea. This device shows that this is entirely possible.
The capacity of this ice cream maker is 4 quarts, which is perfect for making ice cream for many people. Of course, at this price you can’t expect a built-in freezer or freezer bowl.
Once you’ve prepared the chilling with ice and salt, all you need to do is add your favorite ingredients and let the maker do the rest. Simply attach the motor lid to the top of the bowl and let it stir the mixture. Depending on the type of dessert you’re making, it usually takes around 20-40 for it to be ready.
One of the main downsides of this device is the sound. It can get pretty loud, which can be annoying considering the amount of time it takes to make ice cream. The lifespan is also questionable, but that’s not surprising when you take the price into account.
Pros and Cons
- Large capacity
- Recipes included in the manual
- Tends to get too loud
- Not the best build quality
4. Best Ice Cream Maker Design
This ice cream maker also adds a unique detail to your kitchen. Its wooden exterior will complement many kitchen styles, and it comes at a surprisingly low price.
The outside of the bowl is made of real wood, which is a nice and stylish touch. The inside, as well as some of the parts of this device are plastic. It might not be the most durable material, but it’s easy to clean and lasts forever (as long as you don’t break it).
As you can presume, you’ll need to prepare the chilling yourself by using ice and salt. Nevertheless, once you do this, the machine does more than a decent job at letting you create a variety of desserts in around half an hour.
The obvious concern with this device is the durability. Plastic parts are prone to breaking, so using this ice cream maker with care is recommended. Also, the ice cream often sticks to the plastic parts such that the device loses power as soon as the ice cream starts hardening.
Pros and Cons
- Attractive appearance
- Easy to maintain
- Not very powerful motor
- Lots of plastic parts
Best Manual Ice Cream Maker
If you enjoy the process of making ice cream and like churning it yourself, don’t worry, I have something for you as well. This ice cream maker from Donvier will let you have fun with making ice cream.
It features an aluminum freezer bowl that you’ll have to freeze overnight. It’s the only thing you need to do before you add the ingredients.
After freezing the bowl for at least 7 hours, it shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes before you have your ice cream. That’s partly because it’s small.
The main drawback of this ice cream maker is its capacity. It doesn’t make more than 1 quart of ice cream. That’s the price you pay for getting a manual machine.
It’d be too hard to mix the ingredients by hand in a large machine. The upside is that manual ice cream makers tend to last much longer, as the motors in ice cream makers are notorious for premature failure.
Pros and Cons
- Aluminum freezer bowl
- Doesn’t require a lot of time
- Usually lasts longer than motored ice cream makers
- Small capacity
- Plastic blades
Ice Cream Maker Buyer’s Guide
Aside from the best options above, there are a couple of other things that you need to do before you find the perfect ice cream maker. The most important one is learning about them, so that you can make an informed decision. To help you with this, let’s go over the most common types of these machines.
Ice and Salt Ice Cream Makers
You had the chance to see some of the examples of this type among my top picks, the two budget options. These ice cream makers feature a bowl that you’ll have to chill with ice and rock salt.
If you go for the manual version, you’ll have to do all the job yourself. Even though this isn’t that hard, it can be fairly inconvenient. This is why if you want a manual machine you should get one that comes with a freezing bowl.
For most people, it would be a better idea to go with the electric version of the ice and salt ice cream makers. Once you get the chilling ready, just put the ingredients into a bowl, and let the machine do the remaining work. On the other hand, you won’t have to worry about the motor failing if you get a manual machine.
Creating the chilling isn’t a hard job, as all you have to do is make sure to put the right amount of rock salt and ice to ensure that your ice cream mix can be easily churned. But if this seems like something that you wouldn’t want to do, you might want to skip this type of ice cream makers and go with one of the other two types.
Freezing Bowl Ice Cream Makers
Our best choice falls under the category of freezing bowl ice cream makers. This type is a lot more convenient, but also a bit more expensive than the ice and salt one. However, I believe that having a freezing bowl is worth the dough.
Instead of having to create a mixture of rock salt and ice, all you have to do is put the bowl in the freezer overnight. The actual time will vary from one device to another.
When the bowl is cold enough, you just put it in the machine and mix in the ingredients. And then turn on the machine, or start churning if you go for the manual one. As the ice cream is mixing, the bowl will freeze it and you’ll get the desired texture.
However, an advantage that ice and salt ice cream makers have over this type is greater control of the final product. You get to choose the right amount of your cooling agent, and therefore can get more accurate results. With this type, the bowl does all the freezing, so the ice cream may sometimes be softer of harder than you’d like it to be.
Compressor Ice Cream Maker
Even though these ice cream makers often come at a high price, it’s the ultimate home ice cream maker. Many people who decide to go with these ice cream makers end up loving them, and there are many reasons for that.
First of all, there’s no need for any kind of preparation since the machine has a compressor freezer built-in. All you need to do is put the ingredients inside it, and it will both mix and freeze them. This ensures minimal effort for delicious desserts.
Also, many of them come with a lot of useful features, since they’re usually a premium option. Like my favorite Whynter ICM-200LS, they come with a display, timer, temperature control, and many other features that make the process of making ice cream easy and fast.
Of course, most of them deliver perfect ice cream. If you’re willing to spend a bit more on an ice cream maker, get one with a built-in freezer.
What to Look For In the Ice Cream Maker?
Now that you know the types of these handy machines, it’s time to dig a bit deeper into the important factors that you need to take into account before choosing the right one. Since there are many of them out there, it’s easy to get confused. To help you avoid this, here are the most important things to consider.
Depending on the main use of your ice cream maker, you’ll want to find the right capacity. If you’re going to be making ice cream for your family or friends, you should probably look for a bigger one.
Most motored ice cream makers come in a capacity of 2 quarts and higher. Depending on the type you go with, the size you’ll need will vary. If you need to wait for the bowl to freeze, and you have to make a large batch, a small ice cream maker might not be ideal for you.
As you can see here, the preparation time differs with machines. This is another thing that’s related to your own needs, so think about how often you’ll need to make ice cream.
Of course, compressor ice cream makers are superior in terms of speed if you take into account that you don’t have to prepare the chilling. But the other types have different preparation times too, so take that into consideration.
Since you’ll likely be using your ice cream maker for a while, you need to make sure that your device of choice will be able to handle the work. This means ensuring that it’s durable enough to serve you for as long as you need it.
As with many products, you get what you pay for. If you go with the cheaper solution, the build quality probably won’t be the highest. This mostly includes ice cream makers with a lot of plastic parts.
If you decide to go with the plastic one, make sure that it’s BPA-free, like the ones I showed you here. Or, you can steer clear of plastic and go with ice cream makers with metal parts. There are many of them out there that are fairly affordable and have a lot to offer, so there’s a high chance that they’ll serve you for as long as you want them to.
It’s common for pretty much all kitchen appliances to make some noise. However, you wouldn’t want your ice cream maker to annoy you with undue loud noises. If you’re someone that is easily bothered by this, you’ll definitely want to take this factor into account before buying.
If you’re shopping online, taking a look at other users’ reviews. A number of them will likely discuss the noise in their reviews. If you see many negative comments in this regard, it might be a good idea to look for another machine, unless you don’t mind the noise at all.
Ice Cream Quality
Even though the taste of the ice cream will mostly depend on the flavors and other ingredients you put inside, a good ice cream maker can make a world of difference between a good and bad dessert. This depends on a couple of factors.
The main one is the motor power. If the motor is too weak, you’ll likely notice lumps in your ice cream and you won’t get a nice texture. This can ruin the ingredients and the overall taste of your treat.
Another thing that contributes to the texture is the speed. Higher speed will prevent ice crystals from forming and give the ice cream a creamier texture. You should also take a look at the material of the blades, as the metal ones are obviously a more reliable choice.
Finding the best ice cream maker for your budget is important if you don’t want to overpay for a bunch of features that you don’t need. It’s also important that you don’t go with the cheapest option you see, as it may not be the best choice and you might end up losing money on a dud.
If you take a close look at the features, there’s a very high chance that you’ll be able to find the one that will fit your budget. Think about the features that you think you’ll need, and even spend a bit more than you initially wanted, as it can pay off in the long run.
I hope you find this guide helpful and that you now know everything you need to find the right ice cream maker. Make sure to consider all of the factors mentioned above in order to make an informed decision.
Once you do this, you can try out many different recipes of homemade ice cream. There’s no doubt that you’ll find at least a couple of them that you’ll love.
And if you believe that your skills can use some improvement, there are also many tips for making homemade ice cream that you can check out. Even if you’ve never done it before, you’ll get a good grasp of how it works easily.
And if anything goes wrong with your machine, don’t panic. There are many issues with ice cream makers that you can fix yourself.
With all of this being said, there’s no doubt that the best ice cream maker can be a great addition to your home. You can make all the delicious frozen desserts you want and have fun doing it.