If you’re a fan of ice cream (and, come on, who isn’t?), you’ve probably thought about making your own.
You can, of course, do it in a truly old-fashioned way, stirring your ice cream mixture by hand every half hour in between freezing it. But, you’d do a lot better with an ice cream maker.
Electric ice cream makers, however, aren’t prohibitively priced. Well, you can go in for a semi-professional ice cream maker (we’ve got one of those too) and pay plenty. But, you can expect to pay between $40 and $75 for a solid ice cream maker that will give you the most delicious ice cream, gelato, sorbet, or other frozen treats in less than an hour.
Sounds delicious, right?
After hours of research, we’ve put together the best ice cream makers you can get today. Whether you choose the cuisinart ice cream maker, the kitchenaid ice cream maker, or another top fave from our list we think you'll be pretty happy.
This is one of the few dishwasher-safe ice cream makers on the market. You can get a quart of ice cream in less than half an hour.
It’s a manual ice cream ball that produces great ice cream, but you really need to work for it.
This is one of the coolest ideas ever. It’s a ball that you fill with ingredients on one side and the salt and ice on the other side. Then you carefully seal the ball and play with it for half an hour. That’s fun, right? Okay, you need to put in quite a bit of labor for a small amount of ice cream. But, kids love it, and it is a good way to earn a treat. Plus, it’s quiet, affordable, and dishwasher safe.
How much ice cream can you make? About a quart. There’s also a pint-size version as well.
How long do you need to wait? You’ll need to put in between 20 and 30 minutes of labor to make a small amount of ice cream. That’s not bad on the timing, but you need to put in some effort.
How much room does it fill? It’s rather small at 9.5 inches all around. And it weighs less than 3 pounds – unfilled. It’s closer to 7 pounds filled.
Is it difficult to clean? Mercifully, it’s dishwasher safe. We really love that.
Will it break the bank? Nope. The MSRP is less than $50 and you should pay closer to $40. But, you can also find automatic machines for that price. So, it’s really up to you whether you want the game or ice cream without the effort.
It’s a rather sexy machine and it works wonderfully well. It takes all the guesswork out of making frozen treats with time controls.
It only makes 1½ quarts at a time. And then, there’s the nasty price tag.
Just for a moment, imagine that you can afford this ice cream maker without batting an eye. You will enjoy the creamiest, most delicious ice cream in half an hour. And, you’ll have it without a noisy mess. Once you’ve made a batch, albeit a small one, you can immediately begin making another. That’s pretty awesome. It’s also compact and easy to maintain. It’s everything we would want in a home ice cream machine – except for that hefty price.
How much ice cream can you make? Okay, okay… it only makes 1½ quarts of ice cream at a time. And, when you pay this much for a machine, you probably expect more. But, it does make up to 3 quarts in an hour and you don’t need to wait for the bowl to freeze in between batches.
How long do you need to wait? You’ll get a quart and a half in 30 minutes.
How much room does it fill? It’s remarkably compact given its advanced features - 12 x 18 x 11 inches. Of course, that does account for the smaller amount of ice cream you can make at a time.
Is it difficult to clean? It’s not bad at all. Not dishwasher-safe, mind you – but not bad.
Will it break the bank? Yes. It will. It costs over $700. That’s the absolute downside to this machine. If it cost less than $300, we imagine that nearly every family would have one. It’s that good. But it is ridiculously expensive.
It’s electric – and the small size is 4 quarts (there’s also a 6-quart size available). There’s also a see-thru lid so you can see inside.
It’s a noisy salt and ice machine that requires a little more cleaning than you may want to deal with.
If you don’t want to spend a fortune, but you want a lot of ice cream, you should take a look at this maker. It’s got pros and cons, but it does make fine ice cream. It’s an electric model that works with salt and ice (which is a little more intensive) and it is noisy. But, it does the job. And, although it’s made of plastic (though not dishwasher-safe plastic), it’s rather sturdy. So, pros, cons… you decide.
How much ice cream can you make? The smaller model makes 4 quarts; the larger model can give you as many as 6 quarts.
How long do you need to wait? It’s totally dependent on the amount of ice cream you want to make, but you should have ice cream in about 45 minutes to an hour. However, it may take a bit longer as this isn’t the most efficient machine.
How much room does it fill? The smaller size is 15 x 17 x 16 inches and weighs a little less than 6 pounds. So, it’s not compact, but the weight is proportionate to its size. We like that.
Is it difficult to clean? It’s not the easiest ice cream maker to clean. But, it’s not super hard either. However, you need to be very certain you remove all the salt after every use.
Will it break the bank? No. The smaller size should set you back about $30. The larger size is $40. Neither one can be called expensive. You will find more efficient machines for this price, but you will struggle to find one that makes as much ice cream at a single time.
It’s compact, it’s light, and it’s fully automatic with an easy lock lid. It also produces a terrific amount of ice cream in a reasonable amount of time.
The freezer bowl thaws quickly. And, let’s face it, it’s a rather ugly option compared to some of the other ice cream makers on our list.
If you’re considering getting into the ice cream making game, but haven’t tried it yet, you may want to start with this electric appliance. We know it’s not a pretty machine. And, we know it’s almost ridiculously loud. But…
It operates with a mere on/off switch, crafts a good wallop of ice cream, and it all comes at a terrific price. Who cares if you wear it out trying every recipe in the included booklet? It’s less than $30. You probably spend that much going out for ice cream.
How much ice cream can you make? You can make up to 4 quarts of ice cream with this ice cream maker. And, that’s exceptional for the price.
How long do you need to wait? Depending on how much ice cream you plan to make, you can expect it 20 to 40 minutes. A half hour or so, for that amount of ice cream, is rather good.
How much room does it fill? It’s not the smallest ice cream maker on the list, with dimensions of 15.3 x 12.5 x 11.1 inches and is quite light at 6.5 pounds.
Is it difficult to clean? No. It’s not difficult, but you can’t put any of the pieces in the dishwasher. Bummer.
Will it break the bank? The price is the reason we love this ice cream maker. The MSRP is $35, but you’ll get it for less than $30. You have to love that.
The heavy-duty motor works well with the 2-quart freezer bowl. And, there’s a large ingredient spout for easy mixing.
Some users find the motor slows after about a year. It depends, however, on how often you use it. If you make ice cream every day, you need a much more expensive ice cream maker.
This is a tiny electric ice cream maker. And, it’s quite powerful. You’ll need to put the freezer bowl in the freezer for six hours before using it. You’ll get smooth ice cream in about 40 minutes and the recipe book offers plenty of suggestions. Additionally, it’s quite a quiet machine that will provide you with 2 quarts of ice cream.
So what’s the drawback? It’s not as speedy or robust as our top fave. While the numbers of users experiencing motor issues aren’t high, we’ve found that you can’t use this machine too frequently, or it becomes more likely you experience a problem.
How much ice cream can you make? It’s a 2-quart freezer bowl, which is very generous (even more than our top Fave).
How long do you need to wait? You’ll need to wait about 40 minutes for 2 quarts of ice cream. That’s not the best for household electric machines, but not terrible either.
How much room does it fill? It’s quite a compact appliance, measuring a mere 8 x 8.25 x 11.25”. It weighs 12 pounds, which makes it seem much heavier than it should. But, it shouldn’t be much trouble to store between uses.
Is it difficult to clean? None of the parts are dishwasher safe, but cleaning isn’t a huge issue – as long as you don’t wait too long to get it done.
Will it break the bank? Not at all. You should be able to get it for about $55 or $60 and that’s very good for a small appliance of this caliber. In fact, given the benefits of this machine, we think it’s an excellent value for the money.
This large-capacity ice cream maker has a double insulated freezer bowl to eliminate the need for ice. And, the transparent lid locks easily, making this a mess-free machine.
It’s not silent. Not even close.
There’s a lot to love about this electric ice cream maker. It’s compact yet efficient. The price is rather incredible. It works swiftly (you’ll get a batch in less than 20 minutes). The recipes included with the instruction manual are delicious and include sorbets, frozen yogurts, and gelato. And, operation is almost as simple as closing and locking the lid, pushing the on button, and pouring ingredients through the lid. (Just so you know, the freezer bowl must be stored in the freezer until ready to use.)
The biggest drawback to this ice cream maker? It’s super noisy. There’s no way you can surprise your children with ice cream or hide your addiction from others in the house. But, going back to all those benefits… we have to forgive this appliance for the sound. It’s really a clever little machine and it makes incredibly smooth ice cream very quickly. Even Serene Herrera, the Recipe Developer, Writer and Food Photographer behind HouseofYumm.com, found time to praise it in a piece featured in the Huffington Post. Incidentally, you need to take a look at it if you want the best recipe for Dulce de Leche ice cream.
How much ice cream can you make? It makes up to 1½ quarts of ice cream in a single go.
How long do you need to wait? You don’t have to wait more than 20 minutes. That’s often much faster than getting in the car to track down the nearest ice cream shop. You kind of have to love that.
How much room does it fill? It stands less than a foot tall. The actual dimensions are 10.8 x 10.8 x 15.8 inches. It also weighs a mere 10 pounds. So, the footprint isn’t huge and storage should be relatively easy.
Is it difficult to clean? Sadly, you can’t put parts in the dishwasher. If you could, we would love it even more. But, you need to wash the parts that touch your food by hand. The body of the machine, of course, requires little more than a wipe down after every use.
Will it break the bank? For an electric ice cream maker that’s super simple to operate, we think the price is right. You’ll pay less than $50 and that’s not bad at all. Plus, imagine how much you’ll save on your ice cream addiction.