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The 7 Best Ice Cream Makers to Get in 2021

For boozy frozen treats, of course!

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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 Cream Maker

Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker

Courtesy of Food52

  • 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—it’s 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 Ice Cream Maker

Dash My Pint Ice Cream Maker

Courtesy of Crate and Barrel

  • No need to commit to a full quantity of ice cream

  • Compact for small spaces

  • Great for travel

  • Small units

  • 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—all other parts are dishwasher safe. 

Included: Freezer bowl, lid, ice cream machine

Best Under $100: Chef’n Sweet Spot Ice Cream Maker

Chef’n Sweet Spot Ice Cream Maker

Courtesy of Amazon

  • Low-effort

  • Easy to use

  • Lacks consistency

  • 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 aren’t looking for the heavy machinery of your standard fare ice cream maker, this option from Sweet Spot requires minimal space and almost no budget.

To make ice cream, freeze your ice cream maker in the freezer. When chilled, take it out, prepare your mix and pour it onto the surface of the pan. The ice cream will start to instantly freeze. 

The perks of this ice cream maker is it makes small batches of fun-to-craft ice cream, though if you’re looking for consistent, creamy ice cream, opt for a heavier duty option. 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 Ice Cream Maker

Whynter ICM-200LS Automatic Ice Cream Maker

Courtesy of Amazon

  • Large capacity

  • Consistent

  • Automatic timer

  • Pricey

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 to keep up with you. It’s a pro-approved machine that offers an impressive compressor freezer and an easy-cleaning exterior. The stainless steel exterior wipes down with ease from all the sticky substances. A removable bowl and churn blade allow you to churn 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 Commercial: VEVOR Commercial Ice Cream Maker Machine

 Ice Cream Maker

Courtesy of Amazon

  • Makes 2-3 flavors

  • High efficiency

  • Easily customizable

  • Not friendly for home consumers

  • Pricey

  • 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 fruit and sweeter options, or creamy chocolate with rum or whiskey flavors. Overall, the machine has a capacity of 3 liters per batch. For home ice cream makers, this unit lets it easy to control the batches, play with sweetness and strength. 

An LCD screen makes it easy to control the hardness, 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 removes the hassle of cleaning.

Included: Ice cream machine with LED display

Best Old School: Nostalgic Ice Cream Maker

Nostalgic Ice Cream Maker

Courtesy of Amazon

  • Minimal mess

  • No freezing required

  • Takes a while to produce

  • Lower quality

Capacity: 4 quarts | Wattage: 50W | Dimensions: 12 x 12 x 16 inches

Once upon a time, the only way to get these sweet, creamy desserts was to work for it. This ice cream machine goes old school, nodding back to old ice cream churns via a nostalgic design. 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 Ice Cream Maker

Whynter ICM-201SB Upright Automatic Ice Cream Maker

Courtesy of Amazon

  • Automatic shutoff

  • 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, Whynter’s option acts as both an excellent beginner option and a go-to option for more experienced ice cream makers. It operates at 180 watts and has an impressive 2-quart capacity, plus, 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 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

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for a do-it-all, entry-level option, Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker (view at Williams-Sonoma) is an ever-appealing option. If you’ve got more budget to spend, 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 wipe 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 if the emotor malfunctions.

What's the best way to store an ice cream machine?

Clean thoroughly after use, wrap the wire, and store in a cupboard.

Why Trust

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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