The best ice cream makers can help you make delicious frozen treats in just a few minutes. With our top recommendations, you'll be able to find an ice cream maker for your kitchen regardless of whether you want an automatic ice cream maker with a lot of features or something that’s a bit cheaper and more straightforward.
Best Overall Ice Cream Maker
Cuisinart Gelato and Ice Cream Maker
- Easy to use and maintain
- 5-year warranty
- The powerful compressor removes the need to pre-freeze the bowl
- Relatively expensive
- Reviewers found it to be quite noisy
The Cuisinart has a capacity of 1.5L and allows you to make the perfect batch of ice cream in around 40 minutes. There’s no preparation required, and you can add toppings to your liking from through the hatch up top. You also get two different mixing paddles for either standard ice cream or gelato, and both sets of paddles can be removed and washed in the dishwasher.
The Cuisinart is also good for frozen yoghurt if you’re looking for a healthier alternative or if you simply want to experiment with more recipes and flavours. You also get a digital timer with a “Keep cool” option. This essentially prevents your ice cream from melting as long as it’s in the bowl and the lid is shut. However, keep in mind that this feature only prevents melting for around 10 minutes at most.
Best Budget Ice Cream Maker
Davis & Waddell Electric Ice Cream Maker
- Super cost-effective
- Very easy to use
- Makes ice cream in around 30 minutes
- Not every freezer compartment is compatible with the large size of the bowl
- No extra features
The Davis & Waddell ice cream maker is incredibly easy to use and only has an on/off switch. The device can make ice cream by itself, but you also have the option to speed things up with a spatula. You can add toppings through the chute in the lid at the top.
D&W’s ice cream maker has only three components: the lid, the whisk in the middle, and the bowl, meaning that cleanup is incredibly easy. The bowl has a 1.5L capacity, which is actually pretty sizeable. The problem is that you’ll need to put the bowl in the freezer for around 8 hours before you can actually start preparing your frozen treats, so you’ll need to have a freezer compartment that’s at least 30 centimetres tall.
Speaking of, this isn’t a device that assists you in making different recipes with specific timings and settings, but if you’re just looking for an inexpensive simple device for frozen treats, then this might be one of the best ice cream makers that you can get.
Best Premium Ice Cream Maker
Breville the Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker
- Allows both automated and manual operation
- Has an alarm that notifies you when the process is completed
- 2-year warranty
- The bowl only has a capacity of 1L
- The machine is very heavy and takes up a surprisingly large amount of space
Ice cream is an exact science, and even slightly different settings can result in a large variation in the taste and texture. The Breville makes sure that you get exactly what you want from your ice cream maker by providing you with a lot of useful settings and options.
You have a timer that can be set between five minutes and three hours, a pre-cool setting that can freeze the bowl if you’d like some frozen yoghurt, and even a knob that adjusts the “softness” of your ice cream.
The keep cool function on this device can also maintain the temperature inside the bowl for a few hours, whereas other ice cream makers can usually only maintain it for less than 30 minutes. Additionally, the bowl, lid, and spatula can all be removed and hand-washed, which makes cleanup much more convenient.
Best Manual Ice Cream Maker
Chef'n Sweet Spot Ice Cream Maker
- Easy to use and clean
- Makes ice cream incredibly quickly
- Takes a lot of time to prepare it for use
- Very limited capacity
The Chef’n Sweet is essentially a large bowl that you need to freeze for 24 hours before you can use it, and then you simply mix the ice cream batter and add any toppings or flavours that you like. It’s incredibly easy to use, and you can have your first ice cream cone done in just a few minutes.
The size of this item only allows for very small portions of ice cream at a time, so it’s not the ideal tool if you’re entertaining guests. It's the simplest ice cream maker you can find, however, it’s still an ice cream maker that’s incredibly cheap, simple, and fun to use, so if that’s all you’re looking for, then this could be the one for you.
Best Ice Cream Maker Brands
Breville ice cream makers have a few more features and settings when compared to their competitors. These are usually the best ice cream makers when it comes to automation since they can do everything for you, and you’ll get a consistent taste and texture.
Cuisinart ice cream makers are also high-quality products, but they generally come with fewer options. This is often actually seen as a good thing since they’re incredibly easy to set up and use.
How to Choose The Right Ice Cream Maker
Can Ice Cream Makers Be Used to Make Gelato and Frozen Yogurt?
The short answer is: yes. The difference between making standard ice cream, gelato and frozen yoghurt is the ingredients that are used as well as the settings.
Keep in mind that having an ice cream maker with a timer and different softness settings will make things much easier when it comes to making frozen yoghurt or gelato. You could probably manage to make any sort of frozen dessert with even a basic ice cream maker, but it’s going to take a bit more work, and the final product probably won’t end up as tasty as what you would get if you had an appliance with a few more features. So, in a nutshell, if you have timer and softness settings on your ice cream maker, you can make gelato and frozen yoghurt as well.
Which Ice Cream Makers Add the Most and Least Air?
Air is often an overlooked factor in making ice cream, which is weird since it’s the most important ingredient when it comes to how soft the ice cream is. The amount of air that you get in your ice cream will depend on the speed of the spinning whisk and how long you keep it going.
Simply put, the more time the ice cream stays in the maker with the whisk rotating, the more air is infused. You’ll also want to maintain a certain speed since you’ll want the whisk to make the ice cream softer.
In essence, the best machines for adding air into your ice cream are the ones that can maintain a controlled speed for a long period of time, so you’re looking for an appliance that has a timer and a speed setting at the very least. You can also skip all the calculations and learning required and just get yourself an ice cream maker that comes with a predetermined softness setting.