The Best Ice Cream Makers in 2022 – Simply Recipes

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Below is a list of the best Ice cream makers best voted by users and compiled by us, invite you to learn together

Video Ice cream makers best

Final Verdict

Our best overall choice, the Cuisinart ICE-30BCP1 Ice Cream Maker (view at Amazon), continues to churn out great ice cream and will last you through many pints. And if you’ve got the budget and want something easy to set up and use, you can’t go wrong with the Breville Smart-Scoop Ice Cream Compressor (view at Amazon). There’s virtually no prep work required, and the settings are foolproof.

Simply Recipes

What We Made

We made a batch of both full-cream, no-cook vanilla ice cream and vegan coconut milk cookie dough ice cream for each machine we tested. We tested the ice cream makers on the following:

Paddle Test: To test the quality of each machine’s paddle, we set a timer for 20 minutes and throughout noted whether the paddle easily scraped off the frozen base and if it evenly mixed it with the still-unfrozen portion. After 20 minutes, we looked at whether there were visible ice crystals or bits of fat left unmixed.

Mix-In Distribution: We also investigated the machine’s ability to evenly distribute mix-ins while churning using a quarter-cup of mini M&Ms, and noted whether the paddle had trouble moving through the batter. We scooped out one cup of the finished ice cream and counted how many M&Ms were mixed in to measure the mix-in density, as well as noted whether pieces gathered at the bottom or corners of the machine.

Churning Ability and Texture: We recorded how long each machine took to fully churn each ice cream into a thick, almost soft-serve consistency, then ran a spatula through the base to see if a “valley” is left behind. We also stuck a spoon in the ice cream and noted if it stood up, which indicates readiness. We then rated them for this category on a scale of 1 to 5.

Ease of Use: We took note of how easy the machine was to operate, how clear the manufacturer’s instructions were, whether the buttons were easy to understand, how easy it is to read and understand each machine’s display, and whether the bowls need to be pre-frozen.

Cleaning: Finally, we looked at how easy each machine was to clean, especially when it made dairy ice cream. Without proper cleaning, dairy ice cream can leave behind a sticky machine and bacteria. We looked at whether there were removable parts, such as a removable mixing bowl and paddles, for easier cleaning, as well as whether any parts were dishwasher-safe. We also noted whether areas of the machine were hard to reach and properly clean.

Simply Recipes / David Kukin

What Are the Other Options?

Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker (view at Amazon): This 1.5-quart is the ice cream maker Commerce Editor Siobhan Wallace has in her pantry. It’s decent enough as a first-time machine, but you’ll quickly see its limitations. First, it’s incredibly loud for such a small machine. But more importantly, it’s difficult to find recipes for such a small amount and you’ll frequently have too-big batches crystallize in the freezer. Siobhan even recommends the 2-quart Cuisinart over this one.

What to Look for in an Ice Cream Maker

Freezing Style

There are a few different ways ice-cream makers operate. Old-fashioned hand-churn makers require ice and rock salt to freeze the liquid mix and you turn a handle until the mix is frozen. The most popular models today are the pre-frozen models, where the bowl must be frozen in your freezer for up to 24 hours and the rest of the operation is automatic.

A hybrid of the two is an automatic model that requires salt and ice to be placed around a built-in bowl while the churning operation is done by a machine. Also available is the pre-frozen with hand mixing model that is specifically designed to make small batches at a time as well as rolled ice cream.

Finally, compressor models have a built-in motor that does everything automatically and runs on electricity. All you do is add your ice cream mix, and the machine will freeze and churn it completely plus hold it frozen for several hours afterward.

Capacity

Ice-cream makers have a wide range of how much ice cream is made per batch, how large (or small) to buy depends on your needs, and how you will store the machine when not in use. For those who plan on making ice cream regularly, an ice cream maker that can handle 1 to 2 quarts—2 to 4 pints—might be best. Keep in mind that many ice cream recipes are developed for a full 2 quarts, and you should not overfill the machine (it will cause icy ice cream).

Smaller, more personal-sized ice cream makers are good for experimenting and getting kids involved. Larger machines (up to 6 quarts) are great if you want to make big batches, though they usually don’t handle smaller batches well and can be hard to store.

FAQs

How quickly should you freeze ice cream after churning?

Waste no time here! Chef Cathy Asapahu of Ayara Thai in Los Angeles says to freeze “Immediately! You need to transfer it to a frozen container immediately because anything that melts will create ice crystals in your ice cream.” Chef Carla Contreras, chef, food stylist, and health coach, adds that “The churning process can only take you so far in terms of freezing it, and over churning can lead to an icy texture which is not desirable.”

What kinds of dairy should you use for ice cream?

Contreras says fat is key. “The best dairy to use is with high-fat content such as heavy cream, half and half, or whole milk,” she says. “Coconut milk is a great dairy-free option. The fat is flavor, it will give you a better tasting ice cream with a smooth consistency.” Asapahu recommends to “always use high-quality milk and cream, organic if possible. It just tastes better and taste buds never lie!”

Why Trust Simply Recipes?

Karen Resta is a NYC-based writer specializing in food culture and history, cooking, pastries, and restaurants. A former executive chef who began her professional journey as a pastry chef, she travels around the globe as a photographer and writer, always finding the best authentic food and pastries along the way. She spends a lot of her free time in her kitchen and is passionate about finding quality within your given budget. Having the right tools and knowing how to use them makes all the difference in baking and cooking, and she curated this list with that in mind.

Associate commerce editor Fran Sales assisted with testing in our lab and updated this piece. As a long-term vegan with an insatiable sweet tooth, she was in ice cream heaven when we got to the coconut-milk cookie dough ice cream portion of the tests.

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