Best Ice Cream Maker Machine Buyer’s Guide And Reviews
Nothing beats the flavor and texture of fresh ice cream. If you’re looking for a way to make healthy, delicious ice cream in your own kitchen for half the price of ice cream shops, check out the five best ice cream maker machines we selected.
How We Choose Our Ratings
Though there are many fantastic ice cream makers at premium prices upwards of $500, we wanted to find machines that are affordable for most families. We included one high-end model over $100, for customers who want a fully automatic ice cream maker, but the rest are inexpensive machines that will provide a lot of bang for your buck.
All of the ice cream makers we reviewed are available on Amazon and have received consistently high consumer ratings. We compared features, prices, reliability, and the finished product to get a full picture of what you’ll get from each ice cream machine. We hope our 100% honest and accurate reviews help you decide which ice cream maker is right for you.
Top 5 Best Ice Cream Makers
The Gourmia GSI200 is a machine that can make ice cream, gelato, sorbet, and frozen yogurt. It has a built-in compressor to keep everything cold, and a 3-button panel with LCD digital display. The bowl can fit up to 1.6 quarts of ice cream.
The Gourmia ice cream maker has a much sleeker design than many others, and despite the 1.6-quart capacity, it’s only about the size of a toaster oven. The compressor and motor are quiet enough that you can leave the machine running while you talk or watch television.
It takes about 45 minutes to make ice cream at peak capacity, and though there’s a timer on the Gourmia GSI200, the machine will automatically turn off if the ice cream gets too firm. The package even comes with an ice cream scoop so that you can serve your homemade ice cream directly from the machine.
Most customers gave the Gourmia positive reviews, but there were a few common gripes. There’s no way to control the temperature or speed of the machine, so gelato is more challenging to make. Some customers ended up with faulty compressors or motors, but between Amazon and Gourmia, customer service was able to get them up and running.
The price is the only significant downside of the Gourmia GSI200. It’s by far the most expensive machine on our list, even though the quality of ice cream it makes isn’t vastly different from the cheaper models. All told, we decided the Gourmia automatic ice cream maker was worth 4.4 out of 5 stars.
Hamilton Beach’s 68330N ice cream maker is a simple, traditional-style machine that can make up to 4 quarts of ice cream, frozen yogurt, custard, sherbet, or gelato in only 20 to 40 minutes.
The built-in motor is fully automatic and stops as soon as the ice cream is ready. An easy-lock lid keeps the large-capacity ice cream bucket secure. Customers love how easy the Hamilton Beach is to use, even for kids.
The low price makes this ice cream maker affordable for almost any family, and it still produces high-quality ice cream.
This ice cream maker doesn't have a compressor to keep it cold; you have to add ice yourself. You must place layers of ice and rock salt in the outer bucket, then put your ice cream ingredients in the inner bucket. That accounts for the very low price.
Customers report that the Hamilton Beach 68330N is very loud, and you have to add a lot of ice. The end-result also isn’t quite ice cream—it’s pretty runny, and has to be placed in the freezer for a couple of hours before it gets to the consistency of soft serve.
Though it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the more expensive models, the Hamilton Beach 68330N is a great little machine that makes delicious ice cream. If you don’t mind putting a little extra work into the process, this ice cream maker is a fantastic value, and we give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
The Aicok BL1500C ice cream maker has a 1.5-quart capacity and fully automatic operation. It can make sorbet, and frozen yogurt in addition to ice cream, and only takes around 20 minutes. There are six programs and a variable timer to ensure you make perfect ice cream every time.
The Aicok ice cream maker works using a freezer bowl with a cooling liquid within a double insulated wall. After the container has been sitting in the freezer for at least 8 hours, you attach it to the ice cream maker and switch it on. Add your ice cream base through the opening in the top while the machine is running, along with any mix-ins. Twenty minutes later, you have fresh, delicious ice cream.
The Aicok is a small, sleek ice cream maker with a two-year warranty. The mixing arm and freezer bowl detach from the machine, so everything except the motor can go in the dishwasher. This is an affordable machine that produces excellent ice cream with less labor.
There were a few customer complaints, mainly that the Aicok is loud and the ice cream it produces is soft. The paddle also needs to be firmly snapped in or it won't turn, which isn't intuitive, and the instructions don't mention it.
The Aicok BL1500C is a good step up from the Hamilton Beach, as you don’t need ice and rock salt. You do have to wait overnight for the freezer bowl to get below 0, which can be annoying if you didn’t plan ahead. Overall it makes fabulous ice cream, and customers are very satisfied. We give it 4.6 out of 5 stars.
The Nostalgia ICMP400WD is designed to resemble an old-fashioned, hand-crank ice cream maker, with real wood paneling around the bucket. It can make up to 4 quarts of ice cream in about 30 minutes. This model uses ice and rock salt just like the Hamilton Beach, but you don't need to freeze the aluminum bowl in advance.
The plastic liner inside the bowl is removable and easy to clean. A clear lid allows you to view the ice cream being made. After using it, you can store the extra ice cream in the same bowl you made it in, as the canister and lid are freezer safe.
Customers love the fun design, and the Nostalgia ICMP400WD is a popular gift. The machine is extremely easy to use, and it doesn’t leak or make a mess. Kids also love making ice cream with the Nostalgia ice cream maker.
Some customers ran into issues with their motors after only a few uses, but Amazon was able to exchange them for a working model at no cost to them. Otherwise, there were very few negative reviews.
This is a fun and affordable gift for folks who love antique ice cream makers. The Nostalgia ICMP400WD also makes amazing ice cream that doesn’t need to be frozen to reach a thick, creamy consistency. You can even buy Nostalgia-brand ice cream mixes online for even easier ice cream. The combination of novelty value, quality, ease of use and ease of cleaning earned the Nostalgia ice cream machine 4.7 out of 5 stars.
The Cuisinart ICE-21 is a 1.5-quart capacity ice cream and frozen yogurt maker. It uses a double-insulated freezer bowl to make ice cream in 20 minutes or less and works very similarly to the Aicok. The ICE-21 is very easy to use, with just a timer dial and an on/off switch, and it has a transparent lid so you can watch your ice cream develop.
It takes 16 to 24 hours for the freezer bowl to completely freeze. With the machine on, you add your ingredients through a wide spout. About five minutes before the time ends, you can add dry ingredients like chocolate chips and cookie crumbs.
The Cuisinart ICE-21 is a sturdy little machine that customers found reliable and easy to use. They appreciated features like the power cord storage in the base of the ice cream maker, and the extra-large spout so you can add ingredients without spilling them.
One satisfied customer had a few tips for making the best ice cream with the Cuisinart ICE-21.
If you love ice-cream heavy, hard, and texture smooth (like I do), You need to use heavy cream with your regular milk. If you are ok with light soft serve, milk with half and half will do the trick.
I noticed that I can increase the hardness of my ice-cream by manually spreading the ice-cream mix to touch all inside surfaces of the bowl while still on by using a rubber spatula. I do that in the last 2-3min before I turn off the machine. The ice-cream when start to freeze tend to stop moving or just touch one area inside the bowl and by spreading it you make it set faster.
There were only two big customer complaints, the most common being how noisy the ICE-21 is. Another issue several customers had was working with Cuisinart support when they received defective machines. For that reason, we recommend going through Amazon’s customer support if you end up with a faulty device.
The Cuisinart ICE-21 is slightly less expensive than the Aicok, but it works very similarly and makes tasty ice cream. We rate this ice cream machine 4.8 out of 5 stars.
Can make ice cream, gelato, sorbet, and frozen yogurt
Hamilton Beach’s 68330N
Traditional-style machine that can make up to 4 quarts of ice cream, frozen yogurt, custard, sherbet, or gelato in only 20 to 40 minutes.
Designed to resemble an old-fashioned, hand-crank ice cream maker, with real wood paneling around the bucket. It can make up to 4 quarts of ice cream in about 30 minutes.
1.5-quart capacity ice cream and frozen yogurt maker. It uses a double-insulated freezer bowl to make ice cream in 20 minutes or less and works very similarly to the Aicok.
Ultimately, there are three types of ice cream machines: self-cooling, freezer bowl, and salted ice. We wanted to provide at least one review for each type, so you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you.
Self-cooling ice cream makers are usually prohibitively expensive, which is why we only included one reasonably-priced model. Since the added price and extra features didn't seem to improve the flavor of the resulting ice cream massively, we gave it a lower rating than the rest because it'll give you less bang for your buck.
The freezer bowl ice cream makers require a bit of forethought. We recommend keeping the bowl in the freezer at all times when you’re not using it, so you can spontaneously make your ice cream whenever the craving strikes.
Salted ice machines do necessitate some extra labor, but the rock salt is very cheap and available at grocery stores. One box should last you for many uses, and then all you need to do is pick up a bag of ice when you’re ready to make some ice cream.
Which type of ice cream maker is right for you? That’ll depend on how much you’re willing to pay, and how quickly and spontaneously you want to make your ice cream.
Size is an important factor to consider when you shop for your ice cream machine. If the canister and paddles are too large, and you’re only making small batches, you might run into issues with all the ice cream getting stuck to the paddles. If the canister and paddles are too small for your family, you’ll have to make multiple batches, which takes a lot of time.
Overall, any of the ice cream makers on our list would be a great addition to your home. Once you know which type of machine you want, compare the extra features and the price to select the one that's right for you. We hope our reviews of the top five best ice cream makers help you make a wise decision.