So, you want to make your own ice cream at home, but you have no idea which machine would be the best ice cream maker to purchase? Or maybe you’ve tried following some ice cream recipes that require no fancy equipment, and you want to experiment with new recipes. You might even be interested in making other frozen treats too. Whether you consider yourself a professional ice cream maker or you’re just starting to learn, having the right equipment on hand can elevate your end results.
This article lists the things you need to keep in mind when shopping for an ice cream machine. You can also check out our recommended list of cookbooks for picky eaters if you need new recipe ideas or that final piece of inspiration to purchase an ice cream machine.
5 Things You Should Consider to Find the Best Ice Cream Maker for You
Make a Variety of Frozen Treats
Almost any professional ice cream maker can make more than just ice cream. The number one thing you should do before purchasing an ice cream machine is deciding what you want to use it for. If your answer is simply ice cream, your search will be less challenging. But, if you’d like to experiment with sorbets, sherbets, gelato, or even slushies, then you’ve got to get an ice cream maker that can do it all.
Ice Cream Machine Capacity
The size of your ice cream machine will depend on how many household members have a soft spot for frozen treats. While slower machines usually deliver larger outputs, choosing a more convenient one and making a bunch of small batches in no time might work better for you.
Type of Ice Cream Maker
The type of ice cream machine you choose will influence how convenient it is to use and what you’ll be able to make with it. You’ll first have to decide if you’d prefer a manual or motor-run machine. From there, you’ll have various options.
Ice and Salt Ice Cream Makers
Although an ice-and-salt machine isn’t known as the best ice cream maker, it is the most well-known. It works with salt and ice, and you can purchase a manual or motor-run version. Benefits of this machine include its affordability, the amount of control you have over the ice cream-making process, and its old-fashioned aesthetic. Aspects you might not like are the need to have ice and salt on hand when making ice cream, the work involved with manual versions, and how long these machines take to make ice cream.
Freezer Bowl Machines
Frozen bowl ice cream makers are easily the best ice cream makers for home and small-scale use. They’re electric which adds a point in the convenience category, are generally affordable, and so easy to use that the kids can help! However, a downside is that you’ll have to pre-freeze the bowl before making your ice cream. The pre-freezing process should be done a day or two in advance. To help you save time, a pro tip is to pop the bowl back in the freezer after every batch you make to ensure that it’s already frozen when you want to make another.
Compressor Ice Cream Makers
While they’re the most expensive, compressor ice cream makers definitely make up their cost in all the other categories. Even if you’re just looking for a simple ice cream maker for home use, this one is worth looking at.
With most compressor ice cream machines, you’ll get various impressive features, an easy-to-understand and use interface, and quick turnaround times. Even though these machines can be expensive, they make great frozen treats! An added bonus of these machines is the various other uses it offers.
If you’re looking for ideas on how to freeze your everyday foods, keep salads and dips cold on the table, or keep other frozen treats frozen outside of the freezer, you’ll be impressed to know that the canister of these machines can be used to do all of that too! A perfect option if you are entertaining and in need of some extra fridge or freezer space.
Once you’ve got your machine type figured out, you need to determine how big of a machine you can buy. The top ice cream makers for regular use should not make your spaces feel crowded. If you’re opting fora countertop machine, decide whether you’ll keep it there or store it away between uses. Make sure you have enough space available for the option you choose. Some ice-and-salt bucket machines can stand beside a counter or the fridge.
Cleaning & Maintenance
Like any other kitchen appliance, ice cream machines need to be maintained to ensure optimal performance. If you dislike cleaning, choose an ice cream machine with self-cleaning parts or parts that can be placed in the dishwasher. Detachable parts clean easier, and smaller machines require less work. Machine maintenance might also be needed. If you want to keep your ice cream-making experiences chill (no pun intended), choose a machine that has little to no maintenance requirements.
How to Choose the Best Ice Cream Maker
The machine you choose should tick the boxes of your personal needs. However, the best ice cream makers out there have and deliver the following:
- An affordable price tag
- Quick production speeds
- Little to no noise while running
- Easy cleaning
- Various handy features
- Creamy ice cream consistencies
When you’re searching for an ice cream machine, consider your choice a lifelong investment. If you really like ice cream enough to buy a machine to make your own at home, it’s worth paying more for one that will last. Beating the summer sun is reason enough to buy the best ice cream maker on the market. When you do, you’ll be able to make more than just a creamy treat.
Author Bio: Simone Langford is a busy mum and an ice cream maker guru! Simone’s passion for making ice cream (and eating it) has evolved into creating IceCreamMakerGuru.com where she shares all the latest ice cream maker reviews, hints and tips to make the best homemade ice cream.