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The Best Ice Cream Makers for Homemade Treats

Last updated on May 21, 2024
Best Ice Cream Maker

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Our Picks For The Top Ice Cream Makers

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
  The Best Overall

Musso Lello 4080 Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval

Musso Lello

4080 Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker

This ice cream maker is simple to use: just pour in the ingredients and push two buttons. This gadget has a 1.5-quart capacity and can make 3 quarts within an hour. You can make sorbet or ice cream.

Overall Take

High-End Fully Automatic OptionAll you have to do to get delectable ice cream at home is pour in the ingredients and push two buttons.

  The Best Value

DASH Compact Homemade Ice Cream Maker, .4-Quart


Compact Homemade Ice Cream Maker, .4-Quart

Available in red or aqua, this ice cream maker is perfect for creating a healthy homemade dessert. It's also ideal for portion control, as it creates just a single serving. All you need to do is add the ingredients and press the churn button and in 30 minutes it's ready to eat.

Overall Take

Budget-Friendly PickThe economical price tag on this ice cream maker makes it affordable for most.

 Runner Up

Elite Gourmet 3-Step Easy Clean Ice Cream Maker, 4-Quart

Elite Gourmet

3-Step Easy Clean Ice Cream Maker, 4-Quart

Create your favorite ice cream flavor the old-fashioned way using this bucket-style ice cream maker. Once you add the ingredients, you'll use the hand crank to churn them into a smooth dessert. You can even get the machine with a pine, mint or cream lid.

Overall Take

Old-Fashioned DesignThis ice cream maker has a large 4-quart capacity.

 We Also Like

Cuisinart BPA-Free Easy Lock Ice Cream Maker, 1.5-Quart


BPA-Free Easy Lock Ice Cream Maker, 1.5-Quart

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.

Overall Take

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

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.

What to Look For

  • 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. Look for a model that creates smooth ice cream in delicious flavors. You’ll need to watch out for ice crystal buildup, though, which can keep the ice cream from being as creamy. You’ll also need to experiment a little if you want to make special recipes like gelato.
  • 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. Look for a model that runs quietly, as there are a few that meet this criteria on the market.
  • 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. Look for an ice cream maker that 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. Some units are not only easy to clean, but if the unit experiences clogs, they also have 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. Look for a model that is self-refrigerating, so you can just start making ice cream when you’re ready. Some ice cream makers require 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. Some models have the ability to make up to 4 quarts of ice cream, while others can only make 1.5 quarts.
  • With peak capacity, though, comes another issue. The ice cream maker may be large and bulky, as well as heavy, weighing anywhere between 6.4 and 27 pounds. This is something to consider if you’re thinking about storage and portability.

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