Working on updating our Ice Cream Makers Guide for 2021 was a defining ice cream experience in its own right. After whipping up 40+ pints during testing, I’m now excited about making the stuff myself. I’ve learned that it’s pretty easy compared to the sublime experience of eating iron. And the blank canvas of a good base offers endless iterations of flavors, textures, and memories. Although I’ve read several classic recipe books and have been gathering key tips from test machines to Wirecutter reviewers since 2014, during my research I also spoke to three experts at making ice cream with unique and delicious flavors: Pooja Bavishi, founder of Malai Ice Cream; Hannah Bae, founder of Noona’s Ice Cream; and Lokelani Alabanza, founder of Saturated Ice Cream (which offers herbal CBD ice creams). And the advice of these experts – drawn from years of experience developing flavors at home and for their businesses – can help you take your own ice cream making to the next level.
If you’re still looking for a machine, check out our guide to ice cream makers. All of the ice cream machines we tested make a decent frozen dessert, but the stir time, as well as the texture and mouthfeel of the ice cream they make can vary significantly. Your choice of machine will likely depend on the type of ice cream you want to make, how often you plan to make it, as well as your space and budget constraints. Whichever one you choose, you can use the tips below.
The best ice cream machine
Most ice cream makers make decent ice cream. Our picks consistently make creamy frozen desserts and are easier to use, clean and store than the competition.