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The 5 Best Countertop Ice Cream Makers
Looking for the best countertop ice cream maker? Read our countertop ice cream maker reviews and ratings to find the top countertop ice cream maker for your needs. If you’ve been wanting an ice cream maker but don’t want to deal with freezing a bowl or soft ice cream from a soft serve ice cream machine, I’d like to introduce you the countertop ice cream maker. As one of many types of ice cream makers on the market, these compact gadgets take the tedious parts out of the ice cream process and leave all the fun. If you’ve ever made ice cream the “old fashioned ice cream maker” way, you know what I’m talking about. Check out these countertop ice cream maker reviews and ratings if you’re thinking about getting you own!
In This Article
Best Choice: Whynter ICM-200LS Stainless Steel Countertop Ice Cream Maker
The Whynter ICM-200LS Stainless Steel Countertop Ice Cream Maker is the best countertop ice cream maker because it has multiple modes to make making ice cream easy and can make ice cream in just 30 minutes.
The Whynter ICM-200LS Stainless Steel Countertop Ice Cream Maker is a compact, powerful, and good-looking appliance. The machine’s brushed steel housing is easy to clean and not prone to scratches. A bright LCD screen shows you the timer and exactly what the machine is doing at a glance.
The roomy bowl makes up to 2.1 quarts at a time. Both the bowl and the mixing paddle are removable. They shouldn’t go in the dishwasher, but it’s easy to rinse them clean with soapy water.
The ICM-200LS has an automatic shut off if the mixture is too thick, a timer with an audio alarm, and three operation modes. In the main mode, the machine freezes and mixes simultaneously. Mix-only lets you stir up your ingredients hands-free, and freeze-only keeps the bowl cooled. This prevents melting after the ice cream is done. The default cooling time is 30 minutes, but you can change it in the settings.
Finally, Whynter’s main business is air conditioning and refrigeration, so the company knows cooling technology. This machine is fast, finishing a batch in around 30 minutes.
Item Key Features:
- Fast freezing time
- Multiple operation modes
- Convenient automatic functions
- Add-in spout is a little small
Premium Pick: Lello 4080 Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Countertop Maker, Stainless Steel
The Lello 4080 Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Countertop Maker is the best countertop ice cream maker because it can make a batch of ice cream in just 20 minutes and is completely made from stainless steel.
In the world of countertop ice cream machines, the Lello 4080 Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Countertop Maker is a Ferrari. Like the sports car, it’s powerful, beautiful, and made in Italy. Unlike the Ferrari, you get ice cream without having to go anywhere.
It makes 1.5 quarts of ice cream at a time with a powerful direct-drive motor. It has a dial timer on the front, and a button each for starting the churning and cooling functions. You can turn off the churning but still keep the ice cream cold, although there is no pre-programmed function for this.
Made entirely of stainless steel, it’s ultra durable but also heavy, weighing in at 38 pounds. The Musso is an ultra-efficient fast freezer, it can finish a batch of ice cream in just 20 minutes.
Much like your Italian supercar, the price tag and the upkeep on this machine are considerations. It’s high-end, and the mixing bowl is not detachable. This means cleaning the ice cream machine carefully by hand after use, and if this heavy unit isn’t right next to your sink, that can be a bit of a project. However, the entire machine is made from stainless steel, so it’s very durable and is going to last quite a while.
Item Key Features:
- Professional quality
- Stylish design
- Very fast freezing time
- All-steel construction
- Harder to clean
Best Value: Northair Countertop Ice Cream Maker, Automatic Frozen Yogurt Sorbet Machine
The Northair Countertop Ice Cream Maker, Automatic Frozen Yogurt Sorbet Machine is the best countertop ice cream maker because it has a stylish design that will look great in any kitchen and will fit just about any budget.
The Northair Countertop Ice Cream Maker & Automatic Frozen Yogurt Sorbet Machine is a sturdy and functional option occasional use or getting started without fronting a ton of cash. It has a 1.4 quart capacity and two modes for making harder or softer ice cream. The paddle and mixing bowl are detachable for easy cleaning.
An easy-read LCD panel and all the control buttons are right up front, making it clear and easy to set the timer and get the machine started. This model doesn’t have cooling as powerful as some other models on our list, and it can take upwards of 45 minutes to finish a batch, depending on the base mixture.
- Two cooling modes
- Stylish design
- Slower operation
Runner Up: COSTWAY Automatic Countertop Ice Cream Maker, 1.6 Quart
The COSTWAY Automatic Countertop Ice Cream Maker, 1.6 Quart is the best countertop ice cream maker because it’s another affordable choice and has removable pieces that makes cleaning easy.
Another good basic option is this COSTWAY Automatic Countertop Ice Cream Maker, 1.6 Quart. With a sensible layout similar to the Northair machine and straightforward controls, it’s a great choice for a small family looking for an ice cream maker to break out on special occasions.
It has a stainless steel mixing bowl and plastic churning paddle, both of which are removable for cleaning. The compressor takes 45 minutes to an hour to freeze the ice cream, which doesn’t result in quite as smooth a final product as the faster machines.
- Easy to use
- Stylish design
- Two color options
- Less powerful motor and cooling
Honorable Mention: Costway Automatic Countertop Ice Cream Maker, 2.1-Quart
The Costway Automatic Countertop Ice Cream Maker, 2.1-Quart is the best countertop ice cream maker because it has a large capacity to make more ice cream as well as automatic functions for easier use.
A similar-capacity model to the Whynter with a slightly lighter budget, the Costway Automatic Countertop Ice Cream Maker, 2.1-Quart deserves a nod in our search for the best countertop ice cream maker. The spacious bowl can make ice cream for a large family or a small party, and the bowl and paddle come out for easy cleanup.
A bright LCD panel displays the timer and the functions of the machine. Below, a small selection of touch-sensitive buttons allows you to set the timer and select from the machine’s operation modes. I didn’t have this issue, but some users have noted that it’s easy to brush against these buttons and turn the machine off or unintentionally change the settings.
- Large capacity
- Easy to clean
- Automatic shut-off function
- Slow freezing
- Buttons can be sensitive to accidental contact
Important Countertop Ice Cream Maker Features to Consider
There are a lot of different factors that take a countertop ice cream maker from just alright to the best countertop ice cream maker around. Here’s what I looked for when picking models to test.
With three kids at home, my schedule and my freezer is pretty packed. I wanted a machine that I didn’t have to have my hands on for half an hour or more. I wanted a machine that didn’t have to take up time and space getting pre-frozen before we used it. It needed to be easy to get going and have intuitive controls.
Other hands-off features to look out for are timers and automatic shut-off. If the ice cream gets too thick, it can stress the motor and cause the machine to overheat. I like an alarm to tell me when it’s done doing its thing.
Next, build quality plays a hand in how long it’s going to last and how well it’s going to perform. Naturally, it needs to be made out of tough enough stuff to stand up to the dings and bumps of life in an active home with two young boys running around.
As your frozen treat thickens, it puts pressure on the mixing bowl and the paddle. Flimsy points of contact here could become failure points pretty fast.
The bowl should fit very snugly inside the machine. A tight fit helps the compressor transfer heat away from the bowl. You want the freezing process to be as quick and efficient as possible.
Time was the last big factor on my “best countertop ice cream maker” wishlist. When we all scream for ice cream, we don’t want to wait hours, whether we need to use it as an ice cream maker, a gelato maker, or something else. I like how making things from scratch involves a little patience. It’s good in our instant-gratification world. But, moderation in all things, right?
So I looked for machines that took care of business fast. Ice cream fresh off being churned comes out somewhere on the creamy soft-serve spectrum. If you’re serving later, put it in a container in your freezer to set up so you can dig in with an ice cream scoop and serve it with a homemade waffle cone later. Sneak a spoonful first, though. Call it quality control.
Hunting for the Best Countertop Ice Cream Maker
I don’t know if ice cream is hard-wired into kids’ DNA or if I passed it to mine as a family trait. I do know I’m raising a family of ice cream fanatics. It’s hard to complain when we’re all having fun together in the kitchen and the rewards are oh-so-sweet.
Making your own ice cream from scratch has a handful of perks. It creates less packaging waste and gives you control over what you’re feeding your family and your own body. You can ditch excessive sugar and questionable additives by using healthier, natural ingredients.
Plus, there’s magic in owning the whole process. You get to be creative and you have to be patient. Both make the ultimate payoff even better.
When I sat down to find the best countertop ice cream maker, I knew I needed to think bigger than just specs. The whole experience matters. So I started with a wishlist.
Tips for Your In-Home Ice Cream Factory
Now that you’ve probably picked out the best countertop ice cream maker for your home, let’s dig in to the good stuff. You don’t need an ice cream Ph.D. to create wonderful treats for your loved ones. Here are a few rock-solid tricks to help your ice cream dreams come true.
Keep it Simple
Quality ingredients shrink the margin by which things could go wrong a lot. Real fruit, high-quality dairy or alternatives, and homemade add-ins will help make your ice cream a surefire success.
Ice Cream Expands When Freezing
Ice cream owes some of its texture to tiny air bubbles getting incorporated into the mix. You shouldn’t fill the bowl of your ice cream maker more than 50-60%. Churning needs room to move, and your churned ice cream is going to take up a lot more space than your base mixture.
Be Aware of Water
Blame crunchy, crystalized ice cream on its water content. Motion is essential, as is a quick freeze. Remember up there when I said I wanted a fast machine? Here’s the other reason for that.
However, the more water your base mix has, the harder it is to get the rest of the factors just right. Using full-fat dairy products and cooking the water out of your fruity additions can help concentrate the mixture. This way, less water separates and freezes into mini-icicles during churning. There are a few issues you might run into while making ice cream, but they’re all easy to avoid once you know what to look for.
All the items on this list stand among the best countertop ice cream makers available today. Any one of these sleek, capable units gives you the tools you need to make great frozen desserts.
The Whynter ICM-200LS Stainless Steel Countertop Ice Cream Maker wins my crown because it balances features, durability, and expense. It doesn’t skimp on functions, freezes fast, and works with family budget where a lot of other needs and activities jockey for space. It also looks good on my counter. I’d be lying if I said that didn’t give it a few points.
Bringing an ice cream maker into your home gives you healthier dessert options as well as a fun, and even educational, activity to do with your family. We love ours, and I hope I’ve helped point the way toward the best countertop ice cream maker for you.