Ice Cream Makers 2024 For Home Use: The Best Ones Reviewed & Chosen For You
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In the sweet universe of frozen treats, nothing quite beats the simple joy of ice cream. Its velvety texture and countless flavour possibilities make it an undeniably delectable dessert, and having a top-notch ice cream maker at your disposal can elevate this joy to new heights. A well-chosen ice cream maker can open the doors to a world of culinary creativity, where you get to experiment with an array of unique flavors, mix-ins, and texture combinations that far outstrip what’s available in your local grocery aisle.
Making ice cream at home transforms an ordinary dessert into a delightful culinary adventure. You get to experiment with your combinations of flavours and textures, and it adds a personal touch to every scoop. But to embark on this sweet journey, you need the right equipment.
In this comprehensive guide, I will bring you on a frosty journey to discover the best ice cream makers of 2024. In my quest for the best homemade ice cream experience, I’ve independently tested a wide range of models, each promising to bring the scoop shop experience right into your kitchen. This testing process involved whipping up batch after batch of creamy goodness, using different ingredients and recipes to assess the versatility and capability of each machine. From classic vanilla to egg-enriched custard-style and even vegan, oat milk–based ice cream, I left no stone unturned in our effort to evaluate the quality, consistency, and ease of use of these devices.
Each model has been judged on various factors like ease of use, functionality, design, and, most importantly, the quality of the ice cream it produces.
Throughout this article, you’ll find a detailed account of our findings and recommendations for the best ice cream makers of 2024. From compact designs to high-tech options, we’ve got something to suit every ice cream enthusiast. Whether you’re an occasional dabbler or a dedicated devotee of homemade ice cream, stick around to discover your perfect match. And remember, regardless of which model you choose, what matters most is the fun and satisfaction you’ll get from making your very own ice cream at home.
So, ready to dive into the delectable world of homemade ice cream? Let’s get churning!
The Top Ice Cream Maker For Home Use
– Provides perfect consistency with a cooling temperature range of -0.4ºF to -31ºF.
– Offers easy use and simple cleaning.
– Features auto shutdown for motor safety, LCD timer for accurate control, and a churn blade for effective mixing.
What Is an Ice Cream Maker?
What exactly is an ice cream maker? At its core, an ice cream maker is a machine designed to create ice cream and similar frozen treats like gelato, sorbet, and frozen yoghurt. The process involves continuously stirring an ice cream base while gradually lowering its temperature, ensuring the formation of smooth, creamy ice crystals rather than a frozen block of ice.
However, not all ice cream makers are built the same. Broadly, there are three types to consider. Manual ice cream makers, a nostalgic throwback, require you to churn the mixture by hand, invoking a sense of traditional dessert making. Electric countertop models churn for you, marrying convenience with homemade quality. Lastly, we have self-freezing ice cream makers, the crème de la crème of ice cream machines. These high-end models come with a built-in freezer, allowing you to churn batch after batch without pre-freezing the bowl, making them perfect for ice cream aficionados.
What Does an Ice Cream Maker Do?
We’ve all revelled in the delightful experience of savouring a scoop of creamy, well-churned ice cream. But have you ever wondered how your favourite treat goes from a liquid mixture to the frozen delight that ends up in your bowl? That’s where the ice cream maker steps in.
An ice cream maker is a marvel of culinary engineering that aids in transforming a sweetened dairy mix into the cold, creamy treat we all love. The process all begins with an ice cream base, typically a blend of milk, cream, sugar, and your desired flavours. This base is poured into the ice cream maker’s inner compartment, known as the ‘canister’ or ‘bowl’.
Once activated, the ice cream maker takes over, constantly stirring the base while simultaneously cooling it. This dual action is crucial. The churning incorporates air, preventing the formation of large ice crystals and giving the ice cream its characteristic light and fluffy texture. Meanwhile, the ice cream maker’s cooling component ensures that the mix’s temperature gradually drops, allowing the formation of tiny, desirable ice crystals that contribute to the creaminess of the ice cream.
In essence, an ice cream maker is your ticket to creating customized ice cream flavours right in the comfort of your home, controlling the quality of ingredients, and, above all, enjoying the joyous process of ice cream making.
What Should You Consider When Buying an Ice Cream Maker?
Choosing the right ice cream maker for your home can feel like a daunting task with all the different models available in the market today. To make the selection process a bit easier, here are some critical factors to consider:
- Type of Ice Cream Maker: Ice cream makers come in three primary types – canister-style, compressor, and attachment. Canister-style models are typically budget-friendly but require you to pre-freeze the canister. Compressor models freeze the ice cream mixture while it churns, which is convenient but tends to be more expensive. Attachment models require a specific appliance, like a stand mixer, onto which the ice cream-making attachment fits.
- Capacity: Consider how much ice cream you plan to make at a time. Ice cream maker capacities generally range from 1 to 2 quarts. Smaller capacity models are ideal for small families or occasional use, while larger ones can cater to big families or frequent ice cream-making sessions.
- Preparation Time: The time it takes for the ice cream maker to churn out a batch of ice cream can be an essential factor. While most machines take between 20 to 40 minutes, some models may require additional freezing time.
- Ease of Use: Look for models with straightforward controls and clear instructions. Some ice cream makers even feature built-in timers or automatic shut-off functions for convenience.
- Ease of Cleaning: Ice cream making can be a messy process. Opt for models with removable parts or dishwasher-safe to simplify the cleaning process.
- Noise Level: Some ice cream makers can be quite loud. If noise is a concern, look for models specifically designed to operate quietly.
- Price: Ice cream makers can range in price from as low as $20 for basic models to several hundred of dollars for high-end, compressor-style models. It’s important to choose an ice cream maker that fits within your budget but also meets your needs in terms of performance and features.
- Reviews and Recommendations: Lastly, always take the time to read reviews and product ratings. These can provide valuable insights into the ice cream maker’s performance and reliability.
What Are The Best Ice Cream Makers for Home Use?
The pursuit of the perfect ice cream maker can often seem overwhelming, especially considering the significant investment these machines often require. The fear of choosing a model that falls short of expectations, lacks positive user feedback, or simply doesn’t function as it should, can add to the stress of the decision-making process. However, let that apprehension fade away. I’ve created a meticulously curated list of the top ice cream makers to consider this year. Each model has been vetted for performance, reliability, and user satisfaction, assuring that you’re selecting from nothing but the best.
Whynter ICM-200LS Automatic Ice Cream Maker
The Whynter ICM-200LS Ice Cream Maker is a top-tier machine that has been recognized with numerous accolades. Its stainless steel construction not only promises durability, but also negates the need for pre-freezing due to its superior thermal retention properties. While its price tag may appear hefty, the array of features it offers ensures value for money.
This machine has been engineered for endurance and performance. The use of stainless steel serves a dual function – it facilitates prolonged cooling and bolsters the machine’s durability. With a generous 2-liter capacity, the Whynter is an ideal choice for families, as it is capable of producing more than a single serving at a time.
The Whynter ICM-200LS comes with an impressive roster of features, including:
- A 2-liter capacity container for making ample amounts of ice cream.
- A cooling temperature range of -0.4ºF to -31ºF, offering perfect consistency every time.
- User-friendly operation and straightforward cleaning process.
- Motor protection through an automatic shutdown feature, an LCD timer control for precision, and a churn blade for thorough mixing.
With such remarkable attributes, the Whynter ICM-200LS sets the bar high in the realm of ice cream makers.
What Amazon users think of the Whynter ICM-200LS Ice Cream Maker:
- Becky B. – The unit has been great and our family wishes we had one years ago!
- Amazon user – Although the machine does take up a lot of counter space, it’s worth it!
- Isabelle – We love this machine. While it is pricey it os well worth the cost when you consider that this machine has a compressor to chill the mixture while it is churning. No need to mess with freezing bowls or rock salt and ice. The ice cream comes out perfectly every time.
Lello 4080 Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker
The Lello 4080 Musso Lussino Ice Cream Maker undeniably stands out as one of the premier, albeit pricey, options in the market today. Entirely crafted from stainless steel, this machine boasts a capacity of 1.5 liters and is a testament to automated convenience. Simply press two buttons, and the magic begins – your delicious homemade ice cream starts taking shape.
User-friendly and designed to yield professional results, the Lello 4080 is an ideal appliance for culinary enthusiasts striving for top-tier quality in the comfort of their home. Its compact size is deceiving, housing a large, non-removable bowl, a stainless steel spatula, and a robust refrigeration system that ensures optimal performance without pre-cooling.
With an aesthetically pleasing and modern design, this ice cream maker will seamlessly blend into any room or kitchen decor. The stainless steel body further amplifies its stylish appeal while offering durability and longevity.
Key specifications include a maximum ingredient capacity of 0.75 liters and a bowl capacity of 2 liters. With a preparation time of 30 to 40 minutes, it’s a time-efficient choice for those impromptu dessert cravings. It measures 27 cm in height, 45 cm in width, and 30 cm in depth, and weighs 18 kg – compact and solid.
The Lello 4080 operates with a power of 200W and features a paddle induction motor operating at 80 RPM. A 60-minute mechanical timer helps you keep track of your ice cream making process. It runs on standard single-phase 110/60 – 230/50 current and uses R134A refrigerant.
In summary, the Lello 4080 Musso Lussino Ice Cream Maker offers a professional-grade ice cream making experience right in your kitchen. While it comes with a higher price tag, the convenience, performance, and results it delivers make it worth the investment for the serious ice cream aficionado.
Yonanas Classic Original Healthy Dessert Fruit Soft Serve Maker
The Yonanas Classic Soft Serve Maker may not be a traditional ice cream maker, but it’s an excellent choice for those seeking a healthier alternative. This device gives you a dessert that’s reminiscent of ice cream but made entirely from fresh fruit, allowing you to whip up instant frozen fruit soft serve. What’s more, it’s both affordable and healthy.
There’s no need to add any sugar, fat, or preservatives with this maker – all you need is your favorite fruit for instant ice cream. The one drawback is that you can only use fruit, which needs to be frozen beforehand since the maker doesn’t freeze it for you. However, given its affordability and the opportunity it offers to turn regular ice cream into a healthier treat, this is a minor inconvenience.
The Yonanas Classic Soft Serve Maker comes with a range of features. It’s easy to use and clean, comes in three different colors, and it’s perfect for those with diabetes who can’t consume regular ice cream with sugar due to health concerns.
What Amazon users think of the Yonanas Classic Original Healthy Dessert Fruit Soft Serve Maker:
Rosa – Best purchase I’ve made in a while! I love this thing and use it every day!
World Changer – So glad I discovered this amazing little appliance to get my ‘ice cream’ fix each day.
Cuisinart ICE-70 Electronic Ice Cream Maker
The Cuisinart ICE-70 stands as an exceptional electronic ice cream maker, perfect for crafting your preferred ice cream flavors right at home. It boasts various speed options, enabling faster dessert creation, and features a brushed chrome design that underlines its high-quality and durability.
This device can comfortably produce a 2-liter batch of ice cream, serving an entire family within just 20 minutes. The Cuisinart ICE-70 offers the flexibility of choosing a model with a countdown timer or without. While it might be a tad pricey, its impressive features and positive reviews justify the investment. Notably, the machine accommodates a broad range of frozen treats, including ice cream, gelato, and sorbet.
Key features of the Cuisinart ICE-70 encompass an LCD screen equipped with a control panel housing three settings. It offers varying speeds for a reduced processing time, and an auto shutdown function that contributes to its easy-to-clean nature. Lastly, the 2-liter capacity underlines its capability to cater to a sizable gathering.
What Amazon users think of the Cuisinart ICE-70 Electronic Ice Cream Maker:
- Amazon Customer – This is the machine I’ve waited years for! It makes all the scrumptious frozen desserts my family loves, and is easy to use and easy to clean. Have recommended this to the people I love!
Cuisinart 1.5 Quart Frozen Yogurt ICE-21P1 Ice Cream Maker
The Cuisinart Yogurt Ice Cream Maker is another highly recommended appliance, especially for those with a fondness for yogurt ice cream and a desire to craft their own at home. This versatile machine not only offers a plethora of color options but also comes with a substantial 1.5-liter capacity.
What sets this Cuisinart model apart is its unique double-insulated freezer bowl, which eliminates the need for ice during the ice cream making process. A transparent lid allows you to monitor the progress of your ice cream, while the large spout simplifies the addition of ingredients during operation. User-friendly and efficient, this machine can churn out yogurt ice cream in just 20 minutes.
Highlighted features of the Cuisinart 1.5 Quart Frozen Yogurt ICE-21P1 Ice Cream Maker include:
- Equipped with the same mixing paddles as other Cuisinart ice cream makers for speedy ice cream preparation – as little as 20 minutes.
- Boasts a 1.5-liter capacity for accommodating larger batches.
- Employs a double-insulated freezer bowl for enhanced efficiency.
- Available in a variety of colors to match any kitchen decor.
- Incorporates a large spout to facilitate the addition of ingredients to the bowl.
What Amazon users think of the Cuisinart 1.5 Quart Frozen Yogurt ICE-21P1 Ice Cream Maker:
- RWM – Like it all. Clean design, easy to clean, easy to use, incredible results. Have to control my consumption the ice cream is so good.
- Denise – It is very quiet, and works faster than I expected. I have made several ice creams with mixtures of yogurt, nut milk, coconut milk, and 10% cream. They all come out very nice.
Nostalgia Electric Bucket Ice Cream Maker With Easy-Carry Handle
The Nostalgia Electric Bucket Ice Cream Maker, with its unique, eye-catching design, is an excellent choice if you’re seeking a sizeable and distinctive ice cream maker. Boasting a capacity of 6 liters, this device is capable of whipping up a batch of ice cream in mere minutes. Made from authentic wood, it stands out from other alternatives available in the market.
This Nostalgia model comes equipped with a robust electric motor and a design that facilitates easy cleaning. It also includes a recipe book, removing the hassle of hunting for recipes. Given its affordable price tag, the convenience of ready-to-use premixtures, and the ease with which it churns out ice cream, this model presents a compelling case for homemade ice cream. Do remember that ice is necessary for the machine to function effectively.
The Nostalgia Electric Bucket Ice Cream Maker comes with several noteworthy features. It is crafted from genuine wood, has a generous 6-liter capacity, and features a powerful electric motor that does the heavy lifting. Additionally, it’s equipped with an easy-to-carry handle for added convenience.
What Amazon users think of the Nostalgia Electric Bucket Ice Cream Maker With Easy-Carry Handle:
- William – 5.0 out of 5 stars: Makes best ice cream, easy
- Crimson – This is a nice machine. It’s quiet and does a good job. Already made homemade oreo ice cream and it was good!
Maxi-Matic EIM-1400R Automatic Electric Maker
The Maxi-Matic Electric Ice Cream Maker epitomizes simplicity and convenience in homemade ice cream production. This fully automatic device enables you to make up to 1.5 liters of delectable homemade ice cream swiftly, eliminating the need for salt or other ice cream-specific chemicals.
The innovative feature of this machine is its freezable bowl, which allows for the creation and preservation of ice cream in one place. Boasting a user-friendly design and an affordable price tag, the Maxi-Matic ensures that you can indulge in your favorite icy treat without breaking the bank. However, bear in mind that the bowl needs to be pre-frozen overnight before whipping up your ice cream. Despite this minor detail, the process is quick and effortless, and the durable nature of the ice cream maker promises longevity.
Here are some noteworthy features of the Maxi-Matic:
- It has a 1.5-liter capacity, making it suitable for family servings.
- Its bowl is freezable and retains its cold temperature for extended periods.
- The machine is easy to operate and just as simple to clean.
- It has a convenient on and off switch along with high-quality paddles for efficient mixing.
What Amazon users think of the Maxi-Matic EIM-1400R Automatic Electric Maker:
- Karen – Love this! Recipes are helpful, product is strong and well built.
- WR – 4.0 out of 5 stars Heck of a little machine
Cuisinart ICE-45P1 Mix Serve 1.5-Quart Soft Service Ice Cream Maker
The Cuisinart Ice 45P1 offers a unique take on home ice cream makers, reminiscent of the professional ones you might find in restaurants and ice cream parlors. Though more compact, it features a table-top design and requires pre-freezing of its substantial 1.5-liter bowl.
This model brings a delightful twist to serving ice cream at home, allowing you to dispense the treat directly onto cones or cups. This feature, combined with a built-in condiment container, lets you easily add mix-ins like chocolate chips or sprinkles to your ice cream. It also includes a handy cone holder for added convenience.
However, such a wealth of features does come at a cost. The Cuisinart Ice 45P1 is on the higher end of the price spectrum among ice cream makers. Still, its unique features and capacity offer significant value for the investment.
Notable features of the Cuisinart ICE-45P1 include:
- Fully automatic operation
- Double insulated freezer bowl
- 1.5-liter capacity
- Ice cream dispenser with a cone holder
- A condiment chute for adding mix-ins.
What Amazon users think of the Cuisinart ICE-45P1 Mix Serve 1.5-Quart Soft Service Ice Cream Maker:
- Eva – This soft-serve ice cream machine is a lot of fun to use. The unit works great, especially for the cost.
Hamilton Beach 68330N Automatic Ice Cream Maker
The Hamilton Beach 68330N Automatic Ice Cream Maker is another exemplary choice for home-based ice cream production. This fully electric appliance comes complete with a booklet featuring 20 distinct recipes, allowing you to craft anything from gelato and frozen yogurt to sorbet.
The device is incredibly user-friendly, offering the promise of delectable homemade ice cream in a mere 40 minutes. Its affordability, paired with its ease of operation, make it an attractive option for those looking to indulge their sweet tooth without straining their budget.
Key features of the Elite Gourmet EIM model include:
- Capacity to produce 4 quarts of ice cream, frozen yogurt, or sorbet.
- Ease of use and cleaning.
- An electric paddle to constantly stir the ice cream.
- The ability to create ice cream in just 40 minutes.
What Amazon users think of the Hamilton Beach 68330N Automatic Ice Cream Maker:
- Joyce – 5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Ice Cream Maker, Fantastic Value
- LW – I love this maker! The size allows our family of 8 to have generous helpings
Is An Ice Cream Maker For Home Use Worth It?
The question of whether a home ice cream maker is worth it can depend on several factors, including your personal tastes, how often you enjoy ice cream, and your interest in creating custom flavors. Here’s some insight to help you evaluate the worthiness of this appliance, which is indeed one of those that often gets overlooked:
- Frequency of Use: If you or your family consume ice cream regularly and enjoy trying new flavours, a home ice cream maker could be a cost-effective investment in the long run. You can make your favourite dessert without running to the store.
- Health Factors: When making your ice cream, you control the ingredients. You can opt for fresh, natural ingredients, reduce the sugar content, or cater to dietary restrictions or preferences, such as lactose intolerance or vegan diets.
- Creative Freedom: Having an ice cream maker at home allows you to experiment with unique flavour combinations you won’t typically find in stores. This can make the ice cream-making process fun and rewarding, especially if you enjoy cooking and trying new recipes.
- Quality: Often, homemade ice cream can surpass the quality of store-bought versions because you can choose high-quality ingredients and avoid preservatives and additives.
However, remember that like any appliance, an ice cream maker will take up space in your kitchen and requires maintenance. It’s also important to note that making ice cream at home takes time and planning, as most recipes require the mixture to be chilled before churning and the ice cream to be frozen after churning.
In conclusion, a home ice cream maker can indeed be worth it if you love ice cream, value high-quality ingredients, enjoy cooking, and don’t mind the time and effort involved in the process. Evaluate your needs and preferences carefully before investing to ensure you make a decision you’ll be happy with.
Ice Cream Maker: FAQs
These are some of the frequently asked questions readers and customers are asking about ice cream makers. The more questions you are getting answered, the better it will be for you to decide if this is something that you want to have in your home.
1. How to use an ice cream maker?
While the specific instructions for using an ice cream maker can vary depending on the model, the general process usually follows these steps:
- Prepare the Ice Cream Base: This typically involves creating a mixture of your chosen ingredients such as milk, cream, sugar, and flavorings. Some recipes might require cooking the base first (especially for custard-based ice creams), while others can be mixed directly.
- Chill the Base: Depending on your recipe, you may need to chill the ice cream base before it goes into the machine. This step helps to ensure a smoother, creamier texture in the final product.
- Prepare the Ice Cream Maker: If your machine has a removable bowl, this usually needs to be frozen in advance – often for several hours or overnight. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for this step. However, some high-end models have a built-in freezer, eliminating the need for this step.
- Pour the Base into the Ice Cream Maker: Once your base is chilled and your machine is prepared, you can pour the base into the ice cream maker.
- Churn the Ice Cream: Switch on your ice cream maker. It will start to churn the mixture, which gradually freezes it while incorporating air. This churning action is what gives ice cream its unique texture.
- Freeze the Ice Cream: After the churning process, your ice cream will typically have the consistency of soft serve. At this point, you can enjoy it as is, or transfer it to a lidded container and freeze it for a few hours to achieve a firmer, more traditional ice cream consistency.
- Cleaning: Once you’re done, be sure to clean your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions, ready for its next use.
Remember, the joy of homemade ice cream is in the experimentation. Don’t be afraid to try out new flavor combinations and techniques. Happy churning!
2. How does the ice cream maker work?
An ice cream maker works by simultaneously freezing and churning the ingredients to create a smooth, creamy dessert. Here’s a more detailed look into the process:
- Freezing Mechanism: Every ice cream maker uses a freezing component, often in the form of a freezer bowl or an inbuilt refrigeration unit. The purpose is to keep the ingredients at a low temperature during churning. In some models, you have to pre-freeze the bowl before making ice cream, while others have a built-in freezing mechanism that chills as you churn.
- Churning Mechanism: While the freezing element is essential for creating ice cream, so is the churning mechanism. The churn or paddle in the ice cream maker stirs the ingredients continuously. This process ensures the ingredients mix well and introduces air into the mixture, contributing to the ice cream’s creamy texture.
- Process Time: Depending on the model, making ice cream can take a few minutes to a couple of hours. The ice cream maker will continue to churn and freeze the ingredients until the mixture reaches the desired consistency.
In essence, the magic of an ice cream maker lies in its ability to balance freezing and churning simultaneously. This ensures the ingredients don’t just freeze solid, but instead transform into that delightful, creamy dessert we all love – ice cream.
3. How much is an ice cream maker?
The cost of an ice cream maker varies widely based on its features, brand, quality, and the type of machine. On the lower end, you can find basic models priced around $50. These often require manual labor or pre-frozen bowls and are generally suited for occasional use.
Mid-range models, costing around $100 to $200, usually come with more features, such as automatic churning and built-in freezing units, and tend to be more durable and user-friendly.
On the high end of the spectrum, you have premium ice cream makers that can cost upwards of $700. These machines are often fully automatic, have larger capacities, and are constructed with high-quality materials for durability. They may also offer additional features such as built-in timers, pre-cooling functions, and a variety of settings for different types of frozen desserts.
As with any purchase, it’s essential to consider your budget before starting your search for an ice cream maker. Ensure you understand what features are most important to you and how often you plan to use the machine. This will help you make an informed decision that balances cost with value, meeting your needs without breaking the bank.
4. Can I make dairy-free or vegan ice cream with an ice cream maker?
You can make dairy-free or vegan ice cream using alternative milk or cream substitutes like almond milk, coconut milk, or soy milk. Many ice cream makers allow for customization and experimentation with different ingredients.
5. How do I clean an ice cream maker?
Cleaning methods can vary depending on the machine, but typically, the removable parts, such as the mixing bowl, paddle, and lid, can be washed with warm soapy water. It’s important to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific cleaning guidelines to maintain the longevity of your ice cream maker.