The 5 Best Ice Cream Makers for Homemade Scoops
Today's ice cream makers make it easy, as our test-kitchen pros discovered by preparing—and eating—pint after pint. (Sorry, no job openings at the moment!)
1. Big Batch
Make scoops for a group with Nostalgia Electrics' 4-Quart Bottom Drive Gourmet Ice Creamery, which can crank out 16 cups at once. You'll need lots of ice and salt for the bucket, since that's how this guy cools (the canister has to be chilled, too). The only downside: It's a little noisy. $70, bedbathandbeyond.com
2. No-Frills Chill
A small footprint (under 9 inches wide and a foot tall) means the Hamilton Beach 1.5 Quart Ice Cream Maker is easy to store. Just be ready to freeze the bowl a day in advance and allow slightly longer (about 45 minutes) to whip up your ice cream. $50, target.com
3. YAAASSS (Dairy) Queen
Good to go out of the box, Whynter's 2.1 Quart Ice Cream Maker uses a self-refrigerating compressor so there's no need for pre-freezing, letting you make ice cream on a whim. Fill the bowl with mix and hit start for parlor-style richness in under an hour. Pricey, yes, but so are all those store-bought sundaes. $349, amazon.com
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4. Mix Master
The Sweet Spot Ice Cream Maker was the fastest and most fun to use. Pour your base on the frozen surface and fold with the scrapers until it gets icy—it takes about 2 1/2 minutes for 1/2 cup. You can repeat a few times without re-freezing—if you feel like sharing. $50, chefn.com
5. Smooth Operator
Quality soft-serve at home is a reality with the Mix It In Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker. It cranks out the silky stuff in about a half hour (after you've frozen the insert for 12 hours) and has three built-in compartments for mix-ins like sprinkles, which can be added as you serve. $100, cuisinart.com
Now here's what to put in it
Once you've picked a maker, it's all about that base. This recipe worked in every unit we tested and uses cornstarch instead of eggs for fuss-free creaminess.
No-Cook Vanilla Ice Cream
Makes 1 qt.
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 2 tbsp. cornstarch
- 2 cups cold heavy cream
- 1 cup cold whole milk
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar and cornstarch. Add the cream, milk and vanilla and whisk until the sugar is dissolved, 1 to 3 minutes. Cover and refrigerate the base until cold, about an hour or up to 2 days.
- Prepare the ice cream base in the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Eat right away, or freeze in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.
Good to Know!
Many ice cream makers call for rock salt to help with freezing. Don't have any on hand? Our testers say the same amount of kosher salt will get the job done.