When the summer heat becomes unbearable, nothing takes my temperature down quicker (or tastes better) than a huge scoop of ice cream. Apart from the enormous variety of flavors and assorted ways to serve the frozen treat (milkshakes, anyone?), ice cream is also one of the simplest desserts to make at home. All that stands between you and a delicious custom cone is a little know-how and the proper equipment.
As an ice cream fiend myself, I’m no stranger to at-home hacks when it comes to this tasty treat. While I’m obsessed with luxury options like the Ninja Creami, those on a budget should snag the Test Kitchen-loved Cuisinart ice cream maker. At less than half the price, this capable creamery can produce a quart of ice cream in 25 minutes flat. Plus, it’s small enough to take up permanent summertime residence on the average counter!
What is the Cuisinart ice cream maker?
The Cuisinart ice cream maker is an at-home ice cream machine that makes delicious desserts in only 25 minutes. The best part? Because it’s almost totally hands-off, it’s as easy to use as any set-it-and-forget-it appliance.
Unlike similarly-priced Cuisinart ice cream machine models, this one supports mix-ins. It’s incredibly simple to create your own flavorful concoctions or copycat recipes, and it takes up as much room on the counter as the average blender. Our Test Kitchen loves this ice cream machine, noting that it’s “so fast and simple” to operate.
Makes up to one quart of ice cream
Compatible with mix-ins
Soft serve texture
Double-insulated freezer bowl
Built-in cord storage
Recipe book included
Easy to clean
Easy to use
Small footprint on counter
Requires extra chilling if you want firmer ice cream
No specialty settings
Why I Love It
As the Test Kitchen’s top pick for the “Best Small Ice Cream Maker” in their list of the best ice cream machines, it’s hard to find fault with this no-frills machine. The Cuisinart ice cream maker saves so much money for frequent ice cream eaters—especially if you often visit the parlor for the premium flavors.
But don’t take my word for it!
According to the Test Kitchen’s testing notes, the Cuisinart ice cream maker “produces a really great ice cream and handles mix-ins like a pro.” Over 17,000 Amazon reviewers agree, with the most common praise being the ease-of-use and simple mechanics that make cleaning the machine a snap.
“I bought this ice cream maker after reviewing a lot of models, mostly because I can never find my favorite flavor (strawberry) at the grocery store,” writes verified purchaser Christine B. “I’m amazed at how delicious the ice cream is with minimal effort and no fancy ingredients that you can’t find at the store,” she notes.
“I followed the instructions for chilling the bowl and making the ice cream base in the booklet, and the ice cream came out as expected after 20 minutes of churning. I froze it overnight to harden, and it was perfectly creamy and delicious.”
How To Use the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker
Whipping up delicious, one-of-a-kind ice cream flavors in the Cuisinart machine is as simple as following our ice cream maker guide. First, pop the double-insulated mixing bowl in the freezer. We recommend freezing it for at least 12 hours before starting your ice cream.
While the bowl is freezing, prepare the ice cream base using your preferred recipe. Reviewers recommend refrigerating the ice cream base for a few hours to speed up the churning process. Chop up or measure out any desired mix-ins and set them aside.
According to the Test Kitchen, “Once frozen, set the canister onto the base, add in the churning paddle and top with the lid. Just flip the switch and slowly add in your ice cream mixture. After about 20 minutes, you should have a soft ice cream that’s ready to firm up in the freezer.”
As far as storing and serving, we curated a list of the best ice cream products for homemade ice cream. There are also dozens of ice cream cookbooks with delectable desserts that are easy to replicate. Pick up a few and start experimenting—you’ll soon have all sorts of ideas for mix-ins and base flavors!
Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker vs Ninja Creami
The Ninja Creami is currently trending on TikTok, and for good reason. Nine buttons on the front of the machine perform a variety of functions: power, ice cream, lite ice cream, sorbet, milkshake, smoothie bowl, gelato, mix-in and re-spin.
With so many options for frozen treats, it’s easy to see why frozen treat fanatics laud this machine. Learn more about why we love it in our review of the Ninja Creami to get the full scoop on this 11-in-1 appliance.
However, this popular ice cream machine has a few drawbacks. For one, it’s so in demand that it’s almost always sold out. Apart from the sellout risk, the Ninja Creami retails for around $150, which is a bit pricey for the average budget.
While it’s worth the price for the functionality and flexibility, those who prefer to use their ice cream maker for just ice cream won’t miss anything by opting for the Cuisinart ice cream maker instead.
Where to Buy the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker Machine
Cuisinart ice cream maker can be purchased on Amazon and Sur La Table for around $65—that’s less than half the price of the Ninja Creami! Don’t forget to use those savings to pick up a good quality ice cream scoop to enjoy the final dog days of summer.
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