The Best Ice Cream Makers

It can be hard to keep cool during the long, hot days of summer, and ice cream is a sweet treat that just about everyone loves. You don’t have to hit up the nearest ice cream shop when you’re in the mood for something cold and refreshing, though! Another option is to purchase your own ice cream maker and try your hand at creating your own sweet concoctions. There are various types of ice cream makers out there, and we’re on a mission to help you find the one that is right for you.

We looked at dozens of ice cream makers so we could recommend our favorites. Some of these are traditional, like the kind your parents or grandparents might have used. And others are very modern and require very little hands-on time at all. We considered the types available, how much ice cream they made, whether they could make other desserts, and how Amazon customers felt about them.

Best Portable Ice Cream Maker Overall
Lello 4080 Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker
Make three quarts of delicious frozen confections per hour with this automatic ice cream maker.

Our favorite ice cream maker overall is the Lello 4080 Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker. This little powerhouse can make you a quart and a half of ice cream in about 30 minutes, and it’s all automatic. Even better, you can start a new batch right away if you need more ice cream. It has a professional-looking appearance and it’s easy to clean, too.

The 5 Top-Rated Ice Cream Makers

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best Ice Cream Maker OverallLello 4080 Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker 4.6
Best Traditional Ice Cream MakerMaxi-Matic Old Fashioned Ice Cream Maker
4.3
Best Budget Ice Cream MakerCuisinart ICE-21PK Frozen Yogurt – Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker4.6
Best Healthy Ice Cream MakerYonanas Soft Serve Maker4.3
Best Ice Cream Maker for ChildrenFAO Schwarz Motorized DIY Ice Cream Station 3.7

*Ratings are from Amazon and might change over time.

Best Ice Cream Maker Overall: Lello 4080 Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker

Our top pick is the Lello 4080 Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker. This ice cream machine makes it quick and convenient to create homemade creamy confections. You don’t need to freeze the bowl ahead of time; just turn it on, add your ingredients, and let it do it’s thing. In about a half hour, you’ll have over a quart of yummy ice cream. There’s no reason you can’t immediately set up a second batch right afterward, either; you could keep the production going to fill up your freezer if you so desired.

The housing, paddle, and bowl of this ice cream maker are all stainless steel, which makes the unit attractive as well as easy to clean. It will automatically detect if your ice cream is getting too hard and will shut off. You’re not limited to ice cream, either; this appliance can also make delicious frozen yogurt, gelato, and even frozen drinks. It comes with a one-year warranty.

Lello 4080 Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker Key Features:

  • Makes 1.5 quarts of ice cream at a time
  • Takes 30 minutes for one batch
  • Stainless steel
  • Easy to clean
  • Requires no pre-freezing
  • Fully automatic
  • Automatic shutoff
  • One year warranty

Best Traditional Ice Cream Maker: Maxi-Matic Old Fashioned Ice Cream Maker

Best Traditional Ice Cream Maker
Maxi-Matic Old Fashioned Ice Cream Maker
Reminisce about days of the past with this vintage-looking ice cream maker.

If you are hoping to recreate the experience of making ice cream in “the olden days,” you will want to check out the Maxi-Matic Old Fashioned Ice Cream Maker, which made our top spot in this category. This one looks like a vintage wooden bucket, and it uses rock salt to allow the electric paddle to churn the ice cream. It takes about 40 minutes to create a sweet dessert.

This traditional ice cream machine is great for summer parties, barbecues, pool parties, and other gatherings. It’s also excellent for a quiet afternoon at home with the family, as it works fairly quickly and you can play board games or otherwise interact while you’re waiting for your ice cream to freeze up. You can make up to four quarts of ice cream at a time, which is plenty for a group.

Maxi-Matic Old Fashioned Ice Cream Maker Key Features:

  • Makes 4 quarts of ice cream at once
  • Takes 40 minutes
  • Uses rock salt
  • Electric paddle
  • Good for a group

Best Budget Ice Cream Maker: Cuisinart ICE-21PK Frozen Yogurt – Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker

Best Budget Ice Cream
Cuisinart ICE-21PK Frozen Yogurt - Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker
Use this ice cream maker to make dessert on a budget.

The Cuisinart ICE-21PK Frozen Yogurt – Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker is our favorite budget-friendly ice cream machine. This one is also great for frozen yogurt and sorbet. This is the pink breast cancer awareness version; it is also available in red, but that one is more expensive. The ice cream maker can make 1.5 quarts of ice cream at once and it takes 20 minutes.

The process is fully automatic. The night before, you can put the freezer bowl in your freezer to make sure it’s good and cold. The next day, take it out of the freezer, add your ingredients, turn on the machine, and let it go. It has an efficient mixing paddle and a double-insulated freezer bowl. The lid locks easily and makes it easy to add ingredients and remove the ice cream without any mess. For a low-cost way to entertain your family and provide a creamy treat, you can’t go wrong with this one.

Cuisinart ICE-21PK Frozen Yogurt – Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker Key Features:

  • Makes 1.5 quarts at once
  • Takes 20 minutes
  • Freeze the bowl the night before
  • Automatic process
  • Efficient paddle
  • Locking lid

Best Healthy Ice Cream Maker: Yonanas Soft Serve Maker

Best Healthy Ice Cream Maker
Yonanas Soft Serve Maker
Enjoy your treats and watch your waistline with the fruity delicacies that this machine makes.

The Yonanas Soft Serve Maker allows you to make creamy treats out of your favorite fruit. It’s super easy to use: Just place your favorite fruits along with a frozen banana into the chute, press the plunger, and you’ll end up with a creamy, fruity confection in a matter of minutes. There is an internal blade that mixes your berries, melon, or other fruits with the creamy banana and creates a soft-serve texture that you will love.

You can say goodbye to guilt by serving up pure fruit for dessert. One of the nicest features is that the chute, plunger, and blade are all dishwasher-safe, so cleanup is a breeze. If you have been looking for ways to improve your diet and give up sugary treats, this one is worth consideration.

Yonanas Soft Serve Maker Key Features:

  • Turns fruit into a creamy dessert
  • Includes a book of recipes
  • Can be used with most fruits along with frozen bananas
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to clean – dishwasher safe
  • Helps you improve your diet

Best Ice Cream Maker for Children: FAO Schwarz Motorized DIY Ice Cream Station

Best Ice Cream Maker for Children
FAO Schwarz Motorized DIY Ice Cream Station
Get the kids involved in making dessert for the whole family with this easy-to-use freezer-bowl ice cream machine!

The FAO Schwarz Motorized DIY Ice Cream Station is an excellent gift for the children in your life, and it’s our top pick in this category. It’s easy to use: Just freeze the bowl, then add the ingredients and let the motorized paddle churn them up into delicious ice cream, frozen yogurt, or sorbet in about 30 minutes. This ice cream machine makes a quart of ice cream at a time, which is perfect for several children to share as an after-dinner treat.

This is a set that comes with the ice cream mixer, the freezer bowl base, four serving bowls, and four ice cream spoons. It’s simple enough that older children will be able to use it on their own after being shown how. It’s also small (9 x 9 x 8 inches) and lightweight (under 6 lbs), making it easy to store and take out of the pantry when the family wants to whip up some dessert.

FAO Schwarz Motorized DIY Ice Cream Station Key Features:

  • Makes 1 quart of ice cream at a time
  • Takes about 30 minutes
  • Includes freezer bowl
  • Easy to use
  • Motorized paddle
  • Includes serving bowls and spoons

Who Should Buy an Ice Cream Maker

Anyone who loves ice cream, sorbet, or frozen might consider purchasing an ice cream maker. This is a great pastime for adults and children alike. Some ice cream makers require you to crank a handle, and that can definitely help keep kids entertained for part of a hazy summer afternoon. Others are “set it and forget it,” allowing you to take a dip in the pool or do some yard work before coming in to enjoy your sweet treat.

An ice cream maker can be a creative gift for a wedding shower, a birthday, or a graduation. It’s also a nice gift for grandparents who might be planning on hosting their grandchildren for a week or so in the summer. If you have a gift-giving occasion coming up and the weather is steamy, you should consider buying one.

Other ways to keep children entertained this summer could include a waffle maker (check out our list here) or, for outdoor fun, a trampoline (we have a list for those, too!)

Best Portable Ice Cream Maker Overall
Lello 4080 Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker
Make three quarts of delicious frozen confections per hour with this automatic ice cream maker.

Important Features to Consider

There are several features that some ice cream makers have that you might want to look for. Here are some things you should keep in mind as you consider which product to purchase.

  • Hand-crank or compressor-style. Today’s ice cream machines often come with their own compressor, allowing you to add your ingredients, turn it on, and not pre-freeze anything. If you remember making ice cream with a hand-crank, however, you might want to relive your childhood and look for a more old-fashioned style.
  • Other capabilities. Some ice-cream makers are great for turning fresh fruit into sorbet or are well-suited for making frozen yogurt. Think about if you’d like your ice cream maker to make other types of desserts, then look for one that will fit the bill.
  • Ease of use. Will your children be using the ice cream maker? If so, look for one that is simple and appealing for them to use. It might also be a good idea to find one that works quickly if your children (or you) have a sweet tooth that is looking for relatively instant gratification!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are ice cream makers worth it?

It really depends on why you want one. If your overriding goal is to save money, then unless you eat a lot of ice cream, it might not pay for itself, particularly if you are investing in a compressor-style ice cream maker, which can be several hundred dollars.

If you are wanting to control the ingredients that go into your ice cream, however, or if you are looking for a fun way to entertain yourself or your family, then yes, it is worth it. You will know exactly what is going into your dessert, and you will have something to look forward to as you wait for your ice cream to set.

Why is my homemade ice cream so hard?

There are a couple of reasons why your ice cream might be harder than you prefer. One is that it is not getting churned quickly enough, so there’s not air being introduced to the cream as it freezes. This can lead to a harder consistency. Another is if you are using less fat than the store-bought ice creams. Fat helps ice cream stay creamy, and a low-fat or nonfat ice cream will be harder and less creamy.

Can you make ice cream without an ice cream maker?

Yes, you can. If you have an electric mixer, you can beat the cream until peaks form, then add the rest of your ingredients, cover tightly, and freeze. Another way to make it is the popular bag method that you might have tried as a child. Put your ingredients in a small zip-top bag, then place that sealed bag in a larger bag filled with ice. Toss the bag back and forth as though you were playing catch, and in time, the creamy ingredients will form a soft ice cream. This is a fun way to spend some time with a child, but it is not very convenient, so you will probably only want to do it once or twice.

What kind of cream should I use in my ice cream maker?

You can use various types of cream, depending on the consistency and level of fat you are looking for. Whipping cream is the most common choice, followed by heavy cream. Some people prefer to use half-and-half. Look for recipes that appeal to you and try out various options!

Other Ice Cream Makers We Reviewed

Best Portable Ice Cream Maker Overall
Lello 4080 Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker
Make three quarts of delicious frozen confections per hour with this automatic ice cream maker.

In addition to the ones that made the top of our list, we also reviewed 20 other ice cream makers of various types and styles. These are all great options and the information that you will need to compare them is included with each listing.

Compressor Ice Cream Makers

Amazon Renewed Ice Cream Maker

Amazon Renewed Ice Cream Maker

This is a used ice cream maker that Amazon has inspected for usability and quality. It has its own cooler, so it’s all automated and easy to use.

Key Features:

  • Makes one pint
  • Takes about an hour
  • 90-day guarantee

Cost: $75

Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker

Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker

With 12 hardness settings and the choice of either manual or automatic functionality, this ice cream machine gives you lots of versatility and choices.

Key Features:

  • Makes 1.5 quarts of ice cream
  • 12 hardness settings
  • Can use manual or automatic setting

Cost: $500

KI-15 Ice Cream Maker

KI-15 Ice Cream Maker

This is an easy-to-use machine with automatic timers and an efficient self-cooling system. It makes 1.5 quarts of ice cream in under an hour.

Key Features:

  • Makes 1.5 quarts of ice cream
  • Takes 20 to 60 minutes
  • Automatic shutoff

Cost: $170

KLARSTEIN Sweet Dreams Ice Cream Maker

KLARSTEIN Sweet Dreams Ice Cream Maker

This ice cream machine is great for a large family, as it will make up to 50 ounces of ice cream in under an hour. It’s simple to use, too.

Key Features:

  • Makes up to 50 ounces of ice cream
  • Ready in 10 to 60 minutes
  • Only two buttons

Cost: $155

Lopie Stainless Steel Ice Cream Maker

Lopie Stainless Steel Ice Cream Maker

Make hard or soft ice cream, frozen yogurt, gelato, and much more with this versatile machine. Have a delicious dessert in about an hour.

Key Features:

  • Makes 1.6 quarts of ice cream
  • Works in under an hour
  • Different settings for different desserts

Cost: $250

Maxi-Matic Freezing Self-Refrigerating Ice Cream Maker

Maxi-Matic Freezing Self-Refrigerating Ice Cream Maker

This makes a pint and a half of ice cream easily without having to use salt, ice, or a hand-crank. Just add your ingredients, press the button you want, and wait.

Key Features:

  • Makes 1.5 pints of ice cream
  • Easy to use
  • Attractive colors available

Cost: $80

Northair Compressor Ice Cream Maker

Northair Compressor Ice Cream Maker

You can make hard ice cream, soft-serve, or even milkshakes with the help of this convenient machine. It has an auto-shutoff for safety.

Key Features:

  • Makes shakes in as little as 10 minutes
  • Makes hard ice cream in just over an hour
  • Includes scoop and spatula

Cost: $230

Whynter ICM-201SB Ice Cream Maker

Whynter ICM-201SB Ice Cream Maker

This is a high-quality ice cream maker made of stainless steel and featuring extras like an audible timer and an LCD timer control.

Key Features:

  • Makes over 2 quarts of ice cream at once
  • Audible timer
  • Easy to clean

Cost: $340

Traditional Ice Cream Makers

AMERIHOME ICM6C 6-Quart Old Fashion Ice Cream Maker

AMERIHOME ICM6C 6-Quart Old Fashion Ice Cream Maker

You can choose between using the convenient electric motor or the vintage-inspired hand crank for the full “back in the day” experience.

Key Features:

  • Makes 6 quarts of ice cream
  • Takes about 30 minutes
  • Includes recipes

Elite Gourmet Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Maker

Elite Gourmet Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Maker

Use this ice cream machine’s die-cut hand crank if you want hard ice cream, or use the electric paddle for soft-serve. Makes 6 quarts at a time.

Key Features:

  • Makes 6 quarts
  • Takes 40 minutes
  • Manual and electric modes

Cost: $170

Immergood Stainless Steel Ice Cream Maker

Immergood Stainless Steel Ice Cream Maker

This old-fashioned ice cream maker is an attractive vintage green color and is meant to last for generations. It’s leak-free and has all stainless steel hardware.

Key Features:

  • Makes 6 quarts
  • Hand crank machine
  • Built to last

Cost: $370

Norpro 6840 Ice Cream Maker, Multicolored

Norpro 6840 Ice Cream Maker, Multicolored

Whip up a pint of refreshing ice cream in 15 minutes with this traditional ice cream maker. It includes recipes for ice creams and sorbets.

Key Features:

  • Makes 1 pint of ice cream
  • Takes 15 minutes
  • Hand wash only

Cost: $50

Nostalgia Double Flavor Electric Bucket Ice Cream Maker

Nostalgia Double Flavor Electric Bucket Ice Cream Maker

Make two different kinds of ice cream at once thanks to this ice cream machine’s unique two-canister design. Each canister makes 2 quarts.

Key Features:

  • Makes 4 quarts of ice cream
  • Make two different types at once
  • Easy to clean

Cost: $70

Nostalgia ICMP400WD Electric Wood Bucket Ice Cream Maker

Nostalgia ICMP400WD Electric Wood Bucket Ice Cream Maker

Whip up four quarts of ice cream or gelato in this old-fashioned ice cream wood bucket. You don’t need to do it by hand, though, because it features an electric motor.

Key Features:

  • Makes 4 quarts of ice cream
  • Has an electric motor
  • Easy to clean

Cost: $120

Other Ice Cream Makers

AMAV Toys Ice Cream Maker Machine

AMAV Toys Ice Cream Maker Machine

Even the littlest ice-cream lovers in your family will be able to make their own ice cream with this machine. It takes only a few minutes.

Key Features:

  • Make two flavors at once
  • No batteries or freezing required
  • Ready in minutes

Cost: $15

Cuisinart ICE-20 Automatic 1-1/2-Quart Ice Cream Maker

Cuisinart ICE-20 Automatic 1-1/2-Quart Ice Cream Maker

This is a simple and easy way to whip up some ice cream. Chill the freezer bowl the night before, then add your ingredients and turn it on. That’s it!

Key Features:

  • Makes 1.5 quarts
  • Freeze the night before
  • Takes about 20 minutes

Cost: $85

Dash 2-in-1 Ice Cream, Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet + Popsicle Maker

Dash 2-in-1 Ice Cream, Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet + Popsicle Maker

You can make not only a quart of ice cream, frozen yogurt, or sorbet with this machine but also delicious popsicles. Perfect for a group of children.

Key Features:

  • Makes one quart of ice cream
  • Chill bowl the night before
  • Makes popsicles, too

Cost: $75

La Reveuse Frozen Dessert Maker

La Reveuse Frozen Dessert Maker

Use your favorite fruits to turn out delicious, low-fat, and vitamin-packed treats for your family. It’s simple to use and takes just three minutes.

Key Features:

  • Turns fruit into soft-serve confections
  • Healthy and nutritious
  • Quick and easy

Cost: $30

Youen Ice Cream Maker for Kids

Youen Ice Cream Maker for Kids

This ice cream maker works in about two minutes to make the ice cream or frozen yogurt that you or your child is craving.

Key Features:

  • Makes ice cream rolls
  • Works very quickly
  • Refrigerate, add ingredient, freeze, and eat

Cost: $35

Zoku Ice Cream Maker

Zoku Ice Cream Maker

Use this single-serving ice cream bowl to make enough ice cream for one person. Just chill the ingredients, add to the bowl, stir, and enjoy!

Key Features:

  • Makes one serving of ice cream
  • Takes about 10 minute
  • No ice or salt needed

Cost: $30

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