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Ice cream isn’t just for the underage crowd. A splash of booze or espresso in homemade ice cream can take your happy hour to the next level. You may have the libations covered, but what about that homemade vanilla bean? It just may be easier than you think...
These top ice cream makers take all the work out of crafting your very own frozen dessert. Simply build your recipe, pour it into the machine, and in as little as 20 minutes later you’re on your way to frozen, boozy treats. Make a rum and ginger-spiked ice cream or a bourbon-y cheesecake flavored dessert. Perhaps a hot buttered rum? If you don’t want to add booze to the actual ice cream, try blending it into a high-ABV milkshake or a root beer float. Wherever your sweet tooth takes you, having one of these ice cream makers on hand will help you make the best icy boozy treats possible. Here are our favorites to get right now.
Best Overall: Cuisinart ICE-22 Ice Cream Maker
Quiet to use
Excellent entry-level option
Takes up space in your freezer
Capacity: 2 quart | Wattage: 50W | Dimensions: 9.25 x 9 x 11.25 inches
There’s a lot to love about this do-it-all unit. It’s simple to use, requires minimal effort, and turns out ice cream in as little as fifteen minutes—an impressive 25% speedier than preceding models. In addition to ice cream, it turns out frozen yogurt and sorbet for those who don’t eat dairy.
The unit is incredibly straightforward to use. There’s a large opening at the top for adding mix-ins (think cookie bits, chocolate chips, nuts, and other toppings). Included in the kit is a pair of 1 ½-quart mixing bowls. If you’re ever stumped, an included recipe book can guide you through flavor combos.
Included: Ice cream machine, 2 1 ½ quart bowls
Best Budget: DASH My Pint Electric Ice Cream Maker
No need to commit to a full quantity of ice cream
Compact for small spaces
Great for travel
Hand wash only
Capacity: 2 cups | Wattage: 12W | Dimensions: 4.1 x 5.3 x 8.4 inches
If you’re not looking to make several pints of ice cream, this small-but-mighty machine makes over two cups of ice cream in just half an hour. To use this flash chiller, freeze the bowl portion of the machine overnight in your freezer, then fill it with the base and attach it back to the machine. In thirty minutes, it transforms your base into a creamy, delicious frozen ice cream.
It’s compact, meaning it doesn’t take up a ton of space in your kitchen cabinets or freezer. Plus, it includes a plastic spoon to help you integrate your toppings and mix-ins.
The unit does require you to hand wash the freezer bowl and lid—but all other parts are dishwasher safe.
Included: Freezer bowl, lid, ice cream machine
Best Under $100: Chef'n Sweet Spot Ice Cream Maker
Easy to use
Does not keep it chilled for a long period of time
Capacity: ½ quart | Wattage: N/A | Dimensions: 11.38 x 2.31 inches
If you don't require the capacity or complexity of your standard fare ice cream maker, this option from Sweet Spot requires minimal space and almost no budget.
To make ice cream, simply freeze your ice cream maker in the freezer. Once chilled, take it out, prepare your mix and pour it onto the surface of the pan. The ice cream will instantly start to freeze.
This no-nonsense unit makes small batches of fun-to-craft ice cream—though if you’re looking for consistent, creamy ice cream, you may wish to opt for a heavier duty choice. (Pro tip: if you’re looking to make rolled ice cream, quickly scrape the ice cream as it freezes.)
Included: Freezer pan, two ice cream spades
Related: The Best Ice Makers
Best Splurge: Whynter ICM-200LS Automatic Ice Cream Maker
Capacity: 2 quarts | Wattage: 150W | Dimensions: 11.25 x 16.75 x 10.25 inches
If you’re a dedicated ice cream connoisseur, you’re going to need a machine that can keep up with your tastes. The Whynter ICM-200LS is a pro-approved machine that offers an impressive compressor freezer and an easy-cleaning exterior. The stainless steel exterior wipes down with ease, freeing your life of all the sticky side-effects of home ice cream production. A removable bowl and churn blade allow you to roll your mixture, scoop it, freeze it, and store it.
A big benefit of the machine: once the ice cream has reached peak hardness, the motor automatically shuts off. Additionally, a 2-quart capacity and LCD timer control keep the ice cream at a consistent temperature.
Included: Standard machine
Best Old School: Nostalgia Electric Ice Cream Maker
No freezing required
Takes a while to produce
Capacity: 4 quarts | Wattage: 50W | Dimensions: 12 x 12 x 16 inches
Once upon a time, the only way to get the sweet, creamy desserts that we all take for granted was to work for them. This ice cream machine goes old school, nodding back to old ice cream churns via a nostalgic design. But don’t worry—you don’t have to churn the ice cream yourself. An electric motor does all the work. A transparent lid lets you see the process, and the canister is removable for simple storage.
For those not savvy about creating their own flavors, this option includes flavor kits—vanilla crème, chocolate or strawberry. Unlike most options on this list, pre-freezing the canister is not required.
Included: Removable interior canister, machine, recipes (sold separately)
Related: The Best Blenders for Frozen Drinks
Best Large Capacity: Whynter Upright 2.1-Quart Ice Cream Maker
Easy-to-use LCD controls
Not the speediest
Capacity: 2 quarts | Wattage: 180W | Dimensions: 10.75 x 12.5 x 14.25 inches
If you’re willing to spend a little more money for a little more machine, Whynter’s upright option acts as both an excellent beginner option and a go-to choice for more experienced ice cream makers. It operates at 180 watts and has an impressive 2-quart capacity. Better yet, it runs almost silently.
Control your ice cream making process via an easy-to-read LCD control panel and a built-in audible timer to notify you when it’s ready to serve. The unit requires minimal clean-up: there’s no mess with ice and salt, and the stainless steel housing is easy to clean. The finished ice cream does come out more similar to soft serve, though you can also make frozen yogurt and gelato.
Included: Stainless steel ice cream maker, freezing bowl
Best Commercial: VEVOR Commercial 3-Flavors Soft Ice Cream Machine
Makes 2-3 flavors
Not friendly for home consumers
Needs a grounding wire
Capacity: 4 gallons | Wattage: 1200W | Dimensions: 15.7 x 20.8 x 30 inches
For those looking to produce high-quality ice cream at a rapid speed, this professional-level machine turns out two single-flavor ice creams and one mixed-flavor ice cream at a time. This means you can experiment with flavors: test out fruity and sweeter options, or creamy chocolate with rum or whiskey flavors. Collectively, the machine has a capacity of 3 liters per batch. For home ice cream makers, this unit makes it easy to control the batches, and to play with sweetness and strength.
An LCD screen enables the user to control the firmness, temperature, and quantity of the ice cream. There’s also a powerful Panasonic compressor and radiator to maintain efficient temperatures. Best of all, there’s a one-button cleaning function that obviates the hassle of a regular deep-clean.
Included: Ice cream machine with LED display
If you’re looking for a do-it-all, entry-level option, Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker (view at Williams-Sonoma) is an ever-appealing choice. If you’ve got more wiggle room in your budget, the Whynter Upright Ice Cream Maker (view at Amazon) is excellent for ice cream fans of all levels.
Are instructions included when buying an ice cream maker?
All machines come with best practice instructions for making ice cream with the unit.
What's the best way to clean an ice cream machine?
Typically, an ice cream machine has a removable bowl you can detach and clean by hand. The rest of the machine will need to be wiped down with a warm cloth and soap.
How long should an ice cream maker last?
If cared for properly, an ice cream machine will last for years. It’s not a bad idea to purchase additional warranty in case the emotor malfunctions.
What's the best way to store an ice cream machine?
Clean thoroughly after use, wrap the unit, and store in a cupboard.
Why Trust Liquor.com?
This roundup was edited by Jesse Porter, whose favorite boozy dessert is vanilla ice cream with sloe gin, and who eagerly awaits the discovery of this brilliant flavor combination by his neighborhood ice cream retailers.
Kate Dingwall is a seasoned wine and spirits writer and sommelier with an award-winning restaurant group. She spent her teen years scooping ice cream and subsequently, testing the product.
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