Our Top Pick
#1 Cuisinart ICE-21P1 Ice Cream Maker
- Freezes Fast – Makes frozen desserts in 20 minutes or less
- Easy to use – Add fresh ingredients to the mixing bowl, turn on the machine, and go. It’s fully automatic.
- Large Sprout – Large capacity makes up to 1-1/2-quarts
There’s nothing better than making your very own frozen treats with your favorite ingredients. While it does take time, the best part about making your own ice cream is knowing you made it yourself, and you made it with love.
But before we delve into these amazing products, here is a short guide on what to look for when buying an ice cream machine for the first time.
The Top 3 Ice Cream Makers in the Market
There are so many incredible ice cream makers in the market today that it’s really hard to choose which the best one is.
From the Breville Smart Scoop to the KitchenAid Stand Mixer, there are many bestselling machines that thousands of people rave about.
But for our own experience, we love the products made by Cuisinart. We already have the Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Ice Cream Maker, which we love to use, but we wanted to try out the new model which has the brand’s patent-pending mixing paddle that promises to produce ice cream in as little as 20 minutes.
We also wanted to try out their compressor model, because we wanted to experience making ice cream without much preparation.
Cuisinart is a reliable and trusted brand with a reputation for high-quality kitchen products and since we loved our first Cuisinart ice cream maker so much, we believe that these three are some, if not, the best ice cream makers in the market today.
So let’s begin our list with the most expensive model, which is the Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Ice, Cream Maker.
1. Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Ice Cream and Gelato Maker
- Added Features Ensure Perfect Consistency – The 60-minute timer and the keep cool features help in making perfectly consistent ice cream. You don’t have to watch over it the whole time it’s churning because it can pretty much do everything on its own.
- Cheaper Than Other Brands – For a compressor ice cream maker, this is one of the most affordable in the market. Brands like Hamilton Beach and Breville’s compressor ice cream makers are much more expensive.
- Freezes Fast – You can make ice cream or gelato in as little as 30 minutes, and that’s without prior preparation.
- Hard to clean – We had to remove some parts of the machine to make sure everything is cleaned out. Some of the mixtures gets into the crevices and cracks and it can be a headache to clean them thoroughly.
We like the fact that you can turn it on, pour your mixture, and it works instantly. No need to freeze the container or the mixture, and it’s just good to go anytime.
It has 2 kinds of paddles, one for ice cream and one for gelato. Honestly, we love gelato more than ice cream because it’s creamier and denser. Not all ice cream makers can make gelato, so that’s something you might want to consider as well if you prefer gelato over ice cream.
Moreover, it has added features, such as the 60-minute countdown timer, the keep-cool feature, and the LCD readout, which makes everything easier.
2. Cuisinart Pure Indulgence ICE-30BC Ice Cream Maker
- Easy to Use – You just need to place the bowl in the freezer overnight or for one day, pre-freeze your mixture and use the machine the next day.
- Easy to Clean – You only need to wash the paddle and the freezer bowl by hand and that’s it.
- Versatile – We’ve made yogurts, sorbets, and ice cream with this machine.
- Perfect Ice Cream Consistency – With trial and error, we managed to create perfectly smooth ice cream.
- Takes Time to Master Its operations – It takes a little time to master how to use it best. You would need to thoroughly read the instruction manual and follow them to a tee because if you don’t, you’ll end up with ice cream that’s still left in its liquid form, even after 40 minutes of churning.
- Takes Time and Effort to Prepare – You can’t just make ice cream anytime you want. You need time and preparation to be able to use it. You would need at least one full day of preparation before you can make ice cream. Freezing the bowl and your ice cream mixture is crucial, otherwise, you won’t be able to make ice cream at all.
We love the fact that it’s super cheap and that it has a large capacity, churning out 2 quarts of ice cream in one batch.
It’s a freezer bowl type of ice cream maker, which means it does take time to use. It has a brushed stainless steel body and commercial-grade motor, which makes it sturdy and durable. We’ve had it for months and used it countless times and it still works as well as new.
The freezer bowl is also double insulated and it’s made for North America Electrical Standards.
3. Cuisinart ICE-21P1 Ice Cream Maker
- Freezes Fast – The patent-pending paddle freezes fast. It’s the fastest one on our list. Even faster than the compressor model.
- Easy to Use – It’s so simple and easy to use, just turn it on and that’s it. Of course, you still need to prepare our mixture and freezer bowl but in terms of operation, you only need to switch it on and off.
- Large Sprout – We wanted to add walnuts and cookies into our ice cream mixture once mixtures and found that the large sprout made it so much easier to add ingredients into the machine.
- Takes Trial and Error – While we found it easy to use, it takes some trial and error to make it work in its full and intended capacity. We wanted to see if it can really make ice cream in as little as 20 minutes, but it took us some trial and error to do so.
We decided to buy this primarily because of this feature. With the ICE-30BC, we made sorbet in 45 minutes, while the ice cream took about 30 minutes. Ice cream in 20 minutes is fast, and the fact that the paddle is patent-pending means the ICE-21P1 is the only one in the market today that has this kind of technology, so we were naturally curious.
It features the same double-insulated freezer bowl as the ICE-30BC, but its design is much more streamlined and simple. It features a heavy-duty motor, a transparent lid with a large sprout, and has a 1.5-quart capacity, which is a little smaller than the ICE-30BC.
So did it produce ice cream in just 20 minutes? You bet it did, and we were ecstatic. However, we still need to freeze the bowl for 24 hours before churning, as well as having to freeze the mixture.
The only difference between this model and the old one that we have is the 10-minute difference in producing the creamy consistency.
Tips to Choosing the Best Ice Cream Maker
Making your own ice cream at home is fun and exciting. You get to experiment with different flavors, different recipes, and knowing it’s completely fresh and homemade makes it even more special.
You can make it for a special dinner, or a kid’s party, or even make a small batch to give out as gifts. Whatever your intention is for wanting to make ice cream, there are some things you need to know about ice cream makers and what to consider when buying one.
First on the agenda is knowing the different types of ice cream makers out there. Yes, there are more than one kind of ice cream maker, and choosing one depends on how much time you have on your hands, as well as how much money you’re willing to spend.
Here are the types of ice cream makers in the market
1. Compressor Ice Cream Makers
We believe that this is the best type of ice cream maker out there. It’s easy to use, electric, and automatic. They also have plenty of features that help beginners create delicious and creamy ice cream without having to master the machine or ice cream recipes.
However, these can be expensive and heavy. They also take up a lot of space on the countertop and we’d like to think they’re more of an investment rather than something you want to try out for fun or out of curiosity.
2. Salt and Ice, Ice Cream Makers
These are usually manual ice cream makers that make use of ice and rock salt rather than a freezer or cooling agent to freeze the mixture. They’ve been around since the 1800s and they’re one of the oldest methods to make ice cream but is still being used today.
They’re inexpensive and lightweight, but they do take time and effort to operate.
3. Freezer Bowl Ice Cream Maker
Freezer bowl ice cream makers are some of the most common types in the market. They’re inexpensive and easy to use. All you have to do is place the freezer bowl in your freezer overnight and use a churning machine to make ice cream.
Even though they’re the most popular type of ice cream maker, they do require some effort and preparation.
How Ice Cream Makers Operate
These machines work the same way – you add an ice cream mixture, and the machine churns to turn liquid into ice cream.
The container chills the mixture to below freezing temperature, while the paddle constantly scrapes the mixture from the sides of the bowl or container and moves them towards the center. This constant scraping creates air that’s responsible for the smooth and creamy texture of ice cream.
Now that you have an idea about how they work and what the most common types of ice cream makers are, here are some factors to consider when shopping for your first ice cream maker:
Factors to Consider When Buying an Ice Cream Maker
1. Easy to Clean
Ice cream makers are usually not dishwasher-safe. If you place a freezer bowl in the dishwasher, the cooling agent present in its walls can be washed off, rendering it useless.
Most ice cream makers need to be washed by hand but that doesn’t mean they’re hard to clean. Machines that have few parts and those that don’t require complex assembly are the most ideal.
2. Easy to Use
With a simple power switch, ice cream makers start churning and make ice cream in minutes. Complicated machines that are hard to operate may be too overwhelming to use, especially for first-timers.
3. Machine Size
Freezer bowl ice cream makers require you to place the bowl in your freezer somewhere between 16 to 24 hours. If you don’t have space in your freezer, then this type of machine is not for you. If you have a small kitchen, a compressor type may also be too big. Consider your counter space and freezer size when you choose an ice cream maker.
4. Freezes Fast
The primary task of an ice cream maker is to prevent ice crystals from forming. It does this by freezing the mixture fast.
5. Batch Size
Are you looking for an ice cream maker to make a pint for yourself? Or maybe for your entire family? Or how about for a small business? Some ice cream makers can only make one batch, while some machines provide 2 or 3 bowls so you can make one batch after the other.
There are many things you need to consider when buying an ice cream machine for the first time. The most important thing is you have some knowledge beforehand so you won’t regret making your purchase.
Related: We also reviewed best snow cone makers.
The Bottom Line
Ice cream makers may not be an essential appliance for the kitchen but they do bring so much fun at home. If you love ice cream, then we guarantee you will love having your very own ice cream maker at home. While they take some time to prepare and make, homemade ice cream will always beat commercial ice cream bought in a supermarket.
Though it does take some time to master its operations, once you get the hang of it, the world of flavors you can make is boundless. With patience, the desire to create your very own ice cream at home, and some creativity, an ice cream maker can add joy and excitement to any dinner, family gathering, or simply as a treat for yourself.