The Best Ice Cream Maker

The Best Ice Cream Maker

Our pick

Whynter ICM-201SB

Whynter ICM-201SB

The best ice cream maker

Of all the machines we’ve tested, the large-capacity Whynter ICM-201SB is one of the easiest to use, scoop from, and clean. And for the price, you can’t beat this model for the smooth ice cream it produces.

Buying Options

$340 from Amazon

The Whynter ICM-201SB churned some of the smoothest ice cream in our tests. Since 2014, we’ve recommended various models made by Whynter, and this one just edged out its predecessor, the Whynter ICM-15LS. We like the ICM-201SB’s wide, 2.1-quart bowl, which is super-easy to scrape clean with a spatula and gives you plenty of room for mix-ins. And even though it’s quite a bit taller than most ice cream makers we tested, the ICM-201SB has a smaller footprint, so it takes up less counter space. In addition to a timer, this model has a mixing-only mode as well as a keep-cool mode (which switches on automatically when the machine is done churning, to keep your ice cream from melting). This ice cream maker, like most compressor-cooled models, is pricey. But it produces better ice cream and more consistent results than cheaper models that use ice and salt or that require you to pre-freeze the bowl.

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Runner-up

Whynter ICM-15LS

Whynter ICM-15LS

Great ice cream, smaller capacity

The zero-frills Whynter ICM-15LS is about as inexpensive as you can find for a good compressor machine, and it makes great ice cream. The 1.6-quart bowl is a little narrow, but it has plenty of room for most recipes.

Buying Options

$265 from Amazon

The Whynter ICM-15LS performed almost as well as the ICM-201SB. It has a narrower bowl and smaller capacity, by about two cups, but it still easily fits most ice cream recipes. The ICM-15LS is simple to operate, with little more than a timer and a start/stop button. And it made some of the smoothest ice cream in our tests—not quite as smooth as ice cream made in the ICM-201SB, but very close. The prices of both of our Whynter picks fluctuate, but this model tends to be the cheaper of the two. So if you want to save a little, or if you can find the ICM-15LS for much cheaper than the ICM-201SB, we think it’s a great choice.

Upgrade pick

Lello 4080 Musso Lussino

Lello 4080 Musso Lussino

If you take your ice cream craft seriously

This machine makes the absolute smoothest homemade ice cream we’ve tasted, but it’s harder to clean than our main pick. And the huge price tag is worth it only for perfectionists.

Buying Options

$647 from Amazon

The Lello 4080 Musso Lussino is the crème de la crème of home ice cream makers. In our tests this large, sleek machine churned smooth and creamy batches of ice cream in less than 30 minutes, the fastest of any model we tried. And our tasters unanimously voted its ice cream the smoothest and best-flavored. But its size and jaw-dropping price make the Lello 4080 too much of an investment for casual dessert-making. If you plan on making a quart or more of ice cream a week, this might be the machine for you.

Budget pick

Nostalgia 4-Quart Electric Ice Cream Maker

Nostalgia 4-Quart Electric Ice Cream Maker

For occasional ice cream churning

This ice-and-salt–style ice cream maker generates good results for a very low price. It makes ice cream that’s a little icy, but this model is a good option for making the occasional batch.

Buying Options

$36 from Amazon

If spending $300 on an ice cream maker sounds steep to you, consider the affordable Nostalgia 4-Quart Electric Ice Cream Maker, which is just one step beyond the old-fashioned hand-crank models. Although it still requires you to add ice and salt to freeze the mixture, this machine is fitted with a motor to do all the hard work of churning for you. In our tests, its ice cream was slightly icier than what we made with more expensive, compressor-cooled machines. But it makes up to 1 gallon at a time, and as long as you have enough ice and rock salt, you can churn out ice cream all day.

Also great

KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker KICA0WH

KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker KICA0WH

For KitchenAid users

If you own a KitchenAid stand mixer, you’ll like the corresponding ice cream attachment. The bowl requires pre-freezing, but it’s an affordable, compact option if you don’t want too many separate kitchen gadgets.

Buying Options

$80 from Abt
$80 from Target

If you own a KitchenAid stand mixer, we really like the KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker KICA0WH attachment. This is a bowl that requires pre-freezing, so there’s more planning ahead than with our other picks, and it means you can’t churn multiple batches in a row. In our tests this ice cream maker made the absolute fluffiest ice cream of all the machines we tried, since the lowest setting on the KitchenAid stand mixer is still faster than the speed at which ice cream makers spin (the faster you churn, the more air you whip into the ice cream). We didn’t mind the texture at all; in fact, it was quite pleasant. But if you love a dense, rich ice cream like Häagen-Dazs, you might find the mouthfeel to be too airy.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Whynter ICM-201SB

Whynter ICM-201SB

The best ice cream maker

Of all the machines we’ve tested, the large-capacity Whynter ICM-201SB is one of the easiest to use, scoop from, and clean. And for the price, you can’t beat this model for the smooth ice cream it produces.

Buying Options

$340 from Amazon

Runner-up

Whynter ICM-15LS

Whynter ICM-15LS

Great ice cream, smaller capacity

The zero-frills Whynter ICM-15LS is about as inexpensive as you can find for a good compressor machine, and it makes great ice cream. The 1.6-quart bowl is a little narrow, but it has plenty of room for most recipes.

Buying Options

$265 from Amazon

Upgrade pick

Lello 4080 Musso Lussino

Lello 4080 Musso Lussino

If you take your ice cream craft seriously

This machine makes the absolute smoothest homemade ice cream we’ve tasted, but it’s harder to clean than our main pick. And the huge price tag is worth it only for perfectionists.

Buying Options

$647 from Amazon

Budget pick

Nostalgia 4-Quart Electric Ice Cream Maker

Nostalgia 4-Quart Electric Ice Cream Maker

For occasional ice cream churning

This ice-and-salt–style ice cream maker generates good results for a very low price. It makes ice cream that’s a little icy, but this model is a good option for making the occasional batch.

Buying Options

$36 from Amazon

Also great

KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker KICA0WH

KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker KICA0WH

For KitchenAid users

If you own a KitchenAid stand mixer, you’ll like the corresponding ice cream attachment. The bowl requires pre-freezing, but it’s an affordable, compact option if you don’t want too many separate kitchen gadgets.

Buying Options

$80 from Abt
$80 from Target

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

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