Ninja Creami Review: Is This Viral Ice Cream Maker Worth the Hype?

Updated: Mar. 26, 2024

A couple of kitchen experiments and two pints of ice cream later, this Taste of Home testing expert can confidently give her official Ninja Creami review.

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Over the course of the five years that I’ve worked for Taste of Home, I’ve edited countless ice cream recipes. So many, in fact, that I could recite the plug-and-chug process from memory, which is impressive considering it’s quite a cumbersome one.

First, you whisk together the base ingredients, typically over the stove, until the mixture is thickened. Then, you pour it into the cylinder of your ice cream freezer and chill it in the fridge, oftentimes overnight. Next, you churn it with your preferred ice cream maker. Then, you let it freeze for three to four more hours. Finally, you get to enjoy your ice cream—one to two business days later.

I’ve always been put off by all these steps: I’ll stick to my store-bought ice cream pints, thank you very much. But, recently, that changed.

From what I was seeing on TikTok (and really just the internet at large), the flashy, viral Ninja Creami skipped a bunch of these steps, streamlining homemade ice cream so much so that it could be an every-night indulgence. As a self-proclaimed ice cream fanatic, I just had to try it out firsthand.

What is the Ninja Creami?

finger pressing button on the Ninja CreamiTMB Studio

The Ninja Creami is an appliance primarily lauded for its ice cream-making capabilities but it has numerous functions. I tried the more budget-friendly Ninja Creami Breeze 7-in-1 Ice Cream Maker, which can make regular ice cream and “lite” ice cream, smoothie bowls, sorbet, gelato and milkshakes. The Deluxe version can make the aforementioned six treats, plus frozen yogurt, Italian ice, “Slushis,” “Creamiccinos” and frozen drinks.

A Creami is not a blender (there are plenty of top-notch Ninja blenders if that’s what you’re after), and the user manual makes that very clear. You don’t use this machine for crushing ice or blending loose ingredients. Rather, with Ninja’s “creamify” technology, you churn frozen, liquid-based mixtures, typically made of cream or milk, into silky-smooth treats.

We Tried It

Ninja Creami

Transform frozen solid bases into ice cream, sorbets, milkshakes and more at the touch of a button.

Ninja Creami Product Features

The Ninja Creami Breeze doesn’t require assembly, so there are only a few parts inside the box. There’s the unit itself, which contains the motor base. Additionally, you’ll find two pints made of heavy-duty plastic and marked with max fill lines, storing lids that snap on, a processing lid and the Creamerizer paddle, which isn’t particularly sharp to the touch (a pro in my book!).

On the face of the machine, there are nine buttons: power, ice cream, lite ice cream, sorbet, milkshake, smoothie bowl, gelato, + mix-in and re-spin. And they all do exactly what they imply. The progress bar at the top of the touchscreen indicates that the pint is properly installed, as well as tracks the progress of the program. It flashes twice when the program is over, then shuts off.

How We Tested It

I tested the Ninja Creami by making its magnum opus: ice cream. Grab your spoon! Let’s dig into the preparation, freezing, processing and cleaning involved with this test.

Preparing

While working on this Ninja Creami review, I was all about by-the-book testing. I followed the brand’s recipes for Cookies & Cream and Pistachio ice cream, which can be found in the included recipe pamphlet.

The night before, I stirred together the bases, consisting of cream cheese, sugar, extract, heavy cream and milk. They were very simple to make. (Just make sure the sugar is fully dissolved!) Regardless of what the instructions say, I had the most success using a rubber spatula to mix the cream cheese, sugar and extract, then switching to a whisk once the liquids were added.

Note: It’s a little clunky to prepare two bases at once. If your household has a favorite flavor, I’d suggest doubling one base recipe and filling both pints with it rather than making separate flavors simultaneously. (Add extra Creami pints to your list of must-have ice cream accessories!)

Freezing

making ice cream using the Ninja CreamiTMB Studio

Once my bases were prepped, I poured them into the plastic pint-size containers and topped them with the storage lids. I placed both on a freezer shelf and took care to ensure they were situated upright. The instructions warn against freezing the containers at an angle.

I’d recommend using tape and a Sharpie to label the bases because a lot of them look similar without their mix-ins, which are added later. For example, my pistachio and Oreo bases looked identical, yet one had almond extract and the other had vanilla.

Heading into this portion of the process, I was a bit nervous. Ninja advises freezing your base for 24 hours, and, you see, I only had about 15 hours until showtime.

There’s been much discussion online as to whether a full 24 hours of freezing is necessary, and I found that 15 hours was more than sufficient, granted I have a mega-cold freezer. So long as your base is frozen solid, I’d say you’re good to go.

Processing

Working with one flavor at a time, I swapped out the storing lid with the processing lid and clicked the pint into the motor base straightaway. (I had to turn it counterclockwise to hear a click, but the directions say to turn it clockwise.)

Next, I pressed the “Ice Cream” button, and we were off! After that first program, which took a little more than 90 seconds, my base was still crumbly. This is likely because my freezer is so cold.

ice cream scoop from Ninja CreamiTMB Studio

So, from there, per the instructions, I clicked the “re-spin” button. (I couldn’t get over the fact that there was a separate button for everything. It made the process so foolproof!) During this portion, some droplets of ice cream leaked out the top of the processing lid and got on the backsplash of the machine. Not a huge deal.

After this 70-second program, the base was still a little crumbly—not quite what I’d call creamy. But I forged ahead and added my mix-ins (i.e., crushed Oreos). I snapped the pint back into place and employed the “+ mix-In” function, which, of course, had its own button.

adding cookies to the ice cream in the Ninja CreamiTMB Studio

After another 70 seconds of whirring (the reports are correct—this machine is quite noisy), my base had transformed into full-fledged Oreo ice cream. I was in absolute awe. Creami is in no way a misnomer.

For the clearest instructions, I recommend referring to the “Assembly & Process” section of the Ninja Creami Breeze Quick Start Guide, which comes in the box.

Cleaning

Word to the wise: Don’t place the processing lid directly on your counter. The base will melt and seep through the hole on the top, ultimately making your kitchen surfaces sticky. Instead, toss it straight in the sink.

With this teensy tip in mind, cleaning the Creami Breeze is, well, a breeze. There are only three pieces that need washing: the processing lid, paddle and pint (and this last one needn’t be cleaned until you’re done scarfing down your ice cream).

Detach the paddle from the processing lid by toggling the paddle latch—this allows for the most thorough wash. Sadly, I’m without a dishwasher, so I washed the two components with a soapy sponge and let them air-dry. But all parts are machine-washable if kept on the top rack.

Before putting the Creami away, I wiped down the tray and backsplash around the motor base with a soapy rag because of the aforementioned drippage.

Six-Month Update

Our Prep Kitchen Manager, Catherine Ward, has been using the Ninja Creami for several months. “The Breeze has my heart and I’m not going back,” she says. 

Catherine loves to make a light ice cream with chocolate almond milk, a scoop of chocolate protein powder and a teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa powder. Sometimes she’ll add a teaspoon of decaf espresso powder, too. “I mix those dry ingredients with just enough water to dissolve, then whisk it into the almond milk,” Catherine says. “I only fill the ice cream container half way so it’s a single serving. I often have to re-spin as it comes out dry and crumbly on the first run on “lite ice cream,” but then it’s perfectly smooth and creamy. I have noticed with the Breeze that there is more volume in the finished ice cream than the last model and it has a creamier texture.”

Catherine also notes that the Ninja Creami Breeze containers are easier to position into the base than previous models. It’s also a tiny bit quieter—but, as far as kitchen appliances go, is still pretty noisy. “It makes ice cream so fast that it’s really not a bother,” Catherine quips. 

Finally, the Ninja Creami Breeze consistently churns out creamy results. “The vanilla ice cream from the recipe book is on the icy side of creamy on the older model, and melts pretty fast, losing its creamy consistency,” Catherine says. “I find it to be creamier on the Breeze model. It seems as if there may be more air incorporated during churning in this model so the result is a little more product with a little creamier mouth feel and appearance. It also doesn’t melt as rapidly.”

Pros

  • No assembly required
  • Incredibly user-friendly, with separate buttons for everything
  • Professional-quality ice cream
  • Easy to take apart and clean
  • Huge library of recipes
  • Short processing time

Cons

  • Only two pints included
  • 12-24 hours of freezing required
  • High price tag
  • Loud when in use

FAQ

ice cream scoop from Ninja CreamiTMB Studio

How long does it take Ninja Creami to make ice cream?

Excluding prep and freezing time, the whole process of making ice cream takes about five minutes. When I add up the durations of the three programs I employed (ice cream, re-spin and + mix-in), it equates to four minutes. Tack on a couple of minutes here and there for adding mix-ins and surveying the consistency, and the whole process still clocks in at well under 10 minutes.

Why is my Ninja Creami ice cream crumbly?

According to the Ninja Creami recipe pamphlet, the base comes out crumbly when it’s too cold. The re-spin function was designed to address this. Simply re-install the pint and spin it again. Some online users recommend adding a splash more liquid to really ensure the final result is creamy, but I didn’t find this step necessary.

Does Ninja Creami really need 24 hours?

Ninja recommends freezing the base for a full 24 hours for maximum success, but I found that only about 15 hours was sufficient. Simply put, the base needs to be frozen solid, all the way through, in order to “creamify” correctly.

Why is Ninja Creami out of stock everywhere?

Ninja’s wunderkind can be hard to come by. Luckily, various iterations of the product are currently available through popular retailers, such as Amazon, Walmart and Ninja itself. However, due to its unprecedented virality (there are literally thousands of TikTok videos dedicated to its usage and recipes!), it is known to sell out—and often. Snatch one up soon ahead of the holiday frenzy!

What is so special about the Ninja Creami?

The Creami’s popularity seemingly stems from its customizable nature. Lately (and understandably), many people are looking for ways to save money due to inflation, surveying where their food comes from and what goes into it, or curbing consumption of certain foods or food groups, such as dairy, nuts or eggs. The Ninja Creami lets users do all those things and then some. Whether you want to stop paying $9 for a pint of ice cream from the supermarket or simply prefer oat milk ice creams, the Ninja Creami is a smart solution.

Product Comparison

When it comes to ice cream makers, the Ninja Creami is kind of in a league of its own, thanks to its multifunctionality. So, it makes the most sense to stack the different models against one another.

As mentioned above, there are the Deluxe and Breeze models. The former is touted as having 11 functions, and the latter as having seven. This is the reason for the $50 price difference. (Ninja is known for great sales, though! Check them out.) Plus, the Deluxe has a handled chamber that holds the pint container while processing. With the Breeze model, the enclosed pint clicks directly into the motor base.

You can find other Creami models floating around various retailers’ sites. There’s a 7-function model with that handled chamber, as well as a 5-function model, which scraps the gelato and milkshake settings. These models come at a slightly lower price point.

In terms of a finished product, it’s safe to say every model of Creami is creating ice cream and other treats of equally tasty caliber. Which model to buy should depend, then, on your budget, dessert preferences and the ever-fluctuating availability.

Final Verdict

I’ll shout it from the rooftops: I have never encountered an easier-to-use appliance. I’d seen so many videos online that made the Creami seem confusing: Wait, when do I add mix-ins? How long does the base need to freeze? Why are some mixtures crumbly? Once I had it on my countertop, though, all these questions were cleared up. The buttons make the process a no-brainer, and the literature that Ninja includes is insanely comprehensive.

Then, there’s the actual end result to consider. This ice cream is next-level delicious. Right after processing, the luxurious, decadent texture is a mix between that of frozen custard and ice cream. (Note: After it sits in the freezer for a while, it does firm up quite a bit.) Plus, there’s no shortage of recipes from Ninja itself or from the internet, so there’s endless dessert dabbling to be done. Although, I don’t think I’ll be able to help myself from frequently returning to the pistachio flavor that rivals the best on the market.

Is it worth the hype? Heck yes. The gripes I’ve seen on the internet regarding the gadget’s noise levels, price, etc., all come out in the wash if you ask me. That’s just how fun this product—and its creations—are.

Where to Buy the Ninja Creami

We Tried It

Ninja Creami

Transform frozen solid bases into ice cream, sorbets, milkshakes and more at the touch of a button.

The Creami is available on the Ninja website for $230. You can also find this model sold elsewhere, such as Amazon, Walmart and Kohl’s. Welcome to the first pint of the rest of your life!