Save Money On Pricey Pints & Make Your Own Ice Cream With These 4 Machines

Ice cream is delicious no matter what time of year it is, and whipping up your own batch just makes it taste even better. When choosing the best ice cream maker, the type of machine you select should largely depend on how often you’ll be using it. Some machines require you to plan ahead and freeze the churning bowl overnight, where other models with compressors can prepare a batch anytime. Different home ice cream machines can also churn more ice cream than others, so be sure to pay attention to how many gallons your choices can produce.

Frozen Bowl Ice Cream Makers

Frozen bowl ice cream makers require a bit of planning, as you need to make sure the bowl has been properly chilled before you power the machine to start churning. You do need to make sure that you have enough space in your freezer for the bowl, though, as they can take up a lot of space.

Compressor Ice Cream Makers

If you want to make a quick batch of ice cream (or one after the other), a compressor ice cream maker is your best option. These machines cool your ice cream as it churns without any pre-chilling — just pour in your mixture, and you’re ready to go. Budget-conscious shoppers may be wary at the price, however, as these extra features don’t come without cost.

Hand Crank Ice Cream Makers

Also called “ice and salt” ice cream makers, these machines require large amounts of salt and ice packed around the churning canister. They can easily produce back-to-back batches, and models are able to make up to 1 gallon of ice cream or more. While some machines do use hand cranks, the one selected for this list features and electric motor that does the churning for you.

No matter what model you choose, the best ice cream makers will satisfy your sweet tooth — here are our top five picks.

We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.


The Best Frozen Bowl Ice Cream Maker

Even though you have to freeze the churning bowl overnight, this frozen bowl ice cream maker from Cuisinart only takes about 25 minutes to complete one batch. The double-insulated churning bowl — which is made with aluminum — is able to make up to 2 quarts of ice cream. Plus, the built-in ingredient spout makes it easy to add flavorings without interrupting the freezing process. The best part? Its compact size makes it perfect for cramped kitchens, and there's even a built-in cord management system to keep everything looking neat when you're not using it. It's available with red accents (as seen above), or with a full silver finish.

What fans write: "Love it! Very simple product to use. I keep the frozen bucket in a plastic bag in the freezer ready to go at a moment's notice when I want some homemade ice cream."


The Best Compressor Ice Cream Maker

If you want a quick bowl of ice cream (without having to spend hours pre-freezing the mixing bowl), this stainless steel maker with a compressor should be your go-to machine. It's able to make up to 2.1 quarts of ice cream, which is a little bit more than the first option. This maker features a built-in timer to help prevent over-churning, as well as a cooling protective setting on the motor to prevent it from freezing over. According to one reviewer, there's even an "access lid" on top where you can add ingredients while making your dessert. The bulky size isn't great for cramped kitchens, and you still need a bit of patience when using it. Depending on your mixture, one batch of ice cream can take up to a full hour to churn.

What fans write: "The machine has been reliable, is easy to clean. Absolutely no complaints. From fresh ingredients to ice cream in less than 60 minutes without any effort. I have no hesitation at all recommending this unit if you are contemplating a counter-top unit that churns and freezes itself!"


The Best Hand Crank Ice Cream Maker

This nostalgic hand crank ice cream machine is more affordable than the first two options at only $50 — and believe it or not, it makes more ice cream than each one. Seriously: It's able to make up to 4 quarts in just 30 minutes, and you don't have to pre-freeze any buckets or rely on a compressor. Just pour your ingredients into the included aluminum bucket, add salt and ie around the canister, and let the motor crank the mixture for you until it turns creamy. (The motor will remain locked while it works so everything stays in place.) Plus, the outside of the main bucket is made from real wood, and each order also comes with a plastic liner so that cleanup is easier. Some reviewers did note how it can be loud when operating, so that's something to keep in mind. The maker is available with a dark wood stain, but you can also buy it with a lighter finish. Also, this one doesn't come with the brand's ice cream mix — but you can pay extra for a bundle that includes eight packs.

What fans write: "I have no complaints on it. The outside basin is wooden but the inside is lined with plastic - I love that because it makes it so much easier to clean the salt out. The motor is quite so using it in the house isn't an issue."


This "My Pint" Ice Cream Maker For Personal Servings

So what happens when you just want a personal ice cream serving for yourself? You can opt for this mini maker, which mimics a larger frozen ice cream machine. However, instead of making gallons of ice cream, it only makes 1.6 cups every time. Like a standard frozen maker, you must freeze the bowl overnight so it's nice and cold when you use it. Then, you just have to add your ingredients, but the mixing lid on top, and press the power but. It'll make a personal serving of ice cream in about 30 minutes. What's cool about this one is that it comes with a handle and a mixing spoon so you can eat it right out of the container. This tiny machine comes in three colors, including aqua, pink, and white with a red band.

What fans write: "I am writing this as I eat my delicious ice cream. This little thing is worth it totally. The flavor is amazing (using the recipe that comes with it) and it is really easy to use and to make. I love how it’s just the perfect size, not too little, not too much. It was done churning in 20 minutes."