We tested four at-home ice cream makers to see which churns out the creamiest and more delightful dessert.

Breville Smart Scoop 

PRICE

$400

CAPACITY

1 1/2 quarts

THE COLD FACTS

This machine is by far the most high-tech of all the at-home ice cream makers we tested and can make ice cream, gelato, sorbet, or frozen yogurt. The Breville Smart Scoop has two modes: automatic and manual. The automatic mode mixes and freezes the recipe to the chosen consistency and texture with the click of a button, while in the manual mode, you can choose how long to churn your frozen dessert. 

BONUS

You can select a classic ice cream truck song to play when your dessert is ready. Selections include “Turkey in the Straw,” “The Entertainer,” and “Camptown Races.”

Cuisinart Ice Cream and Gelato Maker

PRICE

$299

CAPACITY

1 1/2 quarts

THE COLD FACTS

This fully automatic ice cream maker is our favorite. The versatile machine can make ice cream, gelato, sorbet, and frozen yogurt in under an hour, and at 16 inches by 12 inches it doesn’t take up much counter space. We found this model particularly easy to use. We made our lavender ice cream mixture, poured it into the stainless steel bowl, placed the ice cream paddle in the bowl, set the timer for 50 minutes, and hit start. In less than an hour, we had rich and creamy ice cream with a perfect texture and consistency.  

BONUS

The 10-minute “Keep Cool” feature keeps the frozen dessert cold after the timer has gone off.

KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment

PRICE

$100

CAPACITY

2 quarts

THE COLD FACTS

This ice cream maker is designed for people who own a KitchenAid mixer. It’s easy to assemble and doesn’t require much counter space. Making ice cream took longer with this machine. We had to freeze our mixing bowl before getting started, follow more recipe steps than with the automatic machines, and then cover and freeze our ice cream for several hours afterward since the initial texture was similar to soft serve.

BONUS

The freeze bowl is no larger than a large mixing bowl, making it convenient to use and store. 

White Mountain Hand-Crank Ice Cream Maker 

PRICE

$279

CAPACITY

4 quarts

THE COLD FACTS

This ice cream maker will take you back in time, but be prepared to work for your sweet reward. A cast-iron dasher is placed inside the stainless steel canister, which is set in a vintage-looking bucket made from New England white pine wood. The homemade ice cream mixture is poured inside the canister and sealed. The bucket is then filled with layers of ice and rock salt. Now you have to crank. The ice will melt, so you’ll have to replace the ice and rock salt as you’re churning your dairy into a frozen dessert. It takes 40 minutes to make the ice cream. 

BONUS

Since it doesn’t require electricity, this machine is ideal for summer outings at the pool, lake house, or even on camping trips. 


Lavender Vanilla and Honey Ice Cream

(adapted from the Cuisinart vanilla ice cream recipe)

1 ½ cup whole milk
¾ cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
2 ½ cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ - 2 tablespoons dried, whole lavender flowers
1 tablespoon honey 

In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer on low or a whisk to combine the milk, sugar and salt until the sugar is dissolved. Mix in the heavy cream, vanilla, and lavender. Cover and refrigerate two hours or overnight. Re-whisk the ingredients after removing from the refrigerator, sift out the lavender, and pour liquid into the Cuisinart ice cream maker. Set timer for 50 minutes, press start. Ten minutes before the ice cream is finished, lift lid and drizzle honey into the mix.