Homemade ice cream is delicious and great fun to make. You can customize the flavors and use your choice of ingredients to get the perfect frozen treat for you and your family. Modern ice cream makers are simple and easy to use, and are available in a range of sizes, shapes and capacities to suit your specific needs. So, if you are thinking of adding an ice cream maker to your kitchen, we have you covered. Check out our list of the best available ice cream makers.
The Best Rated Ice Cream Maker
Cuisinart ICE-21 is a simple and easy to use ice cream maker that can also create delicious sorbets, frozen yoghurts and frozen drinks in less than 20 minutes. The fully automatic system means that to get your delicious frozen treat, you just add your chosen ingredients to the mixing bowl and turn on the machine. Easy to clean, the large capacity mixing bowl means you can make up to 1 ½ quarts of your chosen frozen treat.
The spout on the ice cream maker enables you to add ingredients during the freezing cycle without any mess or fuss. The double insulated walls of the freezer bowl contain a cooling liquid to ensure even freezing throughout and to speed up the entire process.
Easy-lock transparent lid
Double insulated freezer bowl
Nonslip rubber feet
When you need to make a lot of ice cream in a short space of time the Hamilton Beach 6833ON is the ice cream maker you need. It is capable of producing up to 4 quarts of your favorite frozen treat in 40 minutes or less.
The fully automatic and easy to use machine can create ice cream, gelato, sherbet, frozen yoghurt and custard. The easy lock lid ensures that your ingredients stay in the ice cream maker, and when you have finished the machine is quick and simple to clean by hand.
4 quarts capacity
Easy lock lid
Comes with user manual and 20 recipes to try
- BrandHamilton Beach
- Weight6.5 lbs
If 4 quarts is just too much ice cream, the automated Cuisinart ICE-70 could be ideal. This machine produces 2 quarts of ice cream in 20 minutes thanks to its specially designed paddle.
An ingredient spout, with built in measuring cup, is incorporated into the lid, ensuring that you can add different ingredients to your mix in just the right amounts. As well as ice cream, the ICE-70 makes sorbet, frozen yoghurt, and gelato, all at the touch of a single button. The digital LCD screen shows you how long you have left before your treat is ready, and includes an auto shut off.
2 quarts capacity
LCD control panel
3 settings and multiple speeds
Digital countdown timer with auto shut off
Ingredients spout with measuring cup
- Weight13.5 lbs
The stylish brushed metal and red or silver design of the Cuisine ICE-30R makes it a must have addition to any kitchen. The double insulated freezer bowl has a 2 quarts capacity. The heavy duty motor and automatic mixing paddle combine to bring you an ice cream maker that is capable of producing your favorite frozen dessert or drink in as little as 25 minutes. Adding ingredients to your ice cream or frozen yogurt mix is easy with the large capacity ingredient spout.
Double insulated freezer bowl
2 quarts capacity
Heavy duty motor
Large ingredient spout
- Weight2.3 lbs
The automated Nostalgia ICMP400BLUE enables you to make large quantities of gelato, frozen yogurt or ice cream at the touch of a button. The easy to wash plastic bucket and aluminum canister allow for 4 quarts of your chosen frozen treat to be created, while the powerful electric motor means you don’t have to wait too long for it to be ready. The lid and lid cap that are included with the maker can be used to store leftover ice cream in the freezer.
Easy to clean
4 quarts capacity
Convenient carrying handle
See-thru lids for easy viewing
Powerful motor that locks in place
Includes manual with recipes
- Weight6.3 lbs
This unique and stylish stainless steel ice cream maker is self-contained and does not require pre-freezing. It effortlessly creates over 2 quarts of your favorite frozen dessert and has a built in audible timer to alert you to when your treats are ready. It also features a motor protection function. This shuts off the ice cream maker if the mixture freezes solid; protecting the unit from damage. The extended cooling function prevents your ice cream from melting, while the removable churn blade and bowl mean that the unit is easy to clean and store.
2 quarts capacity
Extended cooling function
Motor protection function
Removable bowl and churn blade
- Weight24.25 lbs
The Gourmia GSI170 allows you to create premium grade frozen desserts and ice creams with ease and in less than 30 minutes. The simultaneous churning and freezing action ensures perfect smoothness every time, while the automated LCD screen allows you to select your settings and check how long you have to wait for your frozen goodness to be ready. The easy pour spout means you can add your favorite nuts or sprinkles to the mix with no mess or fuss, creating the perfect combination of tastes for you.
3 pints capacity
Digital timer with LCD display
Easy pour spout
Includes recipe book
- Weight7.72 lbs
Combining versatility with unique style the White Mountain Ice Cream Maker can make up to 6 quarts of ice cream in one go. The triple motion action dasher system and the powerful 12,000 rpm motor work together to create perfect ice cream every time. The workings and canister are contained within a New England pine bucket that is bound with galvanized hoops and electroplated fittings for strength and durability.
6 quarts capacity
Triple motion action dasher system
12,000 rpm electric motor
Stainless steel canister and lid
New England pine outer bucket
- BrandWhite Mountain
- Weight19.2 lbs
Ice Cream Maker Buying Guide & FAQ
Buying our own ice cream maker can seem a little challenging, yet it can provide hours of joy once it becomes part of your kitchen. Before you start enjoying all those tasty treats however, you need to know how to buy the right one from you from the plethora that are on offer. Read on for tips on buying the best ice cream maker for your needs.
How Does an Ice Cream Maker Work?
The principle behind an ice cream maker is a relatively simple one. A central canister is turned and chilled allowing the mixture inside to become ice cream. The same basic principles apply to creating gelato, sorbet, and frozen yogurt. Different ingredients can be added to the basic mixture to develop different tastes and textures within the frozen dessert you are making.
Ice cream makers consist of three primary parts – external drum, canister and central churn. The central churn is placed inside the canister holding the ice cream mixture. This is then placed inside the external drum. The churn rotates inside the canister stirring and scraping the mixture away from the sides of the canister. In doing this it redistributes the mixture ensuring it is evenly chilled and stirred. However, it is more common now for ice cream makers to have motors that rotate the canister, and for the churn to stay still.
As well as being stirred to thicken the mixture, it also needs to be chilled, and there are several ways this can be achieved. Traditionally ice and rock salt are packed into the space between the outer drum and the canister to lower the temperature. Where this method is used, the ice and salt need to be replenished as the ice melts. Another method used is to have the canister or bowl double insulated and the space between the walls filled with a liquid that can be frozen. This removes the need for ice but means that the canister needs to be placed in the freezer, usually for 24 hours, before it can be used. A third way in which the temperature of the mixture can be lowered is with an electronic cooling system. This system is an integrated part of the ice cream maker, removing the need for ice or pre-cooling.
Features to Look For
Ice cream makers differ greatly in shape, size and capacity, so it is important that you get the right one for you. Most machines state their maximum capacity, and while they can make less, they work best when filled to that capacity.
- Method of production
Ice cream makers can be manual, semi-automatic, or fully automatic. They type you choose determines the amount of effort you need to put in to create the perfect ice cream, as well as the length of time it takes for the ice cream to be ready.
- Cooling method
Ice cream makers cool the ingredients to freezing point either through using ice, a pre-cooled canister or using an electronic cooling system. The latter tend to be the more expensive models, but require less preparation and no pre-cooling time, so you can make your ice cream without having to prepare your bowl in advance.
- Locking lid
The last thing you want is for you ice cream ingredients to shoot out everywhere as you turn on your machine. A locking lid helps prevent this. Choosing an ice cream maker with either a clear panel in the lid, or a digital timer, reduces the need to open the lid to check on the progress of your ice cream. Not only does this reduce the risk of mess and spills, but also ensures the process takes less time and creates a smoother ice cream.
- Ingredients spout
Purchasing an ice cream maker with an ingredients spout means you can add to your basic mixture without interrupting the freezing and stirring process. It also means that your sprinkles, nuts or other additions are mixed thoroughly and evenly throughout your ice cream mixture.
- LCD display
This makes it much easier to know how long your mixture has left before it is ready. It also makes choosing and checking your settings easier, reducing the risk of mistakes that could turn your gelato into a solid lump.
- Program modes
Most ice cream makers are multi-purpose, but it is essential that you check that the model you are considering creates the frozen treat that you want. Different ingredients and outcomes require different temperatures and mixing speeds to create.
Can You Make More Than One Flavor at a Time?
You can only make one flavor at a time in a single canister ice cream maker, but once you have mastered the basic ice cream recipe you can experiment to your hearts content, creating a different combination each time.
Getting the basic recipe right, is however essential. If the base for your ice cream is wrong, then the flavor, consistency and texture will also be wrong.
For a basic vanilla ice cream, you need eggs, sugar, pinch of salt, milk, cream and vanilla. You will also need access to a mixing bowl, whisk, measuring spoons and cups, colander and a saucepan. You will of course also need your ice cream maker – with the canister or bowl pre-cooled if required.
The most complex part of the process is creating the custard that goes into the ice cream maker, and it is vital that you do not rush this part of the process. Start by whisking the eggs, sugar and salt together until light and frothy. Next, heat the milk and cream gently until it starts to simmer. Add this mixture to the eggs slowly, while whisking constantly. If you add the milt too quickly you will end up with scrambled eggs.
Once combined place back in a saucepan and heat gently until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. This takes around 5 – 8 minutes. When ready strain the mixture through the colander and allow to cool before adding the vanilla.
Make sure the mixture is completely cool before adding to your ice cream maker and following the manufacturers instructions to create your perfect ice cream.
Tips When Using an Ice Cream Maker
- Read the instructions
It may sound obvious but reading the instructions through before you start preparing your ice cream mix can help you to avoid complete disaster. It can be tempting to acquaint yourself with the finer points of the workings of the machine as you go along but doing this can lead to more of the mixture ending up over you and your kitchen, than actually makes it into the machine.
- Use the right ingredients
While it is possible to make almost any flavor of ice cream, it is important to start with the right basic ingredients. If you are new to making ice cream don’t try to experiment with low fat options, such as using half and half, until you are confident using full fat milk and cream. The fat content of the basic ingredients affects the consistency and creaminess of the finished product. Quality is also important. What ever ingredients you use, make sure they a of good quality as this too affects the taste and appearance of the completed ice cream.
- Let it cool
Make sure your custard mix is completely cool before you place it in your ice cream maker. If you are using a maker with a pre-cool bowl, then it also needs to be cooled properly before use. This usually takes between 12 and 24 hours. Where you need to use ice and salt to cool the mixture, ensure that you have enough to replenish the drum as the ice melts.
- Add flavors at the right time
Always ensure that the custard mixture has completely cooled before adding flavors, particularly if using extracts or alcohols. Adding them while the mixture is still warm will cause the flavor to deteriorate. The same care needs to be take if you are adding extras through a pouring spout during the ice cream making process. Too few and you will be hunting for the extras. Too many and you will lose the taste and consistency of the original ice cream. Also ensure that the piece you add are chopped to the size of a regular chocolate chip. If the pieces are too big they could interfere with the stirring and cooling process.
- Starting the motor first
This is particularly important if you are using a machine with a pre-cooled bowl or canister. Having the motor on before pouring in the custard mixture stops the mixture from freezing to the sides of the bowl on contact and creating lumpy ice cream that is full of ice crystals.
- Check the lid
It is a simple mistake to make, especially if you are busy. If your ice cream machine lid is not locked in place, then not only will the cold air escape, but so too could the mixture.