If your family regularly screams for ice cream, you know it's important to keep the freezer stocked with frozen treats. The best ice cream makers can help you create your own chilly treats so you’ll never run out.
The Cuisinart Pure Indulgence Automatic Ice Cream Maker produces consistent ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet. It is easy to use and simple to care for.
Ice cream makers come in three common styles: frozen bowl, compressor and traditional.
KitchenAid also makes an ice cream bowl attachment that works like a frozen bowl maker. It costs more, but is a good option if you make lots of homemade ice cream and already have a stand mixer.
If you're making frozen treats for a crowd, look for a large-capacity ice cream maker. Look for a capacity of 4 quarts or more if you are feeding a family (but 2 quarts will work for singles, couples or occasional use).
Making ice cream is not rocket science. The easiest ice cream makers feature simple controls such as an on/off switch. They may also be programmable with an easy-to-read display that tells you when your ice cream is ready to go.
Making ice cream is sticky business, but dishwasher-safe components help you clean up fast. In general, the frozen bowl is not dishwasher safe and should be hand-washed, but the turning apparatus and any other attachments can usually go straight in the dishwasher.
Any plastic that touches the ice cream base should be made of food-safe materials. The same goes for stainless steel or powder-coated components.
If you are brand-new to ice cream making, look for a machine that includes recipes specifically tested for that product. Follow them closely to ensure success.
There is a wide range of prices for ice cream makers, but expect to spend $50-$300.
A. While it is possible to use low-fat milk when making ice cream, you will not get the same creamy results as you will get with heavy cream or whole milk.
If you prefer low-fat milk, adding a tablespoon or two of coconut oil into the ice cream base helps create a silky, creamy texture.
A. For luscious vegan frozen treats, use full-fat coconut milk. The fat in coconut milk mimics the fat in dairy milk for the best results.
If you would like to try other non-dairy milks, add a tablespoon or two of coconut oil to reduce ice crystals and create a smoother texture.
Cuisinart Pure Indulgence Automatic Ice Cream Maker
What you need to know: This ice cream maker produces consistent results every time.
What you’ll love: The freezer bowl is heavy, and operation is simple (off and on). The size makes it good for even small kitchens, and it still produces 2 quarts of ice cream, frozen yogurt or sorbet. It’s available at a good price point.
What you should consider: The bowl needs to be completely frozen to work.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot
Hamilton Beach Automatic Ice Cream Maker
What you need to know: It’s affordable and makes large batches of ice cream.
What you’ll love: It makes 4 quarts of frozen treats in 40 minutes. The bowl does not need to be frozen — it uses ice during churning. The instruction manual includes recipes to get you started.
What you should consider: Ice gets messy, and you’ll need a lot each time you make ice cream.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Whynter Incubator Ice Cream Maker
What you need to know: This is an easy-to-use machine that requires no pre-freezing or ice.
What you’ll love: An internal cooling system keeps ice cream frosty as it churns, and the screen is LED and easy to read so you’ll know when your ice cream is ready. It’s stylish and looks good on a counter. It makes 2 quarts and is easy to clean. This even has a yogurt incubator that makes regular (non-frozen) yogurt.
What you should consider: It’s expensive and best for households that eat a lot of ice cream.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.