We’ve found the best ice cream makers for making pints and quarts of creamy, frosty treats all summer long, including ice cream, gelato and froyo.
What’s your flavor? Rocky Road, Butter Pecan, Rum Raisin -- the choices are as varied as the millions of fruit, nut and spice combinations you can dream up. The International Dairy Foods Association did a survey last year and vanilla ice cream still reigns supreme as the top fave flavor of ice cream in America, followed by chocolate, cookies ‘n’ cream, mint chocolate chip and chocolate chip cookie dough. We line up for cones and cups at the local ice cream stand all summer long, but making your own is a family activity everyone will love and picking out your own ingredients, especially seasonal summer fruit from the farmers’ market, is a joy.
There are quite a few ways to make your own ice cream, including using just a Ziploc bag, milk or cream, sugar, ice and rock salt or a glass jar, your freezer and periodic shakes. We’re not going that DYI for our coffee ice cream, though. We’ve found the best ice cream makers for making pints and quarts of creamy, frosty treats all summer long, including ice cream, gelato and froyo.
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Kick it old-school with the Nostalgia 4-Quart Wood Bucket Ice Cream Maker with Easy Carry Handle ($48).
The electric motor does all the churning so you can save your muscles for scooping into your mouth. It’s a fast and easy way to make 4-quarts of ice cream, frozen yogurt, or gelato. Just add your ingredients into the aluminum canister, place in the middle of the bucket, layer with ice and salt and the electric motor does the rest. Use the included lid and lid cap to store leftover ice cream in the freezer. Buy yours now.
Go more high tech and make bigger batches with the Whynter Ice Cream Maker. ($266)
Make delicious ice cream in about 40 minutes with this self-freezing machine. The compressor model ice cream makers are easy-to-use and create the smoothest textured result and you can make batches one right after the other because the freezing unit is built-in. We also like the Breville Smart Scoop ($320) with automatic hardness settings and an alert to let you know when it’s time to eat your treat. Get yours now.
Love Soft Serve? Make professional-quality soft serve ice cream, yogurt, sorbet and sherbet with the Cuisinart “Mix It in” Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker. ($70). This innovative machine has three built-in condiment dispensers which adds in your tasty treats with just a pull of a tab. Add sprinkles, chips and other mix-ins down the chute and into your frozen desserts. Get one here.
If you’re making ice cream for just one or two people or like to change flavors frequently, get the Gourmia Automatic Ice Cream Maker with Built-In Cooling System ($85). No pre-freezing is needed to make hard and soft ice cream, gelato, sorbet and froyo. Just mix in your ingredients, push a button, and the internal cooling system does the rest, making up to 2 pints of deliciously rich ice cream. Buy one now.
Go totally low tech with the modern Zoku Ice Cream Maker ($28), a compact make and serve bowl with a stainless steel freezer core that makes soft serve, froyo, ice cream and more in mere minutes. Get one for each member of the family so they can make their own favorite flavor and if you have multiple ice cream makers, the stainless steel bowls stack and store in your freezer, so it’s ready whenever you are. Just pour the chilled ice cream mixture into the bowl, churn with the special spoon, scrape, and enjoy. Get yours in six different colors.
The little Sunsir Home Mini Automatic Ice Cream, Frozen Yogurt and Sorbet Dessert Maker Machine ($23) is great for taking in the RV or on vacation. It makes homemade ice cream in under 12 minutes in the same aluminum bowl with no rock salt or special mixes required. Just mix the ingredients, freeze the bowl overnight and have ice cream the next day. Pick up one for home or RV.
Go luxe with the Lello Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker ($636). This fully automatic machine has a timer so there’s no guesswork about when your ice cream, sorbet, gelato or even frozen drink is ready. Just place ingredients in the bowl, set the timer and in a half an hour you have 1.5 quarts of your favorite frozen confection and you can make another batch right away.