The 8 Best Ice Cream Makers for At-Home Dessert Bliss (2024)

The 8 Best Ice Cream Makers for At-Home Dessert Bliss (1)

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A home with an ice cream maker is a good home indeed. Sure, you can just hop in the car and head to your local ice cream shop, but there’s nothing quite like mixing up a dairy dream from scratch. It’s fun, cost-effective, and even a novice cook can figure out how to use these straightforward machines. Whether you have your eye on a double chocolate prize or are all about that strawberry scoop, we’ve got the ice cream maker for you.

The Best Ice Cream Makers

What to Consider

Ready to avoid those snaking lines at your local scoop shop? Dreaming of customizing the pint of your dreams (please pass the peanut butter cups)? Desperately in need of entertainment for the kiddos on a sweltering hot day? If your answer is “yes” to any of the above, we probably don’t need to convince you, but we’ll say it anyway: You need an ice cream maker.

When picking out an ice cream maker, the main things to consider are your budget and time, how much kitchen countertop real estate you have to spare, and what features matter most to you.

  • Size & Weight: Ice cream makers can vary in weight from 10 to 30 pounds, and a standard pick can produce between 1 and 2 quarts of ice cream (a half-gallon you’d buy at the store is 2 quarts).
  • Additional Features: As far as additional features go, consider if auto-programming options are something you want and the types of goodies the machine can make (traditional ice cream, soft serve, gelato).

It’s also important to note that regardless of which product you choose, ice cream making will likely be a somewhat time-consuming activity. For example, some machines require pre-freezing a mixing bowl overnight, while others simply have slower churning times. So if ice cream on the fly matters to you, you might want to invest in an ice cream maker with a built-in compressor since that means faster churn times. And like most kitchen appliances, ice cream makers are known to be pretty noisy. Rest assured that whichever one you pick will churn out the perfect scoop to satisfy your sweet tooth.

How We Evaluated

To test the best ice cream makers, you have to make a lot of ice cream. Thankfully, we were up for the challenge and welcomed opportunity to whip up chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and funky mix-ins pints galore. We also did extensive research from sources like our sister site Good Housekeeping and other trusted outlets like Wirecutter and New York Magazine, as well as poring over customer reviews online.

For our picks, we zoomed in on ice cream makers that are simple to use, easy-to-clean, sturdy, and have a price point of under $350. We also paid attention to any extra bells and whistles (because who doesn’t want colorful sprinkles on display for fancy mixed-in toppings?) All stand out for their own reasons and are devoted workhorses for ensuring ice cream o’clock is always near.

1

Best Overall

Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Ice Cream and Gelato Maker

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Want to make professional-quality ice cream? This 32-pound beast of a machine gets our top vote for making luscious gelato and ice cream without having to leave the comfort of your own home.

Featuring a 1.5-quart capacity, fully automatic operation with a 60-minute countdown timer, and separate paddles for gelato and ice cream, we’re yet to meet a frozen treat we didn’t love from the Cuisinart ICE-100. (Bonus: The commercial quality compressor-freezer means you can make ice cream whenever you please sans wait time.)

The lid is transparent, which makes adding in mix-ins while churning is just a tad more fun. And with the convenient “Keep Cool” function to keep your ice cream or gelato chilling at the right consistency, homemade ice cream may fast become a beloved weekly ritual in your household.

More: Snow Cone Makers for Icy Fun All Summer Long

Key Specs

Weight:27.20 Pounds
Dimensions:16.73 x 12 x 9.33 Inches
Capacity:1.5 Quarts

Available in red, white, and pink, this ice cream maker has an average review of 4.7 stars on Amazon. You’ll have ice cream, frozen yogurt, or other frosty delights ready in 20 minutes, thanks to this automatic machine. It's a small and mighty machine weighing in at just over 10 pounds, with a capacity to make up to 1.5 quarts. All you have to do is add your ingredients to the bowl, press “on,” and find something fun to do for the next 20 minutes, like meditate to get yourself in top mental form for all the fro-yo you’re going to eat.

The roomy spout helps keep the mess at bay while you prep your frozen delight, and the lid is simple to lock down when it’s go time. No ice is necessary, but the freezer bowl must be frozen for somewhere in the ballpark of 16 to 24 hours, so spontaneous sorbet breaks may not be feasible.

Phrases that we kept seeing again and again in the review section were “easy to use” and “highly recommend,” but some customers told cautionary tales about the loudness of the machine, which, unfortunately, is pretty unavoidable on the ice cream making front.

Key Specs

Weight:9.5 x 9 x 11.25 inches
Dimensions:10.14 Pounds
Capacity:1.5 Quarts

3

Best Ice Cream Maker Attachment

KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment

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Product Description: If you’re already a KitchenAid stand mixer owner, you can’t go wrong with this handy attachment that boasts more than 4,500 five-star reviews on Amazon.

With just this little 6-pound attachment, sweet tooths can enjoy ice cream, frozen yogurt, gelato, or sorbet in under 30 minutes. The dasher, which rotates inside the bowl, easily spreads, scrapes, and mixes all of the ingredients needed to make your favorite frozen treat, and we like that the smartly designed freeze bowl gives you even freezing throughout the mixing process. This attachment makes up to 2 quarts of ice cream at a time.

(For more useful KitchenAid attachments, we have you covered here.)

When Good Housekeeping tested this attachment, it made the smoothest ice cream in their test (it struggled with sorbet, if that’s a dealbreaker for you). Cleaning is a breeze with warm, soapy water. Worth noting: You may need to buy an adapter ring so the attachment fits properly.

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4

Best Splurge

Whynter ICM-201SB Upright Automatic Ice Cream Maker

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There’s good reason The New York TimesWirecutter gave this ice cream maker its top accolades, calling it “one of the easiest to use, scoop from, and clean.”

We agree, and we’re also loving its built-in compressor, meaning you don’t have to worry about pre-freezing the mixing bowl every time a craving for ice cream hits. With a 2-quart capacity, this ice cream maker also features an LCD timer control and a BPA-free stainless steel removable mixing bowl and churn blade. The pause button also gets our thumbs-up since it allows you to do a quick consistency check or add extra fruit or mix-ins as needed.

Another neat perk that we’ve come to love about the Whynter ICM-201SB is that when you’re done with an ice cream-making cycle, the machine stops the mixture from melting by keeping it at the right temperature.

This is one of the pricier models to have made our cut, but if your personal color preferences or kitchen décor is cool with it, you can snag a similar black and pink version of this ice cream maker for less.

With a relatively small countertop footprint thanks to its vertical design, it’s worth mentioning that this machine is nearly 25 pounds, so it’s a schlep to move around.

Key Specs

Weight:25 Pounds
Dimensions:12.5 x 10.75 x 14.25 Inches
Capacity:2.1 Quarts

5

Most User-Friendly

Cuisinart ICE-70 Electronic Ice Cream Maker

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Make up to 2 quarts of ice cream and more with this intuitive machine that comes with automatic modes for ice cream, gelato, and sorbet for your convenience. Models are available with and without a countdown timer and with an optional freezer bowl add-on. (FYI: Keep the 2-quart freezer bowl in the refrigerator overnight for best results, as this model doesn’t have a compressor.)

There’s a lot to love here. It’s easy to clean, straightforward to use, lightweight at just 13.5 pounds, and the selections of recipes it comes with are virtually foolproof. Visually, the brushed metal makes for an attractive appearance in your kitchen.

Now, let’s talk about the noise. It’s somewhat loud, so you might want to step into another room when it’s doing its thing. When a cycle is complete, it shuts off automatically, which is another nice feature to have.

Key Specs

Weight:13.50 Pounds
Dimensions:9.74 x 8.62 x 13.22 Inches
Capacity:2 Quarts

6

Best for Big Batches

Hamilton Beach 68330N Automatic Ice Cream Maker

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If you “all scream for ice cream,” and that quite literally means you have a lot of mouths to feed, this 4-quart automatic ice cream maker is an excellent choice.

To use, you’ll add your ingredients, ice, and rock salt, place the lid back on top and let the machine run for around 35 minutes. The versatile machine lets you make ice cream, custard, sherbet, and more and comes with more than 20 recipes to get you started on your sugar-fueled journey.

This ice cream maker earned a spot on Insider’s list of the best ice cream makers in 2021. “There's no reason to spend big bucks when the Hamilton Beach 4-Quart Automatic Ice Cream Maker turns out such good ice cream at a bargain price,” they wrote of the machine, which currently will set you back only $39.99 on Amazon.

You pay for what you get, so for the price, don’t expect it to have much longevity with heavy use or offer any fancy bells and whistles like other choices that got our seal of approval.

Key Specs

Weight:5 Pounds
Dimensions:15.3 x 12.5 x 11.1 Inches
Capacity:4 Quarts

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7

Best for Kids

Hand2mind Play and Freeze Ice Cream Ball

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This Amazon’s Choice ice cream maker is the best of the bunch when it comes to manual functionality (no electricity needed). Simply add your ice cream base mixture to the lightweight 2.15-pound ball and then ice and rock salt and get to shaking. In about 30 minutes, you’ll have a homemade batch of ice cream.

It also has the bonus of getting kids interested in helping with and learning about the process. Some call it a STEM education tool; we just call it fun.

We think the best part about Hand2mind's product is the ice cream-making experience itself. Another bonus? Customers rave about the easy cleanup. The main drawback here is that this ice cream maker only makes 1 pint.

Key Specs

Weight:2.2 Pounds
Capacity:1 Pint

8

Best Smart Machine

Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker

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The 8 Best Ice Cream Makers for At-Home Dessert Bliss (11)

Now 17% Off

Okay, smart tech enthusiasts, this one’s for you. A favorite of Good Housekeeping, choose from 12 hardness settings (yup, that's a thing) for your next perfect batch of ice cream, sorbet, and the like with a high-quality self-refrigerating compressor and a capacity of up to 1.5 quarts.

Good Housekeeping praises this 30-pound machine for its backlit LED display, a keep-cool setting, and the aforementioned compressor. We praise it for the ease of use that has even an ice cream-making novice feeling confident in their skills from the get-go.

At nearly $500, this brushed stainless steel machine will cost you a pretty penny, but if sweet tooths run rampant in your household (read: Your wife is sending you to the corner deli regularly for a pint of chocolate ice cream on the regular), it may well be worth the investment.

“This is worth every penny. It is so much fun. My favorite part is you can make so many different types of ice cream,” wrote one satisfied Amazon customer, who used it to make traditional ice cream and gelato before developing an obsession for making vegan gelato with almond and coconut milks.

On the negative side, some users complained that leaking can be a problem (always make sure you measure ingredients as accurately as possible to help prevent such overflow).

Key Specs

Weight:30 Pounds
Dimensions:15.75 x 11 x 11 Inches
Capacity:1.5 Quarts

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Perri O. Blumberg

Perri is a New York City-born and -based writer; she holds a bachelor’s in psychology from Columbia University and is also a culinary school graduate of the plant-based Natural Gourmet Institute, which is now the Natural Gourmet Center at the Institute of Culinary Education. Her work has appeared in the New York Post, Men's Journal, Rolling Stone, Oprah Daily, Insider.com, Architectural Digest, Southern Living, and more. She's probably seen Dave Matthews Band in your hometown, and she'll never turn down a bloody mary. Learn more at VeganWhenSober.com.

The 8 Best Ice Cream Makers for At-Home Dessert Bliss (2024)
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