Fancy a bowl of ice cream but don’t want to run to the grocery store? How about adding an ice cream maker to your kitchen counter. The best ice cream makers are an easy and fun way to churn out frozen treats to your specific taste and texture. They’re also great for making sorbet and gelato too.
If you enjoy the sounds and smiles delivered by the local ice cream truck in your neighborhood, you’re not alone. A recent survey of 2,000 U.S. residents finds that 47 percent plan to let their children participate in this summertime activity more often than they got the chance to themselves.
Although a third of respondents (34%) bought their own truck-sourced treats several times or more each summer, another one in five (23%) didn’t grow up in an area frequented by ice cream trucks. Another 17 percent have never ordered from any kind of ice cream truck in their lives. It’s no surprise that ice cream is the most-loved dessert among survey respondents (82%). And 68 percent claim to have ice cream in their freezer “at all times.”
Are you ready to try your hand at making ice cream shop quality treats at home? StudyFinds has the scoop on the top five brands from ten expert websites, to serve up the best ice cream makers. As always, we’d like to see your own recommendations in the comments below!
The List: Best Ice Cream Makers, According to Dessert-Lovers
Kicking off our list is this offering from Cuisinart. The New York Times calls it ‘The Best Ice Cream Maker’, noting “this machine makes pretty dense ice cream, but we find it to be nicely chewy and rich. It’s some of the smoothest ice cream you can make at home without upgrading to a self-chilling compressor model.”
Serious Eats also gives it top honors, adding “it utilizes a pre-frozen, coolant-lined canister to chill down the ice cream base, eliminating the need for salt and ice or an expensive compressor.”
“The main catch, though, is that you need a pre-frozen bowl, and this machine‘s pretty bulky. If you want to be able to make ice cream at the drop of a hat, it has to live in the freezer all the time, and it’ll take up a lot of room,” suggests The Spruce Eats. However, it is inexpensive and easy to use and clean— although not meant to be put in the dishwasher.
Food & Wine awards the Ninja CREAMi Deluxe XL its ‘Best Overall’ title, noting “with minimal hands-on work, this machine can whip up a range of frozen treats thanks to its 11 presets: ice cream, lite ice cream, sorbet, gelato, frozen yogurt, Italian ice, milkshake, frozen drink, Creamiccino, re-spin, and mix-ins.”
“In terms of size, we found that this ice cream maker wasn’t too obtrusive. It’s around the size of a countertop coffee maker and has a sleek appearance, so it won’t be an eyesore in your kitchen,” according to Real Simple.
Better Homes & Gardens adds, “it took about five minutes to blend the ice cream, plus four to five minutes of adding in the mix-ins. After blending, the fat was fully incorporated, which gave our ice cream a firm, glossy consistency without any ice grit or separation.” The parts are dishwasher safe and also easy to clean by hand. Although some reviewers note, this machine is a bit loud while in use.
If you want a high-end ice cream maker, this model from Breville doesn’t disappoint. The Smart Scoop “produced the creamiest ice cream with the texture closest to what you’d find in a high-end scoop shop: rich, easy to serve, and free of ice crystals,” according to Insider.
MakeUseOf notes, it “features 12 hardness settings, allowing you to serve frozen treats as soft or as hard as you like. What you’ll find equally useful is the keep-cool option, which keeps the finished treat cool for up to three hours. If, say, you’re having guests over, you can set-and-forget while you prepare and the ice cream will be just fine.”
Food & Wine points out, “though automatic, the process took longer than most ice cream makers we tested at 45 minutes. Still, we consider it worth the wait for the quality and how little effort it takes.” The obvious downside is the price. This is the most expensive ice cream maker on our list, so consider it splurge-worthy.
Why not have your KitchenAid stand-mixer double as an ice cream maker? “If you have a KitchenAid already, this kit is a great choice to dip your toe into making ice cream at home. It might not offer all the functionality of a standalone model, but it’s easy to use and gives your existing appliance one more ability,” according to The Spruce Eats.
Country Living suggests to “treat yourself to this ice cream-making attachment, which includes a mixer bowl that you pre-freeze, a dasher, and a device to turn the dasher. It whips up the smoothest ice cream, though it may struggle with sorbet.”
“If you’re looking to make considerable quantities of soft serve ice cream, sorbet, or frozen yogurt, this is perfect. It’s relatively quick, quiet, and very hands-off,” adds Homes & Gardens.
Rounding out our top five, is a dessert maker that’s meant for ice cream alternatives. “If you’re trying to avoid dairy or added sugars, you’ll love the way the Yonanas Frozen Dessert Maker turns bananas and other fruit into soft-serve ‘ice cream’,” suggests Insider.
Smoothie bowls are a breeze with this appliance. Food & Wine points out, “this is an extruder, meaning that frozen fruit is added to the top, compressed through the machine, and extruded like soft-serve ice cream. We like how easy the machine is to use, and the process is very fast.”
Real Simple adds, “it takes a while to clean up, as many of its components have slender grooves that could be tedious to wash. However, all parts can be tossed in the dishwasher, which is a major plus.” Just remember it’s not meant for making traditional dairy ice cream.
You might also be interested in:
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.