8 best ice cream makers for a summer treat, tried and tested

Struggling with the heat? There's nothing like an ice cream to cool you down.

best-ice-cream-makers (2)

by Samantha Price |
Updated on

Whatever flavour takes your fancy, why not scoop up a treat from home this summer with the best ice cream makers? No more waiting for the ice cream van, or having to pop to the shop to satisfy those ice cream cravings. Why should you? The best ice cream makers can do it all for you, from your very own home, without you having to go out of your way.

In warmer weather, there's nothing like ice cream to cool you down and get you in the mood for summer. Just like iced coffee machines, investing in your own ice cream maker is a genius way to keep your whole household supplied with ice-cool treats during the heat. As much as we love a Ben & Jerry's, the costs can add up, which is why an ice cream maker will save you in the long run.

Not only will you enjoy the satisfying experience of making your own ice cream, but you also have complete control over the ingredients you choose, meaning you can also spend as much or as little as you want. On a health kick? No problem. Just substitute with lower-calorie ingredients for a much healthier option to those pesky shop-bought ice creams.

Closer's best ice cream makers at a glance:

Editor's choice

Cuisinart Ice Cream and Gelato Maker

Best bestselling ice cream maker

Ninja CREAMi Deluxe 10-in-1 Ice Cream & Frozen Drink Maker

Best budget ice cream maker

Lakeland Digital Ice Cream Maker 1.8L

Best highly rated ice cream maker

Cuisinart Ice Cream Deluxe, Frozen Yoghurt & Sorbet Maker

While there's loads of ice cream makers out there to choose from, we've put some of the best to the test to find out which ones are worth investing in. We've highlighted machines that we think deserve a shout-out for their ease of use, features, value and, of course, ones that produce the best-tasting ice creams. For the perfect addition to your kitchen, check out our favourite ice cream makers below.

SHOP: The best ice cream makers

Editor's choice

Expert rating:
4.5

The Cuisinart is a simple machine that's perfect for lovers of ice cream. Our product tester, Lily, said that it was 'by far the easiest machine to use'. Thankfully, there's no need to pre-freeze any of the equipment; you just plug it in, pour in your ingredients, set the timer, put the lid on, and leave it to work. She loved that you don't have to remember to prepare everything a day in advance, and that it works effortlessly. Reviewers can only agree, giving this ice cream maker an impressive rating over at Amazon.

Pros

  • Can make ice cream or gelato
  • According to our tester, takes about 30 mins to make ice cream
  • Keep Cool technology means no need to pre-freeze equipment

Cons

  • Is slightly noisy, according to a reviewer
Dimensions:42.01 x 30 x 24 cm; 10.2 kg
Capacity:1.5L
Pre-freezing:No, 40 minutes wait time
  • Has a 1.5 litre capacity
  • Window lets you check on your ice cream as it churns
  • Specially designed paddle gives the perfect consistency
  • Handy timer lets you know when your ice cream is ready
  • Clever tech keeps the bowl cool - no need to pre-freeze

Best bestselling ice cream maker

Expert rating:
4.5

If you want an ice cream maker that can truly do it all, the Ninja CREAMi Deluxe is it. From sorbets, gelatos and frozen yoghurts to milkshakes, frappes and slushies, this machine is a one-stop shop for frozen delights. Our product tester, Claire, revealed that 'it's super easy to clean, the blade is simple to remove and all the tubs are dishwasher safe.' So, not only is it versatile, but it's also super convenient too? Count us in. This bestselling ice cream maker also remains ever-popular with reviewers.

Pros

  • Can create two different flavours from the same base
  • Can make a number of frozen desserts and drinks
  • Mix-In function means you can add fruit, nuts and sweets

Cons

  • May need adequate freezer space for storage
Dimensions:42.4 x 30.5x 21.4cm; 6.54 kg
Capacity:680ml
Pre-freezing:Yes, 24 hours
  • Motor base with dual-drive motors
  • Deluxe creamerizer paddle
  • Crafted from durable, impact and temperature-resistant ABS
  • Recipe inspiration guide

Best budget ice cream maker

Expert rating:
4.0
Lakeland Digital Ice Cream Maker 1.8LLakeland
Price: £34.99 (was £49.99)

www.lakeland.co.uk

If you love the idea of an ice cream maker but your budget won’t quite stretch to the likes of Ninja or Cuisinart, the Lakeland Digital Ice Cream Maker is a great value buy. It's a fairly low commitment option if it's a machine you're only going to use once every so often, creating deliciously smooth ice creams, sorbets or frozen yoghurts in just 40 minutes. One reviewer even commented that its, 'simple, quick and makes delicious ice cream and sorbet.' We also love that it comes with included recipes, yum.

Pros

  • Can make ice cream, sorbet or frozen yoghurt
  • Takes about 40 mins to make ice cream from frozen
  • An affordable price point

Cons

  • Pre-freezing equipment can take 12 hours beforehand
Dimensions:23.5 x 21cm; 2.7kg
Capacity:1.8L (720ml working capacity)
Pre-freezing:Yes, 12 hours
  • Makes delicious ice cream, sorbet and frozen yoghurt
  • Ready in as little as 40 minutes
  • Easy-to-read digital display
  • Just freeze bowl for 12 hours before use
  • Instructions and recipes included
  • 1.8 litre bowl – 720ml working capacity
  • Lakeland 3 year guarantee included

Best highly rated ice cream maker

Expert rating:
4.5

Cuisinart also have the Ice Cream Deluxe, a slightly bigger variation of their Ice Cream and Gelato Maker, with a generous 2L capacity. This Deluxe Ice Cream machine has the ability to create fresh sorbets and frozen yoghurts as well, ideal for a hot summer's day if you ask us. Highly rated on Amazon, customers were delighted with the results, saying 'absolutely wonderful and I'm so glad I bought it'. Well, we can't argue with that.

Pros

  • Can make ice cream, sorbet and frozen yoghurt
  • Takes about 20 mins to make ice cream from frozen
  • Generous capacity of 2L

Cons

  • Pre-freezing equipment can take 12 hours beforehand
Dimensions:‎22.5 x 20.5 x 29.01cm; 4.7 kg
Capacity:2L
Pre-freezing:Yes, 24 hours
  • Makes 2L of ice cream, frozen yoghurt or sorbet in as little as 25 minutes
  • Add extra toppings through the lid during churning
  • Removable bowl/lid and paddle for easy cleaning
  • 5 year guarantee

Best trending ice cream maker

Expert rating:
4.5
John Lewis Ninja Creami Ice Cream & Frozen Dessert MakerJohn Lewis
Price: £179.99 (was £199.99)

ninjakitchen.co.uk

Our product tester, Ellen, tested out the trending Ninja CREAMi Ice Cream & Frozen Dessert Maker and was delighted at how convenient and versatile the machine is. She also commented that it's a 'great investment that is perfect for households that want to prioritise health and have fun in the kitchen'. This machine has the ability to create up to seven different frozen dessert and drinks, and, while it does have slightly less options than its Deluxe 10-In-1 counterpart, it's also considerably less expensive.

Pros

  • Can make a number of frozen desserts and drinks
  • Adjustable for dietary requirements and personal preferences
  • Takes minutes to make ice cream, after pre-freezing

Cons

  • Pre-freezing equipment can take 24 hours beforehand
Dimensions:40.5 x 16.5 x 27cm; 6.4kg
Capacity:3 x 473ml
Pre-freezing:Yes, 24 hours
  • Mix-in program 
  • Creamify technology
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Recipe guide
  • 2 year guarantee

Best smart ice cream maker

Expert rating:
4.5

Smart by name and by nature, the Smart Scoop™ from Sage comes with loads of handy features, such as pre-cool and keep-cool functionalities. How great is that? Meaning if you've forgotten to do your prep, you'll still be able to enjoy a fresh batch of ice cream on the day. It also features manual, automatic and 12 different hardness settings which allows you to customise the texture to how you want it. It goes without saying, but customers really appreciated the versatility of this machine.

Pros

  • Can create ice cream, sorbet, gelato and frozen yogurt
  • Comes with manual or automatic as well as 12 hardness settings
  • Has Pre-Cool and Keep Cool function

Cons

  • At 13.97kg, it's the heaviest option on our list
Dimensions:18.2 x 41.2 x 27.3cm; 13.97kg
Capacity:1 litre
Pre-freezing:No
  • Automatic hardness settings
  • Pre cool functionality
  • Mix in feature
  • Keep cool functionality
  • Manual or automatic

Best mini ice cream maker

Expert rating:
4.0
Lakeland Mini Digital Ice Cream MakerLakeland

If you're lacking in counter top space, this mini ice cream maker is perfect for you. Product tester, Lily, found it was really simple to use, that it comfortably makes three good-sized portions of frozen desserts, is easy to clean and doesn't take up a lot of room. Plus, it's really affordable and comes with four recipes to kick off your ice cream adventure, what more could you ask for? Reviewers also loved how handy, compact and useful this little gadget is.

Pros

  • Can make ice cream, frozen yoghurt or sorbet
  • Perfect for taking up little room on your kitchen counter
  • Comes with an included recipe book

Cons

  • Pre-freezing equipment can take 8-12 hours beforehand
Dimensions:14.5 x 17 x 7cm
Capacity:500ml (300ml working capacity)
Pre-freezing:Yes, 8-12 hours
  • Makes ice cream in as little as 25 minutes
  • Small bowl tucks neatly into freezer
  • Great for sorbet and frozen yogurt too
  • Clear, easy-view lid
  • Non-slip base
  • Recipes included
  • Lakeland 3 year guarantee included

Best ice cream maker for capacity

Expert rating:
5.0
Magimix Gelato Expert Ice Cream MakerVery
Price: £449 (was £499)

www.very.co.uk

Unlike other ice cream makers, the Magimix Gelato Expert Ice Cream Maker doesn’t require pre-freezing the bowl or ingredients. It has the ability to create natural ice cream, sorbet, frozen yoghurt and granitas from just 30 minutes. How much you say? Four litres in total, to be exact. And, thanks to the automatic programs, the machine does all the hard work for you. While customers thought the machine was a bit noisy, the smooth consistency of the frozen desserts and how easy it is to use make it all worth it.

Pros

  • Can create ice cream, sorbet, frozen yoghurt and granitas
  • Takes about 30 mins to create ice cream
  • Has the largest capacity on the list

Cons

  • Is slightly noisy, according to a reviewer
Dimensions:29 x 37 x 26cm; 10.8kg
Capacity:2 x 2L
Pre-freezing:No, 30 min wait time
  • 3 automatic programmes and manual mode
  • 2 hour storage mode
  • 3 year guarantee
  • Built-in freezer

FAQs

Is making homemade ice cream healthier?

The beauty of an ice cream maker is that you’re in complete control of the ingredients. That way, if you're on a health kick, you can opt for fresh fruit or natural sweeteners as an alternative to refined sugar options. You know, for the perfect low-calorie snack.

Many of the ice creams that you find in the supermarkets have a high-fat content to give them that rich and creamy texture that we all love. An ice cream maker allows you to lower the fat content by using plant-based milk like almond, coconut or oat milk, or even switching to skimmed cow’s milk and yoghurt.

What to look for when buying an ice cream maker?

As you can see from our list, there are many different types of ice cream makers available but you’re probably wondering how to decide which one is the right one for you. Here are some of the things we’d recommend considering when searching for the best ice cream maker for your needs.

• Capacity:

This might seem like an obvious one but think about how much ice cream you’ll want to make at a time. If you want to make the odd batch for you and your partner or friend to enjoy every once in a while, a small one will probably suffice. However, if you’re making ice cream treats for the whole family, consider one with a large capacity so you can make large batches at a time.

• Freezing method:

Some ice cream makers require you to pre-freeze the bowl and the ingredients up to a day before you start, while others have freezing capabilities built-in so you can get stuck in straight away. When choosing your ice cream machine, consider whether you’ll have the patience to wait before making your ice cream maker and whether you’ll remember to pre-freeze the bowl if required.

• Versatility:

Many of the best ice cream makers can be used for more than just ice cream and come equipped with additional settings for making frozen yoghurt, sorbets, gelato, milkshakes, slushies and so much more. If you’re someone who just can’t get enough of frozen desserts, look for a model that can make as many different types as possible so you’re getting more for your money.

• Ease of use:

Kitchen gadgets that are loaded with complicated-to-use settings and hard-to-use controls are ones that you’re not going to reach for often as they won’t be enjoyable to use. The best ice cream maker for you will be one that is straightforward to use with user-friendly buttons and settings and easy-to-understand and use displays.

Consider ones that have features like timer settings, automatic shut-off, pre-programmed making settings and transparent lids so you can keep an eye on your ice cream in the making, which will make the process all the more straightforward.

• Cleaning:

Let’s be honest, cleaning up after being creative in the kitchen is never anyone’s favourite task but choosing an ice cream machine with easy-to-clean components and removable parts that are dishwasher safe will make the job easier.

Samantha Price is a Senior Commercial Content Writer for Closer. During her time at Bauer, she has worked on several projects, from championing the Closer newsletters to writing expertly crafted buying guides on beauty, fashion and lifestyle.

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