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9 of the best ice cream makers

Whip up ice cream, sorbet and frozen yoghurt in as little as 30 minutes with our pick of the coolest ice cream makers to add to your kitchen.

By Rachel Erdos | Last updated Jul 16, 2021

Ice cream maker

Who doesn’t like ice cream? From mint choc chip to tutti frutti, creating your own delicious chilled creations couldn’t be easier with an ice cream maker. Fun for kids young and old, you can be as inventive as you like by throwing in fruit, nuts, yoghurt, chocolate (or booze) or keep things traditional by whipping up classic vanilla ice cream or refreshing sorbets. 

Whatever tickles your tastebuds, there’s an ice cream maker out there to suit your needs. Whether you want to keep things simple with a budget buy, are looking for a jumbo machine for a family of ice cream fans or want the latest mod cons, our list has you covered.  

Here are the best ice cream makers to buy in 2021.

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1. Best overall ice cream maker: Judge JEA57 Sorbet Maker and Ice Cream Machine 1.5L

Judge JEA57 ice cream maker

Price: £35 | Buy now from Amazon

Creamy delicious ice cream is likely to put a smile on most people’s faces and with this low maintenance Judge ice cream maker, it’s easy to keep the family happy. It has some great reviews across the web for its simplicity and no-nonsense functionality and it can produce sweet treats in around half an hour. The bowl needs freezing for around eight hours before being used but it’s a good size for fitting in the freezer and doesn’t take up too much space. Some reviews found freezing it even longer produced better results. It comes with a two-year guarantee.

Key specs

  • Size: 22 x 24 x 26 cm
  • Capacity: 1.5L
  • Built-in freezer: No

2. Best budget ice cream maker: Argos American Originals 0.6L Ice Cream Maker

American Originals ice cream maker

Price: £25 | Buy now from Argos

A favourite with Mumsnetters, Argos does it again with this nifty ice cream maker. Not only does it rate highly for how easy it is to use but with its chic red design, it’ll look great on your kitchen worktop too. It has a viewing window so you can see exactly how your creation is coming along and with a 0.6L fast-freezing bowl, your ice cream will be ready to devour in 45 minutes. The only downside is the size but if you’re just wanting to give ice cream-making a go this summer without breaking the bank this is a great budget option.

Key specs

  • Size: Not specified
  • Capacity: 0.6L or just over a pint
  • Built-in freezer: No

3. Best quiet ice cream maker: Lakeland Stainless Steel Digital Ice Cream Maker 1.5L

Lakeland Stainless Steel ice cream maker

Price: £70 | Buy now from Amazon

Rich chocolate, sweet strawberry or salted caramel, we all have our favourite flavour of ice cream and you can make them all with this Lakeland stainless steel ice cream maker. Or if you prefer a healthier-option, it does just a good job of churning out lower-fat frozen yoghurt and dairy-free sorbets. But the best thing about this ice cream maker is how quiet it is. While some models make a loud mechanical whirring sound, this churns away quietly and is also fairly compact which means the bowl fits in the freezer neatly. Some reviewers say it takes twice as long to churn ice cream than the manual suggests but it produces a soft, whipped ice cream. You’ll find six delicious recipes in the instruction booklet to get you started.

Key specs

  • Size: 20.5cm diameter, height 24cm
  • Capacity: 1.5L bowl with 800ml working capacity
  • Built-in freezer: No

4. Best ice cream maker for families: Magimix Le Glacier Ice Cream Maker

Magimix ice cream maker

Price: £50 | Buy now from Amazon

"We have a basic Magimix that goes in the freezer. The bowl is pretty small. It lives in the freezer with the peas inside it so doesn't take up much space and is always ready when we need it. It is great" - EasilyConfusedIndith

This has to feature in our best buy list as it receives great reviews from Mumsnetters and across the web for being easy to use with the little ones. And you’re not just limited to ice cream – this machine also delivers delicious sorbet and frozen yoghurt. Simply choose the flavours you fancy and load into the pre-frozen bowl. With the click of a button, your very own tasty ice cream will be ready in 20 minutes. The stainless steel inner bowl makes freezing faster and it has a large feed tube for ease of pouring the ingredients. And it’s easy to clean afterwards by using warm soapy water.

Key specs

  • Size: 17 x 27 x 17 cm
  • Capacity: 1.1L
  • Built-in freezer: No

5. Best freeze-first ice cream maker: Cuisinart Style Collection Ice Cream and Dessert Maker

Cuisinart ice cream maker

Price: £115 | Buy now from Amazon

One of the more expensive ice cream makers on our list, this light pistachio-coloured machine oozes curb appeal and has sweet desserts ready in about 25 minutes. It’s among the smallest capacities at 1.4 litres but it means it can fit easily into your freezer and onto your kitchen worktop for storage. It includes an ice cream paddle for ice cream, sorbets and frozen yoghurt and a separate one for fresh fruit. And when you’re done, both the paddles and lid are dishwasher-friendly.

Key specs

  • Size: 21 x 29 cm
  • Capacity: 1.4L
  • Built-in freezer: No

6. Best ice cream maker for sorbet: Andrew James Ice Cream Maker Machine  

Andrew James ice cream maker

Price: £29 | Buy now from Amazon

"I have the Andrew James ice cream maker. It's so quick and easy to blend ingredients" - ILikeToClean

The beauty of having your own ice cream/sorbet maker is that you can go off-piste with the flavours and this machine allows your creativity to flow. As well as making ice cream, this Andrew James machine makes beautiful sorbet and frozen yoghurt in under 30 minutes. Pre-freezing the inner bowl takes around eight hours, so it’s recommended that you pop it in the freezer the night before your sorbet-making session. Ingredients can be added gradually through the large funnel and are churned as they freeze. Once the ice cream is made, the inner bowl simply lifts out for easy serving – or you can pop it in the freezer if you want to save some for later.

Key specs

  • Size: Bowl size 17.8 x 15 cm
  • Capacity: 1.5L
  • Built-in freezer: No

7. Best compact ice cream maker: Lakeland Digital Ice Cream Maker

Lakeland digital ice cream maker

Price: £40 | Buy now from Lakeland

This is another ice cream maker that is well reviewed for ease of use. It’s main selling point though is its compact size. The bottom half fits in the freezer which means it saves space on the kitchen counter. As with other bowls, it needs to be popped in the freezer for 12 hours before use but once you have your ingredients you should have light and creamy ice cream in under half an hour. The only negative is the screen may be a little small for those that struggle with their eyesight. It comes with seven delicious recipes including vanilla, strawberry and pistachio combos. 

Key specs

  • Size: 20 x 21 x 23 cm
  • Capacity: 1.5L bowl with a 500ml working capacity
  • Built-in freezer: No

8. Best high-tech ice cream maker: Sage BCI600UK Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker

Sage ice cream maker

Price: £680 | Buy now from Amazon

This ice cream machine is rather pricey thanks to its Heston Blumenthal endorsement, but it’s the only device on our list that has a built-in freezer, making it by far the easiest and quickest to use. Normally if you want to make something more delicate, like a sorbet or a yoghurt, an ice cream maker needs constant supervision but the Smart Scoop feature senses the consistency and switches to a 'keep cool' mode at just the right time to keep on top of whatever you're making. It even plays music when it's ready that sounds like an old ice cream van chime! There's no need to pre-freeze bowls since the self-refrigeration system does this for you and it will even keep your ice cream cold for up to three hours.

Key specs

  • Size: 39 x 23 x 26 cm
  • Capacity: 1L
  • Built-in freezer: Yes

9. Best large-capacity ice cream maker: Cuisinart Ice Cream Deluxe Maker ICE30BCU

Cuisinart ice cream maker

"I have the Cuisinart one. It churns and freezes at the same time. It was expensive, (gift from dh) but the ice-cream is lovely. No ice crystals at all. It's also stainless steel and looks lovely on my worktop" - uggmum

If you’re serious about ice cream, this brushed-steel-effect ice cream maker has a 2-litre bowl capacity, so with 1.5 litres of liquid mix you can make a couple of tubs of ice cream at a time. Unlike most machines, this one turns the pre-frozen bowl, while the paddle stays still, which makes it much easier to taste the ice cream while it’s freezing and also add in any extra flavours as you go along. It rates highly for its robust paddles and comes with an ice cream recipe booklet.

Key specs

  • Size: 22.5 x 20.5 x 29.01 cm
  • Capacity: 2L
  • Built-in freezer: No

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How to buy the best ice cream maker

There are two types of ice cream maker: freeze-first and self-freezing. Deciding on which ice cream maker is right for you will depend on a number of factors including budget and space. 

Freeze-first models are simply designed and have a bowl which usually needs to be put in the freezer for between eight to 24 hours before you can use it, so it requires some pre-planning. And it means you can only churn one batch of ice cream a day. These models tend to be cheaper than self-freezing models and are still great at making good-quality ice cream. 

Self-freezing ice cream makers are more expensive as they feature a built-in freezer. These generally take a couple of minutes to reach the temperatures needed for making ice cream, meaning you can make several batches of ice cream a day.

Other things to consider include capacity – how much ice cream do you want to make in one go? And size, as some ice cream makers can be quite bulky so think about where you plan to store your ice cream maker.

How much ice cream can you make in an ice cream maker?

It depends on the size of the machine’s bowl. They can vary from 0.5 litres to 2 litres on average but most are around 1.5 litres which is around two tubs of Ben & Jerry’s for reference.

Are ice cream makers easy to use?

Really simple. The machines with built-in freezers are the easiest to use but are more expensive. However, the cheaper versions without built-in freezers are still simple to use, you just need to plan ahead before you use them as you’ll need to pop the bowl in the freezer the night before.

What is the best ice cream maker to buy?

Our best buy is the Judge JEA57 Sorbet Maker and Ice Cream Machine. It has some glowing reviews across the web for its simplicity and no-nonsense functionality and it’s a great price, making it our best buy.

How we chose our recommendations

Because we know that there’s nothing like a real recommendation, we first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out what ice cream makers were being recommended.

We then did some research across the wider web, looking at what ice cream makers had won accolades or been featured in ‘best buy’ lists across websites, and what customer reviews said about them. Having collated all that information, we then narrowed our list down to the best ice cream makers online at the moment.

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