Ninja Ice Cream Maker NC300 review

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Video Ninja ice cream maker reviews

One-minute review

Ninja is a brand known for its affordable blenders, offering a range of models that give rivals from manufacturers such as Nutribullet and Vitamix a run for their money. The company launched its first design in 2013, and has since expanded its range of kitchen gadgets to include some of the best air fryers and multi-cookers to rival the iconic Instant Pot.

Now it’s dipping its toe into the world of ice cream makers with the Ninja Ice Cream Maker NC300UK, which is known as the Ninja Creami NC301 in the US. However, the thing to note is that Ninja’s model works in a slightly different way to the majority of ice cream makers already on the market.

  • Ninja Ice Cream Maker NC300 at Amazon for $194.99 (opens in new tab)

Freeze-first ice cream makers feature a double-walled bowl that has gel coolant sandwiched in-between. To make ice cream in such machines, the bowl must be frozen for at least 24 hours before the ice cream base is prepared and churned by the ice cream maker. Alternatively, self-freezing ice cream makers freeze the mixture as it’s churned, using a built-in compressor so that there’s no need to freeze the bowl first.

Ninja’s Ice Cream Maker employs neither of these techniques, however. Instead, it requires you to make and freeze the ice cream base in the dessert tubs that come bundled with the ice cream maker for 24 hours. Then a two-blade paddle uses downward force to work its way all the way through the tub of ice cream, shaving and smoothing the mixture to break down the ice crystals. This results in a soft, creamy, super-smooth frozen dessert.

The Ninja’s capacity of 473ml / 1-pint of ice cream is smaller than many freeze-first ice cream makers. However, where it trumps those models is its ability to create creamy desserts using dairy and sugar substitutes.

At $199.99 / £199.99, the Ninja Ice Cream Maker NC300 is an expensive kitchen appliance that takes up a lot of space, plus it’s noisy to boot. However, if you’re a fan of frozen sweet treats, then the creaminess and smoothness of the desserts it creates more than makes up for the initial outlay.

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Ninja Ice Cream Maker NC300 price and availability

  • List price: $199.99 / £199.99

The Ninja Ice Cream Maker NC300, or the Ninja Creami NC301 in the US, is priced at $199.99 / £199.99. It’s available from Ninja direct, as well as from online retailers including Amazon. However, it’s currently out of stock in the US, although Ninja says supplies will be available soon.

The Ninja Ice Cream Maker NC300 comes in at a similar price to compressor-style ice cream makers, such as those from Cuisinart. However, it still requires the same level of planning as freeze-first ice cream makers.

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Design

  • Includes three 473 ml / 1-pint dessert tubs
  • Seven different programs
  • Dishwasher-safe accessories

The Ninja Ice Cream Maker NC300 is a bulky kitchen appliance, measuring 40.5 x 16.5 x 27cm / 15.95 x 12.07 x 6.52 inches (h x w x d) and weighs in at 6.4kg / 14.1lb. The subtle grey design features glossy black accents, which are sure to suit most kitchen decor.

The ice cream maker comes with three plastic 473 ml / 1-pint dessert tubs and lids into which sweet treat bases should be frozen. These are then inserted into the outer bowl to be churned; the lid with a two-blade paddle attaches to the top, scraping and folding the contents. The ice cream maker has two motors, one to spin the paddle and another to apply downward pressure to break up the ice crystals quickly.

There are six presets that allow you to prepare everything from traditional and low-calorie ice cream, to gelato, sorbets, smoothie bowls and even milkshakes. An additional program enables chocolate, nuts, sweets and cookie chunks to be evenly distributed through the ice cream, for those who like their sweet treats textured with surprises.

All of the removable components are dishwasher safe, making for easy clean-up, too.

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Performance

  • Creates creamy smooth desserts
  • Requires base to be frozen for 24 hours first
  • Extremely loud in use

We were super-impressed with the Ninja Ice Cream Maker for making frozen desserts. We made a traditional ice cream, gelato, with an egg custard and cream base, fruit sorbet and dairy-free ice cream that included a sugar substitute to keep the calories low. The resulting four frozen desserts were rich and creamy, with the ice cream and gelato being extremely smooth, free of any ice crystals.

As mentioned, you’ll need to make the ice cream base and freeze it in one of the included dessert tubs for 24 hours first. This is a little fiddly: you need to ensure the liquid is frozen level; not at an angle. Unfortunately, if you don’t get this right then you’ll need to throw out the base and start again, as the ice cream maker won’t be able to provide a consistent churn.

Succeed, however, and it’s quick and simple to turn the frozen content full of ice crystals into a smooth and tasty dessert. Just remove the lid from the dessert tub and insert it into the outer bowl, attach the paddle to the lid and and connect it to the outer bowl. Everything locks together with a satisfying click, after which you’re ready to select one of the seven dessert programs that include ice cream, gelato, sorbet, light ice cream, smoothie bowls and even milkshakes.

There are seven to choose from, lasting between one and two minutes, with the paddle churning the liquid until it’s smooth. There’s also a handy ‘mix-in’ function that enables you to add chocolate, nuts, sweets and cookie chunks to your ice cream once it’s been prepared. However, we found you need to burrow a 4cm / 1.6 in core in the dessert that you fill with the items you want to be mixed-in to the sweet treat. Ninja recommends a spoon, but we found an apple corer proved far more successful here. This was time-consuming, but the mix-in program itself only took a minute to evenly distribute 45g / 1.6oz of chocolate chips though our vanilla ice cream.

We were also impressed with the dairy-free ice cream created in the machine. While the frozen desert wasn’t entirely free of ice crystals, they were extremely small and few and far between – which isn’t something we’ve ever been able to achieve in other ice cream makers.

Note, however, that this ice cream maker is extremely noisy in use. Our decibel meter registered a maximum of 88.4dB when making sorbet, which is the equivalent of using a vacuum cleaner such as the Anti Hair Wrap Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner with PowerFins & Flexology from Ninja’s sister brand Shark. Although considering the maximum program length is only 2.5 minutes, we didn’t find it too much of a chore to sit through.

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Should I buy the Ninja Ice Cream Maker NC300?

Buy it if…

Don’t buy it if…

First reviewed: November 2021

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