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The Best Ice Cream Maker

Last updated on September 3, 2020

We looked at the top 12 Ice Cream Makers and dug through the reviews from 85 of the most popular review sites including Williams Sonoma, New Kitchen Life, Food & Wine, Best Consumer Reviews, BestReviews, The New York Times and more. The result is a ranking of the best Ice Cream Makers.

Best Ice Cream Maker

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Our Picks For The Top Ice Cream Makers

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

Whynter ICM-15LS Automatic Ice Cream Maker, 1.6-Quart

Whynter

ICM-15LS Automatic Ice Cream Maker, 1.6-Quart

Overall Take

Easy to UseAn easy-to-use, quiet ice cream maker that will impress the whole family.

Experts Included
DWYM Kitchen Experts plus New York Times Wirecutter, Top Best 10 Reviews, Engadget, Top 10 Focus, Groom and Style, Dream Scoops. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" The quietest-running maker we tried and the easiest to scoop from and clean. And since it’s a self-refrigerating compressor machine, you won’t have to deal with freezing an insert bowl or futzing with messy ice and salt."
Cons
"Slightly small quarts capacity"

Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt Ice Cream Maker, 1.5-Quart

Cuisinart

Frozen Yogurt Ice Cream Maker, 1.5-Quart

Overall Take

Multiple Color OptionsThis ice cream maker is available in fire engine red, a delightful pink and bright white.

Experts Included
DWYM Kitchen Experts plus Williams Sonoma, New Kitchen Life, Food & Wine and 1 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Best Buy.
Pros
" The price is good but the ice cream is great! Enough said."
  The Best Value

Nostalgia Electric Ice Cream Maker, 4-Quart

Nostalgia

Electric Ice Cream Maker, 4-Quart

Overall Take

Large CapacityA high-capacity ice cream maker that's easy to clean after you serve a crowd.

Experts Included
DWYM Kitchen Experts plus New York Times Wirecutter, Consumer Search, Family Living Today, Top Best 10 Reviews, Engadget, The Spruce Eats and 2 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" The Nostalgia ICMP400 generates good results for a very low price. It requires ice and salt to freeze the mixture."
Cons
"However, this machine does work best with Nostalgia Ice Cream Mixes, so there is somewhat less room to experiment than with other devices. Some customers also complained that the machine had difficulty with large amounts of added ingredients. If you’re..."

Maxi-Matic Manual Ice Cream Maker, 4-Quart

Maxi-Matic

Manual Ice Cream Maker, 4-Quart

Overall Take

Attractive DesignThere's nothing more satisfying than freshly made ice cream, which you can achieve at home with this attractive ice cream maker.

Experts Included
DWYM Kitchen Experts plus Best Consumer Reviews. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" This all wood bucket has both manual and automatic options and makes frozen treats in 40 minutes. It's also easy to clean and operate."
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
19

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the ice cream makers available to purchase.
12

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

View All Product Rankings

85

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Williams Sonoma, New Kitchen Life, Food & Wine, Best Consumer Reviews, BestReviews.

53,573

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, Home Depot, Walmart, Google Express, Bed Bath & Beyond and 5 others.

Our experts reviewed the top 12 Ice Cream Makers and also dug through the reviews from 85 of the most popular review sites including Williams Sonoma, New Kitchen Life, Food & Wine, Best Consumer Reviews, BestReviews, The New York Times and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Ice Cream Makers.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

Whynter ICM-15LS Automatic Ice Cream Maker, 1.6-Quart

Our Expert Score
9.6
6 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.4
171 user reviews
Our Take

The self-refrigerating ice cream maker is easy to use, allowing you to just fire it up whenever you want a tasty treat. This machine is among the quietest to operate, so you won't have to worry about its churning interrupting your get-together. Its 1.6-quart capacity makes it easy to whip up dessert for your family or a small group of friends.

What other experts liked
The quietest-running maker we tried and the easiest to scoop from and clean. And since it’s a self-refrigerating compressor machine, you won’t have to deal with freezing an insert bowl or futzing with messy ice and salt.
- New York Times Wirecutter
This product incorporates an inbuilt audible timer which enables you to know precisely when your treats are ready. It also features motor drive necessary for automatic shuts off preventing your delicacies from excessive churning.
- Top Best 10 Reviews
The ICM-15LS is simple to use. The 1½-quart removable bowl is easy to lift out, thanks to a built-in handle, so you can scrape out all the ice cream with ease. In our tests, setting up the Whynter machine was...
- Engadget
August 20, 2017 | Full review
No need for pre-freezing, ice, and salt.
- Top 10 Focus
The Whynter is easy to clean and even has a nice “auto-stop” function if things get clogged up. Most importantly, it makes delicious frozen desserts with terrific consistencies.
- Groom and Style
January 10, 2019 | Full review
It's pretty fast, compact and light. The dasher is very efficient.
- Dream Scoops
What other experts didn't like
Slightly small quarts capacity
- Top Best 10 Reviews
One gripe we have with the ICM-15LS is that the opening for adding mix-ins is almost comically tiny at just 2½ by 1 inches.
- Engadget
August 20, 2017 | Full review
Too bulky to use and can make only small amount.
- Top 10 Focus
It does have a tendency to ice up a bit along the sides of the bowl with some recipes, and isn’t quite as good at making sorbet as it is for ice cream (which doesn’t come out quite as creamy...
- Groom and Style
January 10, 2019 | Full review
The controls aren't user friendly and it has 1 year warranty only.
- Dream Scoops

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Nostalgia Electric Ice Cream Maker, 4-Quart

Our Expert Score
9.3
8 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.5
1,338 user reviews
Our Take

If you're looking for a high-capacity ice cream maker, this model is the one to choose. It can make up to 4 quarts of tasty ice cream and is easy to clean once finished. You won't have the convenience of a compressor with this model, though. So, you'll have to freeze the mixing bowl and add salt and ice to get your mixture to the right temperature.

What other experts liked
The Nostalgia ICMP400 generates good results for a very low price. It requires ice and salt to freeze the mixture.
- New York Times Wirecutter
It has an electric motor, so there's no hand-cranking required, and it uses ice and rock salt rather than a gel-filled, pre-frozen canister.
- Consumer Search
This machine features a powerful electric motor and does all the churning, so you don’t have to. It also has an easy-to-clean plastic bucket to make clean up extremely easy as well. Plus, with a see-thru lid, you can sit back and watch as it makes your ice cream for...
- Family Living Today
January 9, 2019 | Full review
Easy to clean and works quickly. An extra container is included and soft-serve ice cream can be prepared at 30 min.
- Top Best 10 Reviews
This simple machine can make up to 4 quarts of ice cream, easily twice the capacity of the others. Though the final product was a bit icy, it wasn't the biggest offender in our testing lineup, and the flavor of the cream really came out in the finish.
- Engadget
August 20, 2017 | Full review
For easy transportation, the machine has a handle and the motor locks when power is off, so all parts stay secure. The interior wipes clean easily when you’re done.
- The Spruce Eats
February 28, 2019 | Full review
This particular model is extremely affordable, which means that you can easily purchase one even if you’re on a limited budget.
- Sweet Ice Cream Love
The added benefit to the Nostalgia ice cream machine is that it’s huge. You can make a full gallon of ice cream, gelato or frozen yogurt in half-an-hour, once you’ve layered your ingredients, the salt and ice into the chilled aluminum canister. That makes it great for family gatherings or...
- Groom and Style
What other experts didn't like
The resulting ice cream is a little icy.
- New York Times Wirecutter
However, this machine does work best with Nostalgia Ice Cream Mixes, so there is somewhat less room to experiment than with other devices. Some customers also complained that the machine had difficulty with large amounts of added ingredients. If you’re interested in sophisticated, flavorful ice cream, you might want to...
- Family Living Today
January 9, 2019 | Full review
Auto shut off not available
- Top Best 10 Reviews
This machine isn't designed for you to add mix-ins while it's running.
- Engadget
August 20, 2017 | Full review
Some users have claimed that they got below-standard results whenever they tried to churn the ice cream at room temperature and consequently found that they needed to constantly freeze the mixing bowl. Also, unlike professional grade appliances, this ice cream maker does require a salt water mixture for best results.
- Sweet Ice Cream Love
Cleaning the Nostalgia ICMP400 can be a pain since it’s not dishwasher-safe and the rock salt can harden to the container pretty quickly. It’s also very sensitive to “not being cold enough” and you might end up with ice cream soup if you’re not careful.
- Groom and Style

Overall Product Rankings

Whynter ICM-15LS Automatic Ice Cream Maker, 1.6-Quart

1. Whynter ICM-15LS Automatic Ice Cream Maker, 1.6-Quart

Overall Score: 9.6
Reviews Included: 8

Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt Ice Cream Maker, 1.5-Quart

2. Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt Ice Cream Maker, 1.5-Quart

Overall Score: 9.4
Reviews Included: 7

Nostalgia Electric Ice Cream Maker, 4-Quart

3. Nostalgia Electric Ice Cream Maker, 4-Quart

Overall Score: 9.2
Reviews Included: 10

Maxi-Matic Manual Ice Cream Maker, 4-Quart

4. Maxi-Matic Manual Ice Cream Maker, 4-Quart

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 3

Lello Musso Lussino Ice Cream Maker

5. Lello Musso Lussino Ice Cream Maker

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 14

Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker

6. Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 19

Cuisinart Pure Indulgence Ice Cream Maker

8. Cuisinart Pure Indulgence Ice Cream Maker

Overall Score: 8.7
Reviews Included: 10

Nostalgia CICM2WB Ice Cream Maker

9. Nostalgia CICM2WB Ice Cream Maker

Overall Score: 8.5
Reviews Included: 5

White Mountain Appalachian Series Ice Cream Maker

10. White Mountain Appalachian Series Ice Cream Maker

Overall Score: 8.5
Reviews Included: 6

Hamilton Beach Automatic Ice Cream Maker, 4-Quart

11. Hamilton Beach Automatic Ice Cream Maker, 4-Quart

Overall Score: 8.4
Reviews Included: 13

Whynter ICM-200LS Automatic Ice Cream Maker, 2-Quart

12. Whynter ICM-200LS Automatic Ice Cream Maker, 2-Quart

Overall Score: 8.2
Reviews Included: 6

Our Ice Cream Maker Findings

Whynter ICM-15LS Automatic Ice Cream Maker, 1.6-Quart

What We Liked: The self-refrigerating ice cream maker is easy to use, allowing you to just fire it up whenever you want a tasty treat. This machine is among the quietest to operate, so you won’t have to worry about its churning interrupting your get-together. Its 1.6-quart capacity makes it easy to whip up dessert for your family or a small group of friends.

Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt Ice Cream Maker, 1.5-Quart

What We Liked: With this ice cream maker, you’ll be able to serve your guests frozen desserts in less than 20 minutes. The machine has a double-insulated freezer bowl, which means you won’t need to add any ice. Since the ice cream maker is fully automatic, all you need to do is add the ingredients.

Nostalgia Electric Ice Cream Maker, 4-Quart

What We Liked: If you’re looking for a high-capacity ice cream maker, this model is the one to choose. It can make up to 4 quarts of tasty ice cream and is easy to clean once finished. You won’t have the convenience of a compressor with this model, though. So, you’ll have to freeze the mixing bowl and add salt and ice to get your mixture to the right temperature.

Maxi-Matic Manual Ice Cream Maker, 4-Quart

What We Liked: Made from hand-crafted solid pine wood, this ice cream maker resembles a bucket. It has a large 4-quart capacity and can make everything from ice cream to sorbet to gelato. Since this model can be operated manually, it’s great for RV and camping trips.

Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Ice Cream & Gelato Maker, 1.5-Quart

What We Liked: This ice cream maker is high-tech with an LCD screen and touchpad controls. Home chefs will also appreciate the built-in 60 minute countdown timer. Additionally, this ice cream maker comes with two paddles – a gelato paddle and an ice cream paddle.

Our Ice Cream Maker Buying Guide

Homemade ice cream is a treasured part of summertime fun. All you need is a good ice cream machine and some ingredients, and you’ll have a deliciously creamy treat. Today’s ice cream makers are built to make the perfect frozen treat with minimal effort. Just fire it up, choose your settings and wait for results.

But not all ice cream makers are built the same. The design plays heavily into how the final product tastes, so it’s important to know what type of ice cream you prefer before you buy. You’ll also find some machines can tackle a wide range of ice cream types, including gelato and sorbet, while others are limited to ice cream with a soft-serve consistency.

One issue commonly seen with homemade ice cream from these machines is a grainy consistency. This is a result of ice crystals that get in the ice cream. If you’re looking for that desired creamy taste, you’ll need to look for a machine that minimizes ice crystal buildup.

There are three major types of ice cream makers. One requires you to add ice and salt, while another has you freezing the bowl ahead of time. The third comes with a compressor, which means you can fire it up and start making ice cream. While the compressor model sounds great, it can also be more expensive, which is a consideration if you’re on a budget.

If you only plan to make ice cream for your own immediate family, you may not have to worry much about capacity. But for those backyard summer barbecues or family reunions, a high-capacity ice cream maker will come in handy. Instead of having to sit by the ice cream maker cranking out batch after batch, you can make plenty of servings for everyone at once and go back to having fun.

DWYM Fun Fact

Before refrigeration, ice cream was a challenging food, only available to the elite. The dessert is thought to have first been consumed back in the fourth century B.C., with Alexander the Great reportedly enjoying snow and ice flavored with honey and nectar. But not until 1660 was ice cream consumed by those other than the very wealthy, rising in popularity in the 1800s with the invention of insulated ice houses.

In 1851, a Baltimore milkman named Jacob Fussell opened the first ice cream manufacturing factory, which led to more locations soon after. When soda fountains began emerging in the late 1800s, ice cream soda popularized ice cream, and a nationwide trend was born.

The Ice Cream Maker Tips and Advice

  • The top reason to invest in an ice cream maker is to make ice cream that tastes far and above what you could buy in the freezer section of your grocery store. For that reason, taste will be an important part of your decision-making process. The Maxi-Matic Manual Ice Cream Maker, 4-Quart creates smooth ice cream in delicious flavors. You’ll need to watch out for ice crystal buildup, though, which can keep it from being as creamy. You’ll also need to experiment a little if you want to make special recipes like gelato. The Whynter Ice Cream Maker also makes tasty deserts with impressive consistencies.
  • If you don’t mind sticking strictly to the manufacturer’s ice cream mixes, the Nostalgia Ice Cream Maker can cook up some yummy batches.
  • If you’ve ever used an ice cream maker, you know they can be noisy. This isn’t a big deal for those times when you’re making ice cream for the family. However, when you’ve gathered all your friends in the backyard for a fun cookout, the whir of the machine can serve as a distraction. The Whynter Ice Cream Maker is also among the quietest ice cream makers.
  • At the end of each use, you’ll have to put your machine in storage until the next time you need it. Unfortunately, cleanup with some ice cream makers can be complicated and frustrating. The Nostalgia Ice Cream Maker has an interior you can just wipe down when you’re finished, but it’s important to act quickly since the rock salt can be difficult to remove once it hardens. The Whynter Ice Cream Maker is not only easy to clean, but if the unit experiences clogs, it has an auto-stop function to give you time to get things cleaned out and working again.
  • Although they can be pricier, a compressor-based ice cream maker can come in handy. The Whynter Ice Cream Maker is self-refrigerating, so you can just start making ice cream when you’re ready. The Nostalgia Ice Cream Maker requires you to freeze the mixing bowl and add ice and salt in order to freeze the mixture. Fail to keep it cold enough, and you’ll likely end up with a milkshake rather than scoop-worthy ice cream.
  • Some ice cream makers have a keep-cool function. That means you can get it started and walk away, knowing that your ice cream will still be delicious even if you don’t return immediately.
  • If you plan to make ice cream for large groups, you’ll want to make sure you choose one with enough capacity to handle it. The Nostalgia Ice Cream Maker leads the pack with its ability to make up to 4 quarts of ice cream. The Whynter Ice Cream Maker has a 1.6-quart capacity, while the Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt Ice Cream Maker, 1.5-Quart can only make 1.5 quarts.
  • With peak capacity, though, comes another issue. The Nostalgia Ice Cream Maker is large and heavy, at 15 by 17 by 16 inches. However, it weighs only 6.4 pounds, compared to the Whynter Ice Cream Maker’s 27 pounds. This is something to consider if you’re thinking about storage and portability.

About The Author

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Stephanie Faris 

Stephanie Faris is a novelist and professional writer. She's also a foodie who loves trying out new cooking techniques and tools. She is addicted to meal preparation kits and regularly shares photos on social media of her creations. Her favorite thing about traveling is trying out new restaurants and tasting different cuisines.