If you ever made ice cream from scratch as a kid, you might remember lugging a big bag of salt around, spilling ice cubes everywhere, and having a sore arm the next day from hand-cranking the delicious sweet cream. Luckily, the process of making ice cream at home has improved over the years, and the best ice cream maker you can buy today is easy to use and will consistently turn out terrific, tasty treats for the whole family.
Ice cream makers have been selling fast this season, but there are still some available in a range of price points with different features for different tastes. So, if you’re ready to serve up cones, sundaes, and banana splits all summer long, keep scrolling for our picks for the best ice cream maker that’s in-stock and ready to buy today!
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Where to buy: $499.95, Breville
This genius Breville machine has a hefty price tag, but if you’re a true ice cream aficionado, it’s more than worth it. With 12 different hardness settings, you can easily make sorbet, gelato, frozen yogurt, soft serve, and traditional hard ice cream — whatever you have a hankering for an a particular day. Plus, it will keep them cool for you right in the machine for up to three hours, at the perfect temperature. Everything you need is included — the paddle, cleaning brush, and removable bowl. It has a pre-cool feature, which means you won’t have to prep hours ahead like with some ice cream machines. And when it’s ready, you can program it to play a little song (or beep, or stay silent — your choice).
This buyer writes:
“We decided to splurge and couldn’t be happier! We made a few of the recipes that came with it and all were good, however we have since gone vegan! We now make the best vegan ice cream with coconut milk or almond milk! It’s so nice not having to deal with ice and salt like our old machine, or with having to remember to pre-freeze something that never really works! With this machine, you can decide you want yummy ice cream in an hour or so, put the ingredients in, push the button and wait for the “Ice Cream Man” song to play and enjoy!”
Where to buy: $129.95, Sur La Table
For those who love frozen treats, but want to shell out slightly less cash for an ice cream machine, this Cuisinart is a perfect choice. It also makes gelato, sorbet, and frozen yogurt in addition to ice cream — up to two quarts in just 20 minutes! With one-button operation and an automatic shutoff function, it’s a set-it-and-forget-it machine; all you have to do is put in the ingredients and wait for dessert to be ready! The control panel lets you choose from three different texture and speed presets, and the “ingredient spout” makes it easy to pour in your desired concoction.
One reviewer writes:
“I love mine and it really does create a great texture for the gelato I make. They actually used this specific ice cream maker in Italy in two of my cooking classes, and the place I took my gelato class … had a few other models available but specifically said this was the best one on the market and recommended it.”
Where to buy: $69.95, Sur La Table
Stepping down in price a bit more, this Cuisinart makes slightly less ice cream (or frozen yogurt, or sorbet) per batch, but is still fully automatic and operates in just 20 minutes. Simply add your favorite ingredients, flip the switch, and less than half an hour later, you’ll be enjoying a refreshing treat! No chemicals, salt, or ice required! A recipe book is included, along with a paddle and a removable, easy-to-clean freezer bowl.
Trust this happy customer :
“Was unsure that this little wonder machine could actually work well, but was I wrong! It is simple to use, cleans up quickly and most of all makes delicious ice cream and Dole whips ! Can’t wait to try the frozen yogurt too! It’s one of those ‘great purchases’!”
Where to buy: $47.99, Amazon
If you remember making ice cream at camp back in the day, the machine you used probably looked a lot like this one. However, this version has a powerful motor that does the cranking for you! No manual effort is required, outside of scooping the finished product into your bowl or cone. With a four-quart capacity, it’s perfect for backyard parties and big family gatherings. A plastic bowl nests inside the wooden bucket for easy clean-up, and you can use your own recipes, follow the recipes in the instruction manual, or order the Nostalgia ice cream kits (sold separately) in vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry.
The machine took one customer down memory lane …
“I haven’t had homemade ice cream since I was eight years old at my grandma’s — I’m 39 now. My brother and I [used to pick] the peaches, then she made the mixture. My brother and I took turns churning. Tonight I made homemade ice cream for the first time myself. My daughter stood on a stool and helped. It came out terrific. [This] machine is worth every penny. In a few weeks my peaches will be ripe, and we’re going to do it again.”
Where to buy: $19.99, Bed Bath & Beyond
Not sure if you’re ready to commit to the homemade ice cream way of life? This pint-sized (literally!) machine is an affordable way to try it out. It lets you whip up a little less than a pint (1.6 cups) in less than 30 minutes. Add any flavors or toppings your heart desires, and go ahead — eat the whole thing in one sitting! Just keep in mind, you will need to plan ahead a bit, as you need to keep the “cooling bowl” in the freezer overnight before making your ice cream the next day.
Writes one woman …
“We bought this item for my husband as a gift. It is great for a single serving of ice cream. Definitely a good buy for those who want to try before buying a larger maker.”