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Ice Cream Makers Buying Guide

It’s a treat to enjoy the fruits of your labor with a bowl of homemade ice cream. And nowadays, you don’t even have to spend time turning a crank (unless you really want to). Today’s ice cream makers are easy to operate and perform perfectly for a consistent batch of ice cream each time.

Types of Ice Cream Makers

Types of Ice Cream Makers

You’ll find a variety of ice cream makers on the market, from old-fashioned models you crank by hand to units that simply sit on your counter and churn away. The capacity of the maker you choose is really a matter of personal preference, as is the level of involvement required -- whether you want to just dump in the ingredients and have the machine do the rest, or play a more active role by making the ice cream mixture yourself. “Small” usually means 1.5 to 2 quarts, while bigger barrels make at least 4 quarts and may be electric or hand-cranked.

Old-fashioned

If you want to make ice cream the traditional way, this is your answer. Whether you choose an electric or hand-crank model, these barrel/bucket models are labor-intensive, as ice and rock salt need to be continually added to produce great ice cream.

shop Old-fashioned
Williams-Sonoma
$179.95-$249.95
at Williams-Sonoma

Made in classic American style, this ice cream bucket is handcrafted of sturdy New England white pine by the 150-year-old White Mo...untain Co. Both hand-crank and electric ice cream maker models turn out one gallon of ultrasmooth old-fashioned ice cream or frozen yogurt in 20?40 minutes. Produces 4 quarts of ice cream or frozen yogurt in 20?40 minutes. Corrosion-resistant cast-iron dasher. Three-gear drive. Steel inner bucket. Choose manual hand-crank or electric version. Electric model features a powerful 12,000-rpm motor. Recipes included. read more

Donvier
$70.00
at Amazon

No salt or ice are needed to create 1 quart of ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet, or frozen drinks at home with this ice-cream make...r. Just turning the crank occasionally for 15 or 20 minutes is all it takes. The unit's freezer bowl goes into a refrigerator's freezer for about 7 hours to freeze the liquid between its walls. The bowl then goes into the outer case, the paddle goes into the bowl, ingredients go into the bowl, the transparent top is locked in place and the crank is turned. The aluminum bowl cleans easily, the outer case and top are plastic so they wipe clean. The unit measures 9-1/2 Inch high and 8 Inch in diameter (not including handle). It carries a 10-year warranty against defects. An instruction booklet containing many recipes is included. read more

Self-cooling

Less-expensive ice cream makers require you to pre-freeze the canister/bowl, and some require more freezing after the ice cream is made. Self-cooling makers -- those that have their own compressor -- freeze the ice cream as it’s being made.

Mixer attachment

Some high-end stand mixers offer an attachment to churn out ice cream. Pre-freezing the canister is necessary.

shop Mixer attachment
Kitchenaid

Use any KitchenAid mixer to prepare ice cream parlor treats at home ? its easy with this accessory. The rotating dasher and insula...ted freezer bowl attach to your mixer, whipping up 2 quarts of velvety-smooth frozen dessert in just 20?30 minutes. Compatible with all KitchenAid stand mixers. Produces 2 qt. of soft-consistency ice cream in 20?30 minutes; for firmer consistency, store ice cream in freezer for 2?4 hours. Double-walled metal freeze bowl filled with specially formulated liquid to ensure uniform freezing; plastic housing. Plastic dasher/churning paddle mixes and scrapes ice cream batter. Drive assembly attaches to motor head and drives dasher. Bowl adapter ring attaches to bottom of freeze bowl to fit select tilt-head model mixers. For homemade ice cream at a moments notice, store the bowl in your freezer. read more

Kitchenaid
$79.99 $99.99
at Wayfair

The KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker for Stand Mixer converts any KitchenAid stand mixer into an ice cream maker. Simply store the uniqu...e freeze bowl in the freezer for a minimum of 15 hours, then make up to 2 quarts of frozen desserts in 20-30 minutes. The dasher rotates inside the freeze bowl to spread, scrape, and mix the batter. This ice cream maker produces a variety of frozen desserts, as well as fresh, pure, soft-consistency ice cream. Features: Easily converts any KitchenAid stand mixer (built after 1990) into an ice cream maker Fits bowl-lift stand mixers designed after 1990 Adaptor ring on the bottom of the bowl fits tilt-head stand mixers built after 1990 Creates up to 2 quarts of soft-consistency ice cream, frozen yogurt, or sorbet in about 25 minutes Dasher rotates inside the freeze bowl to spread, scrape and mix the ingredients Several recipes are provided in the manual Cleans up easily in warm, soapy water Designed for use with KitchenAid stand mixers Included: 2-Quart freeze bowl, adapter ring, dasher, drive assembly, manual and warranty 1 Year hassle-free replacement warranty Show Additional Info Dimensions: Overall Height - Top to Bottom: 10.8 Inches Overall Width - Side to Side: 10.3 Inches Overall Depth - Front to Back: 10.3 Inches Overall Product Weight: 6.5 Pounds Special Offer: 12 Issues of All You Magazine Included with your purchase - a $20 value (Subscription and Rebate Info) read more

Kitchenaid

Expand the potential of your KitchenAid® mixer with this ice cream maker attachment featuring the largest single bowl capacity in ...the industry. Just pre-freeze the bowl to make frozen desserts and soft-serve ice cream in just 20?30 minutes. Plastic dasher spreads, scrapes and mixes contents thoroughly for even distribution. Dasher is designed to fit all household KitchenAid® stand mixers; freeze bowl adapter ring (included) is required to fit select models. More KitchenAid® colors and items available via special order. Please contact your local store. KitchenAid® and other Wedding Registry offersKitchenAid® Stand Mixer Ice Cream Maker Attachment. 2 qt. 10"Wx10"Dx10.5"H White plastic and metal bowl with freezer gel fill Plastic dasher Hand wash freezer bowl; other parts are dishwasher-safe Made in USA Overall DimensionsWidth: 10" Depth: 10" Height: 10.5" read more

Kitchenaid
$89.99 $100.00
at JC Penney

This ice cream maker attachment fits all KitchenAid stand mixers for delicious homemade ice cream anytime. just freeze bowl ahead ...of time, add your favorite ingredients, attach to mixer and turn onmakes 2 quarts of delicious soft ice cream in about 20 minutesincludes instructions and recipe book Imported. read more

Purchase Considerations

Purchase Considerations

The first thing to consider when buying an ice cream maker is the capacity of the machine -- how much ice cream you’ll want to make in each batch. You can get machines with a built-in freezer; otherwise, plan on pre-freezing a bowl before use, which requires adequate freezer time. The average cycle time for ice cream makers is 20 to 30 minutes, but compare products before buying. Look for “extra” items that come with the maker, like an additional bowl or paddle.

Price

Have a budget in mind and stick to it. Know that a higher price does not always mean better ice cream, but it might mean less work.

Capacity

Old-fashioned makers typically produce a 6-quart batch, while self-cooling models typically make 1.5 or 2 quarts.

Prep

Depending on the style of maker, there may be some prep required. Some electric canister models and the ice cream attachment for the mixer require freezing. Units with their own compressor are fuss-free -- simply pour in the ice cream mixture and start the machine.

Add-ins

If you like ice creams with chunky pieces added in, opt for a machine that can handle the pieces. Some machines have size limits for add-ins.

Cycle Time

The average cycle time is 20 to 30 minutes for a smaller batch but will increase with a larger capacity. Be aware of the time needed to make and then properly freeze the ice cream before serving.

Mess

Old-fashioned barrel/bucket models require churning the ice cream outdoors, where the melting ice/salt mixture can freely drain without damaging surfaces.

Settings

Pricier units offer settings ranging from super-soft to extra-firm, allowing you to control the consistency of your ice cream.

Extras

An extra paddle or bowl is nice to have if you really like whipping up batches.

Kitchen on sale
Cuisinart
$59.95 $90.00
at Crate & Barrel

Frozen treats in any flavor you can dream up are just a few easy steps away?without messy ice or salt. Cuisinart's fully automatic... ice cream maker can hatch a 1.5-quart batch of ice cream, yogurt, sorbet or frozen drinks in as little as 20 minutes. Once you toss your ingredients into the spout, the heavy-duty motor, double-insulated freezer bowl and patented mixing paddle do all the work for you. Bowl must be frozen overnight in advance. The results are consistently smooth, and clean-up is a breeze. Cuisinart® and other Wedding Registry offersCuisinart® Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt Maker. 1.5 qt. 9"Wx8.63"Dx11.25"H White and transparent plastic Double insulated freezer bowl Easy pour-in spout Heavy-duty motor No ice or salt required Instruction/recipe book included Hand wash removable parts Made in China Overall DimensionsWidth: 9" Depth: 8.625" Height: 11.25" Warranty AvailableView the manufacturer's warranty (PDF) read more

Cuisinart® Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt Maker
Hamilton Beach
$39.99 $50.00
at JC Penney

This ice cream maker churns out a half-pint of your own delicious, fresh soft ice cream in just 6-12 minutes. quick and simple wit...hout the mess of rock salt or ice; just add ingredients to freezer bowl and turn oneasy cleanup with dishwasher-safe parts; make it and serve it in same bowlenjoy healthy frozen treats without fillers or artificial ingredients Hamilton Beach half-pint soft-serve ice cream maker includes two 12-ounce freezer bowls, stirring paddle and motorized stirrer. read more

Hamilton Beach® Half-Pint Ice Cream Maker
Cuisinart
$58.95 $110.00
at Buydig

Now you can enjoy the finest homemade frozen treats at home! The fully automatic Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt Ice Cream and Sorbet Make...r lets you make your favorites in 20 minutes or less, with no fuss and no mess. Just add ingredients to the bowl, press ON and the machine does the rest! Product Specifications: New patent-pending mixing paddle makes frozen treats in 20 minutes or less! Large capacity - makes up to 1? quarts Double-insulated freezer bowl eliminates the need for ice Easy-lock lid with large spout makes adding ingredients simple and mess free Limited 3-year warranty read more

Cuisinart ICE-21R - Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream and Sorbet Maker, Red
Kitchenaid
$79.99 $99.99
at Wayfair

The KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker for Stand Mixer converts any KitchenAid stand mixer into an ice cream maker. Simply store the uniqu...e freeze bowl in the freezer for a minimum of 15 hours, then make up to 2 quarts of frozen desserts in 20-30 minutes. The dasher rotates inside the freeze bowl to spread, scrape, and mix the batter. This ice cream maker produces a variety of frozen desserts, as well as fresh, pure, soft-consistency ice cream. Features: Easily converts any KitchenAid stand mixer (built after 1990) into an ice cream maker Fits bowl-lift stand mixers designed after 1990 Adaptor ring on the bottom of the bowl fits tilt-head stand mixers built after 1990 Creates up to 2 quarts of soft-consistency ice cream, frozen yogurt, or sorbet in about 25 minutes Dasher rotates inside the freeze bowl to spread, scrape and mix the ingredients Several recipes are provided in the manual Cleans up easily in warm, soapy water Designed for use with KitchenAid stand mixers Included: 2-Quart freeze bowl, adapter ring, dasher, drive assembly, manual and warranty 1 Year hassle-free replacement warranty Show Additional Info Dimensions: Overall Height - Top to Bottom: 10.8 Inches Overall Width - Side to Side: 10.3 Inches Overall Depth - Front to Back: 10.3 Inches Overall Product Weight: 6.5 Pounds Special Offer: 12 Issues of All You Magazine Included with your purchase - a $20 value (Subscription and Rebate Info) read more

Ice Cream Maker for Stand Mixer
Nostalgia Electrics
$24.49 $34.99
at Target

Simply place the aluminum canister filled with ingredients in the center of the bucket, layer the plastic bucket with ice and salt... and the electric motor does the churning for you. Soon, delicious ice cream is ready to serve! This ice cream maker produces up to 4 quarts of ice cream per batch. Number of Pieces: 3Includes: Instruction ManualCapacity (volume): 4.0 Qt.Cycle Time: Approximately 30 minutesMaterial: Plastic, AluminumCare and Cleaning: Dishwasher-safeBattery: no battery used read more

Nostalgia Ice Cream Maker
Nostalgia Electrics
$33.10 $45.00
at Wayfair

Features: Aluminum canister Plastic bucket and plastic dasher Electric motor does the churning Easy to use, easy to clean Capacity...: 4 quart Recipes included in instruction manual Show Additional Info Dimensions: Overall Height - Top to Bottom: 15.75 Inches Overall Width - Side to Side: 12.25 Inches Overall Depth - Front to Back: 12.25 Inches Overall Product Weight: 6.3 Pounds Special Offer: 13 Issues of Southern Living Magazine Included with your purchase - a $20 value (Subscription and Rebate info) read more

4 Quart Plastic Bucket Ice Cream Maker
Koolatron
$29.95 $39.95
at Wayfair

Features: Works automatically in your freezer Make 2 different flavors at the same time Equipped with thermal sensor Compact desig...n Thermal sensor activates the unit to mix the ingredients automatically Dishwasher safe Show Additional Info Dimensions: Overall Height - Top to Bottom: 4 Inches Overall Width - Side to Side: 9.5 Inches Overall Depth - Front to Back: 5 Inches Overall Product Weight: 0.95 Pounds Special Offer: 13 Issues of Southern Living Magazine Included with your purchase - a $20 value (Subscription and Rebate info) read more

Deluxe Double Treat Ice Cream Maker
T-fal
$40.60 $61.00
at Wayfair

Indulge your taste buds with the pure taste of ice cream made in your own home. This ice cream maker is a fun way to make treats f...or the family. It helps you to prepare delicious homemade ice cream and frozen treats in minutes. Pour the mixture into the double insulated bowl of the T-fal ice cream maker while in motion. The paddle will automatically churn the mixture into ice cream, frozen yogurt or sorbets without the need for ice. Customize your frozen treats by adding assorted ingredients (candy, cookie bits, nuts, fruit). Features: Aluminum double wall insulated gel canister Makes ice-cream in about 20-30 minutes Transparent cover with opening to easily add ingredients Capacity: 1 quart Includes a recipe book Manufacturer provides 30 days warranty Show Additional Info read more

1-qt. Ice Cream Maker
Hamilton Beach
$39.10 $65.00
at Wayfair

Features:Ice cream maker Fully automatic, no stirring Easy lock lid Capacity: 4 Quarts Includes over 20 recipes Dimensions: Overal...l Height - Top to Bottom: 12 Inches Overall Width - Side to Side: 13.37 Inches Overall Depth - Front to Back: 11.87 Inches Overall Product Weight: 7.12 Pounds Special Offer: 10 Issues of Martha Stewart Living A $19.95 Value - Included with your purchase (Subscription and Rebate Info) read more

4-Quart Ice Cream Maker
West Bend
$41.30 $57.45
at Wayfair

Features: 4 Quart aluminum cannister Food safe dasher Electric motor Color: White Dimensions: Overall Height - Top to Bottom: 13.3...6 Inches Overall Width - Side to Side: 8.8 Inches Overall Product Weight: 6.25 Pounds read more

4-qt. Plastic Bucket Ice Cream Maker
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