Compare the best ice cream makers

Make delicious frozen treats at home.

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Ice cream makers are small appliances that can help you whip up a dessert with big flavor, and without tons of effort. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and price ranges, so do your homework before picking out the best one to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Compare some of the best ice cream makers

Name Average price Type Capacity (quarts) Number of settings Dimensions (inches) Purchase
Cuisinart ICE-70
Cuisinart ICE-70
$113 Electric 2 3 9.74 x 8.62 x 13.22 Buy now
Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop
Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop
$398 Electric 1.5 12 15.75 x 11 x 11 Buy now
Nostalgia ICMP400WD
Nostalgia ICMP400WD
$45 Electric 4 3 12.25 x 12.25 x 15.75 Buy now
KitchenAid KICA0WH Ice Cream Maker Attachment
KitchenAid KICA0WH Ice Cream Maker Attachment
$60 Electric 2 N/A 10.9 x 10.3 x 10.3 Buy now
Donvier 837450
Donvier 837450
$78 Manual 1 N/A 9.2 x 8.8 x 9.04 Buy now
Data obtained April 2019. Prices are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

What is an ice cream maker?

Ice cream makers are kitchen appliances that make small batches of ice cream for at-home use. While larger commercial ice cream machines are available as well, this article focuses solely on personal-use ice cream makers.

These machines work by using various freezing techniques to continuously mix milk, sweetened cream or other ingredients in a very cold environment. This creates the formation of ice crystals within the liquid mixture of your choice, resulting in the classically smooth ice cream texture you know and love.

How to use an ice cream maker

Using an ice cream maker is fairly easy once you get the hang of it. But the effort you’ll need to put in will depend on if you choose a manual or electric machine.

To use an electric ice cream maker, you simply add the ingredients and turn it on. Each model will have its own set of unique instructions as to where you place the liquid ingredients and how to operate it.

Manual ice cream makers require you to hand-churn the ingredients until they’ve reached the desired consistency.

While ice cream recipes can vary, these basic ingredients are usually included when making ice cream:

  • Milk
  • Heavy cream
  • Sugar
  • Salt

What else can you make in an ice cream maker?

You can get as creative as you like with your ice cream maker. Besides the obvious, you can whip up these goodies in your machine:

  • Gelato
  • Sherbet
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Nondairy frozen treats

How to compare ice cream machines

  • Price. At-home ice cream makers can range from around $20 to over $200. Obviously, the more bells and whistles you want, the more you can expect to pay. Figure out how much use you’ll get out of your new machine to help plan a reasonable budget.
  • Size. Two-, four- and six-quart capacities are the most common for at-home ice cream makers, but it’s possible to find larger models as well. Think about where you’ll store your machine and how many people you’ll generally be serving to find the size that makes the most sense for you.
  • Freezing style. Many small ice cream makers require the tub be frozen before making ice cream, which can take up precious freezer space. Alternatively, higher-end models feature a built-in freezer, but these are usually larger and more expensive.
  • Power source. Machines that rely on hand churning require some serious elbow grease, but these models are generally much cheaper than their motorized counterparts. On the other hand, electric ice cream machines can save a lot of time and work.

Bottom line

An ice cream machine can be a fun addition to your kitchen, but you’ll want to compare a few models before making your pick, as there are a variety of options, sizes and price tags to choose from.

Ready to buy? Compare popular ice cream makers

Looking for other small kitchen appliances to whip up tasty treats? Check out our buying guides for blenders and juicers, too!

How did we choose these products?

We performed independent online research to create our list of the best ice cream makers, comparing the type, size, price and extra features. We took third-party reviews into account as well.

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