Best Ice Cream Machine

We don’t have to be in the dog days of summer to crave cool and refreshing ice cream. Even if you’re living a dairy-free lifestyle, you can still enjoy this yummy creamy dessert if it’s made from coconut milk.

When you make your own ice cream at home, you can have the flavors you want and not just the ones available at the store. Investing in an ice cream machine gives you the freedom to let your imagination go wild to create what you and your family enjoy. And, since it’s all fresh and you choose the ingredients, you know it will be the healthiest version of this creamy treat you can find — no fillers and nothing artificial.

There are a lot of different ice cream machines on the market to serve different needs. We narrow down the search to help you find the one that best suits your sweet tooth.

1. Editor’s Choice: Cuisinart ICE30BC Ice Cream Maker, 2-Qt

You and your family love ice cream and you would have it every day, all year round if you could. Hence your search for the right ice cream machine.

The Cuisinart ice cream machine allows you to indulge in two quarts of creamy ice cream any time you want. And with its two-quart capacity, everyone in your house can get his or her fill and no one gets left out.

Measuring 8.25 x 8 x 11.25 inches and weighing 12 lbs., this sleek-looking brushed stainless-steel model will sit nicely on your countertop or tuck neatly away in a deep drawer or cupboard for when you’re ready to use it. Fully automatic, the machine features a heavy-duty motor and a double-insulated freezer bowl that contains cooling liquid to create fast and even freezing. The easy-lock lid with a large spout makes adding ingredients simple and mess free.

Churn out ice cream — or sorbet or frozen yogurt — in as little as 25 minutes. That’s less time than it takes to get dressed, hop into the car, and drive to the local ice cream store or supermarket. And it’s easier on the wallet, too.


  • Clear and concise instructions included
  • Comes with recipes
  • BPA free
  • Non-slip feet keep the base stationary during use


  • Not dishwasher safe
  • Ice cream comes out soft and needs to be “cured” in the freezer to become hard
  • Some users said the machine was very noisy

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2. Runner Up: Nostalgia Electric Ice Cream Maker

If you’re a fan of days gone by and love the look of an old-fashioned home-made ice-cream maker but don’t look forward to the fuss of hand-churning, then look no further than this electric model.

With its large four-quart capacity, this ice cream machine from Nostalgia is great for party time – or any time. The wood exterior is reminiscent of the old-fashioned ice cream makers of the past, but you won’t have to put out much energy or work too hard to make a batch of cool deliciousness. Measuring 12 x 12 x 16 inches and weighing less than nine pounds, this model is conveniently compact, lightweight and has a powerful motor to do the work for you.

Once you have added your ingredients to the aluminum canister, you place it into the middle of the bucket, layer with ice and salt and the electric motor does the rest. Customize your flavors by adding things like strawberry preserves, cookie dough, candy pieces and much more. When everyone is done enjoying the ice cream, you can use the included lid cap to store leftovers in the freezer — that is, if there are any leftovers.


  • Large four-quart capacity
  • Easy to clean
  • Recipes included


  • May be too large for some uses
  • Need to and ice and rock salt

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3. Best Single Serve: DASH My Pint Electric Ice Cream Maker Machine

Many ice cream machines churn out two, three or four quarts of the cool tasty treat at a time, too much for a single person, or anyone looking to cut down on their portions size. If you love ice cream, want to make some at home but find the machines too expensive or too large, then this little machine is for you.

This cute-looking ice cream maker measures 8.5 x 5.4 x 4.4 inches, weighs less than a pound and makes up to 1.6 cups of cool ice cream. Compact and lightweight, there is no complicated assembly required and it’s so easy to use. Customize your recipes with everything from chocolate and caramel to sprinkles or your favorite fruit preserves, then just push the button and in less than 30 minutes, you’ll be enjoying a creamy, sweet treat.

This machine is comprised of a cooling bowl, mixing spoon, recipe book, and access to a recipe database. All non-electric parts are easily wiped clean, or you can safely put those parts into the dishwasher. This small, individual-use ice cream machine makes a great gift for your favorite ice-cream loving teen.


  • Affordable
  • Good for single portions
  • Compact


  • Noisy
  • Small portions

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4. Best Manual: ZOKU Ice Cream Maker

Sometimes you’re in the mood for some delicious homemade frozen yogurt but don’t want to commit to a large electric model. No problem. If churning by hand and making ice cream without using electricity or batteries appeals to you, then we recommend this cute little model.

The Zoku make and serve ice cream machine makes soft serve ice cream in as little as 10 minutes, and a harder version in around 20 minutes, no electricity needed!

Measuring 5.5 x 5.5 x 3.75 inches and weighing only 1.1 pounds, you can literally take it anywhere. Keep in mind, though, that the canister needs to be in a freezer prior to making frozen treats.

With this ice cream machine, you can make ice cream in the backyard or at the cottage. So convenient, you can make and serve your delicious frozen treat out of the same bowl. Just pour in your chilled ice cream mixture, churn and scrape the stainless-steel bowl. Watch as it solidifies as you churn. It’s also easy to clean, just hand-wash with warm water.

Included with this model are a six-ounce stainless steel bowl, a protective sleeve and a spoon. Available in a choice of six colors, it’s BPA and phthalate free. Healthy, delicious, and affordable, it makes a great gift.


  • Lightweight and portable
  • Doesn’t need electricity
  • Includes a recipe booklet
  • BPA and phthalate free


  • Makes small portions
  • Takes physical energy to work
  • Need to wait for the bowl to warm up a bit before cleaning it

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5. Best Versatile: Ninja NC299AMZ CREAMi Ice Cream Maker

This next choice on our ice cream machine recommendation list is more expensive than some of the others mentioned, but for the extra dollars, you get a lot more features that will add to the pleasure of making ice cream.

Firstly, this machine does not only make ice cream — it will easily make gelato, smoothies, milkshakes and more. And when we say easily, we mean it. The machine has seven pre-set one-touch programs that each create the right combination of speed, pressure, and time to make a frozen pint.

Choose between ice cream, sorbet, gelato, milkshake, smoothie bowl, lite ice cream​ and mix-in. You can even make a dairy-free version. The Creamerizer technology finely shaves and churns ice particles into a creamy end result. There is also a re-spin function so if after processing the first time the result is not creamy enough for your taste, it will process a second time.

Measuring 6.52 x 12.07 x 15.95 inches, the machine’s slim, vertical design will easily fit out of the way on your countertop or in a cupboard when not in use. And when the ice cream is done, the containers, lid and paddle are top-rack dishwasher safe.


  • Versatile
  • Seven one-touch pre-sets
  • Booklet with 30 recipes that includes ingredient substitutions
  • Re-spin function


  • Need to freeze mixture first
  • Pricey

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6. Best High-End Choice: Whynter ICM-201SB Upright Automatic Ice Cream Maker

We’ll say it right out the gate — this is the most expensive ice cream machine on our recommendation list but if you’re not on a budget, it’s worth the investment if you’re looking for a model that is the complete deal that takes making ice cream to a whole new level of ease and perfection.

Equipped with a compressor, the machine is self-contained, meaning you do not have pre-freeze your ice cream mixture before turning it into a creamy treat. Measuring 10.75 x 12.5 x 14.25 inches, the stainless steel machine, which makes ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet, is packed with features. A soft-touch LCD panel connects you to various functions such as the pause button, so you add ingredients or check on the process, and selecting from three different modes: ice cream mode, cooling only mode and mixing only mode.

When the ice cream making cycle is over, the machine will prevent the mixture from melting and there is another function that stops the motor from churning to prevent overheating or damage to the motor when the mixture becomes solid. The built-in compressor freezer allows for continuous use without the inconvenience of pre-freezing the mixing bowl.


  • Built-in compressor
  • No pre-freezing of mixing bowl or ingredients
  • Audible timer
  • 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit to -31 degrees Fahrenheit


  • Expensive
  • Heavy

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7. Best Budget Buy: Hamilton Beach 68330N Automatic Ice Cream Maker

Being on a budget isn’t always fun, but it doesn’t mean you have to give up all the things in life that give you joy — like ice cream. Going to the ice cream parlor to buy a cone or even purchasing a quart at the supermarket can add up. Plus, especially with cheaper brands, the list of ingredients is often long and filled with things that aren’t always healthy.

This affordable ice cream maker from Hamilton Beach will save you trips to the store while saving you money in the long-run. And because it’s so versatile — it also makes frozen yogurt, custard, sorbet, gelato and sherbet — you can please all the different tastes in your family, or if you’re on your own, have a different treat every night..

The ice cream machine is fully automatic. All you do is add the ingredients, ice and rock salt and it does all the stirring, stopping when your ice cream is ready. If you’re new to the home-made ice-cream game, the machine comes with a booklet with more than 20 recipes, plus you can create your own unique flavors by adding candy, cookies pieces or fruit.

The four-quart capacity is perfect for families, special occasions and for the single ice-cream lover, leftovers!


  • Fully automatic
  • Simple to follow recipes
  • Versatile
  • Easy to use, even for beginners


  • Requires a lot of ice
  • Noisy

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8. Also Consider: Elite Gourmet EIM916 Old Fashioned Ice Cream Machine

Ice cream is the premier choice of a sweet dessert treat at a party, especially at a kid’s birthday celebration. The home-made variety is the freshest and the healthiest around but when there’s a large crowd, no one wants to be left out in the cold if the creamy stuff runs out before everyone’s had their fill.

Enter this large, six-quart capacity ice cream machine from Elite Gourmet. While it may look like an old-fashioned ice-cream maker, there’s nothing old-fashioned about the way the 90-rpm motor quickly churns your ingredients into delicious ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt or gelato. Although, if you do want to teach the kids something and go the old-fashioned route, it does come with a hand-crank, just in case.

Easy to use, just mix your ingredients, put them in the heavy-duty aluminum canister, assemble the machine, add ice and rock salt, and turn it on. The ice and rock salt keep the canister at an optimal 10 degrees Fahrenheit while the motor turns a six-fin paddle that whips air into the ingredients to produce a smooth, rich soft serve ice cream. The paddle also crushes cookies, fruit, chocolate chips or toppings of your choice, integrating them into the mixture. Use your own recipes or follow the ones in the manual.


  • Quiet operation
  • Large capacity
  • Strong motor


  • Pricey
  • Needs ice and rock salt

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What to look for when choosing an ice cream machine:

The capacity

Like most kitchen appliances, ice cream machines come in all sizes, and that can affect the quantity of cool treats it can make at a time. From small units that produce less than two cups to ones that churn out up to six quarts, there’s something for all needs so consider how much ice cream you’ll want to consume in one sitting, or if you want extra to store in the freezer.

Options and features

If you love ice cream but also enjoy other frozen treats like gelato, sorbet and frozen yogurt, choose a versatile model that allows you to make these options. Although most ice cream machines also make frozen yogurt, if you also want gelato, sorbet and milkshakes, you will have to pay a bit more to get more.

If you are looking for an easy-to-use ice cream machine, then chose one with a powerful motor that really churns the ingredients up quickly. If you don’t want the hassle of freezing the container for up to 24 hours before you make the ice cream or freezing the ingredients, look for a machine with a built-in compressor, but those will come with a higher price tag.

Having an electric model at any price point is convenient as it does all the work for you, with no physical effort needed on your part. However, if you don’t want to waste electricity or use batteries, consider a manual model that makes ice cream using a hand crank and man (or woman) power.

Other features to consider include non-skid feet or a non-skid base; automatic pre-sets to take the guesswork out of it; a detailed recipe book, especially if you are a beginner; and a container with a lid to store ice cream in the freezer.


It’s great to have fresh homemade ice cream every time the mood hits you, but if the machine is difficult to clean, it may take the joy out of the process. Look for a model that is dishwasher safe or comes apart easily with non-electric parts that are easy to hand wash.

Photo credit: zannaz/Shutterstock

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