There's nothing better than a big ol' bowl of ice cream after a long day, but homemade ice cream makes the experience just a little bit sweeter. The good news? The best homemade ice cream makers are budget-friendly, easy to use, and churn out delicious treats in a snap.
One thing to consider when shopping around is your own time limit in the kitchen. Depending on how soft you like your ice cream, it takes two to four hours to freeze. If you don't have a ton of time to wait around, you may want to invest in a model that freezes the ice cream as it churns it to maximize your time. But if you don't mind waiting for your treat, a standard model will work just fine.
Another thing to keep in mind is overall versatility. While an ice cream maker is nice, you may want to go with a machine that makes gelato, sorbet, and other frozen desserts if you like variety in your treats. On the other hand, if you go with a standard ice cream maker, you may be able to save a few bucks.
Here's a list of some of the best homemade ice cream makers out there so you can get that glorious ice cream in your mouth faster.
1. The Best Overall, All Things Considered
If you want your ice cream experience to be simple, quick, and delicious, this versatile model by Cuisinart is the right choice. This maker churns out up to 2 quarts of ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sorbet at a time, and it does it quickly. In just 25 minutes, your frozen treat is churned by an integrated motor with an automatic paddle that does all the work for you. When it's done, just put the insulated bowl into the freezer and try your best to wait. And bonus: You can make frozen drinks with it, too.
With so many raving reviews and an affordable price, it's easy to see why this ice cream maker is a fan-favorite. One reviewer writes, " I absolutely LOVE IT! The machine itself is incredibly easy to use and keep clean. It makes delicious, smooth and creamy soft serve in about 20 minutes."
2. The Runner-Up: A No-Mess Machine That's Simple To Use
Also from the Cuisinart line, this automatic ice cream maker is the perfect addition to your kitchen, especially if you're short on time and want something easy to use. Like the previous model, it can make gelato, sorbet, and frozen yogurt, but it works faster, and features designated buttons and unique speeds for each type of frozen treat. Simply set the LCD timer to designated time periods and walk away. There's an auto shut-off button that will turn off the machine when the ice cream is ready to eat.
The only downside is this model is a little pricier, but if you're looking for simplicity and speed, this machine hits all the right marks.
3. The Most Affordable
If you're interested in making your own frozen treats but don't want to drop a ton of cash, this budget-friendly model by Homia does the trick without compromising on quality. Like other pricier models, this machine includes a bi-lateral paddle and insulated bowl that can be placed in the freezer after your ingredients have been mixed. It also has a digital timer that alerts you when your ice cream is finished.
The only downside to this maker is that it operates with a relatively small motor, so it may take longer to churn or you may have difficulty mixing up extra large batches. But if you're planning on making smaller batches, this is a great introductory model to get you going.
3. The Best Splurge
This self-refrigerating model by Breville has all the bells and whistles you could ever want in an ice cream maker. While most models require that the mixture is churned in a chilled bowl, and then allowed to set for up to four hours in the freezer, this machine actually freezes the ice cream as it churns it. All you have to do is set your hardness preference before you start, and you're good to go: This machine will freeze and keep your treat at the perfect hardness for up to three hours.
This ice cream maker is genius, but it comes with a lofty price tag. If you're just starting out on your ice cream-making journey, it may be best to invest in a simpler model at first.
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