DIY Ice Cream

DIY Ice Cream Revolution the 3 Best Ice Cream Machines in 2023

From budget-friendly wonders to high-end ice cream marvels, explore the top-rated ice cream makers that will churn out frozen delights to satisfy your sweetest cravings.

Forget about speed and ease, my friend. Making your own ice cream is a wild adventure worth every second of effort. Wave goodbye to stale supermarket shelves because you're about to enter a realm of freshness that'll blow your taste buds away. With the power of DIY, you become the flavor wizard, the ingredient sorcerer. But wait, there's a small hiccup: conjuring ice cream magic at home without an ice cream maker is like trying to tame a unicorn—tricky business. Fear not! In a world of endless shapes, sizes, and freezing methods, we valiantly embraced the Herculean task of making and devouring countless ice creams. Oh yes, it was a grueling mission, but someone had to be the courageous ice cream warrior.

Best Overall

Ninja Creami Deluxe 11-in-1 XL Ice Cream Maker

Our Ratings:

Ease of Use: 5/5 (Easy peasy lemon squeezy!)

Design: 5/5 (Oh-so-fancy!)

Performance: 5/5 (Prepare to be amazed!)

What We Dig:

  • Mind-blowing results
  • User-friendly like a BFF
  • Multifunctional wizardry

What Gives Us the Giggles:

  • A bit on the pricey side
  • Holds a limited amount of creamy goodness
  • The base needs an overnight deep freeze

Hold your spoons, folks, because the Ninja Creami is here to flip your ice cream world upside down! While most ice cream makers do their freezing and whipping dance simultaneously, this TikTok-famous contraption takes a different route. It begins with a frozen base and employs a quirky "Creamerizer Paddle" that resembles a blender blade to transform it into smooth, velvety delight. Our team of skilled chefs and seasoned home cooks raised their eyebrows at this unconventional method, but guess what? The Creami stole our hearts and became the superstar of ice cream machines.

Whether it's sorbet or ice cream, the Creami Deluxe dazzles with its firm and consistent texture, leaving no room for pesky ice crystals or un-spun base hiding in the corners. Straight out of the machine, both treats are ready to rock your taste buds. Even after two hours of re-freezing, the ice cream maintains its glorious texture, while the sorbet remains pretty darn good—slightly denser than we'd prefer, with a few ice crystals on top.

Now, let's talk process, my frozen treat enthusiasts. The whipping extravaganza with the Creami Deluxe lasts a mere five minutes or so. However, brace yourself for the overnight base freezing session. Each of the two included cups can hold up to a pint and a half of base, which translates to around a quart of pure deliciousness. Not bad at all, but if you're planning to cater to a massive ice cream-craving crowd, you might need to reconsider.

The beauty of this magnificent machine lies in its ability to create a plethora of frozen delights. The Creami Deluxe boasts a whopping 11 modes, equipped with automatic time and speed settings designed for various textures and ingredients. From ice cream, sorbet, and frozen yogurt to milkshakes and coffee drinks with a Frappuccino flair, it does it all. Oh, and let's not forget the mix-in mode, which effortlessly incorporates solid goodies into the finished ice cream. During our tests, the blade happily broke down the larger Oreo chunks, resulting in a heavenly blend that remained perfectly mixed even after hours in the freezer. And guess what? Cleaning this baby is a breeze! Most of the removable plastic parts can cozy up with your dishwasher, and the blade itself can be easily detached for a quick hand wash.

(Warning: Due to its internet stardom, the Creami Deluxe might be as rare as a unicorn at your local retailers. If that's the case, keep your eyes peeled for the original Creami, which works just as magically but flaunts seven modes instead. Be warned, though—it's not much cheaper than its Deluxe sibling, which is why we have a soft spot for the latter. It's worth every penny, we promise!)

Get ready for the ultimate yield: up to 1 quart of frozen goodness! With a swift processing time of just 5 minutes, this powerhouse offers a whopping 11 setting options to satisfy your frozen fantasies. Sporting dimensions of 12 x 8.4 x 16.7 inches and weighing in at 14.4 pounds, this ice cream machine is ready to rock your kitchen!

$360 On Amazon

Best Budget

Cuisinart 1.5-Quart Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream, & Sorbet Maker

Our Ratings:

Ease of Use: 4.9/5 (Almost as easy as ordering pizza)

Design: 5/5 (Looking stylish while churning!)

Performance: 5/5 (Prepare for ice cream awesomeness!)

What We Dig:

  • So easy to use, it's a piece of cake (or rather, a scoop of ice cream)
  • Cleaning is a breeze (no sticky mess, woohoo!)
  • Wallet-friendly (more money for toppings!)

What Gives Us the Giggles:

  • It's got a small capacity (perfect for solo ice cream fiestas)
  • The bowl needs a whole 24 hours to freeze (patience is a virtue, my friend)

Get ready for our review of the Cuisinart ICE-21R Ice Cream and Sorbet Maker, folks! While it may not have all the fancy bells and whistles of those high-end machines, it sure knows how to deliver homemade ice cream magic in just 20 minutes, and at a price that'll make your wallet do a happy dance.

The process is as simple as pie (or should we say, ice cream pie?). The double-insulated freezer bowl snuggles into the base, with the mixing paddle happily nestled inside. The plastic cover seals the deal, holding everything in place. Pour in your base mixture, and as the bowl spins, the paddle swoops in like a superhero, scraping frozen goodness off the walls and mixing it back into the mix. And voila! After about 20 minutes, you've got yourself a perfectly churned batch of ice cream. (Psst, want to add some mix-ins? Just toss them in when the batch is nearly done spinning.) There's just one setting, one blade, and no need to worry about timers.

During our testing, both the ice cream and sorbet turned out with a smooth and even texture, although a tad softer, resembling dreamy soft serve. Pop the finished product in the freezer for a couple of hours, and it firms up while retaining its irresistible smoothness and scooping potential.

But here's the scoop you need to know. This machine requires a pre-frozen bowl, and boy, is it a bulky one. If you're the type who craves instant ice cream gratification, that bowl will need to reside in your freezer full-time, hogging up some precious space. Also, keep in mind that this model has a smaller capacity compared to Cuisinart's other ice cream makers, so be cautious with batch sizes when following recipes—scale down accordingly, or risk a sweet overflow incident (we learned that the sticky way). Oh, and here's a tiny hiccup: none of the parts are dishwasher-safe, but let's be honest, they're unlikely to require more than a quick rinse anyway.

So there you have it, ice cream enthusiasts! The Cuisinart ICE-21R may not have all the fancy bells and whistles, but it churns out delightful frozen treats like a pro, with minimal fuss and maximum flavor. It's the perfect companion for your ice cream adventures, as long as you can make room in your freezer for its bowl-sized personality. Happy scooping!

Prepare for a generous yield of up to 1.5 quarts of frozen deliciousness! With a reasonable processing time of 20 minutes, this ice cream maker offers a straightforward single-setting option. It boasts compact dimensions of 9.5 x 9 x 11.3 inches and a lightweight design, weighing in at just 10.1 pounds.

$70 On Amazon

Best Splurge

Breville The Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker

Our Ratings:

Ease of Use: 5/5 (So easy, even a penguin could use it!)

Design: 4.8/5 (Pretty snazzy, but could use a top hat)

Performance: 4.5/5 (A slow but steady ice cream maestro!)

What We Dig:

  • Automatic settings for hassle-free ice cream adventures
  • No need to pre-freeze the bowl—cool beans!
  • Keeps your ice cream at the perfect serving temperature (say goodbye to melty messes!)

What Gives Us the Giggles:

  • It's quite the splurge (prepare your piggy banks)
  • Holds a modest amount of creamy goodness (perfect for personal ice cream indulgence)
  • Takes its own sweet time to freeze (patience is a virtue, my friend)

Get ready for the epic review of the Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker, ice cream aficionados! If you're ready to take your frozen dessert game to the next level, this baby offers a plethora of features that'll make your taste buds tingle—albeit at a steep price. But hey, quality comes with a hefty price tag, right?

First things first, the Smart Scoop boasts its own compressor, just like those full-size freezers and air conditioners. It's the superhero that chills the bowl while it churns, ensuring your ice cream is a perfect blend of frosty delight. And guess what? After the ice cream is done, it graciously holds it at the ideal scooping temperature for a generous three hours. Now, you have the option to pre-freeze the bowl, just like other models. But here's the real magic: you can also let the machine do the chilling for you while you prepare your ice cream or sorbet base. No more fussing about refreezing between batches! However, keep in mind that this machine can only whip up about a quart at a time, and a batch can take quite a while—nearly an hour—to freeze. Slow and steady wins the ice cream race, right?

Let's talk about settings, my frozen treat adventurers. The Smart Scoop offers you ultimate control over your frozen creations with its 12 different hardness settings. Each setting is precisely calibrated for different types of frozen desserts. Whether you need a sturdy scoop of vanilla to hold up in a root beer float or a softer sorbet to elegantly quenelle atop a slice of pie, this machine has your back. With internal thermometers keeping a watchful eye on the mixture, the internal compressor makes sure the temperature stays spot-on. (However, we must mention that there are no speed settings or a slower churn for gelato enthusiasts.)

During our tests, we experienced pure ice cream bliss. The Smart Scoop delivered wonderfully smooth and indulgent ice cream, thanks to its lengthy churn time. Mix-ins? Oh, it handled them like a pro! A few minutes before the cycle finishes, the display gives you a friendly reminder to pour in those delightful additions. And guess what? It incorporated our Oreo pieces flawlessly, evenly distributing them throughout the batch without destroying the bigger chunks. Now, when it came to sorbet, the machine ran for a solid 54 minutes, resulting in a slightly over-frozen mix with a few icy crystals. If we were in control, we would have stopped it a few minutes early for a better texture. But alas, the Smart Scoop's "set-it-and-forget-it" approach had other plans for us.

All in all, the Smart Scoop delivers outstanding ice cream and grants you the power to control your frozen destiny. But let's be real, you're going to pay a pretty penny for all that ice cream magic. It's a dream come true for frozen-dessert fanatics or a seriously generous gift for weddings or housewarmings. So, my ice cream devotees, if you're willing to invest in frozen perfection, the Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker awaits your command. Happy scooping!

Get ready for a bountiful yield of up to 1.1 quarts of frozen delight! The processing time ranges from 35 to 60 minutes, allowing you to savor the anticipation. With a remarkable 12 setting options, this ice cream maker offers versatility to suit your cravings. Sporting compact dimensions of 7.2 x 16.2 x 10.7 inches, it finds its place effortlessly in your kitchen. Despite its power, it weighs a sturdy 30 pounds, ensuring stability and durability during your frozen adventures.

$500 On Amazon and Walmart.