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Best Ice Cream Maker Reviews (Comparison Chart) 2019

Don’t you just love the taste of a few scoops of delicious ice cream? While normal ice cream is one of the world’s favorite deserts, until you’ve tasted handmade, or homemade, ice cream you’ve never truly lived in flavor country. Ice cream makers are growing in popularity as people are starting to realize that making your own ice cream is not only more cost effective than buying it, but your homemade ice cream will probably taste better too – probably some of the best ice cream you’ve ever tasted in fact.

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The first ice cream makers actually date back to around 1837 when Augustus Maybolbourne came up with a whole new way of making ice cream, and then in 1843 a lady called Nancy Johnson patented the first actual hand-cranked ice cream making “machine”. Since then ice cream makers have become smaller and more affordable, and at this point in dessert history you can get a very high-quality ice cream maker for under a hundred dollars. You’ll find ice cream machines which are suitable for making small amounts of ice cream and others which are designed to help you churn out lots of tasty ice cream on a daily basis.

How Does An Ice Cream Maker Work?

There are three basic ways for one of these machines to make ice cream and we’re going to spend a little time going over each one in detail here.

Traditional Method

These are the oldest types of ice cream machine that you’ll find and involve quite a bit of effort. Basically this type of ice cream maker has two bowls – an inner one and an outer one. The inner bowl contains the ingredients for your ice cream and the outer bowl contains a mixture of rock salt and ice. The process for creating ice cream with a traditional hand-crank maker can be tough work because as the ice melts (because it’s mixed with salt) you need to keep replacing it to ensure that your ice cream freezes properly.

An old school ice cream maker like this one is obviously going to be very cheap and is capable of producing large amounts of ice-cream in a very short amount of time. In fact you can cheat on the entire process and simply use some Ziploc bags instead, but the results can vary from excellent to a kind of cold mush that nobody will want to eat.

Basically this type of ice cream machine will work really well but it takes a lot of effort, and vigilance, to get the process just right – even if you’re using a motorized one. That being said the motorized models are far, far easier to use.

Pre-Frozen Bowl

With this type of ice cream maker you have to freeze the mixing bowl in your freezer well in advance of actually making your ice cream. The way it works is that the mixing bowl has a double-wall, with a core filled with a special kind of thermal gel which gets and stays incredibly cold once you freeze it. All you have to do is place the ingredients in the bowl, place the bowl in the motorized base and let the machine do the rest of the work.

Using an ice cream maker like this is far less manual work than a hand-crank model because they use a motor to stir it. You do still need to plan making your ice cream well in advance – sometimes the bowl needs to be frozen for up to 24-hours before you can actually use it. The major advantage of this way of making ice cream is that your batch will be ready in about 30-minutes, sometimes less. So if you only tend to make ice cream for dinner/birthday parties this type of ice cream machine is ideal for that.

Self-Refrigerating

At the upper end of the scale we have the compressor-based or self-refrigerating ice cream maker – which as the name suggests freezes the ice cream as it’s making it. The technology used in ice cream machines of this type is very similar to what you’d find in a standard household fridge, with some of them being so advanced they can even detect when your ice cream is cold enough to eat and automatically stop. The pros of using a self-refrigerating ice cream maker are that it can produce a batch of delicious ice cream in 30-minutes or less, you can easily add ingredients to the basic recipe and it’s ideal if you make a lot of ice cream on a regular basis.

The “negatives” (they’re not really negative points) of using a compressor-based ice cream maker are that they’re quite large and they’re not always cheap to buy. Then again if you want high-quality ice cream made, which doesn’t need to be frozen to set it afterwards, then this type of ice cream machine will suit you perfectly.

Do You Want More Than Just Ice Cream?

If you’re a fan of frozen treats then you might be looking for an ice cream maker which can make more than just ice cream – yes there are people who need more than just an unlimited supply of ice cream in their lives. To be fair it does make sense to get an ice cream maker which is versatile enough to make other frozen desserts such as sorbets and yogurts too if you wish. If that’s the case then you’ll be looking for a mid-range or higher compressor or pre-frozen bowl type of machine – they can make ice cream, sorbets, soft serve ice cream and even slushies if you want to.

Of course the slushie function could also be used to create cocktails made with crushed ice too…if that’s something you might be interested in. On the point of using alcohol – this is something you can do with a slushie but adding lots of alcohol to ice cream is a bad idea because you’ll find it almost impossible to make it set. You could always heat the alcohol in advance to burn off the actual alcohol in it but leaving the actual flavor behind – then just use the leftover liquid in your mix, once it’s cooled down.

Top 5 Best Ice Cream Maker Reviews

Now it’s time for the part of our feature where we get into ice cream maker reviews, and what that actually means to you. The ice cream makers you’ll find featured here are some of the best on the market, so we’re pretty sure you’ll find one that you’ll love.

1) Cuisinart ICE-30BC Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker Review

We can start this mini review by telling you that this is the best selling ice cream maker on the market right now, and coming from Cuisinart you know you’re getting a brand-name you can rely on. This ice cream maker can produce two quarts of tasty ice cream in almost no time at all, plus it can also create frozen yogurt and sorbets too. You can add any ingredients you want through the wide mixing spout, and the powerful motor will have your very own ice cream recipe ready in just 25-minutes. Please note this is a “freezer bowl” type of ice cream machine, so the bowl will have to be frozen for up to 24-hours before you use it. The Cuisinart Pure Indulgence ICE-30BC has received almost 1,000 positive reviews on Amazon so far, and costing just $80 you can see that you’re getting real value for money here.

2) Cuisinart Ice-21 1.5 Quart Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream Maker Review

It’s no surprise to find a second Cuisinart ice cream maker in our top five, simply because Cuisinart is particularly good at creating this type of kitchen appliance. The Cuisinart ICE-21 is the smaller brother/sister of the ICE-30BC, and is capable of producing around 1.5 quarts of your favorite frozen dessert – including ice creams, frozen yoghurt and sorbets. This is another “freezer bowl” ice cream machine from this company, so you’ll have to freeze the bowl for at least 8-hours before using it, but 24-hours is a more realistic target folks. Again this Cuisinart ice cream maker has received almost 1,000 positive reviews so far on Amazon and costs just under $55 at the time of writing this review.

3) Nostalgia Electrics ICMP-400BLUE 4-Quart Electric Ice Cream Maker Review

Costing less than $25 this is definitely one of the more budget-friendly ice cream makers on the market right now, but there is a reason for that. To make ice cream using the Nostalgia Electrics ICMP-400BLUE you have to go down the ice + rock salt route, which is more labor intensive than some people will like. That being said this ice cream maker has gotten mostly positive reviews, and it’s also worth remembering that this traditionally styled ice cream machine can produce 4-quarts of ice-cream in as little as 25-minutes. Plus your kids might enjoy seeing how ice cream was originally made too?

4) Hamilton Beach 68330N 4-Quart Automatic Ice Cream Maker Review

This 4-quart ice cream maker from the people at Hamilton Beach is another one of the cost-effective salt-and-ice models for sale. Unlike the really old ice cream makers there’s no hand crank on this one – all of that hard work is taken care of by a motor instead. All you need to do is add your ingredients and then simply keep the machine fed with enough ice for it to react with the salt, and you’ll have anywhere from 2 – 4 quarts of frozen dessert deliciousness in less than 40-minutes. Costing just under $32 the Hamilton Beach 68330R is a great buy.

5) Lello 4080 Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker Review

Finally we have a fully automatic, compressor-based ice cream maker which involves almost no work on your part. The Lello Musso Lussino is capable of producing between 1 and 1.5 quarts of high-quality ice cream every single hour. There’s a timer on the front so you can control just how frozen your ice cream is, and using this ice cream machine involves nothing more than pushing two buttons to get it started. The mixing paddle and exterior of the Lello 4080 Musso Lussino are made from stainless steel, so it’s very easy to clean afterwards. The only sting in the tail of this product, and the reason why we left it till last, is that it retails for almost $700 – so you’ll need to be an ice cream connoisseur to throw down that much cash on an ice cream maker.

Finally

Hopefully these ice cream maker reviews have shown you what you can expect to get for your money, and that making your own ice cream doesn’t have to be expensive or hard for that matter. With ice cream makers costing as little as $25 there’s no reason for you not to try making your very own ice cream at least once in your life, right?