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As temperatures heat up, there isn't a more satisfying treat than a scoop (or three) of ice cream.
Mint chocolate chip and cookie dough are delicious, but if you're looking for something a little more creative, why not make it yourself? Have you always dreamed of frozen ribbons of candy mixed in with chocolaty goodness or sweet fruity goodness blended with comforting notes of vanilla? All you need is a great ice cream maker to make those dreams a reality.
These tools of the trade are so easy to use (and yield such tasty results), they're what the experts keep in their own home kitchens. Read on for some chef-approved ice cream makers.
Best Ice Cream Makers
1. Cuisinart ICE-70 Electronic Ice Cream Maker, $110 (normally $250), Amazon
"The most important thing to look at when buying your own ice cream machine is the power of the motor. The other stuff is just details, because if your machine doesn't have enough strength and power to beat loads of air into your mixture, the texture will be a mess," said Mark Becker, co-founder of New York-based dessert company Max & Mina's Ice Cream.
"When people make ice cream at home with cheap food processors and other do-it-all kitchen appliances, they typically can't beat enough air into the recipes, which means when you go to save it by popping it in the freezer, it'll fall flat and turn into a brick. Most people hate DIY home ice cream the next day because of texture issues — a strong motor will overcome that problem."
2. Elite Gourmet EIM-924L 4-Quart Ice Cream Maker, $45 (normally $70), Amazon
"For the best ice cream maker from Amazon, go with the old school: Elite Gourmet 4-Quart Old Fashioned Bucket Electric Ice Cream Maker. You'll have to add ice. I bought one for my nephew last summer it actually works great. The recipes are simple, too, like turning chocolate milk to chocolate ice cream," said Jason Hall, executive chef at Legasea Seafood Brasserie in New York City.
3. Chef'n Ice Cream Sandwich Mold, $20, Williams Sonoma
"Williams Sonoma also makes a great ice cream sandwich making mold, so once you have made your delicious, homemade ice cream, you can take it to the next level with this simple mold!" said celebrity chef Elizabeth Blau.
4. Nostalgia ICMP400WD Electric Wood Bucket Ice Cream Maker, 4-Quart, $45 (normally $50), Amazon
"I use the Nostalgia Ice Cream Maker when I am making ice cream with my daughter," said Andrea Pharris, pastry chef at Purlieu and Cru Catering in Charleston, South Carolina. "It's nice because you don't have to pre-freeze the bowl and she has fun putting in the ice and rock salt. It's a fun, interactive experience."
5. KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment, $45 (normally $100), Amazon
"I love the KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment. Yes, you have to put the bowl in the freezer overnight, so there is some planning involved. But it makes great ice cream in a short amount of time, and you don't need to get a whole separate machine for it," said Pooja Bavishi, founder of Malai Ice Cream in Brooklyn, New York. "Great for small kitchens (and NYC apartments!). Plus, it makes a quart of ice cream at a time, which, in my opinion, is perfect for a single serving!"
6. BELLA 14460 Hand Immersion Blender With Whisk Attachment, $17, Amazon
"An immersion blender is very underrated when it comes to ice cream making! But it's actually so necessary, and something that we use in the shop everyday. It helps to blend all ice creams to a silky smooth consistency before churning, which will make a huge difference in the final frozen product. Plus it's a great tool to have on hand to blend things like berries and caramels into your ice cream base,” said Bavishi.
7. Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Ice Cream and Gelato Maker, $208 (normally $545), Amazon
"It's been 10 years since I purchased my first ice cream maker, and we've made tens of million of ice cream bars and pints since, but I still find myself going back to my Cuisinart to quickly test new ideas," said Enlightened Ice Cream CEO Michael Shoretz. "This one is a major upgrade over the entry-level model which requires you to freeze in advance and can only make 1 batch at a time. If you're planning on heavy use, this is the way to go!"
8. Espressione-Ariete Gran Gelato Metal Ice Cream Maker, $233, Amazon
"The ice cream machine we use at Band of Bohemia is fairly inexpensive ($200-$300) and can be used for home use. I prefer it to other home use machines because it's easy to use and you do not have to freeze the canister overnight before spinning ice cream!" said Jacquelyn Paternico, pastry chef at Band of Bohemia.
9. Whynter ICM-201SB 2.1 Quart Upright Stainless Steel Bowl Ice Cream Maker, $259, Amazon
"The upright design is great for conserving counter space, the motor is relatively quiet, and the machine is fairly light and easy to carry — these are all huge improvements over my last home ice cream maker," said Rachel Kamins, founder of Bartleby's Ice Cream Cakes in Chicago. "And it's held up really well over about 6 months of frequent use, with no decrease in power or broken parts."
10. Breville Smart Scoop, $375, Amazon
Heather Gressett, pastry chef of Corner Kitchen and Chestnut restaurants, recommended the Breville Smart Scoop. "I like the Breville for anyone who wants to experiment with other frozen desserts aside from ice cream, like sorbet or custard-style desserts, because it has 12 different hardness settings. It's perfect for small batch recipes, too, so you can experiment and have fun with it," Gressett told TODAY.
Blau, who has appeared as a judge on the Food Network and owns restaurants in Vancouver and Las Vegas, agreed. "We really love ice cream! When our son was old enough to start enjoying ice cream, my husband declared we should eat ice cream every night in the summer, and that tradition has stuck! When we travel, we scour the globe for the best ice cream shops. At home, we love the Breville Smart Scoop. I counted five ice cream machines in our garage. We've tried hand-churning and frozen bowls, but nothing beats the Breville for ease of use and consistency."
11. Lello 4080 Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker, $650, Amazon
"I love the Lello for making boozy ice creams and sorbets because it has a self-refrigerating compressor allowing the ice cream maker to get much colder than one where you have to stick the cylinder in the freezer. The ice cream or sorbet comes out smooth and less icy on the sides and doesn't stick to the compressing unit," said Melissa Tavss, founder and CEO of Tipsy Scoop.
Kim Holstein, co-founder of The Crave Bar, agreed. "If you want to treat yourself, get the Lello 4080 Musso Lussino, called the 'Rolls Royce' of domestic ice cream makers. This ice cream maker uses a compressor and has a built in freezer. It's easy and makes the creamiest ice cream," Holstein explained.
Armed with a slew of recommendations, you can feel confident making your favorite dessert right at home.
For more recommendations like these, check out:
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