The 10 Best Ice Cream Makers of 2024, According to Our Tests (2024)

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Create your favorite ice cream flavor in the comfort of your own home

The 10 Best Ice Cream Makers of 2024, According to Our Tests (1)

Ice cream is the quintessential summer treat that can be enjoyed all year. Having an ice cream maker at home means you’ll never have to skimp on toppings or sacrifice your favorite combination of ingredients. Depending on the model you choose, you can create new flavors, control texture and hardness, and even add the mix-ins of your choice.

In search of the best ice cream makers available, we put dozens of the leading models through a series of culinary tests to determine functionality, ease of use, performance, and most importantly, taste.

We learned that for the best results, from texture to flavor, a compressor model works best. These models tend to be more expensive, so unless you’re a serious ice cream connoisseur, you can still make high-quality ice cream at home with our other PEOPLE-Tested winners, including picks from Ninja, Cuisinart, Chef'n, and more.

Best Overall: Chef'n Sweet Spot Ice Cream Maker

The 10 Best Ice Cream Makers of 2024, According to Our Tests (2)

$55 at Amazon.com

$60 at Surlatable.com

Star Qualities

  • Easy for beginners to use

  • Yielded some of the creamiest ice cream we tested

  • Can also be used as a frozen margarita maker

Red Flags

  • Freezes harder and faster than some others we tested

Out of all the products we tested, one of the simplest and most affordable ended up being our favorite. The Chef’n Sweet Spot Ice Cream Maker yielded some of the creamiest ice cream we tasted, with minimal setup and maintenance.

We found that the simplicity of this gadget aided in its overall convenience — it’s lightweight and about the size of a large mixing bowl, so it doesn’t take up too much space on the countertop and doesn’t have extra parts to wash.

Throughout testing, this gadget performed exceptionally well — it made ice cream faster than any of the other products we tested and yielded creamy results with consistently dispersed mix-ins. Although it doesn’t yield as much ice cream as some of the larger, more advanced machines, it’s a great option for someone looking to experiment with making ice cream at home.(Plus, it doubles as a frozen margarita maker for summer.)

Style: Manual | Accessories: 2 spatulas | Yield: 3/4 cup finished ice cream | Dishwasher-Safe: No

Best Overall, Runner-Up: Ninja Creami Deluxe 11-in-1 Ice Cream Maker

The 10 Best Ice Cream Makers of 2024, According to Our Tests (3)

$289 at Walmart.com

$230 at Wayfair.com

Star Qualities

  • Consistently creamy ice cream with no ice grit or separation

  • Can make frozen co*cktails or coffee beverages

  • Dishwasher-safe and easy to clean by hand

Red Flags

  • Noisy when in use

Another one of our favorite ice cream makers is Ninja’s Creami Deluxe. This versatile gadget is electric, so it requires less manpower than the Chef’n Sweet Spot Ice Cream Maker, but it yields similarly creamy results.

Throughout the testing process, we were thrilled at how easy this machine was to understand and use, and its performance and versatility made it stand out from the competition. It’s easy to store and doesn’t take up a ton of space, and we love that the controls are easy to read — especially for beginners.

Eleven functions mean this electric ice cream maker is one of the more versatile options we tested, and it can even be used to make frozen lattes or milkshakes. We love how hands-off this machine allows you to be while still delivering exceptionally creamy results. Keep in mind that, because it’s on the smaller side, it doesn’t yield as much finished product as some of the other machines we tried.

Style: Electric | Accessories: Bowl and lid, creamer paddle, 2 pints with lids | Yield: 24 ounces finished ice cream | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes (removable parts)

Best Budget: Cuisinart 1.5-Quart Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream, & Sorbet Maker

The 10 Best Ice Cream Makers of 2024, According to Our Tests (4)

See at Amazon.com

$70 at Target.com

Star Qualities

Red Flags

  • Churning process takes longer than other machines we tested

This simple, easy-to-use electric ice cream maker is perfect for beginners or someone who isn’t looking to invest a ton of money in a new gadget. It utilizes the frozen bowl method, which means the technique is simple and yields perfectly creamy results with mix-ins that are consistently incorporated.

Throughout the testing process, we found that this machine was one of the simplest and easiest to use while still delivering top-tier results. The ice cream and sorbet were dense and creamy, without being runny or crystallized. We love that this machine has an ingredient spout, so you can easily disperse ingredients without anything spilling out of the side.

Keep in mind that this machine took longer to churn the ingredients than some of the others we tried. Because this ice cream maker uses a frozen bowl, it does take up space in your freezer, so be mindful of that before purchasing.

Style: Freezer bowl | Accessories: Locking lid, creamer paddle, freezing bowl | Yield: 2 pints finished ice cream | Dishwasher-Safe: No

Best Right Now: Beautiful by Drew Barrymore 1.5 Quart Ice Cream Maker with Touch Activated Display

The 10 Best Ice Cream Makers of 2024, According to Our Tests (5)

$50 at Walmart.com

See at Beautifulbydrew.com

Star Qualities

  • Lightweight and compact

  • Pre-set options make it simple to use

  • Five fun colors

Red Flags

  • Cord is notably shorter than others we’ve tried

This ice cream maker is a fantastic option for anyone who loves to make ice cream every week. The small base means it doesn’t take up a ton of room on the countertop, and the lightweight body means you can keep it out on your counter or transport it back and forth to the pantry with no problem. Throughout the testing process, we found that this streamlined machine is super easy to use and doesn't require too much prep or maintenance.

The simple control panel has three pre-set functions, and users can easily toggle between the presets and add more time as needed. We love how intuitive this control panel is and were happy to see how easy it is to add the base thanks to a clean and simple hatch. We love that you can add the base to the machine even while it’s churning without creating any mess.

While we love how easy this machine is to use, it’s worth noting that it yielded softer ice cream than some of the other machines we tested. While the texture was creamy, smooth, and consistent, it wasn’t as firm as standard hard-packed ice cream.

Style: Electric compressor | Accessories: Ice cream scoop, freezing bowl, mixing paddle | Yield: 1.5 quarts finished ice cream | Dishwasher-Safe: Mixing paddle only

Best with Compressor: Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Ice Cream and Gelato Maker

The 10 Best Ice Cream Makers of 2024, According to Our Tests (6)

$300 at Walmart.com

$300 at Wayfair.com

Star Qualities

  • Easy-to-use touchpad control panel

  • Lid spout makes adding mix-ins clean and easy

  • Yields fluffy, airy ice cream

Red Flags

  • Super heavy to lift

When it comes to expertly light, airy, and creamy ice cream, this machine from Cuisinart impressed us throughout the testing process. The touchscreen is easy to use and operate, thanks to its minimal functions. It yielded professional-quality results despite the lack of extra buttons or functions.

It’s uncomplicated and attractive, and it's an easy way to have an ice cream shop in your home. The compressor automatically cools the machine, so there’s no need to freeze the bowl between each use.

While we loved using this machine in testing, we did notice that it’s a little messier than some of the others, and it’s a bit heavier than some machines of similar size.

Style: Electric compressor | Accessories: Transparent lid, 2 paddles, mixing bowl with lift-out handle | Yield: 1.5 quarts finished ice cream | Dishwasher-Safe: No

Best Compact: Cuisinart ICE-30BCP1 Ice Cream Maker

The 10 Best Ice Cream Makers of 2024, According to Our Tests (7)

$100 at Amazon.com

$103 at Walmart.com

Star Qualities

  • Simple design means it's easy to use

  • Scraper blade helps reach all the ingredients

  • Easy to clean

Red Flags

  • No special features

This super-simple electric ice cream maker is small and compact, so it can yield delicious ice cream without taking up too much space on your countertop. Throughout our testing, it consistently delivered airy, fluffy ice cream with toppings perfectly incorporated throughout. In fact, this machine delivered some of the best ice cream of all the products we tested. Its convenience was unmatched — in addition to being compact, it’s also super easy to clean. It’s simple to take apart for cleaning and leaves no mess behind on the countertop or the electric base.

Style: Electric | Accessories: 2 paddles | Yield: 1.5 quarts finished ice cream | Dishwasher-Safe: No

Best for Vegan Ice Cream: Yonanas Classic Soft-Serve Dessert Maker

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$53 at Wayfair.com

$57 at Bedbathandbeyond.com

Star Qualities

  • Fruit pulverized instantly

  • Yields creamy sorbet and soft-serve that scoops easily

  • Great for making healthier desserts

Red Flags

  • Pushing fruit down the chute can be challenging

This easy-to-use ice cream maker is perfect for families who want to make creamy frozen treats. It pulverizes fruit instantly and turns it into smooth, creamy, fruit-based desserts instantly. Simply add frozen fruit to the chute and use the plunger to push it through.

Throughout testing, we found that this machine yielded fantastic results quickly and easily. It operates at a moderate noise level, and even when pushing fruit through the grinder, we never felt like it was too loud.

Keep in mind that this machine only makes fruit-based, non-dairy frozen treats. And depending on the size of the frozen fruit you use, it can be challenging to push the fruit down the chute.

Style: Electric | Accessories: Motor base, chute, blade base, gasket, screw cap, recipe book | Yield: 24 ounces finished ice cream | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes

Best Large-Capacity: Vevor Automatic Ice Cream Maker with Built-In Compressor

The 10 Best Ice Cream Makers of 2024, According to Our Tests (9)

See at Amazon.com

$187 at Wayfair.com

Star Qualities

  • Has just three parts

  • Sorbet and ice cream had a thick, creamy consistency

Red Flags

  • Takes up quite a bit of space

With just three parts, this simple compressor-style machine is extremely easy to put together and even easier to take apart for cleaning. The machine has three buttons, so it can be operated easily and is therefore a great option for kids or beginners. It yields a big batch of ice cream and sorbet, and throughout the testing process, we were thrilled to see how creamy, smooth, and thick each recipe came out.

We also love how clean and mess-free this machine is; it’s easy to add the base to the machine while it’s moving, and we didn’t notice anything dripping out of the sides. Adding the mix-ins was mess-free, too.

This machine has an auto-shut-off safety mechanism that stops the machine when the consistency begins to get too hard. This helps protect the motor and the compressor, but it can make adding the mix-ins a bit more confusing. We recommend adding your mix-ins as you see the machine start to slow down; if you wait until the machine automatically shuts off, you’ll need to add in the mix-ins by hand, which can be challenging and messy.

Style: Electric compressor | Accessories: Recipe book, manual, spoon, measuring cup, mixing rod | Yield: 2 quarts finished ice cream | Dishwasher-Safe: No

Best Old-Fashioned: Nostalgia 4-Quart Wood Bucket Ice Cream Maker

The 10 Best Ice Cream Makers of 2024, According to Our Tests (10)

$50 at Amazon.com

$54 at Walmart.com

Star Qualities

  • Mimics the look of an old-fashioned machine with the convenience of an electric gadget

  • Super easy to assemble and use

  • Space-saving design

Red Flags

  • Texture of the ice cream was a bit inconsistent

If you’re searching for a nostalgic gadget that can mix up creamy frozen treats, this affordable ice cream maker is for you. We love how easy it is to assemble and use, and the simple functionality means it’s perfect for beginners or occasional users. We found it to be a great value for the price, and we love that it’s compact and doesn’t take up too much space in the kitchen.

This machine can get a little messy, and it yielded ice cream that was occasionally a little soft. It’s a fantastic machine for occasional users, but we wouldn’t recommend it for someone looking to make professional-quality ice cream regularly.

Style: Electric | Accessories: Ice cream bucket, lid, dasher, canister | Yield: 4 quarts finished ice cream | Dishwasher-Safe: No

Best Investment: Breville The Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker

The 10 Best Ice Cream Makers of 2024, According to Our Tests (11)

$600 at Amazon.com

$500 at Qvc.com

Star Qualities

  • Easy to customize ice cream’s texture

  • Maintains designated temperature for up to three hours

  • Automatically chills bowl before use

Red Flags

  • Large and bulky

This loaded machine is packed with smart features that make it super functional and advanced. The compressor automatically cools the bowl before use, which means you don’t have to put it in your freezer each time you want to make ice cream. It features many presets that help beginners make everything from gelato to sorbet and 12 hardness settings to help users customize the exact texture of the ice cream they like.

Throughout testing, we loved that this machine yielded great-quality ice cream and that you could let the machine do all of the work for you. If you’re looking for a set-it-and-forget-it appliance, this is a great option.

Style: Electric | Accessories: Cleaning brush, removable bowl, removable paddle | Yield: 1.5 quarts finished ice cream | Dishwasher-Safe: No

Other Ice Cream Makers We Tried

  • KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment: If you have a KitchenAid Stand Mixer, this ice cream maker attachment makes crafting homemade frozen treats easier than ever. In fact, we discovered that this is Jennifer Garner’s go-to when making ice cream at home. (The KitchenAid partner used her attachment to whip up peppermint bark ice cream over the holidays.) The two-quart bowl requires just 20 to 30 minutes to churn out ice cream, although we needed the full 30. We followed the manufacturer’s instructions and added the mix-ins 13 minutes into the process, but it turned the finished ice cream a gray color, so we’d wait to add the mix-ins later in the process. While we liked the convenience and simplicity of this attachment, it didn’t produce the most consistent and smooth ice cream for us in the end.

  • Whynter ICM-220CGY Automatic Ice Cream Maker: We were able to get smooth, fluffy, and creamy ice cream from this top-rated ice cream maker after about 40 minutes. Even after freezing for a few hours, the mix-ins remained crunchy, and the consistency was almost perfect. Because this machine has a built-in compressor, there’s no pre-freezing required. We also found this ice cream maker straightforward to use because of its digital display and a built-in timer that signals when the ice cream has reached the ideal consistency. Ultimately, we found the price too high for a niche kitchen appliance that may not see regular use. However, we’d recommend this pick if you’re looking to invest in a high-quality at-home ice cream maker.

  • Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker: This heavy-duty ice cream maker received five stars across the board in all our tests and created “phenomenal” ice cream, according to our tester. The results were creamy and light, with a perfect distribution of mix-ins. The ice cream was easy to remove from the machine, and adding mix-ins was relatively mess-free. Plus, cleaning the machine was simple considering its size and complexity. This ice cream maker produces professional-level ice cream that rivals your favorite store brands. The only reason it didn’t make our final list is because of its steep price of $1,200.

What to Know About Ice Cream Makers

Model Type

There are many different styles of ice cream makers, and the kind that’s best for you is a matter of personal preference. A freezer bowl ice cream maker, or canister-style, is one of the more popular styles for home use. This style uses a freezer bowl that must be frozen ahead of time, so all the ingredients are kept cold while churning. This style is easy to use and takes up relatively little space on the countertop. Freezer bowl ice cream makers are functional and yield great results, but typically, they’re best used for one batch at a time since the bowl needs to be frozen between each usage. Our best overall pick, the Chef'n Sweet Spot Ice Cream Maker, is a freezer bowl-style ice cream maker.

Another commonly used ice cream maker model is the compressor style. These models don’t need to be frozen in advance. Instead, they begin chilling after the ice cream mixture is added. Compressor models are a bit more advanced than freezer bowl models and often include different features and functions specifically designed for making gelato or sorbet. This style is efficient and functional, and it’s particularly great for making multiple batches at once since you don't need to freeze the parts between uses. The Cuisinart ICE-100 is our favorite compressor-style ice cream maker.

Price Range

Just like most kitchen appliances, ice cream makers vary greatly in price. We tested multiple products that ranged from $35 to $500, with an average price of $150. Before purchasing an ice cream maker, consider the price and how often you plan to use it. Cost is directly correlated to extra features, so if you’re looking for an advanced machine that is more automated, you can expect to pay more than a simple machine with basic functionality.

The 10 Best Ice Cream Makers of 2024, According to Our Tests (12)

Behind the Scenes

In search of the best ice cream makers, we put dozens of the leading models through a series of tests by — you guessed it — making ice cream for over 40 hours in our PEOPLE Tested lab.

  • Assembly: To start, we assembled each product according to the manufacturer’s instructions and took note of how intuitive or confusing the assembly and controls were.

  • Performance: We used each machine to make a traditional, dairy-based ice cream batch. We timed how long the churning process took for each device and measured the amount of finished ice cream each machine produced. Next, we tested each machine by whipping up a batch of fruit-based sorbet. We repeated the same steps and measured how much finished product each machine produced.

  • Maintenance: We cleaned each product and its accessories according to the manufacturer’s instructions and noted how easy the overall maintenance was.

  • Consistency and Taste: After two hours in the freezer, we sampled both the dairy ice cream and the sorbet. When sampling, we assessed how easy each batch was to scoop with a standard scooper. We examined the consistency of each batch and paid special attention to how well the ice cream kept its shape. We observed how evenly our mix-ins were distributed and tasted each product for flavor, consistency, and texture. We also set a batch of each ice cream in the freezer overnight.

The 10 Best Ice Cream Makers of 2024, According to Our Tests (13)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a compressor and an ice cream maker?

Unlike freezer bowl-style ice cream makers, which need to be placed in the freezer for hours before use, compressor-style ice cream makers have a built-in refrigeration system. This helps save time and allows you to make multiple batches at once since you don’t have to freeze the bowl in between each use. Compressor-style ice cream makers are more automated, making for a quicker overall process.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of an ice cream maker?

Ice cream makers are a great way to have a homemade frozen treat on hand whenever you want it. Depending on the type of model you buy, these machines can churn out sorbet and gelato, and you can add your own flavorings or mix-ins. However, they can be messy, cumbersome, and challenging to store. Depending on the style you buy, some ice cream makers require advanced preparation, like freezing the bowl for up to two hours.

Is it worth it to make ice cream at home?

Like any other kitchen gadget, ice cream makers take up extra space in your pantry or countertop. They’re not an essential cooking tool for most houses, and typically they’re used for fun or special occasions, so the value of these machines is dependent on how often you plan to use them. If you’re someone who eats a lot of ice cream and likes to experiment with different flavors, textures, and mix-ins, having an ice cream maker at home is a great way to make a professional-quality treat in your own kitchen.

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Why Trust PEOPLE?

Laura Denby is a food, home, and lifestyle writer specializing in creating thorough and analytical product reviews to help shoppers make more informed purchasing decisions. She has a Culinary Arts diploma from the Institute of Culinary Education and a WSET Level 2 Award in Wine and Spirits. Her work has appeared in leading food and lifestyle publications like PEOPLE, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Martha Stewart Living, Verywell Family, Southern Living, and more. For this article, she consulted our ice cream maker testing results and combined her knowledge of food (and cooking with kids) to bring you the best ice cream makers available today. We also consulted Tyler Malek, co-founder and head ice cream maker atSalt & Straw.

What Is PEOPLE Tested?

We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.

But we don’t stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we’ve awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.

In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase.

Related: The 8 Best Portable Blenders of 2024, According to Culinary Experts

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The 10 Best Ice Cream Makers of 2024, According to Our Tests (2024)
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