These days, we can get most things done with the push of a button — but when it comes to homemade ice cream, quicker isn’t always better. Whether you’re feeling nostalgic for the taste of old-fashioned ice cream or you simply want a fun activity to do as a family, the best hand crank ice cream makers can satisfy all your frozen dessert cravings.
Of course, hand crank ice cream makers are inherently more laborious than electric ones — but some manual models are easier to handle than others. Smaller models rarely need salt or ice to work, and it’s always a good idea to shoot for options that are easy to clean. And if you just can’t choose between electric and manual, hybrid models give you the option of crafting your frozen dessert with a hand crank or the push of a button depending on what mood you're in. Whichever you decide on, just be sure to leave your freezer bowl in the freezer overnight — because a chilled bowl makes all the difference.
Timing and yield are also important factors to consider. When it comes to manual ice cream makers, timing can vary depending on everything from your tenacity to your upper body strength. Still, all the machines featured below promise delicious, hand-mixed, frozen dessert in 40 minutes or less. Yields vary from pints to quarts, but if you’re hoping to bring homemade ice cream to your next big family gathering, bigger is obviously going to be better. That said, a smaller ice cream maker might be better for you if you don’t have a lot of counter space to work with.