Best Ice Cream Makers Consumer Reports

10 Best Ice Cream Makers Consumer Reports of 2022

On a hot summer day, nothing beats cooling off with a couple of scoops of ice cream, and if it’s homemade, all the better. If you have food allergies or are otherwise looking to avoid certain ingredients, making your own ice cream gives you that freedom.
The convenience of making ice cream at home with a dedicated ice cream maker begs the question: which model should you buy?

We gathered several of the best-selling models, from fully automatic to electric to soft-serve, and compared them in a head-to-head lab experiment. We evaluated each ice cream maker on a number of criteria, including how simple it was to operate, how attractive its design was, how evenly distributed the mix-ins were, how simple it was to clean, and how good a deal it was. A small number were also sent to our expert home testers in order to gain even more valuable feedback.

Our team has spent countless hours researching and testing ice cream makers to compile this list of the top models currently available.

Top 10 Ice Cream Makers Consumer Reports: Editor Recommended

The 10 Best Ice Cream Makers Consumer Reports Review:

1. Cusinart ICE-70P1 2-Quart Cool Creations Ice Cream

Cool Creations Ice Cream
  • SUPERIOR FUNCTION: Create two quarts of delicious frozen treats in just 20...
  • CAPACITY: Makes 2-quarts of your favorite ice cream, frozen yogurt, gelato or...
  • MUST-HAVE FEATURES: LCD screen, 3 settings with multiple speeds and a countdown...
  • INCLUDED: Ingredient spout with integrated measuring cup for easy pour with less...
  • LIMITED 3-YEAR WARRANTY: Refer to user manual for troubleshooting steps and...

One of the first firms to market an electric ice cream maker for home use, Cuisinart is dedicated to constantly innovating their product line. Our in-depth laboratory and real-world testing led us to conclude that the ICE-70 is the best option for most people. This one includes an LCD display and a straightforward control panel, and it can produce two quarts of ice cream at a time.

The mixing paddle’s speed can be adjusted to suit ice cream, gelato, or sorbet using the dedicated settings. For each choice, a default time is established; this can be changed, if desired, at any time. The equipment powers down by itself when the allotted time has passed. Our in-house product tester particularly liked the authentic gelato option because of the slower churn.

We found that the Cuisinart performed better than competing freezer bowl models we evaluated in the lab. Once the bowl is frozen, it was really simple to assemble, and the resulting ice cream was silky smooth. There’s a measuring cup that can be taken out of the lid to hold up to half a cup of toppings, and once it’s out, you can use the convenient pour spout to add them to your ice cream. The ability to stir contents without opening the container was a hit with both our home tester and our Lab tester. Additionally, the upright compact shape made this a breeze to keep in our lab, and the lightweight construction made it simple to transport from one spot to another in the kitchen.

The paddle on this device was exceptional as well. We added a handful of M&Ms to a batch of ice cream, and they quickly spread out across the dessert. The freezer bowl and paddle were both easy to clean with some warm soapy water and a sponge.

The churning process on this ice cream machine can be quite noisy. It’s also not possible to whip up a batch of ice cream on the spur of the moment because the 2-quart freezer bowl needs to be chilled for at least 12 hours for the best results. We recommend keeping it in the freezer so you may satisfy your ice cream appetite anytime you get the need.

The ICE-60 is a great alternative to the ICE-70 if you can’t find it, as it has the same basic layout and functions, minus the automatic timer.

Pros

  • Built-in timer
  • Automatic and manual modes
  • Opening for adding ingredients

Cons

  • Heavy freezer bowl
  • Loud

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2. Cuisinart ICE-21RP1 1.5-Quart Frozen Yogurt

1.5-Quart Frozen Yogurt
  • SUPERIOR FUNCTION: The new patent-pending mixing paddle makes frozen treats in...
  • COOL FEATURE: Double-insulated freezer bowl eliminates the need for ice
  • CAPACITY: Makes up to 1-½-quarts of your favorite ice cream or frozen yogurt
  • EASY TO USE: Easy lock transparent lid with large spout makes adding ingredients...
  • LIMITED 3-YEAR WARRANTY: Refer to user manual for troubleshooting steps and...

Cuisinart is a trusted brand when it comes to ice cream makers and has a model to match any budget. The ICE-21 may not have all the bells and whistles of some of the brand’s higher-end models, but it’s entirely automatic and promises to create superb handcrafted ice cream in 20 minutes. Our home tester found the catch, though, is that you need to have a pre-frozen bowl.

The method is straightforward and designed to be mess-free. As a “cold-scrape” model, the double-insulated freezer bowl easily slips into the base, the mixing paddle fits into that, and the plastic lid holds everything together. As the bowl spins, the paddle scrapes frozen batter from the interior walls and mixes it back into the mixture. After roughly 20 minutes, our home tester had fully churned ice cream that resembled soft serve. At that moment, you do need to get everything into the freezer promptly to avoid crystallization.

Even with the simple design, this may help you whip up a wonderful batch of ice cream. If you wish to add mix-ins, just pour them directly into the freezer bowl when the batch is almost done spinning. This device has a lesser capacity (1.5 quarts) than some of Cuisinart’s other models, so be cautious of batch size when you’re following recipes. Our tester did suffer overflow during testing when she utilized a recipe that wasn’t entirely scaled down. However, cleanup is straightforward. “Even the laziest dessert aficionados won’t find much to complain about here,” our tester noted.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Easy to clean
  • Produces texture similar to soft serve

Cons

  • Smaller capacity than other similar models
  • Need to freeze bowl 24 hours before use

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3. Nostalgia ICMP400BLUE 4-Quart Electric Ice Cream Maker with Easy Carry Handle

Electric Ice Cream Maker
  • This Unit makes 4 quarts of delicious ice cream, frozen yogurt or gelato
  • Pair with Nostalgia ice cream kits
  • With a plastic bucket that wipes away messes with ease
  • Store Leftover ice cream in the freezer, a see thru lid is included
  • A carrying handle attached to the bucket makes it to move around

This entertaining device is ideal if you like the concept of an old-fashioned ice cream maker but need to produce vast quantities. The Nostalgia maker uses ice and salt to freeze the ice cream, just like traditional ice cream makers, but the cranking mechanism is electric, so you don’t have to put in as much effort to receive your sweet rewards.

Getting the salt-and-ice stacking exactly right and making sure the inside container is flush with the bottom were the two most important factors in producing delicious ice cream, according to both our at-home and in-Lab tests. Even though it’s not specified, you should probably have at least one 8-pound bag of ice and three cups of salt on hand. After everything is put together, you run the motor for 30 minutes on a timer. At the end of the process, you’ll have enough ice cream to fill up to four standard freezer containers with soft, creamy ice cream. In tests, it did well with add-ins too, however doing so required pausing the machine and taking off the motor and top entirely, making it less convenient than machines with canister openings.

Our evaluation team discovered that, like other salt-and-ice machines, this makes a lot of noise when churning. You can also get a bucket full of salty, icy water. Because of these drawbacks, you should probably avoid using it in the kitchen and move it to the porch instead.

When not in use as an ice bucket, the plastic one can be put to other uses. The machine incorporates a carry handle and an automatic locking motor to keep its components safe when it is not in use. Even if cleaning is simple, you should be careful when carrying the heavy bucket of melted ice to the sink, as it is easy to spill. The manufacturer also produces ice cream mix that can be used with this machine, making ice cream preparation a breeze. If you don’t feel like coming up with your own ice cream recipe, you may always use one of the ones provided.

Pros

  • Electric cranking mechanism
  • Large capacity
  • Churns fluffy ice cream

Cons

  • Motor is loud
  • Less precise than a formulated freezer bowl

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4. Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker

Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker
  • Note: Kindly review the videos under the image section and user manual under...
  • 12 hardness settings; sorbet, frozen yogurt, gelato, and ice cream,Capacity 1.5...
  • Self refrigerating compressor: Voltage: 110 to 120 Volts Power: 165 watts
  • Fully automatic or manual functionality: Keep cool setting for up to 3 hours
  • Pre cool setting to optimal operating temperature

This Breville ice cream maker is a good investment if you want to make ice cream frequently. The ice cream machine freezes as it churns thanks to a compressor similar to that found in window air conditioners. This eliminates the need to defrost and refreeze a dish in between uses. In addition, it features 12 calibrated settings for different levels of softness, so you can get a scoop of vanilla ice cream that can stand up to a root beer float without melting.

With the press of a button, the machine may be set to “pre-cool” and be ready to start churning instantly, with the help of built-in thermometers. Our in-house taster favored the “Softer to Harder” setting, which, unlike a single consistency option, allows you to select between ice cream and sorbet of varying hardnesses. Regrettably, gelato does not come with a slower churn setting.

Our laboratory studies showed that this method consistently generated light and airy ice cream. The lid’s finger loop makes it simple to open and close, and there’s little little in the way of preparation required. This made it easy to add flavorings, and they mixed in uniformly. Even though it’s a bulky compressor and sits on your counter, maintenance and cleaning are breezes. Both the bowl and the paddle may be removed for easy cleaning.

Keep in mind that the compressor makes this the heaviest ice cream maker on the list at a staggering 30 pounds, and the large footprint makes it less than ideal for those with smaller kitchens.

Pros

  • Ready in a few minutes
  • 12 hardness settings
  • “Keep cool” feature

Cons

  • Large and heavy
  • Warms rapidly when the cover is open

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5. Whynter ICM-200LS Automatic Ice Cream Maker 2 Quart Capacity Stainless Steel

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Automatic Ice Cream Maker
  • Award Winning: Best ice cream maker Rachael Ray Every day magazine and...
  • Stainless steel housing; Reliable built-in audible timer
  • 2.1 quart (2 liter) capacity; -0.4ºF to -31ºF Cooling temperature
  • BPA-free aluminum removable mixing bowl and churn blade for easy storage and...
  • LCD timer control; Motor Protection Function that shuts off to prevent damage if...

If you’re ready to splurge on a countertop ice cream maker, consider this compressor-style model, which is cheaper than the Breville on our recommended list. There’s no need to pre-freeze the bowl with this compressor model, and it can produce up to 2 quarts of ice cream, so you can throw a small ice cream party whenever the mood strikes. The vegan ice cream we created with this machine was the clear winner of our lab testing. This Whynter model produced delicious vegan cookie dough ice cream with a creamy texture, whereas some ice cream makers struggle to handle fat alternatives as well as cream.

Beyond frozen yogurt and sorbet, it also produces traditional dairy ice cream. Our lab guinea pigs had little trouble getting it up and running, and they found that the mix-ins were distributed evenly. As an added bonus, the Extended Cooling feature will make sure your masterpiece doesn’t melt as soon as it’s finished. The ice cream scoop that came with the unit was a big hit with our tasters; it made scooping the finished product into a cone a breeze.

The bowl insert is made from a material that can be cleaned by hand, and the exterior is made from corrosion-resistant stainless steel while still looking stylish. Even though it’s a large machine, our guinea pigs had no trouble rearranging it on the kitchen island. The only drawback is that it’s very loud. The machine’s top latch also proved difficult to secure.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Extended cooling setting
  • Includes scooper

Cons

  • Loud
  • Expensive

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6. KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Stand Mixer Attachment

Sale
Ice Cream Maker Stand Mixer Attachment
  • In small batches and enjoy right out the bowl.
  • Powered by the KitchenAid Stand Mixer* Fits all Tilt-Head Stand Mixers, except...
  • Frozen Treats in Under 30 minutes Our 2 quart bowl lets you make your favorite...
  • Bowl Easily Connects to your KitchenAid Stand Mixer* Redesigned assembly and new...
  • Redesigned Dasher for Thorough Ingredient Incorporation Rotates inside the bowl...

This ice cream maker is a good option if you already own a KitchenAid stand mixer and don’t want to make room for yet another device in your kitchen. This ice cream attachment may be used with both tilt-head and bowl-lift mixers and features a freezing bowl and a spinning dasher that function similarly to the paddle.

If you want perfectly frozen ice cream, you should freeze the 2-quart bowl for 24 hours before using it. Maintain its readiness for use by stowing it away in that location, preferably at the back where it will be exposed to the coolest temperatures. Remember that in a hot kitchen, this bowl will warm up rapidly and begin to sweat, so it’s a good idea to keep a kitchen towel underneath to soak up the condensation.

On average, churning time for ice cream is 30 minutes each batch. Soft-serve enthusiasts can eat the ice cream straight from the bowl in the freezer, but those who want a tougher scoopable consistency should freeze it first. You’ll need to keep an eye on this type as you churn because, unlike some dedicated machines, it doesn’t have an automated shutoff.

Our product tester found that this accessory was inconsistent when used to freeze ice cream of varying flavors. Her basic vanilla batch never entirely frozen, so she froze it along with the other two flavors, which turned out to have a creamy, whipped soft-serve consistency. All the batches came out tasting great and were evenly blended. The mixture will still freeze and taste fine even if you have problems with the freezing process. As an added bonus? It operates at a lower volume than most dedicated ice cream machines.

The dasher and drive assembly can go in the top rack of the dishwasher, while the mixing bowl is readily cleaned by hand.

Pros

  • Simple and straightforward attachment
  • Produces creamy results
  • Quiet

Cons

  • Inconsistent freezing
  • No automatic shutoff

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7. Cuisinart ICE-21P1 Ice Cream and Sorbet Maker

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Ice Cream and Sorbet Maker
  • SUPERIOR FUNCTION: The new patent-pending mixing paddle makes frozen treats in...
  • COOL FEATURE: Double-insulated freezer bowl eliminates the need for ice
  • CAPACITY: Makes up to 1-½-quarts of your favorite ice cream or frozen yogurt
  • EASY TO USE: Easy lock transparent lid with large spout makes adding ingredients...
  • LIMITED 3-YEAR WARRANTY: Refer to user manual for troubleshooting steps and...

The price-to-benefit ratio of this compact version is unrivaled. It does away with the need for salt and ice or an expensive compressor by using a pre-frozen, coolant-lined canister to cool down the ice cream base. When the canister is completely frozen, it churns faster than any other model we tested, producing ice cream and other frozen treats with a velvety texture. This inconspicuous design features a single button, a snap-on cover, and a compact body that fits snugly in confined locations.

Highlighted Features:

  • Pre-frozen, coolant-lined canister to chill down the ice cream base
  • Eliminates the need for salt and ice or an expensive compressor
  • Short length of time to churn up ice creams and other frozen desserts

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8. Cuisinart ICE-100 1.5-Quart Ice Cream and Gelato Maker

Ice Cream and Gelato Maker
  • SUPERIOR FUNCTION: The Cuisinart fully automatic ice cream maker with commercial...
  • CAPACITY: Makes 1.5-quarts of your favorite ice cream, frozen yogurt, gelato or...
  • CONTROL: 60-minute countdown timer with touchpad controls and blue LCD readout...
  • SPECIAL FEATURES: 2 paddles, 1 for gelato and 1 for creamy ice cream with a...
  • LIMITED 3-YEAR WARRANTY: Refer to user manual for troubleshooting steps and...

This Cuisinart compressor type combines the easy operation and modest design of the canister model with the added bonus of being able to freeze food on its own. Making ice cream in this way requires no advance preparation, and you can churn as many servings as you like without sacrificing quality. Because it is one of the more compact compressor types we evaluated, this appliance may be easily hidden away in tight quarters.

Highlighted Features:

  • Compressor model with minimalist design
  • Self-freezing capabilities

 

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9. Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker

Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker
  • Note: Kindly review the videos under the image section and user manual under...
  • 12 hardness settings; sorbet, frozen yogurt, gelato, and ice cream,Capacity 1.5...
  • Self refrigerating compressor: Voltage: 110 to 120 Volts Power: 165 watts
  • Fully automatic or manual functionality: Keep cool setting for up to 3 hours
  • Pre cool setting to optimal operating temperature

A compressor in this device, like the one in the Cuisinart ICE-100, chills the ice cream base before you even add it. The Breville stands out because it has iconic ice cream truck sounds that play when the ice cream is done churning, as well as 12 hardness settings and pre-cool and keep-cool choices.

Highlighted Features:

  • Compressor chills ice cream base
  • Comes fully loaded with 12 hardness settings and pre-cool/keep cool options
  • Classic ice cream truck tunes that alert you when your ice cream is done churning

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10. Hamilton Beach 68330N Automatic Ice Cream Maker

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Automatic Ice Cream Maker
  • Delicious versatility - Make ice cream, frozen yogurt, custard, sorbet, gelato...
  • Fully automatic - no stirring needed. Just add ingredients, ice & rock salt –...
  • Over 20 recipes included - Try the recipes inside or create your own unique...
  • Easy-lock lid - Easily fits on top and locks in place with a quick turn
  • 4 quart capacity - The perfect size for families and special occasions

This salt and ice-cooled equipment is as wonderful as a time machine if you’re longing for the days of homemade ice cream. Using a motorized churn is a modern innovation that allows you to enjoy all the fun of producing ice cream the old-fashioned way without all the work. The canister of this budget-friendly model can store up to a gallon of ice cream base, which is subsequently frozen by layers of salt and ice.

Highlighted Features:

  • Churns ice cream at an easy speed
  • Includes a motorized canister for constant churning action
  • Can hold up to a gallon of your favorite base flavor

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Buying Guide: What to Look When Choose Ice Cream Maker

a) Machine Size

There’s no denying that ice cream machines aren’t exactly a must-have in most kitchens, which makes the case for keeping one cold. The fact that most people love a scoop or two of cold, very smooth ice cream at any time of year makes experimenting with them worthwhile. Consequently, an ice cream maker is probably going to be a pleasant addition to your kitchen if you can find a model that fits your storage space.

The sizes of ice cream makers range from compact single-serve devices that take up very little space to enormous compressor ones that are cumbersome to move around the house because of their weight and lack of portability.

b) Batch Size

The capacity of different ice cream producers varies. You should think about how much ice cream you need or want to create at once while searching for an ice cream machine.

There are ice cream makers that can make as little as a single serving or as much as six quarts (twenty-four cups) at once. The most common versions generate between one and two quarts (four to eight cups).

If you have a big family or want to create a lot of ice cream for a party, a high-capacity machine is an excellent choice. However, larger machines often struggle to properly process ice cream in smaller quantities. A machine that can make smaller batches is ideal if you want to experiment with new recipes frequently.

c) Settings and Options

A simple on/off switch may be all that’s needed to operate even the most basic ice cream machines. There are also machines that have timers, auto-off functions, “keep cool” settings, additional freezer bowls, gelato-specific programs, specialized paddles, and more.

Compressor-style ice cream makers, in comparison to other models, typically have more customization choices and controls. There are times when a simple model that does its one job well is all that’s needed, despite the benefits of having options and multifunctional appliances.

d) Ability to Make Multiple Batches

It depends on the model of ice cream maker you buy whether or not you can produce several batches at once. Most freezer bowl ice cream makers can only make one batch of ice cream before the bowl needs to be refrozen for use again. Having a second freezer bowl makes it much simpler to whip up several batches in quick succession. A second or third batch can be made with greater ease using compressor models. As long as you have enough ice and salt to keep the machine cool, the salt-and-ice variants can also handle as many batches as you need.

Theoretically, certain ice cream makers can churn out an infinite supply of ice cream, but the engine of less sturdy models can get too hot while churning hard ice cream. You may want to consider investing in a low-end commercial model rather than a home ice cream maker if you frequently plan on making several batches of ice cream for major parties and gatherings.

e) Power Source

Adding ingredients to an electric ice cream machine, pressing the start button, and waiting for the ice cream to finish churning is as simple as it sounds. It’s very similar to utilizing a slow cooker or other equipment that requires minimal interaction from the user in the kitchen.

Because churning ice cream might take 20 minutes or longer, and the labor becomes more difficult as the ice cream solidifies, manual machines demand more work (and strength). You can take a manual ice cream maker with you on trips, camping, and the beach, and everyone, even the kids, can pitch in and churn the ice cream without worrying about an electrical outlet. To use some manual models, all you need to do is mix the ingredients in a frozen dish and set the machine to work.

f) Freezing Style

Frequently, ice cream makers require the use of a freezer bowl or insert that must be frozen before the ice cream can be churned. You’ll need to wait for the bowl to freeze again if you want to make a second batch, which is inconvenient if your freezer is already full. Compressor variants allow you to continuously churn, but they are typically bulkier and more costly. Traditional ice and salt chilling is also used by some ice cream manufacturers.

g) Price

Many high-quality electric ice cream machines can be had for under $100. Depending on the features and quality you’re looking for, ice cream makers can range in price from around $30 to several hundred dollars for high-end compressor units that function like miniature freezers. Old-fashioned ice cream makers that use salt and ice need you to buy salt and bags of ice every time you wish to create ice cream, which may add up quickly.

h) Warranty

Most ice cream makers come with a one-year guarantee covering factory defects, but you may discover models with extended or shorter coverage. Failures later in the product’s lifecycle are more likely to be the result of regular wear and tear, which is not covered by a standard warranty, whereas failures early on are more likely to be the result of a defect in manufacturing.

If you have bad experience with appliances or want coverage for accidental damage, you can get extended warranties for most electronics; nevertheless, a good ice cream machine that has not been abused should last for many years after the guarantee expires. It is important to read the fine print before making a purchase because most extended warranties do not become effective until the manufacturer’s warranty has expired.

Conclusion

Our favorite option is the Cuisinart ICE-70 Electronic Ice Cream Maker because of its many convenient features, including a gelato setting and a timer. Also, it can be used in both manual and automatic settings. Choose the KitchenAid Stand Mixer Ice Cream Maker Attachment if you already have a KitchenAid mixer taking up counter space and you don’t make ice cream very often. This ice cream maker is not only convenient and easy to operate, but also produces delicious frozen treats.

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