The Best Ice Cream Makers to Churn Out Homemade Treats


Emma Hayes

There I was in a hot yoga studio with plenty of bright natural light and bending myself into pretzel like positions for the very first time.



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Perhaps the single best thing about being a grown-up is that you can have ice cream whenever you want it. Even if you don’t technically have any in the house! Because you can just make some! With summer temperatures finally here, we decided now was a good time to talk about the best ice cream makers on the market.

When it comes to electric ice cream machines, what we’re talking about in this post, there are two types: canister-style and self-refrigerating. Canister-style machines have, well, a canister that’s lined with coolant and must be frozen ahead of time. Self-refrigerating machines are going to be more expensive because they have built-in compressors that chill the canisters — meaning you don’t have to remember to freeze the thing hours before you think you might want some ice cream.

Got it? Now let’s take a look at the machines recommended by some of our food-loving friends and shoppers.

The Best Ice Cream Maker, According to Wirecutter

Not really a name brand most of us are familiar with, Wirecutter says the Whynter machine is the best for consistently great homemade ice cream. It’s pretty pricey (because it’s self-refrigerating), but the editors say it’ll get more play than cheaper machines. It’s incredibly easy to use and scoop from. And it churns out ice cream that is unbeatably smooth.

Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker

The Best Ice Cream Maker, According to Cook’s Illustrated

Even during updated testing, the folks at Cook’s Illustrated still picked this old favorite. They say the desserts come out consistently creamy and score top marks in their blind taste tests. It’s also lightweight, compact, and has one-button operation (off and on!). Plus, the paddles fully submerge in the ice cream and don’t get in the way of the thermometer, should you want to be scientific about it. Just keep the bowl in the freezer at all times and you’ll be good to go when the craving strikes.

The Best Ice Cream Maker If You’re Willing to Splurge, According to Serious Eats

Serious Eats also picked the Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker, so we looked at their splurgy pick and they listed this one from Breville. Which is also the runner-up choice from Wirecutter and still recommended by Cook’s Illustrated, earning the nod for people who are fanatical about their ice cream and want to make consecutive batches. What do you get for the extra money? The self-refrigerating machine has 12 hardness settings and pre-cool and keep-cool options, and it plays classic ice cream truck songs to alert you when your ice cream is ready.

Cuisinart Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Ice Cream Maker

The Best Ice Cream Maker, According to Good Housekeeping

Another option from Cuisinart, this one makes a half-quart more ice cream without taking up much more cabinet space. Good Housekeeping liked it for it’s thick-yet-smooth ice cream, which they said was ready in about 45 minutes (versus the 25 touted on the brand’s website).

Cuisinart Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Ice Cream Maker

The Bestselling Ice Cream Maker on Amazon

This is the same machine that Good Housekeeping picked! (It comes in a few different colors.)

Kitchn’s Thoughts on the Best Ice Cream Makers

You can’t go wrong with any Cuisinart ice cream maker. The company came out with ice cream makers in 1998 and has sold more than six-million machines since then. Our team members have a few different models — and none of them disappoint! We love that most of the machines make ice cream, sorbet, frozen yogurt, and even frozen drinks (margs!). For a basic option, go with this one.

If you want something with a little more going on, the Cuisinart Cool Creations Ice Cream Maker is your best bet. The bowl freezes faster than other at-home, countertop ice cream machines. And thanks to the machine’s wide opening and blade design, you can easily use a spoon to taste test the ice cream without having to stop the machine or run into the blades.

Note: We also like the KitchenAid ice cream attachment bowl (pictured at the top of this post) if you already have a stand mixer and don’t really want to add another appliance to your cabinets. It makes up to two quarts of ice cream and works with your stand mixer. Just chill it ahead of time.

Do you have a favorite ice cream machine? Tell us about it in the comments!

Lisa Freedman

Lifestyle Director

Lisa Freedman is the Lifestyle Director at The Kitchn. She has never met a cheese or a washi tape she didn’t like. She lives in New York state with her husband and their pup, Millie.

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Emma Hayes

There I was in a hot yoga studio with plenty of bright natural light and bending myself into pretzel like positions for the very first time.