“You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream!” Very few summer memories are as vivid as Dad disappearing into the garage and emerging after a few minutes with the old wooden Ice cream freezer. It was what my Mom called the “summer stopper.” because no matter what we were doing, we stopped to help make it and eat it as soon as possible.

Ice cream features large in many happy childhood memories, and many families still gather to make their own. Create any flavor you can imagine, knowing that you’ve hand-selected every ingredient for freshness.

Create unusual flavors like lavender and tea or basil and honey. Or stick with time-proven favorites like strawberry or chocolate. Make the most of your local fruits and dairy products and whip up a bowl of homemade ice cream at any time of year.

Why an Ice Cream Freezer?

There are many recipes available on the internet that purport to make ice cream at home without an ice cream freezer. I’m sure that many of them work and are quite tasty.

Still, there is nothing like the anticipation of making ice cream in an ice cream freezer to top off a perfect family event. You may have several appliances in your home, but none of them will bring the entire family (and maybe a few neighbors) together like an ice cream freezer. While the old wooden barrel and metal hand-crank are almost gone, the anticipation remains as high as ever, and the kids still want to participate.

Like most appliances in your home, the right ice cream freezer for you will be a tradeoff between price and features. You may only want to hand crank the occasional cone or two at family barbecues, or you may want to dazzle your friends and family with homemade frozen novelties at the touch of a button. Either way, there is an ice cream freezer just for you.

Best Ice Cream Freezer for Family Fun

Here, in no particular order, are some of the most highly rated ice cream freezers available.

Nostalgia ICMP400WD Wood Bucket

The hand crank may be gone, but that was always the hardest part of making ice cream back in the day. The Nostalgia company has a reputation for maintaining an old-time style for modern kitchen appliances. And the ICMP400WD will evoke memories of making ice cream with your parents or grandparents, right down to the ice and the rock salt.

Nostalgia ICMP400WD Electric Wood Bucket Ice Cream Maker, 4-Quart
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Because it uses the old-time, real wooden bucket (lined with BPA-free plastic), there is no need to pre-freeze a bowl for hours or even days before use. The ice and salt produce and maintain the temperature necessary. This 4-quart capacity unit is easy to use and makes plenty of ice cream.

There is also a see-through lid for monitoring as you prepare your ice cream. You can even use it to store the leftovers. if there are any! You’ll find the cleanup simple because of the plastic liner, but you’ll have to dispose of the melted ice and salt.

Cuisinart ICE-21

“Budget-friendly and easy to use,” best describes the Cuisinart ICE-21. This ice cream freezer is usually between $45 to $75. The double-insulated bowl does not require ice but does require roughly 24 hours of pre-freezing. You can make 1.5 quarts of your favorite frozen goodies, like ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet, or gelato, at just the touch of a button and in only about 20 minutes.

Cuisinart 1.5 Quart Frozen Yogurt ICE-21P1 Ice Cream Maker, Qt, White
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It has an ‘ingredient spout’ that lets you add your favorite crumbled cookies or candy pieces once you have started the cycle, as well as a locking lid to prevent spillage.

The ICE-21 also comes with a solid base and rubber feet for stability, with a strong motor that ensures even freezing in the bowl.

Cuisinart ICE-70

The Cuisinart ICE-70 is a mid-priced ice cream maker that has the same basic functionality as the ICE-21 but with some noticeable differences. For those that want a more robust machine but don’t want to pay for a unit with a compressor, then the ICE-70 is a terrific alternative.

This unit comes with a slightly larger 2-quart capacity bowl that can handle a wide range of frozen desserts. You can create not only ice cream but gelato, sorbet, and frozen yogurt as well.

Cuisinart ICE-70 Electronic Ice Cream Maker, Brushed Chrome, Ice Cream...
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An improved mixing paddle increases the machine’s overall efficiency and reduces the amount of time it takes to complete your recipe. You can typically expect only 15 to 20 minutes for ice cream.

The styling and controls are also quite striking. A countdown timer, LCD display, and three-button speed settings give you the ultimate control over the entire process. It also has a brushed chrome finish, on plastic, which is a nice upgrade from the plain, white model. The ingredient spout also has a built-in measuring cup to make adding your favorite fixings more precise.

Since this does not have a compressor, you will have to make sure the bowl gets frozen before use. This can take up to 24 hours in the freezer, so some planning will be involved.

Whynter ICM-201SB 2.1 Quart Upright

The Whynter Upright Ice Cream Maker has a large capacity, 2.1-quart removable stainless-steel bowl. Whynter designed it to maximize production and minimize the required counter space. Measuring 10.75 inches by 12.5 inches by 14.25 inches, it has a relatively small footprint for a compressor-equipped unit.

But it still weighs in at a considerable 25 pounds. Built with a BPA-free churning blade, the Whynter ICM is easy to clean and to store. It has a temperature range of -.4 to -31 degrees Fahrenheit, and the MPF (Motor Protection Function) shuts off the unit if the mixer feels excess resistance. This can happen in compressor models when the ingredients get mixed incorrectly.

Whynter ICM-201SB Upright Automatic Ice Cream Maker 2 Quart Capacity...
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The controls are where the Wynter ICM shines, as it boasts three different freezing modes, an LCD display, and a pause button. The screen shows you the time remaining until your product will be ready along with the internal mixing temperature. While not a ‘budget’ ice cream freezer, it does have loads of features and only requires limited counter space.

Hamilton Beach 68990 4 Quart Collapsible Bucket

The Hamilton Beach Collapsible Bucket is perfect for you if you don’t have a load of shelf space and will be keeping this unit in a closet or storage room. The 68990 folds up when not in use. This ice and salt model will make ice cream, sorbet, frozen yogurt, and gelato, and the 4-quart capacity bowl is easy to clean.

It was reported, however, that on exceptionally hot days, the unit may have difficulty bringing the ice cream mix to a freezable temperature. But, bringing it indoors seems to solve the problem.

Hamilton Beach 68990 Easy to Store Ice Cream Maker
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If you only want good old-fashioned homemade ice cream a few times a year and plan to keep the unit in storage until you need it, this may be the perfect ice cream freezer for you.

Lello 4080 Musso Lussino

Because we’re listing the best ice cream freezer you can buy, it behooves us to include the following ice cream freezer. Time after time, in test after test, survey after survey — it has proven itself to be the “best of the best.”

Lello 4080 Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker, Stainless -...
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This unit is for folks with ample cash and an ample appetite for delicious homemade frozen desserts.

Why users consider it the best of the best

So, what is so great about it to make it worth more than all the others on this list combined? To start with, Lello designed the body, paddle, and bowl with stainless steel for durability. It contains a built-in compressor to freeze the built-in bowl. This means you don’t have to freeze the bowl or mess with ice or rock salt. The unit is completely self-contained and ready to go in minutes.

Next, it is automatic. Just pour in the raw ingredients, push two buttons, and the 4080 will produce 1.5 quarts of ice cream in half an hour. Because it’s self-contained, you can continuously crank out desserts to your heart’s content. The controls are easy to use and understand. And surprisingly, users report that it’s much quieter than expected. An adjustable timer stops the unit automatically depending on what type of desserts you are making.

Of course, that compressor is going to increase the weight to a somewhat non-portable 40 pounds empty, at with a profile measuring 12 wide, 11 inches high, and 18 inches deep. So, it may not fit in your readily available counter space.

Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker

The Breville (like the Lello above) is one of the few ice cream freezers that whip the ice cream to the same to the same consistency as the store-bought product. Whipping combines air with the ice cream and prevents it from freezing solid when you store it.

Not only does it keep it soft in the freezer, but it also makes it considerably easier to scoop. It is rare to find a home unit with this feature, but the Breville offers it, and at a significantly lower price than the Lillo.

Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker, Brushed Stainless Steel
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The Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop is comparable to the Lillo on several levels. On the plus side, the Breville has a removable tub, and the Lello’s is firmly attached and can’t be removed. And additional tubs are available for the Breville, which suits those who want to experiment with different flavors.

Narrowing Down the Ice Cream Freezer Competition

So, there you have it. All these ice cream freezers will do the job nicely. But now, you have to decide which one to get and how much to invest.

You may want the ease of operation and extra features of either the Lillo or the Breville. You may want the old-fashioned feel of hot summer days gone by and decide to choose the Nostalgia ICMP400WD Wood Bucket. Maybe you need something tall and thin to accommodate the narrow counter space in your kitchen. In that case, you might opt for the Whynter Upright.

The fun and family involvement of making homemade frozen deserts in your own ice cream freezer is a top selling point, and for our money, nothing beats topping off a summer barbecue quite like freshly churned, home-made ice cream.

Last update on 2021-07-26 at 14:25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API