Best Ice Cream Makers Reviewed in 2018

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Artisan ice cream is available everywhere from the grocery store to the local scoop shop. Why not join the trend from the comfort of your own home? Ice cream is a favorite treat for everyone. With your own ice cream maker, you can make dairy-free ice cream, mix in some of your favorite flavors, or candies and always have a yummy treat on hand. With one of our top ten ice cream makers in your home, you will not have to deal with the grocery store or local scoop shop crowds when your sweet tooth strikes.

When you make ice cream at home you can add a personal touch. Are you dairy free? You can use almond milk, soy milk, or goat milk to make your ice cream. If it is allergies that you are worried about, making your own ice cream will alleviate all of your concerns because you know every ingredient that went into the batch. You can make ice cream for a friend or other loved one and put their favorite mix-ins to show how much you care. Throw a unique backyard barbecue with a make your own ice cream bar. The sky is the limit with the right ice cream maker in your pantry.

Our list contains three specific types of ice cream makers that are made for home use. The most commonly used modern type of ice cream maker has a freezer bowl that you must freeze for at least 24 hours prior to first use. This bowl is hand wash only and will be inserted into the machine with pre-chilled ingredients to make your ice cream. Next, we have ice cream makers that use the old-fashioned rock salt and ice method of cooling. You must keep an eye on these machines to make sure they have enough salt and ice to keep it sufficiently cool while churning. Finally, we have compressor style ice cream makers. These ice cream makers contain their own cooling device, so you just add your ingredients and wait for your yummy dessert.

10 Best Ice Cream Makers Reviewed 

1. Cuisinart ICE-21R

The Cuisinart ICE-21R has snagged our top spot! This is a premium ice cream maker is for ice cream connoisseurs. You will not be disappointed with the many features that this ice cream maker offers you. Its sleek design will look gorgeous on your counter.
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It comes in pink, fuchsia, red, and white to match any decor. This machine can also whip up a fantastic batch of frozen yogurt or sorbet. This Cuisinart is a crowd pleaser and sized just right for personalization. You can make a smaller batch for a personalized pint or create a large batch for a dinner party or kid’s sleepover.

Benefits
This updated model has a new paddle style that will get you your favorite sweet treat in under 20 minutes. You can make up to 1 ½ quarts of pure yumminess with this device. It is the perfect size for your family. The lid is transparent and includes a large spout for adding ingredients and watching the magic happen. This is a great activity to do with the whole family!

What We Like About It
This is one heavy duty ice cream maker. It will get you ice cream in no time. It also makes sorbet and frozen yogurt. If you'd prefer to have a cold icy beverage this machine has your back. Everyone in your group will be pleased that you made the choice to buy this ice cream machine.

Cost and Value
This ice cream maker is a great value. You will get years of delicious treats for a mid-level price. Just store the included bowl in the freezer, keep ingredients on hand, and watch your savings add up!
Pros

Fast

No need for salt and ice

Durable

Multi-use

Easy cleanup

Cons

Noisy

2. Cuisinart ICE-30BC

Coming in at number two is the Cuisinart ICE-30BC. It is a bit bigger than its predecessor on the list. This is one versatile machine that doesn't require you to spend all day churning to get a perfect consistency for your dessert.
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It is sleek and stylish enough to be left out on the counter. You can make all members of the family happy because this little dynamo makes ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sorbet. Just make sure to save room in the freezer or invite over your friends for all of the extra ice cream.

Benefits
This ice cream maker has a two-quart capacity that is perfect for most recipes. It will whip up your preferred treat in as little as 25 minutes. When your machine is done doing all of the work just rinse the bowl with some soapy water and pop it back in the freezer for your next batch! This machine is super easy to clean so you can quickly enjoy your treat.

What We Like About It
The self-locking lid has a large spout for adding ingredients without making a huge mess. Little Johnny with have a blast putting his favorite candy or fruit into his ice cream with this machine.

Cost and Value
This sleek and durable machine will have you creating cool goodness for years. It comes in at the middle range of prices for our top ten list, so it is a great value.
Pros

Sleek design

Large spout for adding ingredients

2 qt capacity

Quick turn around

Heavy duty motor

Cons

Must hand wash the freezer bowl

3. Yonanas 978

The Yonanas 978 Elite has earned number three on the list of top ten ice cream makers. This unique frozen treat maker doesn't need the regular ingredients that you would need in your typical home ice cream maker.
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If you live a dairy-free or vegan lifestyle then this is the perfect choice to make yummy sweet treats. Maybe your family is trying to make healthier choices or you are starting your journey in a sugar-free lifestyle; this is the perfect frozen treat maker for you.

Benefits
This treat maker only needs frozen fruit to make a yummy sorbet style dessert. Just freeze your fruit in 1-inch chunks and feed them through the chute. It comes equipped with a plunger to push the fruit through. Make sure your ready to eat, because dessert will be ready in just a few short minutes. Take a trip to the local farmers market or fruit stand and pick out your fresh food to make dessert for tonight. Yummy!

What We Like About It
The machine puts your sweet treat right into the bowl so you can eat immediately. The health factor of skipping all of the added ingredients makes this a great choice for a young family or a family working to make healthier choices. Also, all of the removable parts are dishwasher safe. The quick convenience of this frozen treat maker will have you eating dessert in no time.

Cost and Value
This machine is near our top price point. Its value becomes apparent the first time you make a cool treat in minutes and clean up is a breeze.
Pros

Dishwasher Safe

Super fast

Allergy free

Unique

Quiet

Cons

Only makes soft serve

Not a traditional ice cream maker

4. Hamilton Beach 68330N

Hamilton Beach’s Automatic Ice Cream Maker is at number 4 on our list. This machine has a large capacity to make enough ice cream for friends and family. You can use this device whenever the desire for a sweet treat hit you.
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No need to freeze any parts, just add cold ingredients and have plenty of rock salt and ice on hand. This is the perfect ice cream maker for your backyard barbeque or family get together.

Benefits
This machine will produce up to four quarts of ice cream! It consists of an outer bucket, an inner bucket, a paddle, a lid and a motor. These pars are all easy to clean, either wipe them off or wash with warm soapy water. Your ice cream, frozen yogurt, custard, sherbet, or gelato will be ready to eat in 20 - 40 minutes. This is an older style ice cream maker and requires that you pack ice and rock salt around the interior bucket to freeze the ice cream. This ice cream maker is a great addition to any family.

What We Like About It
The best thing about this ice cream maker is that it comes with an included recipe bok so you can start making ice cream right away.

Cost and Value
This machine is a great value. It comes in at the lower end of our prices for this list. You will get your monies worth with the first few batches of delicious creaminess.
Pros

Efficient

Functional

4 quart capacity

Easy to clean

Lightweight

Cons

Does not work well with lots of mix-ins

5. Nostalgia ICMP400BLUE

Our number five ice cream maker is the Nostalgia ICMP 400 Blue. This blue bucket is as cute as it is efficient. It has a larger capacity than some other makers on our list.
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The bucket comes with a handle for easy carrying and a quick cool canister. The Nostalgia Blue will make a hot summer day more bearable by giving you a cool treat quickly.

Benefits
This device will make both ice cream and sorbet. It has a locking lid to keep all parts in place while the motor is going. The lid to the interior canister is see through so you can watch the magic happen. The exterior bucket is easily accessible for adding additional rock salt and ice while the ice cream is churning. You won’t be disappointed with this cute blue bucket.

What We Like About It
The convenient carry handle makes this ice cream make easy to transport from your pantry to the backyard or to a friend’s house. This is the perfect ice cream maker for an impromptu get together.

Cost and Value
This maker is at the low end of prices on our list. The portability and overall usefulness of this machine make it a great value.
Pros

Easy to clean

Easy to transport

4-quart capacity

Recipes included

Functional

Cons

The motor is not intended for use with lots of mix-ins

6. Cuisinart ICE-100

Our number six pick is the Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor. This is a top of the line home ice cream maker. You do not need to add ice or freeze and additional parts. Just plug it in and add your ingredients.
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It can quickly make authentic style frozen treats. The digital display makes it easy to use. This high-quality ice cream maker will make you and your family delicious ice cream for years to come!

Benefits
The ICE-100 comes equipped with a commercial quality compressor. It also has a second paddle specifically for creating gelato. This machine can make your Italian ice cream dreams come true without leaving your home! It has a 1.5-quart capacity to make plenty of your favorite treat. The 60 minute LCD backlit countdown timer will let the kiddos (and parents) know exactly when the ice cream will be done. The mixing bowl had a convenient handle for easy removal. This device’s lid is see through so everyone can peek in on the mixing action. This top of the line home ice cream maker will keep your family entertained for many a hot summer, and maybe a few cool winter nights.

What We Like About It
The best feature on this ice cream maker is the 10-minute cooldown feature that will keep your ice cream cool in the machine after it is done mixing. Now you don’t have to worry about standing around for the last few minutes of the mixing cycle. This machine will bring you a lot of yummy goodness!

Cost and Value
This machine takes the guesswork out of making ice cream, no more worrying about ice to salt ratios or if the bowl is cold enough. The cost is high end, but the peace of mind that comes with its ease of use is well worth the cost.
Pros

Fully automatic

Sleek

Digital display

Auto shut off timer

10 minute stay cool function

Cons

Need a separate container for storage

7. Cuisinart ICE-70

The Cuisinart ICE-70 is our number seven pick. It can make a variety of frozen treats to please everyone in your family. It is the perfect size to make dessert for a small gathering or to last a few days.
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It comes equipped with a timer and convenient spout for adding ingredients with less mess. This ice cream maker will help your family make fun memories for years to come

Benefits
This machine has a two-quart capacity. The lid is clear so you can watch it churn away at your frozen treat. In 20- 40 minutes you can have delicious frozen yogurt, ice cream, sorbet, or gelato. It has three settings and multiple speeds to make the perfect treat. It comes equipped with a countdown timer so you know exactly when your dessert will be complete and ready to eat!

What We Like About It
The freezer bowl can be rinsed out and stored in your freezer after each use so you can make ice cream any time!

Cost and Value
This device falls into the mid-range for pricing on our top ten list. It is money well spent because you will be able to make multiple types of frozen treats in a timely manner.
Pros

Auto shut off

Multiple speed settings

Countdown timer

Integrated measuring cup

Quick

Cons

The lid is hard to attach

8. Nostalgia ICMP400WD

Our number 8 pick is the Nostalgia ICMP 400 WD. This ice cream maker will bring you back to summers on Grandpa’s back porch waiting for the ice cream to finish churning. It has an outer wooden bucket that looks like something out of the 1950s.
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This ice cream maker is ready to help you continue the family tradition of summers on the back porch. Add in your favorite ingredients and spend a warm summer afternoon reminiscing over summers past.

Benefits
This machine is super easy to clean, with a plastic lined outer bucket and a quick to cool aluminum interior bucket. The sturdy outer bucket is made of real wood and the motor locks into place. The 4-quart capacity makes this ice cream maker perfect for a party or to make a yummy dessert to snack on for the week. Don’t forget some handy storage containers, you will have plenty of leftovers.

What We Like About It
This ice cream maker is big enough to feed a party and reminds us of times past. It is the perfect combination of modern and old-fashioned.

Cost and Value
The price point for this ice cream maker makes it a great value. You can have all of your memories come rushing back to you for a mid-level price.
Pros

Great design

Easy to clean

Clear lid

Recipes included

Real wood outer construction

Cons

Uses rock salt and ice cooling method

9. Whynter ICM-200LS

Whynter ICM-200LS gets our number nine spot. This device does not need any pre-freezing! This premium machine offers a variety of premium options for your convenience. Use the built-in timer to keep your dessert making on track. Your only worries with this machine are to have the proper ingredients on hand.
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You will be ready to make a yummy frozen treat in less than an hour from preparation to eating.

Benefits
You can make multiple batches back to back! The compressor keeps this 2-quart machine cool, so you don’t have to use your freezer to hold ice cream maker parts. When you are all done making your yummy dessert just give the removable bowl a quick hand wash and you are ready for your next batch. Use this machine to make the best ice cream, gelato and sorbet recipes you can find. Your whole family will thank you!

What We Like About It
The company will send you secret recipes on request, and they even included an ice cream scoop with purchase!

Cost and Value
This Whynter device falls into the high end of our pricing. The value is in the compressor. When you have a compressor motor you don’t need to worry about pre-freezing any parts, you just pour in your ingredients and enjoy your ice cream.
Pros

No parts to freeze

Auto shut off

LCD time and temperature display

Easy to clean

Extended cool feature

Cons

Noisy

10. White Mountain PBWMIME612-SHP

Our list ends with the White Mountain 6-quart ice cream maker. This large capacity ice cream maker is a crowd pleaser. It has solid construction and a powerful motor. It has a patented stirring method that creates great ice cream every time.
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The wooden outer bucket is sturdy and reminds you of older model ice cream makers from summers past. This ice cream maker won’t disappoint. Now go grab your neighbors and some family members for an afternoon of ice cream sundaes.

Benefits
This machine is full of benefits! It comes equipped with a 12,000 rpm commercial grade motor gives your ice cream a super smooth consistency. The dasher (stir stick) is made of coated cast iron for years of use. This durable ice cream maker will still be working hard when your kids go off to college! It only takes 20-40 minutes to make a batch of yummy goodness. Grab one of these quick so you can start making memories with your loved ones.

What We Like About It
It had a gorgeous white pine bucket and durable interior parts to last and last. The interior bucket is stainless steel to keep everything extra cold. This is one device you will enjoy for a while.

Cost and Value
The cost of this machine is on the higher end of our list. It is well worth the money you will spend. The parts are super durable and it comes with a 5-year limited warranty for peace of mind.
Pros

Large capacity

Beautiful construction

Durable

Triple action stirring

Commercial grade motor

Cons

Very large

Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Ice Cream Makers

Easy to Clean

An ice cream maker should be easy to clean. You need to be able to remove the bowl easily and detach the stir sticks for easy cleanup. All of the machines on our list are easy to take apart after a day of ice cream making. You will need to wash most of them in hot soapy water and make sure to put your freezer bowl (if included) back into the freezer when dry.

Timing

Nobody wants to spend their entire day waiting for ice cream. Once you decide to make a batch you want to eat it quickly. We made sure that these ice cream makers will be done churning in an hour or less. This way you can get to the best part, eating, quickly! The majority of the machines on our list come with recipe guides that will include times or they have auto stop motors that stop when the ice cream reaches specific consistency. Timing is everything when you have a family waiting for ice cream.

Capacity

The capacity of the ice cream maker you choose can make or break your homemade dessert journey. The smallest capacity machine we have makes individual bowls of dessert and the largest is 6 quarts. You can pick a device that will cater to each person, or make one large batch for a sundae party depending on your personal preference.

Ease of Use

Any new appliance will have a learning curve. We made sure that the ice cream makers on our list are super easy to use. Just chill your ingredients and your interior container (freezer bowl or canister) and you should have great ice cream each time. They are all electric so you can just push a button and watch the machine do the work. Gone are the days of cranking your afternoon away for ice cream.

Durability

The parts of your ice cream maker should be able to withstand tons of use. The ice cream makers on our list are made of durable materials and built to last. They all have strong motors to stir your ice cream to perfection. Make sure to read your manufacturer instructions before adding in lots of extras to your batch of ice cream. These machines are created to stir ice cream and can get easily clogged up if you add too many goodies at the wrong time. If you follow your directions and get to know your ice cream machine you should get years of use out of these ice cream makers.

Top Ice Cream Making Tips

If your ice cream maker comes with a freezer bowl store it in the coldest part of your freezer and keep the freezer temp at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. If the bowl is always frozen you are always ready to make ice cream! Do not put it in the dishwasher, it will ruin the freezing liquid and no longer freeze your ice cream.

Always chill your ice cream base in the refrigerator for a few hours prior to making it for the best consistency. Also, remember that homemade ice cream is free from stabilizers and other additives used to keep store-bought ice cream super thick. Homemade ice cream will have a creamier consistency. It will usually set up after a few hours in the freezer if it lasts that long!

Don’t forget to experiment with your new machine. Find some unique recipes and really have fun with this new device. You will be surprised by all of the possibilities an ice cream maker has to offer.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What type of ice cream maker should I buy?

A: The type of ice cream maker you choose depends entirely on your personal preference and your budget. If timing is your main concern a compressor style machine will be your best option; it had the quickest start to finish time available. If budget tops your list of concerns then go for a double bucket ice cream maker a that will require ice and rock salt for cooling. If you want to avoid the mess of salt and ice and still want a quick treat then go for the frozen bowl style of machine. All of these machines will give you quality ice cream, you just need to decide what options will work best to meet your personal needs.

Q: How long will it take to make my ice cream?

A: The length of time it takes to make your ice cream will depend on many factors. The recipe you choose, the temperature of your machine, and the speed of your motor are the top things that will affect timing. The machines on our top ten list can make ice cream in as little as 15 minutes when prepped correctly. Make sure to check your users guide to ensure that you are using your machine correctly.

Q: Is homemade ice cream better than store bought?

A: Homemade ice cream can be made to your exact preferences. Personalized taste and texture will always win! Sure you can get really good premium brand ice cream, but it still has additives and preservatives. If you make your ice cream you know the exact ingredients. Knowledge is power.

Q: How do I clean my ice cream maker?

A: Clean the bucket or bowl of your ice cream maker immediately after use using warm (not hot) soapy water. Wipe down the outside of your plastic or stainless steel machine with appropriate food-safe cleaner. Use a clean cloth to wipe down the outside of wooden ice cream makers. Check your manufacturer’s directions for proper motor cleaning and maintenance.

Q: Are there recipe books for homemade ice cream?

A: The majority of the machines on our list come with recipe guides. There are also tons of guides available commercially. Be warned not all motors are created equally. Adding in lots of extra goodies can cause issues with lower power motors. Check your users guide for advice. Remember you can always stir in goodies after your ice cream is made like they do in many popular commercial ice cream and frozen yogurt shops.

Q: How does an at-home ice cream maker work?

A: All ice cream makers stir specific ingredients together with a long paddle in a cold container. The cooking methods, type of paddle, and the motor will vary based on who made the machine. Usually, when using a compressor or freezer bowl style machine the ice cream maker is put together and turned on before ingredients are added. Then you slowly add the ice cream base and watch the magic happen. Once the ice cream starts to set up you may start to add in some special extras like crushed cookies or candies. Once these are fully incorporated and the ice cream is frozen thoroughly it should be done. If you want a harder consistency place the batch in the freezer for a few hours.

Sources

  1. Kristen Hicks , The Sweet Tooth’s Guide to Buying an Ice Cream Maker, Buyer's Guide,
  2. The Good Housekeeping Institute, How to Buy an Ice Cream Maker, Shopping Tips,
  3. Jessica Harlan, Anatomy of an Ice Cream Maker, Informative Article,
  4. Unknown Author, ICE CREAM / YOGURT MAKERS, Product Information,