The Best Ice Cream Makers for Summer 2024 [Tested and Reviewed]

Updated: May 07, 2024

Our Test Kitchen experts found the best ice cream maker for every kind of frozen treat fan.

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Multiple Ice cream makers on a blue baseTMB Studio

There’s lots to love about store-bought ice cream and scoops from your favorite ice cream shop, but there’s something special about homemade ice cream. It’s deliciously creamy and, best of all, totally customizable. So if you like extra cookie dough in your ice cream, there’s nothing stopping you from adding a little (or a lot) more.

But there’s a catch: You typically need an ice cream maker for homemade ice cream (this no-churn ice cream is the exception). Well, what’s the best option? Our Test Kitchen put the most popular home ice cream makers to the test.


  • Incredibly easy to use
  • Churns out ice cream in a mere 20 minutes
  • Small footprint on the countertop
  • Easy to clean
  • Affordably priced


  • Requires extra chilling if you want a firmer ice cream

When it comes to adding a new appliance to your kitchen, space is always a concern. If you want an ice cream maker with a small footprint, try the Cuisinart Automatic Ice Cream Maker. This appliance takes up about as much room as a blender (though shorter), and we say it’s worth every square inch.

This gadget is incredibly easy to use. Freeze the canister overnight, then add your favorite ice cream recipe (we recommend this bourbon ice cream on a hot weekend afternoon). This machine will churn a batch of ice cream in 20 minutes. Says Ellie: “So fast and simple.”

Cuisinart Automatic Ice Cream Maker
Ellie Crowley For Taste Of Home

The end result will have a velvety, soft serve-like consistency, according to Ellie, which is great for all you DQ fans. If you prefer a slightly firmer treat, Ellie recommends popping the finished product into the freezer for a bit before scooping and topping with hot fudge.


  • Large capacity, perfect for families
  • Special mix-in shoot for custom creations
  • Churns out ice cream in just 25 minutes
  • Easy to clean
  • Stainless steel construction


  • Louder than most ice cream makers (but nothing above a steady hum)

If you want to serve up a bit more than Cuisinart’s basic model can handle, our Test Kitchen recommends the Cuisinart Pure Indulgence Ice Cream Maker. This appliance can make up to eight cups of your favorite frozen treat; that’s plenty to share with the whole family at your next ice cream social.

Besides its large capacity, our Test Kitchen enjoyed the easy-to-use functionality of this machine. Add your recipe to the frozen canister, pop it into the base and hit start—that’s it. In 25 minutes, your homemade ice cream will be ready.

Cuisinart Pure Indulgence Ice Cream Maker
Ellie Crowley For Taste Of Home

This model has a spout that makes it easy to add mix-ins. Within 30 seconds, Ellie says those extras are evenly distributed.

So what about the frozen fancies this Cuisinart ice cream maker produces? Ellie has only the highest praise. “The ice cream is super smooth and created a really nice, creamy soft-serve texture,” she says. “The frozen yogurt comes out tasting like vanilla ice cream which is a pleasant surprise.”


  • No need to freeze canisters in advance
  • Easy to customize the texture of your treats
  • Creates from-scratch ice creams in about 40 minutes
  • Professional-grade
  • Heavy-duty construction


  • Takes up a considerable amount of space on the counter or shelf
  • Pricey

Not every machine relies upon pre-frozen canisters. Compressor models don’t require any freezing in advance; just make your ice cream base, add it to the machine and press start. If these pro-level machines are more your style, you’ll want the Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Compressor.

To make frozen treats, just add the base to this Breville appliance, make your texture selection and let it go. “It’s very hands-off,” says Ellie. “The machine does all the thinking and work for you.” In about 40 minutes, you’ll have scratch-made froyo, ice cream or frozen custard ready for the scooping.

Breville Smart Scoop
Ellie Crowley For Taste Of Home

So what sort of results does the Smart Scoop Ice Cream Compressor deliver? Delicious ones, per Ellie. The ice cream is crystal-free and smooth, and the froyo is velvety and luxe. If you prefer a firmer frozen treat, stash your makes in the freezer for an extra hour—otherwise feel free to enjoy soft serve-texture ice cream right out of the canister.

This machine makes it so simple if you want to add mix-ins to your ice cream. A chime will sound when it’s time to add in your extras (like marshmallows and nuts for homemade rocky road). And that alarm? It can be a basic tone or an old-fashioned ice cream truck song. How cute is that?


  • Settings allow for texture customization
  • Large capacity
  • Durable construction
  • Super quiet


  • Larger footprint
  • Requires a little extra cleanup

As you may have noticed, several Cuisinart ice cream makers performed well in our test—the brand just does ice cream right! What sets the Cuisinart Gelateria Ice Cream Maker apart are its three churning functions for ice cream, gelato and sorbet.

While many machines churn until the mixture reaches a standard consistency, the Cuisinart Gelateria Ice Cream Maker will churn your frozen treats until they hit the right texture for whatever frozen treat you’re making. To get that perfect consistency and professional-level ice cream, just hit the switch that aligns with your recipe; it’s that easy.

Cuisinart Gelateria
Ellie Crowley For Taste Of Home

Ellie says that this Cuisinart model produced her favorite ice cream. Gelato was velvety, ice cream was rich and even low-fat froyo felt like a treat. And with an eight-cup capacity, this ice cream maker lets you share these treats with friends on a hot day.

According to Ellie, the only drawback with this machine was that a little of the gelato mix dripped over the edge while churning a full-size batch. This didn’t impact the end result, but it required her to wipe down the machine afterward.

Most Affordable

Dash Everyday Ice Cream Maker


  • Inexpensive
  • Very easy to use
  • Also suitable for homemade popsicles
  • Mix-in spout allows for custom creations


  • Small capacity; best for one or two people
  • Less durable construction

We know that not everyone wants to break the bank for homemade ice cream. If you want to experiment here and there with scratch-made frozen treats, our Test Kitchen suggests the Dash Everyday Ice Cream Maker.

This budget-friendly ice cream maker is still a great performer. Like other models, freeze the canister in advance, then add your ice cream, custard or froyo base. From there the machine does all the work to create terrifically smooth treats.

Dash Everyday Ice Cream Maker
Ellie Crowley For Taste Of Home

If you want to get super serious about ice cream or have many mouths to feed, this isn’t your model. Its max capacity is two cups. That’ll work just fine for a few servings for yourself but won’t be enough to top lots of a la mode desserts at your next get-together.


  • Incredibly versatile
  • Variety of settings for sorbets, gelatos and more
  • Easy to use


  • Extremely loud
  • May not mix as thoroughly as other models

The Ninja Creami is unlike any other ice cream maker on the market. And for that reason, it’s best suited for frozen treats that go beyond plain ol’ vanilla. You can freeze just about anything in the Creamifrom protein shakes to frozen fruit in syrup—and churn out scoopable, soft-serve-style pints. There’s a reason this gadget has taken TikTok by storm. 

To use, you pre-freeze your base in one of the included pints for 24 hours. Then, you add it to the machine canister to churn. The Creami has several settings for full-fat bases, light ice creams, sorbets and even frozen drinks. In our testing, Ellie noted a grainy texture after the first spin. “The manual suggests that this may happen and to put it back on and do a “re-spin” which is a feature on the display panel. It gently stirred it for about 1 more minute and it came out much smoother that time,” she says.

Ninja Creami
Ellie Crowley For Taste Of Home

One caveat? This thing is loud. And with the need for a re-spin or two (the less fat in the ice cream, the more re-spins you’ll need) it runs for several minutes. Learn more in our Ninja Creami review.

How We Found the Best Ice Cream Makers

Multiple Ice Cream pints opened up and kept on grey surface
TMB Studio

To find the best ice cream makers, we first did our research. We spent hours investigating top brands, asking our team for recommendations and reading customer reviews. We then called in 10 of our top choices for firsthand testing. Our picks span eight brands and a range of price points—starting at $28 and climbing all the way up to $500. 

In our Test Kitchen, culinary expert Ellie Crowley spent a week freezing, churning, mixing and tasting ice cream, frozen yogurt and gelato. Each machine was evaluated on operation, taste, noise level, craftsmanship, cleaning, aesthetic and overall value. Only six models earned our designation of “Test Kitchen Approved.” The machines that fell short required too much attention or yielded too soft results.

Meet the Tester

Ellen Crowley

As a culinary producer, Ellie is responsible for styling and photographing our high-performing recipes. She was previously a high school Culinary Arts instructor with 12 years of experience and knowledge in cooking and recipe development. Areas of expertise include development, knife skills, stocks and sauces, yeast doughs, bread baking and cocktails. As a true Midwesterner, she is excited to finally put her ice cream-tasting skills to the test!

What to Look for When Buying an Ice Cream Maker

Our team of experts sourced 10 of the most popular home ice cream makers for this test. In our Test Kitchen, the pros made ice cream, froyo and other frozen treats, all the while keeping these major considerations in mind:

  • Volume: How much ice cream can the machine make at one time? Do you want something that makes large quantities or small, occasional treats?
  • Prep: Some ice cream makers come with canisters that must be frozen before using the appliance. Are you OK with waiting for these inserts to freeze? Or would you rather get right to making the ice cream with a compressor model?
  • Ease of use: Learning how to use your ice cream maker should be easy. Most are entirely hands-off once you hit the start button.
  • Performance: As with any appliance, performance is crucial. A great at-home ice cream maker should make frozen treats that rival your ice cream parlor favorites.
  • Price: Ice cream makers vary vastly in price. What’s your budget for this new gadget?

Why Trust Our Test Kitchen?

At Taste of Home, we’re serious about good food. That’s why every single recipe that our readers submit gets reviewed, made and sampled by our team of culinary experts. We want to make sure that everything from our kitchens deserves the label Test Kitchen-Approved.

The same goes for products. Our pros want to know what foods, gadgets and cleaning supplies are best for filling your pantry and home. We put every product through a thorough testing process. Then our Test Kitchen team chooses the winners. Those best-tasting and top-performing products get our stamp of approval.