Making ice cream is one thing. But making high quality ice cream consistently is not an easy undertaking. If you are going to do it as a business, you'll need to have reliable equipment to facilitate the process. As you might have already realized, getting the best ice cream making machine for your kitchen can be a piece of work.
We have already highlighted how you can make ice cream using the equipment and materials you already have in the house. However, you will definitely require the help of machines if you truly care about the quality and consistency of the products you make. Furthermore, there are many redundant ice cream making activities that you can leverage these machines to execute effortlessly.
Your choice of the type and capacity of the ice cream production equipment depends on the consumers of the ice cream. Are you making the ice cream for domestic consumption, local cafeteria, or wholesale purpose?
Getting these issues right from the onset will help you get the perfect ice cream making machine for your establishment. You will get more value for money by eliminating unnecessary overheads.
If you are planning to use the machine for commercial purposes, get an ice cream business plan.
Getting started with finding the best ice cream production equipment
Since we have already covered the ice cream making process, we can tell the equipment we will need by simply looking at that process.
Even then, we are still going to split the ice cream making process into two categories: artisan and industrial process. This will help us identify the ice cream making machine that is suitable for each process.
The artisan ice cream making process relies on batch manufacturing while industrial process makes use of heavy machinery with a higher throughput. You do not need a business plan if you only intend to use the machine for domestic ice cream making.
On the other hand, a comprehensive business plan is necessary for starting a thriving ice cream manufacturing business. The business plan helps you eliminate all guesswork and gives you a road map with timeline and targets you must strive to achieve.
Let us now talk about some of the best ice cream making machines.
Most Popular Ice Cream Making Machine Brands
There are as many ice cream making machines as there are electronic manufacturing companies. Some of the brands you have never heard of before, and probably never will.
No big deal.
What we need is a functional ice cream making machine from a reputable manufacturer who can stand behind their product and provide support whenever and wherever we need it.
We don't want to buy a machine from a company whose reputation is not known. Where will they be when our machine breaks down?
We need someone who can reassure us that they will be there with us all the way. They will continue manufacturing parts in case we may need to swap them. They should be there to take back a faulty machine and give us something that works.
So, here are some of the highly rated brands of ice cream making machines in the market:
This brand is at the top of the chain of high-end ice cream making machines. They are pricey, a feature justified by the sturdiness and power of the machines.
Lello ice cream makers produce fine quality ice cream, are use friendly, and are easy to clean.
Customers who have bought this machine praise it for reduced noise, power, and quality of the end products.
Breville ice cream makers are high-end as well. They are powerful and produce high quality ice cream. In fact, you can whip a batch of high-quality ice cream from this machine in about an hour.
They are well-designed and have excellent aesthetics. Customers praise this machine for the speed, appearance, and quality of the product.
Another popular brand of ice cream maker. They are one company that makes ice cream making machine across all the classes.
They make all ice cream makers from the frozen bowl ice cream makers to the more expensive ice cream making machines fitted with compressors.
All these classes of machines work fine and have received heaps of praises from previous customers. However, you need to note that they are different classes of ice cream making machines hence the need to review each according to its class.
For the frozen bowl ice cream makers from Cuisinart, you need to plan ahead to give the bowl sufficient time to freeze if you want high quality product. However, the compressor machines work fine and will speed up your ice cream making process.
4. Kitchen aid
Kitchen aid make some of the most versatile home appliances and machines. Actually, a Kitchen aid mixer is part of an ice cream mixer.
If you already have the mixer in your kitchen, there is no need of forking out loads of cash for a new ice cream making machine. All you need to do is buy the ice cream maker attachment for the mixer and you have a powerful ice cream maker for your home.
It is powerful and will whip a smooth and consistent ice cream for your sunny afternoon.
The only hitch you may experience is a little leak while working since the bowl is detachable. You may need to handle it with a measure of care.
This brand is popular for making pocket friendly kitchen appliances. They do not disappoint when it comes to quality and reliability.
The company has a solid reputation.
Hamilton beach ice cream making machine works quietly and whips high quality ice cream when the bowl is given enough time to freeze.
If you fail to freeze the bowl sufficiently, you will end up with a runny ice cream.
Whynter brand of ice cream making machines produces quiet machines that are not only fast but also consistent. You can whip out ice cream in just under one hour.
It blends the ingredients into a smooth consistency and produces uniform crystals that are characteristic of high quality ice cream.
This brand of ice cream making machines is reputed for making machines that are easy to clean, operate, and maintain.
They make all types of ice cream makers from the traditional ice bucket ice cream makers to the sophisticated modern compressor machines.
If you have a thing for vintage / traditional and manual ice cream makers, you need to try one of these machines. They make good quality ice cream.
Best Domestic Ice Cream Making Machine: Overview
This list contains some of the most reliable ice cream making machines you can use to make the frozen treat in your kitchen.
Some are sophisticated self-contained units, others evoke the vintage feeling of a traditional ice cream making machine, yet others are plain simple.
Go through the list and find your perfect choice.
As one of the early entrants into the ice cream making machine industry, Cuisinart has perfected the art of making these machines. In fact, they were among the early brands to mass produce ice cream making machines for home use.
This machine is properly designed to fit the small space in your kitchen. You do not have to worry about storing it away because it will easily fit under the kitchen cabinet.
It comes fitted with an LCD screen for easy reading and control. It has presets for ice cream, gelato, and sorbet. Selecting any of these according to the product you want will control the paddle speed to produce exactly what you want.
Even though these presets are automated, you have an option for manual adjustment so you have an increased level of control over the product you are making.
ICE-70 also comes with a half quart cup for adding ingredients. Removing the cup reveals a hole for pouring in the ingredients into your ice cream mix.
What you may not like
To get excellent results with this machine, you will have to freeze the bowl for a minimum of 12 hours before you start making your ice cream. It is not a machine for impulsive guys because some level of patience will be required on your part.
- It is affordable
- Fits in a limited space in the kitchen
- You can vary the parameters to achieve the results you desire.
- You can use one machine to make multiple types of frozen dairy products
- You have to wait while the bowl freezes for excellent results.
If you need more ice cream on a regular basis and you do not really like the idea of manually churning it, this should be the machine for you.
It eliminates the need to have a large freezer for a huge freezing bowl before you start making the ice cream. It comes with a large bowl into which you add the ice and rock salt for freezing.
This machine brings the vintage feeling of traditional ice cream making without adding the extra muscle work. It has a huge capacity and can produce up to four quarts of ice cream in 40 minutes.
The machine does not have settings, so, you will have to take control of the process to ensure that you get the perfect product.
When the viscosity of the ice cream has risen, the motor will turn off. Just remove the ice cream and transfer it into the freezer for firming up.
What you may not like
It is a hands-on machine that will need your presence and input during the ice cream making process.
- Very affordable
- Easy to use and clean
- Makes ice cream fast. You can control the temperature my manually adding or removing ice cubes.
- You must have ice and rock salt every time you are making ice cream. It requires your input.
If you love the nostalgia of traditional ice cream making but you don’t have time for the muscle work, you need to get this machine.
This is the king of all soft serve ice cream making machines for home use. The design is unrivaled; it gives you the feeling of a commercial ice cream stand right in your kitchen.
Interestingly, it has even the ice cream cone holders that gives it a completely new feeling. You will think you have an ice cream parlor right in your kitchen. To serve, you just push the lever like you would do a commercial soft serve ice cream dispenser.
It is fully automatic and will dish out 12 servings of ice cream per batch. This is the perfect gift for your kids at home. If you usually host friends and relatives regularly, you may need to get this machine.
It is quick and will make your soft serve in a matter of minutes. However, you will have to put the resultant product in the freezer for several hours to firm it up if you want to scoop your ice cream.
The bowl should be frozen overnight before making the ice cream for excellent results.
What you may not like
You will not be able to make more than two batches on the same bowl, especially if you are going to make two different flavors of ice cream. You will need an additional bowl for that.
- Makes excellent soft serve ice cream
- You don’t have to mess your work top when making your ice cream because the machine is contained.
- Excellent at dispensing ice cream.
- It is easy to operate and clean when you have finished making your ice cream.
- It is a bit bulky and will tax some effort on your part to move around and / or install.
If you want to create a partying mood in your house, just install this ice cream making machine in your house and all your family members will praise you forever for this gift.
If you are nostalgic about traditional ice cream making but do not have a stomach for ice and rock salt every time you make ice cream, this is the machine you should go for.
It has a manual rotor for the paddle that you will have to apply muscle power to churn the ice cream. You will get the satisfaction of developing the ice cream from scratch as you pass time in your backyard.
It has a freezer bowl that eliminates the need for ice and rock salt. You just have to freeze the bowl (at least seven hours should be sufficient) and then add your ice cream base before you start churning.
Churning at a constant speed for about 20 minutes should give you acceptable result. However, you may need to put the product in a freezer for further firming to give you the level of hardness you desire.
The bowl is easy to clean because it is made of aluminum.
What you may not like
The plastic paddle is a little fragile and will break if you are not gentle with it.
Also, the product will need to spend some time in the chiller / freezer for complete firming to achieve the correct level of hardness.
- Very affordable
- Brings out the nostalgia of traditional ice cream making without the need for ice and rock salt.
- You can use it outdoors because it does not require mains connection.
- It is compact and easy to clean.
- Variety of colors to choose from.
- The paddle is fragile and will break with rough handling.
- Resultant product still needs to spend time in the freezer for complete firming.
- You have to freeze the bowl for several hours every time you want to make ice cream. This may not be ideal if you want to make different flavors of ice cream.
This high-end ice cream making machine from Breville comes with a compressor for a complete hands-off ice cream making experience.
For sure, it comes with a hefty price tag, which is justified by the machine’s efficiency. Even though it produces just 1.5 quarts per batch, it can produce amazing two batches every hour.
The compressor continuously freezes the ice cream as it works. You do not have to worry about freezing the bowl beforehand. The machine will hold up for long and produce consistently amazing frozen treats.
This machine has 12 different preset calibration for different degrees of ice cream hardness. You can use these calibrations to achieve the quality you want in the shortest time possible. It will automatically adjust the paddle speed and the freezing temperatures for perfect processing conditions.
The pre-cool settings will set the machine to start churning immediately you add the base to ensure that you don’t end up with irregular sizes of ice crystals. It also maintains a constant temperature to ensure that the freezing process is regular.
The paddle is quite powerful and will cause a mess if you add more base than the prescribed volume.
What you may not like
The machine needs more space due to its size. It is also quite heavy and will require some muscle power to set it or move it around.
You will need to dedicate for it a station in the kitchen hence it may not be the ideal ice cream making machine for those with small kitchens.
- The machine is durable; it will hold for long
- Completely hands-off experience
- You can achieve the level of hardness you desire from this machine without additional blast freezing.
- Up to 12 presets for different levels of product hardness. You don’t have to manually check if the product is ready.
- You have to spend a substantial amount of cash on this machine. Not advisable if you only take ice cream occasionally.
Zoku is a budget friendly ice cream making machine that will deliver an excellent price for a fraction of the cost of a regular ice cream making machine. In less than 20 minutes, you will have your soft serve ice cream from this manual machine.
It comes with a freezer bowl that you have to freeze beforehand before you start making the ice cream. Zoku also avails this machine in a variety of colors that not only brighten your kitchen but also makes the process interesting.
After freezing the bowl, just add in your ice cream base and the ingredients you would like to incorporate in the treat and start churning.
You will have to stir it continuously and consistently until you attain the desirable consistency. Once that is attained, simply transfer the ice cream into a freezer for further firming up.
What you may not like
Not powered. You have to do all the stirring by yourself. It requires some skill to get it right.
- The stainless-steel bowl can be kept in the freezer to make it ever ready to make an ice cream batch.
- The plastic is BPA-free making it safe for domestic use.
- It is compact and can be stored safely to clear kitchen space.
- You have to master the art of stirring otherwise you will end up with the edges freezing into a solid. This will ruin the quality of the end product.
This bowl is not only suitable for ice cream. You can also make excellent quality sorbet and other frozen products (even vegan) without much hassle.
If you are not willing to go all the way to get a sophisticated ice cream making machine like Breville, you should definitely buy this bowl.
This is perhaps the most versatile ice cream making machine for home use in the market. If you already have a KitchenAid stand mixer in your kitchen, there is no need to buy a standalone ice cream maker for your kitchen.
This KitchenAid ice cream attachment is compatible with both the tilt-head and bowl-lift mixers. It comes with a freezer bowl and a detachable dasher, which you attach to the mixer’s rotor. The dasher does the work of a conventional ice cream maker’s paddle.
It does an excellent job at mixing the ice cream base and additional ingredients in to a fine consistency. However, you have to completely freeze the bowl for about 24 hours before you start making the ice cream.
The freezer bowl heats up pretty fast, especially if your kitchen is warm. However, the machine will produce a fine soft serve ice cream in about 30 minutes.
Those who enjoy soft serve can get their treat straight from the machine. Further freezing will be required to obtain a firmer ice cream.
What you may not like
The machine does not have an automatic shutoff like most custom-made ice cream makers. You will have to be close by to shut it off when the desirable consistency has been achieved.
- The ice cream attachment fits on the existing mixer, no need for an additional standalone appliance for your kitchen.
- It is very affordable and durable
- Easy handle (mount and unmount) and clean.
- If you have a warmer kitchen, the bowl will warm up faster and may cause a watery mess on your work top.
- Some users have reported leaks as the machine operates.
This is the ice cream making machine for you if you have limited space in your kitchen. It is also the machine for those who believe that a machine should be able to perform more than one duty.
This platter is simply awesome. It adds a lot of fun into ice cream making by eliminating all the mechanical aids that usually come with sophisticated ice cream makers.
You can use it to make sorbet, ice creams, margaritas, frozen yoghurt, and more. After properly freezing the bowl, you simply pour the base and start “churning” it until you attain the consistency you desire.
Make sure you set the freezer to the coldest temperature and place the bowl in the coldest part of the freezer. This will ensure that the bowl is cold enough to produce multiple batches of the product you are making.
It comes in different colors and is compact enough for your kitchen.
What you may not like
You can only make small batches with this equipment,
- You will derive fun making batches on this machine with your kids
- It takes limited space in your kitchen
- Very affordable
- Does not rely on electricity (at least directly).
- The bowl loses its temperature fast if you fail to freeze it sufficiently.
- Makes small batches.
If you want to have fun with your kids and teach them a skill while passing time at home, you should get this machine.
Commercial Ice Cream Making Machines
If you are planning to start making ice cream for commercial purposes, you need to have a commercial ice cream machine.
If you already have a steady supply of the raw materials and a ready market for the finished product, there is nothing holding you back from going commercial.
Ice cream making is one of the most fulfilling jobs there is. You not only get to satisfy people’s cravings for a sweet treat but your joint also acts as a meeting point where strong relationships are made and nurtured.
Anyway, just to relist some of the items you will require for a commercial ice cream outfit include:
- Raw material storage facility.
- Complete commercial ice cream / gelato / frozen yoghurt making machine.
- Blast freezer(s)
- Ice cream display cabinet.
These would be the most critical equipment for your shop. Make sure you have all the paperwork ready and your shop is accessible.
The size or capacity of the machines / equipment you have in your shop will depend on your market. Ordinarily, you will require a larger capacity if you are manufacturing for wholesale than for retail purposes.
However, you can strike a balance between the two. You can hire several supply operatives and equip them with mobile ice cream trucks or ricks. These can move around town selling the ice cream to increase your market share.
What to consider when choosing the best commercial ice cream making machine
Video by Sentry Equipment
The best commercial ice cream making machine should have the following features:
- Should have optimum level of performance. It should not give you unnecessary downtime.
- Should operate efficiently with no unnecessary wastes. The refrigeration system should have direct expansion for fast and efficient cooling.
- It should be easy to operate. The machine should have programmed buttons for selecting flavors, end products to make, additional ingredients, and the hardness of the ice cream to make.
- The machine should be of notable quality. The supplier should give a warranty and stand behind their machine for assurance.
- The machine should be easy to maintain. In case of a breakdown, you should be able to get it up and running in no time. Spare parts should be readily available.
- Its refrigeration unit should be hermetically sealed to avoid contaminating the food. Air cooled condensers are preferable as it reduces the chances of contamination by the refrigerant.
- It should be able to yield optimum overrun. This is effectively achieved by systems with piston pumps that force feed air into the mix. The paddle / beater should be able to effectively scrap all the mix off the wall.
- All parts in direct contact with the ice cream should ideally be made of stainless steel for hygiene purposes. It should have a thermostat that controls the temperature within a narrow range for safe overnight storage of the mix.
- The refrigerant should be CFC-free and/or renewable for environmental safety.
Top Five Best Commercial Ice Cream Making Machines:
With a massive capacity of 20 liters (about 5.2 gal) per hour, this workhorse is an absolute assistant to your shop. Its contact surfaces are made of stainless steel for maximum hygiene.
It has a microcomputer with a digital display screen for easy operational control. The chip can automatically diagnose a malfunction.
The microcomputer also has an alarm to alert you when the processing is over making it ideal for a busy kitchen / processing floor.
Fitted with a high-quality compressor, this machine works at very low noise levels. The compressor not only ensures maximization of heat transfer but also has a cold bridge that prevents unnecessary cold loss / heat gain.
It uses R404A refrigerant, which is environmentally friendly and is easy to replace.
- Power: 1400W
- Voltage: 110V/60Hz
- Refrigerant: R404A, 380g/0.84 lb
- Rotate Speed: 3000 rmp/min
- Refrigerating Capacity: 5.2 Gallon (20L)
- Ingredient Bucket Diameter: 8.6 inch
- Ingredient Bucket Height: 4.5inch
The fried ice cream machine is popularly used in ice cream parlors, dessert shops, hotels, bakeries, etc.
It comes with double pans with five buckets. The built-in thermal insulation system conserves energy making it one of the most efficient ice cream machines.
You can use it to make soft serve ice cream. It makes ice in just under one minute, making it very effective in preserving the quality of food.
The machine is very easy to operate. You simply plug the power cable, switch it on and start stirring the mix with the provided slush shovel.
- Model: Double Square Pan with 5 buckets
- Power: 1120W
- Voltage: 110V/60Hz
- Pan Length: 35 cm
- Bucket Diameter: 18 cm
3. Commercial 2 Flavor and Twist Soft Serve Ice Cream/ Frozen Yogurt/ Gelato/ Sorbet Machine: Produces 50 Quarts/ Hour
If you need the ultimate workhorse for a busy ice cream shop, you should get this commercial ice cream machine.
It mixes two flavors and can produce up to 50 quarts/hr of soft serve ice cream, frozen yogurt, gelato, sorbet, etc. You will get the serving in a twist in the ice cream cone.
It has a durable stainless-steel casing for hygiene and a panel for controlling the processing quality.
The machine also comes with two single horsepower drive motors for the 2-HP air-cooled compressor and a freeze up protection to avoid damaging the tubes.
The freezer is so effective that you will get a frozen product served in under 10 minutes. I cannot over emphasize the fact that this machine can produce up to 50 quarts per hour.
This ice cream making machine comes with a 3-year warranty on the compressor and 2-year parts only warranty.
It also has an automatic return handle that prevent accidental overrun and product wastage.
- Main Power: 220V AC (single phase)
- Rated Output: Double 1-HP drive motors and 2-HP air-cooled compressor
- Hopper capacity: 9.5L*2
- Frozen refrigerants: R410A
- Consecutive dispensing: 50 quarts per hour
- Machine size: 29.5 x 21.3 x 56.5 inches
- Net weight: 397 lb
Megalane commercial ice cream maker is not only easy to operate due to the microcomputer and the LED screen but also extremely efficient due to the latest technology incorporated in its design.
You even have a log for all the ice cream you sold for easy reconciliation of your records at the end of the day. You can reset the accounts after getting records for a particular sales period.
Provided the cylinder has ice cream mix, the machine will automatically start making the ice cream until the desirable hardness is achieved. It will light up a warning light to alert the operator of low levels of ice cream mix to prevent the cylinder from over freezing.
It also has a pre-cool feature that will keep the mix fresh under reduced temperatures in the hopper overnight.
This ice cream maker uses R404A refrigerant that is environmentally safe. The freezing system is designed for fast cool for accurate temperature regulation.
It has food grade stainless steel casing that will prevent corrosion making it hygienic and food safe.
- Main Power: 110V AC/ 220V AC
- Rated Output: 1050W (motor rated at 550W)
- Refrigeration system: single system
- Hopper capacity: 7L*1 (produces 10 – 12 liters per hour)
- Frozen refrigerants: R404a/200g (cylinder capacity is 1.6L)
- Condenser: Copper aluminum blade
- First start time: 1-12 minutes (restarts every three minutes)
- Consecutive dispensing: every time 5-7 cones
- Machine size: 330*540*640mm
- Net weight: 65KG
Morphon comes with double 1.8-liter freezing cylinders and four powerful evaporators to ensure maximum heat extraction. The freezer works with R410A, which is environmentally friendly and substitutable.
The device has a shock protector and a powerful motor and paddle for low noise operations.
It also has a microcomputer for easy operations. The computer has a cone counting algorithm to help you take a reconciliation of sales.
With this machine, you have the option to mix two flavors. You can control the speed of the machine and ratio of the mix.
It is coated with stainless steel food grade color spraying material into a perfect finish. The stainless-steel evaporator is coated with edible silica gel to maximize safety of the food produced.
- Material: Food grade stainless steel
- Power: 1200 W
- Production: 18 L per hour
- Refrigerant: R410 A /380 g
- Size: 30 x 23 x 17 inch
- Voltage: 110 V
- Weight: 152 lb
Choosing the Best Ice Cream Making Machine: Buyer's Guide
If you would like to have a home-made treat of ice cream, you may need to have a portable ice cream making machine for your home kitchen.
Before buying the ice cream making machine of your choice, there are factors you need to consider.
They include but not limited to:
1. Capacity of the machine.
This depends with the volumes of ice cream you intend to make with the machine. If you have a larger family, you may need to consider a larger machine that will produce sufficient batches for everyone.
When considering the capacity of a machine, you should not forget the space in your kitchen/ production area. Do not buy a bulky machine that will end up consuming all the space leaving you with nowhere to place other items.
2. Your budget
Ice cream makers can be as cheap as $30 and as expensive as several hundred dollars (or even thousands of dollars for industrial installations). You should define the purpose for getting the ice cream maker so that you can select the most appropriate machine within your budget.
While doing that, remember that the cheaper machines will add you more work. Again, the quality of the end product may not be what you would desire, especially if your ice cream making expertise is wanting.
If you are a control freak and you would like to have a complete control over the quality of the end product, choose a manual ice cream making machine. They are synonymously called ice and slat ice cream makers because you have to literally use salt and ice in the ice cream making process. They are affordable and evoke the nostalgia of doing things the old-fashioned way.
The mechanized options have a compressor that eliminates the need for the ice bucket. They are fast and reliable if you do not have time and patience of controlling the ice cream making process. They tend to me expensive because they are self-contained. You have minimal control over the process.
3. Operational speed / power of the machine
Make sure that the machine can churn out the batch in reasonable time. You do not want to buy a machine purely based on its cost and end up spending the whole day trying to make a single batch of ice cream.
If time is a real estate on your side, you may need to consider an ice cream making machine with a compressor. Otherwise, you can consider the other options that usually require lead time for sufficient freezing of the ice bucket/bowl.
Additionally, consider the ability of this machine to vent the heat produced during the ice cream making process. It should be able to cool down the compressor in record time and allow the machine to run without frequent breaks.
Powerful machines tend to be noisy. If you manage to get a powerful machine that has low noise, be prepared to compensate in terms of cost.
4. Quality of the product
You are buying an ice cream making machine to help you control the quality of the end product. Make sure that the machine you are buying can produce consistent quality of ice cream. It should also be able to mix the ingredients into a smooth textured product.
5. Usability / user friendliness
The machine you are buying should be easy to understand and use. The buttons should be properly labelled if it is a digital machine. It should also have a digital screen for easy selection of functions.
Some models have presets for various degrees of ice cream hardness. These make work easier when making an ice cream because all you have to do is to select a certain preset and you are on your way to making your favorite treat.
Other models have an alert system (bell) that will let you know that the batch is ready. It should have simple parts that will not break down.
The parts should be easy to reach and the machine should be easy to clean. You do not want to compromise the hygiene of the ice cream you are making.
6. Aesthetics / Appearance
In terms of functionality, the look of the machine plays a very insignificant role. However, the looks are the first thing that always draws a customer to a machine at the store.
Chose a machine that will accessorize your kitchen. You don't want your kitchen to look like it was put together by an 11-year-old. Be careful not trade the looks for functionality.