Best ice cream makers 2024: for delicious sweet treats at home

Hamilton Beach 1.5 Quart 68320 being tested
(Image credit: Future)

The best ice cream makers will help you to make fresh, delicious ice cream for you and your family all summer long. Our list features an array of ice cream makers, from budget machines for less than $100 to high-end models that can tackle all of your frozen dessert cravings. 

The best ice cream makers can do more than just make basic ice cream, with many being able to produce fresh gelato, sorbets, and fro-yo. They also vary greatly in capacity, with some being able to make up to four quarts of your desired frozen dessert. If you are on a budget, you will be pleased to know that even the cheaper options have motors strong enough to churn out delicious ice cream. 

Many of our models have easy-to-clean detachable bowls and paddles so that you can wash them up with ease afterward. Some models start with just the push of a button when all the ingredients are inserted, making them super easy to use. 

If you are interested in making more than just ice cream and want to diversify your kitchen appliance collection, you might want to check out our guides to the best blenders and best juicers. A good blender can help you make smoothies, sauces, soups, and much more, while a juicer can help you extract the most nutrients from your fruits and vegetables.

For now, keep reading to see which ice cream makers made our list.

The best ice cream makers we recommend in 2024

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The best ice cream maker overall

Cuisinart ICE-21P1 Ice Cream Maker

(Image credit: Amazon)

1. Cuisinart ICE-21P1

The Cuisinart ICE-21P1 is a great ice cream maker that is super easy to clean.

Reasons to buy

+
 Easy to clean 
+
 Good value  

Reasons to avoid

-
 Components aren’t dishwasher safe 
-
 Loud motor 

The Cuisinart ICE-21P1 is the best ice cream maker in our round-up. It’s BPA-free, has well-thought-out design elements like a non-slip base, and it’s easy to use. Its capacity can hold up to 1.5 quarts. 

The motor is located at the bottom of the machine and turns the bowl as it mixes, creating a creamy consistency that doesn’t leave unmixed ingredients at the base of the bowl like machines with top-rotating motors. This Cuisinart model also has a double-lined freezer bowl that contains a nontoxic coolant to keep your ice cream cold even sitting at room temperature.

What users say...

The Cuisinart ICE-21P1 has very positive reviews on Amazon, with an average rating of 4.5/5 stars. Users praise its ease of use and ability to make fresh ice cream fast. The small number of negative reviews are critical of the consistency of the ice cream, with some users saying it is too soft. 

The Cuisinart ICE-21P1 only takes about five minutes to clean. None of the components are dishwasher-safe, but with some warm and soapy water, you can easily clean the freezer bowl. Since that and the dasher are the only parts that touch the ice cream, there is not much to clean beyond that. One of the only downsides to this machine is the powerful, but unfortunately very loud, motor. It isn’t as loud as a coffee grinder or hair dryer by any means, but you can hear it when you are in another room, and it can be difficult to carry on a conversation if you are standing near the machine while the ice cream churning is in progress.

The easiest to use ice cream maker

Hamilton Beach 68880 Ice Cream Maker

(Image credit: Home Depot)

2. Hamilton Beach 68880

The Hamilton Beach 68880 is a great ice cream maker if you just want something small and easy-to-use.

Reasons to buy

+
 Easy to use 
+
 Easy to clean  

Reasons to avoid

-
 Small capacity  
-
 You need to chill the bowl first 

Making homemade ice cream can sometimes be a chore, but it takes little effort with the Hamilton Beach 1.5 Quart 68880 Ice Cream Maker.

What users say...

The Hamilton Beach 68880 has an average rating of 4.1/5 stars on Amazon. The majority of reviews are 4 or 5 stars, with users praising how easy it is to use to make fresh ice cream at the press of a button. Negative reviews are unhappy with the use of a freezer unit, as it can cool unevenly and may not make hard ice cream if cooled incorrectly. 

This ice cream maker creates a tasty treat with a thick, soft-serve consistency. If you want to harden the ice cream a bit, you can pre-chill the ingredients and leave the finished ice cream in the freezer. 

Before making anything, you need to chill the freezer bowl that holds the ingredients – in fact, it’s best to keep it in the freezer overnight. When you’re ready to make ice cream, you just connect the bowl to the base, add the ingredients and the dasher (mixing device), and switch the on button. It takes around one hour to create a bowl of tasty ice cream. It’s also easy to clean this Hamilton Beach ice cream maker since it only has four parts you can quickly hand wash.

The best cheap ice cream maker

Nostalgia PICM4BG

(Image credit: Home Depot)

3. Nostalgia PICM4BG

The Nostalgia PICM4BG is ideal for making lots of ice cream without spending too much.

Reasons to buy

+
 Low price 
+
 Transparent lid 

Reasons to avoid

-
 Loud motor 
-
 No fill line 

The Nostalgia PICM4BG is a brilliant ice cream maker if you don’t want to splash the cash. Complete with a four-quart capacity, this machine is suitable for family homes and can be used to make frozen yogurt, too. 

The internal bucket is made of plastic and can be quickly cleaned with ease. Other helpful features include the transparent lid so that you can check on the progress of your ice cream as it’s churning. Nostalgia makes its own ice cream kits which can be used with this maker, however, you can still use it to whip up your very own ice cream recipes. 

What users say...

The Nostalgia PICM4BG has an impressive average rating of 4.5/5 stars on Amazon, with 75% of the 2,702 reviews being 5 stars. Users are pleased with its ability to make large amounts of ice cream easily, at the push of a button. The small number of negative reviews are critical of the drum itself, stating that it moves too much while making the ice cream. 

The electric motor will take care of mixing up your ice cream, and there’s no need to place the internal bucket in the freezer as you do with some other models we’ve reviewed. This Nostalgia ice cream maker isn’t made with the most expensive materials, but it’s also not going to cost you the earth. A handle makes it easy to move around, and it has thousands of impressive user reviews, too. Some users, however, rated this machine down for its lack of fill line inside the bucket, and some also mentioned that the motor is fairly loud when the machine is on. 

The best high-end ice cream maker

Whynter ICM-200LS

(Image credit: Home Depot)

4. Whynter ICM-200LS

If you want a snazzy ice cream maker, this Whynter is the one for you.

Reasons to buy

+
 Clever features 
+
 Auto shut off  

Reasons to avoid

-
 Expensive  
-
 Small capacity  

If you’re serious about making ice cream and are willing to spend that bit more, the Whynter ICM-200LS is for you. This ice cream maker looks different from all the others we’ve reviewed and that’s because it is. There’s no need to freeze the BPA-free mixing bowl beforehand or add ice, as this machine freezes as it works. When it’s time to clean up, the mixing bowl can be removed and easily wiped down. 

What users say...

The Whynter ICM-200LS has very favorable reviews on Amazon, with an average rating of 4.5/5 stars. Users praise its ease of use and ability to make a number of frozen desserts. The small number of negative reviews is critical of the sound level of the machine, with some users reporting a high-pitched squeaking noise. 

The Whynter ICM-200LS has an in-built feature, which means the mixture won’t melt, and once the ice cream has reached the ideal frozen texture, this machine will automatically switch off so that the motor is damaged. 

When you buy this machine, you’ll get some recipes to try out, an ice cream scoop, and other handy features such as a timer and LCD controls. The display will show you the temperature of your mixture so you can monitor it should you need to. 

Despite its price tag, however, this ice cream maker from Whynter only makes just over two quarts of ice cream, which is disappointing compared to other cheaper models. Users praised its speedy functions and high quality, but some criticized how large this machine is and said it ‘takes up a lot of counter room.’

The best value ice cream maker

Hamilton Beach 68330N

(Image credit: Amazon)

5. Hamilton Beach 68330N

The Hamilton Beach 68330N is a great value ice cream maker with a decent capacity.

Reasons to buy

+
 Big capacity  
+
 Good value for money 

Reasons to avoid

-
 Ice cream takes a while to freeze 
-
 Short power cord 

The Hamilton Beach 4 Quart 68330N is cost-effective on many levels. First, this generously sized machine can make up to a gallon of ice cream, which is great if you have many mouths to feed. 

Second, this Hamilton Beach model is one of the most affordable ice cream makers in our comparison, and it still gets the job done. You can make everything from frozen yogurt to creamy ice creams in this machine, and there are 20 recipes included when you buy it, too. 

What users say...

The Hamilton Beach 68330N has an average rating of 4.5/5 stars on Amazon. Of the nearly 6000 reviews, 75% are five stars, with users praising its ease of use and affordability. A small number of negative reviews are unhappy with the noise level of the machine, with some users saying it rattles or screeches when in use. 

One thing to note is that from start to finish, this ice cream maker is slower than most others. Even though the manual claims it takes about an hour to make and eat the ice cream, in our experience, it takes at least an hour of mixing and lots of ice and rock salt to get a consistent ice cream texture. 

You will need to be prepared to spend the extra time and effort to create your dessert. In addition, you will have to deal with some design drawbacks. It has a short cord and no handles, making it tough to move around. It also doesn’t have an on-and-off switch, which means you’ll have to unplug the machine if you want to check on your mixture or if you need to add any ingredients – although the motor does have an automatic shutoff mechanism when it senses the mixture is at the right consistency. It’s still a fantastic option for the price. 

The best compact ice cream maker

Ninja NC301

(Image credit: Ninja)

6. Ninja NC301 CREAMi Ice Cream Maker

The Ninja Creami has found TikTok fame for good reason.

Reasons to buy

+
Compact
+
Easy to use
+
Can make sorbet, smoothies and fro-yo

Reasons to avoid

-
Only 2 pints
-
Expensive for the size

The Ninja NC301 is an aesthetically pleasing, compact ice cream maker that can also make your favorite smoothies, sorbets, and milkshakes. You can use it to make light ice cream, and it can cater to a number of dietary requirements, such as dairy-free, gluten-free, and more. 

The ease of use of this machine makes it easy for the whole family to make fresh ice cream - perfect for small children and elderly people alike. The seven versatile programs allow you to find the perfect combination of speed, pressure, and time to make your desired ice cream, sorbet, gelato, smoothie bowl, and mix-ins. 

What users say...

The Ninja NC301 has an average rating on Amazon of 4.5/5 stars, with users praising its ability to make fresh frozen desserts easily and quickly. The small number of negative reviews are unhappy with its capacity, stating that it may need to be used multiple times for large quantities of ice cream. 

Unlike most ice cream makers, Ninja's Creamerizer technology shaves ice particles to give a smooth, creamy dessert every time. You can use the slow setting to mix in your favorite chocolates, nuts, candy, and fruit to personalize your desserts. The containers, lids, and paddle are top-rack dishwasher safe, making them super easy to clean and reuse for your next frozen treat. 

When you purchase a Ninja NC301 ice cream maker, you will receive a motor base with dual drive motors, a Creamerizer paddle, 2 x 16 oz CREAMi pints with storage lids, an outer bowl and lid, and a recipe inspiration guide with over 30 recipes for various frozen treats. 

Overall, for the price, this is a solid choice if you are looking to get a new ice cream maker, but it could have a larger capacity. Some of the other options on our list are cheaper, but they can make more ice cream than this model. In terms of building quality and reputation, this is a better choice if you are looking to use an ice cream maker for the first time. 

How to choose the best ice cream maker for you

There are a few key things to look for when purchasing the best ice cream makers. If you make ice cream frequently, then you will want to look for an option with a freezer bowl. If you are planning on making ice cream for special occasions, then a classic rock salt and ice method should work just fine. 

For frequent use, you will also want to look for an ice cream maker that is easy to clean. Models that are easy to take apart and machine washable will be the easiest to keep clean after use. If the amount of cleanup and preparation outweighs going to the store and buying a pint of ice cream, then a machine might not be the best choice for you. 

If you are concerned about storage, then you will want to check out some of the more compact models of ice cream makers, such as the Ninja NC301. Some ice cream makers are large and can be a bit of a pain to store, but they will make more ice cream per batch. Similarly, compact models will be easy to tuck away in a drawer or cupboard but will make less of your favorite frozen treats. 

Ice cream maker FAQS

How much do ice cream makers cost?

Ice cream makers can vary greatly in cost, from around $20 to well over $500 for some of the high-end models. Some high-price models will feature a lining that keeps the freezer bowl cold, as well as more powerful and efficient motors. A modestly priced, well-designed machine can still make good ice cream but will usually be smaller or louder when in use. 

Sophie Bird

Sophie is Home Editor at Top Ten Reviews. Starting off her career in print journalism, Sophie then moved to digital and now specializes in lifestyle, home interiors and social media. While she has scooped awards for her journalism, Sophie likes to whip up a storm in the kitchen when she's not writing.