Last updated on October 11th, 2022
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An electric ice cream maker solves so many frozen dessert-related issues. Are you picky about the quality of your ice cream? Perhaps you have allergies to ingredients that appear in commercial ice creams. Are you vegan and don’t eat dairy products? Or maybe you’re just itching to try a maple bacon flavour? Making your own ice cream at home gives you complete control over what goes into this frozen dessert. And it tastes wonderful.
My guide reviews a selection of electric ice cream makers across all price ranges. I include both compression models and ice cream makers whose bowls have to be pre-frozen. In addition to the pros and cons of each model, I discuss their features and make my recommendations. The Buyer’s Guide looks at the details of each of these two electric ice cream maker types.
Best Electric Ice Cream Makers Reviews
1. Cuisinart ICE100BCU Ice Cream and Gelato Maker
The Cuisinart ICE100BCU Ice Cream and Gelato Maker contains a compressor that allows the unit to self-refrigerate. You never have to remember to put the bowl in your own freezer the day before you want to have ice cream. You can now spontaneously desire and make ice cream at any time.
Watch the review video below by 6 months later
The ICE100BCU is a stainless steel model that can make ice cream, gelato, sorbet, or frozen yoghurt in short order. This is the only model in our review to come with two differently shaped paddles, one for ice cream and the other for gelato. Imagine producing 1.5L of frozen dessert in just 40 minutes.
Just plug this ice cream maker in for a short while so that it starts to cool before you add your ice cream base. When the first batch is done, you can clean up the unit and go directly on to making another batch if you want. You can feed ice cream to a huge crowd in the summer in just a few hours.
The control panel is on top of the unit. This is where you find the timer which has a maximum of 60 minutes, in five minute increments. After you set the churning time your ice cream recipe calls for, the unit goes to work and stops automatically at the end of the period. The LCD display in the control panel counts down the time you have to wait until your ice cream is done.
And a unique benefit of this Cuisinart machine is that if you’re not around when it’s finished churning the mixture, it keeps the ice cream cold for 10 minutes. You receive a recipe book with this unit. Quite a few online reviews of this product say that these recipes are delicious.
It’s easy to add extras and so on to the ice cream when it’s churning. Just lift the flap on the clear lid and pour them into it. As the paddle is still rotating, all these extra ingredients distribute evenly through the ice cream.
This Cuisinart ICE100BCU Ice Cream and Gelato Maker comes with a five-year warranty.
- Fully automatic, stainless steel, compressor ice cream maker.
- Makes 1.5L of ice cream, gelato, sorbet, or frozen yoghurt in 40 minutes.
- Separate paddles for ice cream and for gelato.
- Keeps ice cream cool for 10 minutes after it’s finished churning.
- The control panel on top of the machine has a 60-minute countdown display on a blue LCD.
- The clear plastic lid has a flap through which to add bits and pieces to your ice cream while it’s churning away.
- The recipe book is included.
- Five-year guarantee.
The Cuisinart ICE100BCU Ice Cream and Gelato Maker is the Best Pick in this review.
The Cuisinart ICE100BCU Ice Cream and Gelato Maker is a compressor model that gives you the freedom to make ice cream just when you crave it. It cools itself down and then is ready to churn the ice cream base. Set the timer for however long you want (up to 60 minutes) and let this ice cream maker do the rest. It shuts itself off after the process is finished and then keeps the ice cream cold for an extra 10 minutes in case you’re not around.
2. Cuisinart ICE30BCU Ice Cream Deluxe
The Cuisinart ICE30BCU Ice Cream Deluxe is a pre-freeze type of ice cream maker. You need to put the bowl into your freezer for at least 12 hours, or possibly longer before you want to start making ice cream. After this, you can have ice cream in as little as 25 minutes.
Watch this video review and testing by Home insider
This stainless steel ice cream maker produces sorbet and frozen yoghurt as well. The type of frozen dessert depends on the recipe you use and how long you churn it for. You only receive the ice cream paddle, so you use that for everything.
The 2L capacity of the ICE30BCU is larger than that of most of the other models in this review. That’s plenty of ice cream for a family. And that’s just as well, as after making one batch, you have to clean up and then re-freeze the bow for a further 12 hours or so before you can make another batch.
Online reviewers of this model report that, as with many pre-freeze models, the ice cream comes out a little soft. It’s more like soft serve – good news if that’s your favourite type of ice cream. However, you may need to put the ice cream into your own freezer to harden it up if you prefer the more solid kind.
Add your own inclusions of whatever sort – nuts, fruit, sauce etc. – through the lid while the ice cream is being churned. You need to keep track yourself of the time that the unit runs and turn it off when the processing time the recipe calls for is up. There’s no timer or automatic shut-off feature here.
The recipes in the provided recipe book earn rave reviews online.
- Silver stainless steel ice cream maker that produces frozen yoghurt and sorbet as well.
- Makes 2L of frozen dessert in one batch in 25 minutes.
- Add inclusions, such as nuts and chocolate chips, through the lid while the ice cream making is in progress.
- Bowl, lid and paddle are removable for ease of cleaning.
- Recipe book included.
- Five-year guarantee.
- Need to pre-freeze the bowl overnight.
- Only one paddle (for ice cream).
The Cuisinart ICE30BCU Ice Cream Deluxe is a pre-freeze ice cream maker. As long as you have enough room in your freezer for the 2L capacity bowl, you freeze it for 12 hours before starting to make ice cream. Follow the recipes in the included recipe book or make your own custom varieties by adding inclusions while the ice cream is being made. In 25 minutes, you can be eating your very own ice cream creation.
The Cuisinart ICE30BCU Ice Cream Deluxe is the Runner-up in this review.
3. Duronic Ice Cream Maker IM540
The Duronic Ice Cream Maker IM540 is a budget-priced pre-freeze ice cream maker. With this unit, you can have ice cream, frozen yoghurt or sorbet (depending on your recipe) in a short time of 15 to 30 minutes.
You do, however, need to plan ahead. Prepare for your ice cream session by placing the bowl in your freezer 8 to 24 hours ahead of time. You need to experiment with how much time you need according to the power and capacity of your freezer. But online reviewers report that the longer the bowl sits in the freezer, the better.
There’s no timer or clock on this model. You have to watch and judge when the ice cream looks ready. Or set your own timer according to the instructions in your recipe and stick around for when the timer bell goes off. There’s just the ON/OFF knob to work this unit with.
Those who like chunky bits in their ice cream can add fixings through the lid when the ice cream is churning away. You can even add a sauce for a ripple finish.
The paddle, bowl and lid are all removable for easy clean-up. While the bowl and paddle should be washed in warm, soapy water, the manufacturer asks that you clean the lid only by wiping it with a damp cloth.
One word about instructions. Some current online reviewers are not pleased that the instruction manual is only available online; no paper version comes with the product. At 56 pages long, that’s quite a lot of paper to print out if you like to have the directions close by when using your ice cream maker.
- White plastic ice cream maker with a stainless steel bowl.
- Makes 1.5L of frozen goodness in 15-30 minutes.
- Works for ice cream, frozen yoghurt and sorbet.
- Flap in the transparent lid lifts for you to put in additions such as fruit pieces as the ice cream is churning.
- The paddle, bowl and lid are removable for cleaning.
- Control is through an ON/OFF knob.
- Have to pre-freeze the bowl.
- Doesn’t come with instructions.
- Only one paddle.
The Duronic Ice Cream Maker IM540 is a good choice of pre-freeze ice cream maker if you don’t need the instructions to hand when using it. Making 1.5L of frozen dessert in under 30 minutes is quite a feat. As there’s no timer, you do have to stick around and turn off the unit when the ice cream is the correct consistency.
4. Musso Mini Lussino 4080 Piccolo Ice Cream Maker
Despite its small capacity (0.75L), the Musso Mini Lussino 4080 Piccolo ice cream maker is made by a manufacturer of professional ice cream machines. Made in Italy, this commercial grade stainless steel unit is of high quality. And it does have a premium price to match.
As said above, this is an ice cream maker to consider if you want small batches of frozen concoction. As this is a compressor model, you just start it up and make the ice cream whenever you want. At the end of a batch, clean it out and start all over again immediately. As you create 0.75L of ice cream in just 20 minutes, you can make custom ice creams for each member of your family quickly.
This mini 4080 Piccolo unit has a 60-minute timer that automatically shuts off the maker at the end of the churning period you select. You can choose any period from 0 minutes to 60 minutes in five minute increments. Additionally, if the ice cream becomes too hard to churn before the time’s up, the machine shuts down by itself.
There’s no inner bowl that’s removable with this selection. To clean the unit, you just wipe down the inside of the unit – there’s no way to wash it in the sink or in the dishwasher. This may appeal to you or not, but it’s an interesting feature. But as there’s no freezer bowl, no ice crystals form during the ice cream making process. You end up with smoother and creamier ice cream.
- Compressor mini ice cream machine made in Italy.
- The casing is commercial grade stainless steel.
- The timer lets you set the churning period.
- Makes 0.75L of ice cream in 20 minutes.
- Has a 60-minute timer in five minute increments.
- No need to pre-freeze the bowl.
- Easy cleanup by wiping down the interior of the bowl.
- Add fixings to the ice cream as it churns.
- The bowl is not removable.
The Musso Mini Lussino 4080 Piccolo ice cream maker is worth a look if you’re fond of high-quality and high-end kitchen appliances. This is a compressor model so you don’t have to pre-freeze the bowl. Indeed, it doesn’t have a removable bowl as you make the ice cream directly in the unit. It makes individual sizes of 0.75L of frozen dessert at one time, but you can immediately then make another batch.
5. Ninja CREAMi Ice Cream & Frozen Dessert Maker (NC300UK)
The Ninja CREAMi Ice Cream & Frozen Dessert Maker [NC300UK] offers a different way to make ice cream at home. And not only that but also sorbets, smoothie bowls, light ice cream, gelato and milkshakes. And there’s a pre-set programme for blending/mixing each of these.
The CREAMi is basically a heavy-duty mixer capable of blending frozen ingredients. This unit comes with three dessert tubs. You mix up your ice cream (etc.) base in a tub and put it in your freezer for 24 hours or more. This freezes it solid. You get sorbet, gelato and so on depending on the recipe you follow.
Then pull the tub out, pop it on the CREAMi and select the appropriate programme. The entire control panel is on the front of the unit. The dual drive motors apply downward pressure and spin the paddle. This finely shaves the frozen block and churns the ice particles into your creamy dessert. When you’re ready to add your mix-ins, select that pres-set programme and go right ahead.
You receive three dessert tubs with your purchase so you can always have your ice cream base frozen and ready to go.
- Mixer/blender with a heavy-duty motor for frozen products.
- Comes with three 0.5L dessert tubs to contain your ice cream base.
- Pre-freeze the ice cream base for 24 hours.
- Seven pre-set programmes for different frozen desserts and mix-ins.
- Add fixings while the unit is running.
- Mixes rather than make ice cream.
- Picky about how you use it.
The Ninja CREAMi Ice Cream & Frozen Dessert Maker [NC300UK] is a different way to make ice cream. In actuality, you prepare the ice cream/other frozen dessert and freeze it for 24 hours. The Ninja CREAMi then mixes/blends it into the right consistency for the frozen dessert you’ve selected from the pre-programmed choices.
The Ninja CREAMi Ice Cream & Frozen Dessert Maker [NC300UK] isn’t an ice cream maker for the ice cream purist. However, if you like a wide range of frozen desserts, including smoothie bowls and milkshakes, this is worth a look.
Buyer’s Guide For Electric Ice Cream Makers
Electric ice cream makers mostly come in two types – a compressor unit which you just turn on and start making a frozen dessert with, and a pre-freeze unit which requires some planning and action beforehand. This Buyer’s Guide looks at the details of each of these types.
Pre-freeze electric ice cream makers
How they work
These ice cream makers require you to put the bowl in your freezer ahead of when you want to make the ice cream. This is because there’s a freezing agent within the walls of the (usually stainless steel) bowl that needs time to freeze. It’s the coldness of the bowl that freezes the custard that you put into it into ice cream as the paddle rotates.
Freezing the bowl
Generally, the time that the bowl needs to be frozen ranges from 8 to 24 hours. However, many online reviews we read in the course of writing this article complain that the freezing time should be much longer. Reviewers emphasise that you need to experiment to find out what’s the best time period for your own ice cream maker.
Of course, this means that you need to plan a day or so ahead if you want to make ice cream. You could always keep your ice cream maker bowl in the freezer, ready for use at any time. But this takes up precious freezing space. Extra bowls are also useful if you have family members with allergies to some ingredients; you avoid cross-contamination that way.
And that’s not all to consider. Some of the pre-freeze models in this review are quite large. I found several online comments that the bowl in them was too big to fit into the purchaser’s fridge freezer or freezer drawer. If you have a chest freezer, you’ll be alright though. But do consider the size of the bowl versus how much space you have in your freezer.
Pre-freeze ice cream makers don’t usually have timers in them, just an ON/OFF switch. This means that you have to keep track of how long it’s been churning and switch it off at the appropriate time. If the ice cream becomes too hard to churn, the paddle stops anyway. You’ll hear the maker stop as most of these units are quite noisy.
You may have noticed that the sales blurbs/product descriptions of these ice cream makers usually mention ice cream, sorbet, frozen yoghurt, and even gelato. These different frozen dessert types come about through different recipes and the length of time you churn them, rather than changing out the machine’s paddle. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on how long you churn the ice cream etc.
Ice cream consistency
This type of ice cream maker doesn’t freeze the ice cream. Many reviewers state that it comes out a little soft, somewhat like soft-serve ice cream. If you want hard ice cream you may need to put it in your freezer for a while to firm it up.
Pre-freeze electric ice cream makers are in the lower to middle sections of the price range for these products. The cost usually varies according to the capacity of the unit and how long it takes to produce the ice cream.
Most manufacturers state that the ice cream machine should be running (the paddle should be turning) when you add the ice cream mixture. This is because the mixture freezes instantly on impact with the very cold bowl. This could stop the paddle from rotating and upset your ice cream making session.
Chilling your ice cream custard mixture before pouring it into the bowl makes for a better texture of ice cream.
Compressor ice cream makers
How they work
These ice cream makers are self-freezing. The compressor unit powers a built-in freezer that cools down the bowl. Just run the unit for a short while before putting the ice cream mixture in to cool it a bit.
No pre-planning needed
You can make ice cream just when you want it. Turn on the compression ice cream maker and whip up the ice cream mixture. It does help if you chill the mixture for a while beforehand, so there is a little pre-thought here, or you could just use cold ingredients.
After you’ve made one batch of ice cream, you can just clean the bowl and start another batch right away. You won’t lose any quality of ice cream by the bowl not being properly chilled as the compressor freezes it as you go along.
Timing and automatic shut-off
Most compressor ice cream makers have an integral timer. Just set the churning period to the number of minutes that you want and the unit shuts off at the appropriate time. Some models incorporate a digital countdown in minutes so you know how much time is left before you can enjoy your frozen treat.
Compressor ice cream makers are generally from the mid-to the top-end of the price range for this product. Professional ice cream makers are all of this type. Compressor maker units for the home, however, are not unreasonably priced.
If your mouth just waters at the idea of high-quality ice cream, an electric ice cream maker for your kitchen is for you. The models in this review are at all price points and offer different conveniences. But they all produce delicious frozen desserts – whatever your ice cream preferences are.
The Best Pick is the Cuisinart ICE100BCU Ice Cream and Gelato Maker. This is a self-refrigerating ice cream maker. With a separate paddle for each of these desserts, you always get the right consistency.
The Cuisinart ICE30BCU Ice Cream Maker is the Runner-up. This is a pre-freeze ice cream maker that gives you 2L of ice cream per batch.
I’ve reviewed other useful kitchen appliances on this website. These include 5 of the Best Electric Ice Makers – Quick Cold Drinks; 5 of the Best Kitchen Food Processors – Beyond slicing and shredding and 5 of the Best Stand Mixers – Easily mix, beat and much more.
Last update on 2023-12-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API