It’s summertime, and one of many ways to enjoy the sunshine is with a frozen treat in your hand. While it seems like a great idea to stock up on sorbet, yogurt and ice cream from your favorite grocery store, it’s more rewarding to make yours at home from scratch.
But to do this, you need the best ice cream maker, not just some junk hand-crank bucket used back in the days. The most popular misconception about these machines is that they’re too pricey.
Top brands such as Hamilton Beach, Dash, and Cuisinart have premium home ice cream makers collections at affordable prices.
Unfortunately, there are hundreds of options out there, making it challenging to pin down the right model. Luckily, according to America’s Test Kitchen, we’ve whipped up the top 5 best ice cream makers. Also, there’s a detailed buying guide to ensure you make an informed decision.
What Is Ice Cream Maker
An ice cream making machine utilizes either an electric motor or hand-cranking method to produce a certain amount of ice cream for consumption. The machine either pre-cools the resulting preparation or uses another machine for freezing the mixture. More importantly, the machine should freeze and churn the mixture simultaneously to avoid ice crystals and ensure an aerated mixture.
Why You Need A Ice Cream Maker
The short answer is no. You don’t need an ice cream machine to whip up ice cream. There are several ways to make ice cream at home, like the granita method or the no-churn ice cream recipe. Also, you can use dry ice to make your ice cream for people looking to be more creative.
However, there is a much faster and easier way to make your ice cream with excellent results. These machines are designed to speed up the freezing process and include some churning action to guarantee a smoother resulting process.
Other alternatives won’t deliver a much smoother result, like an ice cream maker. Also, with this machine, you can have more options to explore and not just make no-churn recipes. Even better, you can create your ice cream in any rich flavor and work with low-fat ice creams and fruity sorbets without turning too icy like other methods.
Reviews of The 5 Best Ice Cream Maker, according to America’s Test Kitchen
Top 1 – Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker
If you want to create high-quality ice cream from the comfort of your home, the Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker can be your best bet. This model comes with a prechill function that prechills the ice cream for about 30 minutes in advance to get rid of the hassle of waiting.
This best ice cream maker from Breville features variable speeds for the blade to ensure it’s suitable for making different varieties of ice cream, including sorbets. This unit comes with a lot of settings and durable construction that guarantees lifetime performance.
The Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker would be a great investment for homeowners with enough space and not under budget. This beast has enough room up to 1.5 Qt and determines the hardness of the mixture in relation to its 12 selections – ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt, sorbet.
This machine has a mix-in feature to notify users when to add their favorite nuts and swirls. Also, this model features a Keep Cool setting to hold your ice cream at optimal temperature for about three hours.
- Reliable workhorse
- Suitable for beginners
- Low noise
- It features a pre-cool function
- On the pricey side
- The hardness settings are not reliable
Top 2 – Cuisinart 1.5 Quart Frozen Yogurt Ice Cream Maker
The Cuisinart 1.5 Quart Frozen Yogurt ICE 21P1 Ice Cream Maker is an ideal choice for someone not looking to invest much in an ice cream machine or sacrifice much counter space for a gadget. Also, you might want to consider this if you have never made ice cream before.
This model is one of the cheapest and smallest machines in the market today. But that’s not why it’s ranking high on our review. This unit makes high-quality ice cream and is one of the best we’ve seen. As a matter of fact, only high-end models outperform these machines.
Thanks to its compact size and updated dasher design, this ice maker freezes the mixture within 15 minutes for smooth, dry ice cream. Using the Cuisinart 1.5 Quart Ice Cream Maker is hassle-free. It comes with a simple On/Off switch, which means less likelihood of going wrong.
Despite its cheap price point, this model is surprisingly durable and makes better frozen desserts compared to the other options out there. Everything about this machine is lovable except you want to make large batches.
- Compact design
- Double insulated freezer bowl, so no need to use ice
- Three-year limited warranty
- Large capacity to make up to 1.5 Qt
- Not ideal for large batches of ice cream
Top 3 – Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Ice Cream and Gelato Maker
The Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Ice Cream and Gelato Maker is a go-to if you want to make large batches; this product is equipped with a commercial-style compressor to handle the high demand.
This unit comes with two mixing paddles and a 1-hour countdown timer that guarantees consistent results every time. This model comes with a recipe book containing a host of flavors to try out with this machine.
You can include your favorite ingredients during the mixing process, like brownies, chocolate chunks, and fresh fruit, to create a sumptuous frozen treat. The Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Ice Cream and Gelato Maker has a 10-minute Keep Cool function to keep your gelato or ice cream cool and nice. For better consistency, it’s better to pour the mixture into an airtight container and allow it to chill for at least 2 hours.
- Easy to use
- It features a mix-in opening to add your favorite mix-ins and toppings
- 10-minute Keep Cool cycle
- It’s equipped with a touchpad control panel
- It comes with a recipe book
- It is a bit noisy
Top 4 – Cuisinart ICE-30R Ice Cream Maker
By now, you should have figured out that Cuisinart offers some of the best ice cream makers in this space. The Cuisinart ICE-30R Pure Yogurt Sorbet & Ice Cream Maker features stunning and stylish red brushed metal to complement any kitchen decor.
This machine comes with a large ingredient spout to allow users to mix in extras such as fresh fruit and nuts during the process. This compact unit has some drawbacks, which include its slightly loud noise when in use.
In addition, it delivers very soft ice cream, which can be resolved by chilling the machine before adding your ingredient and using the freezer to refrigerate the ice cream immediately.
- Brushed metal housing for extreme durability
- Heavy-duty motor to handle large batches
- Wide ingredient pout to add your extras
- It’s backed by a three-year manufacturer warranty
- It’s a bit noisy
Top 5 – Yonanas 988 Deluxe Frozen Dessert Maker
If you want a stylish yet effective machine, the Yonanas 988 Deluxe Frozen Dessert Maker can be the way to go. This product features an upgraded design coupled with chrome accents that add elegance and style to any kitchen.
This model comes with a recipe book with more than 75 recipes to get started with making chocolate, pies, and frozen treats. Using this model, you can slice and freeze fruit to whip up delicious creations in the shortest period.
The Yonanas 988 Deluxe Frozen Dessert Maker delivers creamy and thick consistency of soft-serve treats without liquids.
- Premium stylish design
- Comes with 75+ nutritious and delicious recipes
- Dishwasher safe components
- Easy to use
- Customer service could be better
How to Choose the Best Ice Cream Maker
Ice cream makers are available in different capacities, sizes and shapes. Therefore, it’s important to settle for a product that meets your demands. Most manufacturers stated the capacity of their machines, so ensure you check before making a choice.
Method of production
Ice cream makers can be fully automatic, semi-automatic, or manual. The type of ice cream to opt for depends on the effort needed to create the perfect ice cream and the length of time to fully prepare one.
Ice cream-making machines employ either an electronic cooling system, pre-cooled canister or ice to cool the ingredients. Models with an electronic cooling system come with a hefty price tag and do not require pre-cooling time or much preparation.
Product without a locking lid creates a mess, as it shoots the ingredients out everywhere. It would be best if you opted for a maker with a digital timer or a see-through lid to make it easier to monitor the process. Aside from protecting you from spills and mess, the locking lid ensures a quick process and smoother ice cream.
The best ice cream maker should come with an LCD display to notify you how long the smoothing process will take until it’s ready. Also, it makes checking and choosing your preferred setting a lot easier and minimizes your mistakes.
Most ice cream makers feature a versatile design, but it’s important to check the model’s capability to create whatever you have in mind. Machines with many programs will offer different mixing speeds and different temperatures for perfect outcomes.
1. Is Homemade ice cream worth it?
Making ice cream at home can be far healthier than stocking up from your grocery store. But from the cost-saving standpoint, it isn’t actually worth it.
2. Is an ice cream maker worth it?
It can be a cheaper way to make large batches of ice cream or whatever you should whip up.
3. How do ice cream makers work
An ice cream maker freezes and churns the mixture fast and simultaneously. This process aerates the mixture and ensures smaller ice crystals.
4. Where to buy an ice cream maker
You can purchase an ice cream maker from a reputable online store or local store around you.
In this post, we’ve reviewed the top 5 best ice cream makers, according to America’s Test Kitchen. Now, it’s up to make a choice. Regardless of your option, we are confident that any of the models you opt for will serve your purpose.