With the best ice cream makers on the market, there is no need to go to the ice-cream parlor to get a rich scoop of your favorite dessert when you can make it right in your home.
You will be in ice cream heaven with these top rated ice cream makers.
We’ve looked at 34 different ice cream makers and covered more than 81 hours of research and testing to write these reviews which lead us to recommend that the Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker stands out as the best ice cream maker to buy for most people. This ice cream machine senses the harness of the mixture as it churns, and it stops at the appropriate time set for soft-serve to hard packed ice cream consistency.
1. Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker
Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker
This is a sophisticated yet easy to understand appliance for the average person. The $400 price tag speaks one thing loud and clear: only go near this if you’re truly an ice-cream person, but well then again, who isn’t? This fully automatic ice cream maker from Breville blended frozen desserts, sorbet to ice cream to gelato, in our choice of consistency, from soft-serve to hard packed.
With twelve settings, from super soft to extra-firm, that allowed us to make ice cream in consistencies ready to eat, ready for making ice cream sandwiches and molded ice cream cakes, or to store to eat later, which is easy due to the amazing “Hold” feature that keeps the ice cream at the same consistency for up to 3 hours (or longer as reported by a number of our product testing panelists). This top rated ice cream maker has sleek, stainless-steel and plastic housing that we found to be durable and easy to clean and it comes with an aluminum bowl. Our product testing panelists and us all had this one as the top pick right across the board.
Why our reviews are trustworthy
I have covered home ice cream makers here for the last few years and since we started covering them, we have logged hundreds of hours of research and testing (it has not been any great hardship, we have eaten our own weight in ice cream and frozen desserts!).
Did you know that in 1843, Nancy Johnson of Philadelphia received the first U.S. patent for a small-scale hand-cranked ice cream freezer?
We’ve looked at a large number of types of ice cream makers and consulted with experts (listed at the end) to create this review each year. We always keep up with reviews from other noteworthy companies that also test or review products, such as, ConsumerReports, Amazon and Which? though we do find sometimes that the coverage is not as comprehensive as it could be. Then we do our own testing by selecting our participating experts, ourselves and members of our consumer product testing groups to provide their feedback through our product testing panels.
*This review covers top ice cream makers on the market before and since the last time we created this guide.
Who should get this?
Everyone who does not have one and wants to save a fortune on their ice cream parlor visits. or if you have one, take a gander at the best ones on this list and ask yourself:
“Self, would you say such lovely things about your current ice cream machine?”
If the answer is no, it’s time to get yourself a new one – armed with this review.
Now, most of us will go to amazing lengths in order to find that perfect ice cream texture and flavor. We will think about spending our money on various home made ice cream makers, read reviews until our heads spin and, of course, allow experts and people on TV and magazine advertorials to convince us that theirs is the best ice cream maker. Well, in order to put an end to this madness and to hopefully save you time and hassle (plus a few bucks) by sharing with you the results of our extensive research and testing.
How we began the test selection process
We started by making a list of all of the top rated ice cream makers that we could find for sale in stores and online. We then combed through thousands of reviews to be able to bring you the most helpful, insightful information on the best electric ice cream makers for home use. We listed 34 in the original selection process for this category.
There are so many variables to get right: the materials, the size, the settings and how effective they were are at making ice cream (and frozen desserts). There are countless styles of automatic ice cream makers out there, and choosing the right one is key to success or failure.
After wading through hours of reading everything from scientific papers, and manufacturers product specifications to consumer reviews (plus a few heated debates), we were able to get the list down to the 10 machines we brought in for testing.
How we tested them
The primary task of an ice cream maker is to produce creamy ice cream with as few ice crystals as possible along the way. The way it works is that the quicker the mixture freezes, the less time ice crystals have to form within it. Now, some ice cream machines can achieve this process in around 30 minutes, but hold on there, as there is no real perfect time scale for the cycle to take. Compressor machines for example tend to give you a smoother overall texture because they are able to churn and freeze the mixture quicker than those that rely on ice, salt or frozen inserts.
While your mixture freezes, the dasher (or paddle) stirs the mixture. Home ice cream machines usually come with a plastic dashers, while a small number use metal dashers. The speed at which a dasher turns determines the amount of overrun, which is the amount of air that is whipped into the ice cream. The quicker the dasher turns, the more overrun you end up with.
For this review, we only tested self-refrigerating compressor ice cream makers. These have proved to be the best ones based on our research and testing over the last few years. We also left out specific gelato makers since gelato is really a different kind of dessert according to the experts. It differs from ice cream in that it is mostly milk and sugar with little cream and little or no egg yolk.
This year we tested the makers using a low-fat recipe from Eatingwell, we spent a long time tasting different types for texture and flavor before we decided on the one for the tests (again no hardship for us).
We selected our participants from our consumer panelists and then sent out the machines and recipes for them to test at home, and also got the machines ready for our in-house panelists (including ourselves). Once everyone had their machines and recipes to test, each panelist started by noting down the build quality, size and other basic statistics for the ice cream makers.
Then everyone got to work and made the various recipes and the consumers blind tasted them on their families , while we agreed to be the blind tasters in house (I have personally never seen, never mind eaten so much ice cream!)
Once the tasting phase was up and we had finished testing all the home made ice cream makers, all of the scorecards were submitted and we analyzed the results to find out the top ten ranking order. Then we looked at the current retail prices for each one and found our favorite picks were not always the more expensive ones. Though, mostly with these products, you truly get what you pay for.
The Runners Up:
2. Lello Musso Lussino 1.5 Quart Ice Cream Maker
The Lello Musso Lussino carries a pretty big price, given that ice cream is what you’re after. Know that this top ice cream maker isn’t for everyone and should only come in to play if you handle parties on a regular basis. You can make 3 quarts of ice cream per batch in an hour at the press of two buttons. The user manual is very good and guides you through all the basics and in no time, you’ll be a “pro” with little effort.
3. Conair Cuisinart Pure Indulgence Ice Cream Maker
This is one the most sold ice cream makers of last year. Conair’s Cuisinart Pure Indulgence Ice Cream Maker is well-designed and there’s very little chance you’ll spill anything out of it. The ice cream maker comes with all sorts of great things said about it from our panelists, so that you don’t spend the lion’s share of your money on it and it still makes great ice cream.
4. Cuisinart ICE-70 Ice Cream Maker
This ice cream maker can make 2 qts of your favorite treats after just 20 minutes. The Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker makes 2 qts of ice cream with in 20 minutes. It includes a lid with ingredient spout and integrated measuring cup, freezer bowl and a much improved paddle for faster processing time. The unit is sturdy and the housing is sleek brushed chrome. The design is quite intuitive and the price is great as well. It also comes with a simple LCD display with settings for ice cream, gelato, sorbet or frozen yogurt. The machine even features a count-down timer and shuts off automatically. Includes full instructions and a selection of great recipes.
5. Whynter ICM-200LS Ice Cream Maker
Keep the whole family happy with this 2.1 quarts ice cream maker. The ice cream maker is a true pro and handles every ingredient with delicacy. It takes 20 minutes for the first batch to come out and is a self-contained frozen dessert maker that does not require pre-freezing. This unit also includes an electronic timer, ice cream scoop and easy-to-follow recipe guide
6. Nostalgia Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Maker
Simply add your mixture into the aluminum canister and place in the middle of this top rated ice cream maker, press a button, sit back and let the motor do the churning. In testing the whole machine was sometimes moving around the counter. Don’t worry about this as its been designed in such a way that the dasher stays still while the outer casing moves round it.
7. Nostalgia Vintage Collection Ice Cream Maker
The Nostalgia Vintage Collection Ice Cream Maker lives up to its brand name and comes with a wooden exterior that will take you back to your childhood. With a see-thru lid for easy viewing and freezer storage, this top ice cream maker can come up with 4 quart batches of gelato, yogurt or ice cream. The internal design is dish washer friendly while a plastic churn paddle is included for easy cleaning.
8. Sunpentown Ice Cream Maker
Making ice cream at your own home; that’s the dream. But do you know what’s better? Making it in an affordable manner. The Sunpentown Ice Cream Maker is a good ice cream maker that delivers all that’s needed in a basic ice cream maker. All you have to do is set up the timer, put in the ingredients and wait until you’re ice cream’s ready.
9. Hamilton Beach 68330N 4-Quart Ice-Cream Maker
If you’re looking for finger-snapping quickness, then the Hamilton Beach Half-Pint Ice Cream Maker is a good choice, this good affordable electric ice-cream maker produces up to 4 quarts in 20 to 40 minutes. Makes homemade ice cream, frozen yogurt, custard, sherbet, and gelato. You’ll get half a pint of creamy goodness, and comes with 20 recipes include.
10. Yonanas Frozen Healthy Dessert Maker
This isn’t “technically” an ice cream machine but it can surely produce similar outputs. The Dessert Maker can come up with a variety of desserts, one of which is everyone’s favorite ice cream. You can drop in an assortment of fruits and chocolate syrup in the chute, push plunge and wait until the Yonanas’ Frozen Healthy Dessert Maker gives you rich, smooth dessert in the form of ice cream.
- Robert F. Roberts, Ph.D. of Penn State
- The origin of ice-cream, BBC. October 2009.
- Toussaint-Samat, Maguelonne (2008). A history of food. translated from the French by Anthea Bell. Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing.
- Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Michigan State
- Hoffmann, Mable; Gar Hoffmann (2004). The Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt Cookbook. Running Press
- Cheyney University of Pennsylvania
- Johnson, George D. (2011). Profiles In Hue. Xlibris Corporation. p. 62.
- “History of Ice Cream”. thenibble.com.
- Chris Clarke (2012). The Science of Ice Cream. Royal Society of Chemistry.
- Mary Ellen Snodgrass (29 December 2004). Encyclopedia of Kitchen History. Routledge