Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy (like ice-cube trays), but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed (that’s four-to-five-star reviews and lots of ‘em) products and single out the most convincing. Here, the best ice-cream makers on Amazon, according to the people (note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity).
Best no-ice-required ice-cream maker
“Love! This is the perfect size for us empty nesters. It gives us three or four nights of ice cream. It’s so much easier to use than back in the ’80s, when I had to pack ice and salt rock around the canister. I left the canister in the freezer after washing it when we first got it, and made the yummiest vanilla ice cream from the recipe book enclosed with it. Storage takes a very small amount of space. I put the ice cream made in a Rubbermaid container in the freezer, and wash and dry the canister and it’s stored in the freezer.”
Best medium-batch ice-cream maker
“If you have had problems getting your ice cream to set up with ice as i have don’t worry any more with this gem WOW!!!!!!!!! We have not bought any ice cream in four months and the savings will pay for this thing in no time. Very nice and durable machine thank you Whynter, you have hit the mark on this one!!!!!!!!!”
Best large-batch ice-cream maker
Best portable ice-cream maker
“Most of the ice-cream makers on the market don’t make enough at one time. This makes a gallon of ice cream quickly and neatly. It only needs ice and coarse salt, plus the ingredients for any kind of ice cream you can imagine! It isn’t very noisy and is very easy to clean. I highly recommend it for its wonderful capacity. I can put any leftover ice cream (should such a thing occur) in my freezer for later. A quick trick is to semi-melt vanilla ice cream and throw in a bag of frozen fruit, such as mango or blackberries, and run it through the ice-cream maker to have delicious fruit-flavored ice cream without buying a gallon of heavy cream and pounds of sugar. Coffee ice cream can also be made this way, with ripples of chocolate and/or caramel running through it.”
Best old-fashioned ice-cream maker
“Many people scream for ice cream, but I guarantee you won’t be screaming at your loved ones when using this awesome little ice-cream maker, because it’s hassle-free. I’ve made two batches so far using recipes found in the manual, and they’ve turned out wonderfully well. Depending on the recipe, it will make a little less than a gallon at one time.”
Best single-serving ice-cream maker
“Today, I made vanilla ice cream using the recipe included with this bowl, it was a big hit. I found it very easy to use once I found a good rhythm for the scraping and stirring. The ice cream was ready to eat in just under five minutes with a consistency like VERY thick soft serve. I only made one serving, but considering that the water I used to rinse the bowl froze on the sides, I am confident that I could have easily made a second bowl without putting it back into the freezer.”
Best brushed-steel ice-cream makers
“I’m SO happy with this ice-cream maker!!! No dry ice!! No rock salt! No regular ice! You put the ice-cream-maker bowl in the freezer, then pop it into the appliance and add your recipe. We’ve made vanilla and strawberry ice creams from the recipes in the book. Both came out quite soft, but hardened up perfectly in the freezer — hard enough to scoop into ice-cream cones. The appliance itself is made of just four parts, all of which should be HAND-washed, not put in the dishwasher. Very easy to put together right out of the box. Very easy to clean in warm, soapy water.”
Best stainless-steel ice-cream maker
“Over the years we have been fortunate to eat some fabulous ice cream: Will Wrights in Dallas, Ghiardelli Square in California, Water Tower Place in Chicago, the original Kaiser’s in Oklahoma City. Ice cream from this machine ranks right up with these ice creams. Love also that we can make ice cream with highest quality ingredients and use no thickeners. I have owned several less expensive ice cream makers over the years and never found one I liked until now. My husband was skeptical about the cost until he tried the ice cream. Now he is sold on the idea that this is a worthwhile use of our money.”
Best ice-cream-maker mixer attachment
“I scream, you scream, we all scream. I’m not sure why we’re screaming, but I am sure that you should add this attachment to your small-appliance roster. It is by far my favorite attachment for our KitchenAid, but I must admit, I am partial to ice cream. This makes it easy, though if you’re like me and want it to always be ready to go, it does take up quite a bit of space in the freezer. Solution? Get an additional freezer, plus that gives you more room for ice cream. Problem solved.”
Fastest ice-cream maker
“Love it! Have made three batches so far, and not disappointed with anything about this unit! It cranks out a batch in 18 to 24 minutes. If you had a second container, you could probably make four batches in a day. It’s simple to clean up, and it is not too noisy while operating. Have not tried gelato or sorbet yet, but no reason to doubt they will be just a good.”
Best combination ice-cream-and-gelato maker
“Got mine this week and tried it out for the first time for a gathering of friends. I used two of the gelato recipes right out of the manual, and it worked to perfection. I followed the directions and refrigerated the mixture for two hours, and made both batches right after each other. I can’t wait to try other recipes. Two batches (different flavors) were enough for 13 people to have a scoop of each. This will pay for itself in no time! Highly recommended!”
Best ice-cream maker with bowls
“I always wonder about the motives of people who write these reviews. I have no motive other than to tell people how much I love this machine. I received it about 3 weeks ago and have made strawberry sorbetto, lemon sorbetto, chocolate sorbetto, raspberry sorbetto, and as I write this I have peach sorbetto in the machine. We ate an entire batch of lemon sorbetto straight out of the machine and to quote my wife, ‘It was almost better than sex.’”
Best Fruit-Soft-Serve Maker
“I have to admit, even after reading the rave reviews, I did not think the banana-soft-serve product would be as good as people were saying. But I’m amazed! The creamy, INTENSE banana flavor outdoes real ice cream. Awesome. Listen to the directions and reviews to have the best experience: Only use very ripe bananas — minimum two (rather large) — let thaw for 10 to 15 minutes before processing, and rinse the parts very soon after use. Even my husband said, ‘This is really, really good!’ And good for you as well.”
Get the best of The Strategist delivered to your inbox.
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best women’s jeans, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, ultra-flattering pants, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.
Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.