In 2021, I have the pleasure of following a number of great ice cream makers around the world, and I find myself impressed by what I see. Canadian manufacturers have been making great ice creams for over a century. From Metterra in Nova Scotia, to St. Ambroise in Quebec, to Le Gourmand in Quebec, and to Le Chocolatier in Quebec (Le Chocolatier is a separate entity), they have built great brands that have been at the forefront of the industry for more than 100 years.
As you stand in front of a display of ice cream scoops at the supermarket, you might be faced with a choice of multiple flavors. Which one is the best ice cream? The simple answer is that it depends on how you will use it. Some ice cream is best eaten right after a long day, while others may be better enjoyed after an indulgent meal. And then there are those that you want to eat now, not later. The good news is you can make your own ice cream and most of it is good enough to eat now. So, how do you choose?
If you love ice cream, then the best ice cream makers of 2021 are going to be the ones that you can make at home, by yourself, with very little work. We have looked at some of the best machines that are available as well as some of the best ice cream recipes in order to choose the best ice cream makers for 2021.
An ice cream maker is an easy-to-use device that certainly deserves a place in your kitchen, whether you want to make sure you always have frozen delights on hand to cool down on a hot day or want to experiment with flavors and take your handmade sweets to the next level.
We tested nine different ice cream makers for weeks, and after churning more than 20 pints of ice cream, just two stood out as the best of the best.
Overall, the best ice cream maker
Of all the ice cream makers we examined, the Cuisinart ICE-21 had the greatest price-to-performance ratio. It made some of the creamiest, best-tasting ice cream in the group while also being one of the most affordable. The bowl must be frozen overnight before producing ice cream, and it is very noisy, but we don’t believe there is a better machine for the price.
The best ice cream maker is one that has a compressor.
Because a compressor-style ice cream maker includes a built-in refrigeration unit, there is no need to prepare the ice cream ahead of time. The Whynter ICM-201SB is expensive, but it’s a very handy and surprisingly quiet ice cream maker that produced the creamiest ice cream of our bunch.
ICE-21P1 Cuisinart 1.5 Quart Frozen Yogurt
During our taste testing, the Cuisinart ICE-21 produced one of the smoothest ice creams with only a hint of iciness, outperforming machines costing hundreds of dollars more.
The Cuisinart ICE-21 is extremely simple to operate, but the mixing bowl must be pre-frozen overnight. It takes a little forethought before you can start churning, but after you’ve prepared your foundation and frozen the bowl, producing ice cream is a snap. Simply put the bowl, paddle, and lid together, pour in your base, and set the machine’s single switch to “on.”
The ICE-21 is so loud that if your kitchen is next to your living room, you won’t be able to switch it on while watching a movie without turning up the volume on the TV. While it was one of the noisiest machines we tested, it also churned ice cream quicker than many of its rivals (about 15 minutes for both of the recipes we tried), so you won’t have to put up with it for long.
We also observed that, among the machines we examined, the ICE-21 produced the least ice cream accumulation, particularly among the non-compressor choices. Many ice cream makers left a layer of ice cream clinging to the edge of the bowl, which was still scoopable but much icier than the creamy mixture that went through the paddle on a regular basis.
Because you won’t be able to reuse the frozen bowl after the ice cream is done because it will have warmed up a lot, if you want to create back-to-back batches, you’ll need to buy an extra bowl and freeze them both the night before.
The ICE-21 was not as difficult to clean as the previous models. Because none of the bowls we tested were dishwasher-safe, we hand-washed them to see how difficult or time-consuming it was to clean all of the nooks and crevices. Scrubbing the bottom of the bowl may be tricky since most bowls have a vertical tube in the center where you can connect a paddle. Despite this, you can clean the bowl quite well with a sponge, but you’ll still need to use a bottle brush to really clean the interior of the tube, which is a hassle. This is not an issue with the Cuisinart bowls that must be pre-frozen, making cleaning them squeaky clean a lot easier job.
There is no other ice cream maker that can compare to the Cuisinart ICE-21 in terms of dependability, ease of use, and cost. You can create wonderfully creamy and rich desserts just as well as higher-end models for less than $70 and a little preparation.
Whynter ICM-201SB Automatic Upright Ice Cream Maker
Because they include a built-in refrigeration unit, compressor ice cream makers are more costly than non-compressor versions, but if you make ice cream on a frequent basis, they may be worth the investment. Freezing bowls on a regular basis requires a lot of planning and, more crucially, freezer space. Compressor models may save you a lot of time and work if you make ice cream often or experiment with flavors all the time.
The Whynter ICM-201SB Upright Automatic Ice Cream Maker was by far the finest of all the compressor machines we examined. This ice cream maker was not only very easy to operate, but it also produced the smoothest ice cream of all of the machines we tried, with almost no frost accumulation on the bowl’s edges. Furthermore, the upright design of the Whynter means it takes up much less counter space than other compressor types. In fact, it only took up a little more space than other non-compressor versions, which is remarkable considering the Whynter has a complete chilling system within.
The design of the machine was quite distinct from the other compressor types we examined. It was simpler to clean and scoop out of since it was upright, with a shallow and broad basin while the others are tall and narrow. Unlike the Cuisinart ICE-21, the Whynter’s bowl still had the irritating tube in the center, but with greater space surrounding it, cleaning the protrusion was much easier.
ICM-201SB by Whynter Because the upright machine, like all of the compressor types we examined, is very hefty, you should probably put it in a lower cabinet to prevent any overhead lifting. When we switched the machine on, though, we were astounded by how quiet it was. All of the other ice cream makers made some noise (some, like the Cuisinart, made a lot more), so we were blown away when the Whynter produced a low and quiet hum, comparable to that of an efficient dishwasher. This computer could easily run in the background as you work, chat, or even watch TV in the same room without being a major distraction, which we thought was a significant plus. It was also pretty quick, taking 25 minutes to make dairy ice cream and 35 minutes to make vegan ice cream.
While the Whynter ICM-201SB Upright Automatic Ice Cream Maker is more expensive than the Cuisinart, the Whynter’s convenience aspect outweighs anything else we tested. It eliminates the need to freeze a bowl and, unlike other compressor versions, isn’t as large, is simple to scoop out of, and is very silent. The Whynter ICM-201SB is the one to buy if you want the convenience of a compressor ice cream machine.
You can create ice cream at home in a variety of methods, including in a plastic bag, a Mason jar, or with a machine like the ones we tested. Using an ice cream maker isn’t difficult, but there are a few things to keep in mind before getting started. To begin, most ice cream machines are divided into two categories: those with compressors and those without. Compressor machines include a built-in refrigeration system that freezes the bowl to freezing temperatures at the start of the operation, while makers without this feature need you to freeze a bowl ahead of time, usually overnight.
If you have freezer space, freezing the bowl ahead of time takes some preparation but isn’t too difficult. However, unless you purchase an additional bowl, you won’t be able to create several batches of ice cream in a succession (which means you need even more freezer space). However, the results are quite comparable to those obtained by using a compressor model, and you will save a significant amount of money up front.
While compressor machines are generally more expensive, heavier, and take up a lot more space, you won’t have to plan as much ahead of time (just make sure your base is completely chilled if you’re cooking it on the stove), and you’ll be able to make pint after pint of ice cream without having to refreeze anything. These machines are unquestionably an investment, but they consistently produce high-quality ice cream and eliminate the need to constantly freeze bowls, which may be a big benefit if you make ice cream on a regular basis.
Over the course of many weeks, we put nine ice cream makers to the test in order to identify the finest ones on the market. To do so, we put each machine together, produced ice cream in it, and cleaned it at least twice before taking notes on ease of use, mixing time, noise, weight, and other factors.
We prepared a few batches of ice cream to find standard recipes to utilize throughout the testing process, and we settled on Bon Appetit’s True Vanilla Ice Cream and The Kitchn’s Vegan Ice Cream. We could tell whether machines churned an icier final product since both recipes both produced a thick, creamy ice cream.
Here’s a list of all the tests we performed throughout the course of the weeks of testing:
- Dairy ice cream texture: After producing each batch of ice cream, we ran multiple taste tests to compare the consistency and texture of each ice cream. In comparison to the rest of the pool, we evaluated how icy or creamy each ice cream was.
- After preparing each batch of vegan ice cream, we performed the same taste testing, paying close attention to iciness and texture.
- We timed how long each machine took to convert the liquid foundation into ice cream for both dairy and vegan recipes.
- Ease of preparation: We recorded all of the procedures involved in preparing the machine for ice cream production, including assembling the various components, pre-freezing the bowl, and running the unit through a pre-chill function.
- Ease of use: Once we had everything we needed to create ice cream, we wrote down all of the procedures involved in turning the base into ice cream.
- Cleaning ease: We cleaned each ice cream machine and all of its components twice, noting how difficult each part was to clean.
- Size: We measured the amount of space each machine took up on a counter and compared it to the others.
- We measured the noise level of each machine while it was operating.
- We weighed each machine and considered how simple or difficult it was to transfer it across the counter or into a cabinet.
Design and quality
- We touched each component of the machine and evaluated its quality, determining if it was fragile and likely to fail or whether it would endure for years.
- General layout: We stacked all of the machines next to each other and sorted them by appearance and design.
Whynter ICM-15LS Automatic Ice Cream Maker (Amazon.com, $219.43)
In our texture testing, this Whynter ice cream maker stood out, creating a thick and creamy ice cream that was superior to most other ice creams we tested. It is, however, more bigger and louder than the Whynter ICM-201SB. The bowl is also more difficult to scoop from and clean, but if you don’t mind those drawbacks and want to save $100, this compressor model is an excellent choice.
Cuisinart ICE-70 Electronic Ice Cream Maker ($139.99; amazon.com; originally $250)
The bowl of this machine must be pre-frozen, much like the ICE-21, and it is very noisy, just like the ICE-21. It made nice ice cream, but not as excellent as the Cuisinart, therefore we believe the ICE-21 is the better buy for the money.
Dash My Pint (Amazon.com; $19.99)
The performance of Dash My Pint pleasantly pleased us. You must freeze the little bowl ahead of time, and the ice cream is very cold, but if you want to give someone an ice cream maker as a present or if you live in a small flat, this is a wonderful start to making ice cream, particularly considering its low price.
Cuisinart ICE-30 Pure Indulgence (Amazon.com; $99.95)
We received a lot of buildup on the edges of the bowl with this machine, and the finished result was consistently icier than the ICE-21.
The Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker ($499.95; breville.com) is a machine that makes ice cream in the shape of a scoop.
This machine looks great on the counter and has a helpful UI for tracking the consistency of your ice cream, but it took significantly longer to churn both dairy and vegan ice creams than the other compressor models we tested. We believe the Whynter ICM-201SB, while being the most costly choice on our list, can produce superior ice cream quicker and for almost $200 less.
Cuisinart ICE-100 ($249.99; amazon.com; originally $545)
We were underwhelmed by the Cuisinart ICE-100, which was just as large, heavy, and noisy as the other compressor versions and didn’t produce particularly creamy ice cream.
Ninja Creami ($199.99; ninja.com) is a new product from Ninja.
Although the design of Ninja’s new ice cream maker (which looks like a mix between a blender and a coffee machine) is interesting, the results fall short of the competition. Because you have to freeze not only a bowl but the ice cream mix itself in the supplied pint containers, using the Ninja machine takes more preparation than even other non-compressor ice cream makers. You must also ensure that the pint freezes level, otherwise you will have to melt and refreeze it (the blender will not function otherwise).
You lock your pint inside the Ninja machine and choose your setting after it’s frozen. The frozen ice cream is then mixed with a blender blade by the ice cream maker. The machine will stop after a loud and forceful two and a half minutes, and you will be able to unlock your pint. The dairy ice cream tasted more like Dippin’ Dots than ice cream and was very cold and powdered. Although the vegan ice cream we produced was creamy, we don’t believe the time spent preparing it was worth it. We’d prefer a more conventional compressor type that needs no preparation for the $200 price tag. Otherwise, you may save money by purchasing a less expensive, non-compressor model that will still provide superior results, and then spending the remaining funds on ingredients.
When people think of ice cream makers, they usually don’t think of these top brands. But with their extensive experience making ice cream and frozen desserts, the top brands make the best ice cream makers. The top brands have created award-winning products that are widely loved and used by people across the world.. Read more about best ice cream maker machine for home use and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best ice cream makers to buy?
The best ice cream maker to buy is the Cuisinart ICE-30BC Pure Indulgence 2-Speed Ice Cream Maker.
What are the Top 5 Ice Cream Makers?
A: 1. Ben & Jerrys 2. Haagen-Dazs 3. Edys 4. Breyers 5. Baskin Robbins
Is it worth buying an ice cream maker?
It is worth buying an ice cream maker if you enjoy making your own ice cream at home.
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