There is nothing quite like an indulgent bowl of ice cream on a hot summer’s day, and homemade ice cream is far tastier than the shop-bought alternatives, so why not invest in an ice cream maker and get creative?
Making your own ice cream has plenty of advantages – you can experiment with a mix of flavours and textures – and even create vegan or sugar-free versions of your favourite recipes.
But with a wide choice of ice cream makers out there, it’s worth knowing a little bit about the different types available – and that’s where our guide to the best ice cream makers comes in very handy!
Read on to discover which type of ice cream maker is the best for you, along with our pick of the best and some delicious homemade ice cream recipes.
What types of ice cream makers are available?
There are two main types of ice cream maker and depending on how often you plan to use it, one may serve you better than the other:
- Frozen bowl: These devices involve freezing liquid-filled canisters 24 hours in advance. Once frozen, the machine will churn the ingredients against the frozen bowl and form the ice cream. It’s not the most spontaneous way of making a frozen treat as some pre-planning is involved – but if you only want to use the machine occasionally, it’s a budget-friendly way to get started.
- Compressor: These types of machines feature built-in refrigeration so you can churn the ingredients without pre-freezing bowls or waiting between making batches. If you are a regular ice cream maker, then a compressor is well worth the additional investment.
– Best frozen-bowl ice cream maker
For the best overnight ice cream maker, the Cusinart Iced Dessert Maker is hard to beat. It has a compact footprint and a contemporary pistachio green finish that will look great in any kitchen.
Once the bowl has been frozen, the paddle will churn the mixture into the perfect consistency in just twenty-five minutes – and after you’ve polished off your frozen treat, you’ll find this ice cream maker easy to clean with no fiddly components to scrub.
– Best budget ice cream maker
This clever VonShef Stainless Steel Ice Cream Maker is the ideal budget choice for larger families as it produces up to two litres of ice cream per cycle and costs just £44.99.
Simply add your ingredients to the double-walled bowl and set the paddle to work to create silky-smooth cone-ready ice cream without the price tag.
– Fastest ice cream maker
If you simply cannot wait to taste your homemade ice cream, this Lakeland Compressor Ice Cream Maker will produce a litre of chilled creamy goodness in just sixty minutes with no pre-freezing required.
At £199.99, it’s priced at the higher end of the models we’ve featured, but you do get a lot for your money including an extended cooling function, so you don’t have to rush to get it in the freezer once it is churned. The fully automatic machine will also look stylish on your countertop, with a smart brushed steel finish.
– Best compact ice cream maker
Affordable and compact, the Magimix Le Glacier ice cream maker is a frozen bowl device that produces great tasting ice cream without any whistles or bells.
There is no timer on this machine, so it’s best to check as it churns that it hasn’t been overmixed – but it’s a small inconvenience for a reasonably priced device with a tiny footprint of just 170 x 170mm that will look great on any kitchen worktop.
Despite its small size, it has a large feeder tube so you can add chunks of chocolate, nuts, or berries to the mixture for an extra burst of flavour.
– Best digital ice cream maker
If you like your kitchen gadgets to be high-tech then the Lakeland Digital Ice Cream Maker is the obvious choice. With settings galore all displayed on a digital screen, you can get the perfect consistency for your gelato, sorbets, frozen yoghurts and even milkshakes!
With a large 1.5 litre bowl, you can whip up a batch of desserts for the whole family in just 25 minutes – although you will need to pre-freeze the bowl before churning, so a little planning is required.
– Blow-the-budget ice cream maker
If you are serious about ice cream, sorbets and granita, the Sage Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker is a seriously impressive addition to your kitchen. Priced at £699, it’s the most expensive machine in our round-up but does create impressively creamy results.
It is also the first ice cream maker to sense the consistency of the mix based on your preferred texture – so whether you prefer a soft scoop or a firmer block, the Smart Scoop has got you covered.
Adding ingredients is a breeze as this clever kitchen appliance will beep to alert you that it’s time to add choc chips, fruit, or other tasty treats for added texture. The Smart Scoop also has a keep cool function to keep your dessert churned and chilled until it’s time to serve.
Cool down with these ice cream and sorbet recipes
Indulge in a batch of rich, thick ice cream and serve up one of our favourite flavours this summer:
- Classic vanilla ice cream: Master the basics with this cool, creamy, classic vanilla ice cream and serve as an accompaniment to your favourite dessert – or enjoy a large scoop in a waffle cone with a chocolate Flake.
- Pecan nut and butter ice cream: The sweetness of demerara sugar and candied pecans gives this butter-rich ice cream a mellow caramel flavour.
- Strawberry Mojito sorbet: This boozy sorbet is packed with all the flavours of a classic Mojito – rum, mint, and lime, with a zingy burst of red berries too.
- Vegan ice cream: This dairy- and egg-free vanilla ice cream, is the perfect summer dessert for vegans or those who are dairy intolerant. Best served with fresh berries and drizzled with strawberry sauce.