It’s hard to beat the convenience of store-bought tub ice cream, although making your favourite frozen dessert at home is the way to go if you want to churn up some truly unique flavours (that you won’t find on supermarket shelves) and use quality ingredients with no nasty preservatives. Besides that, it’s also cost effective if your family eats ice cream on the regular − and you should because YOLO – plus it’s easy to do with an ice cream maker. If you don’t have one yet, don’t fret. We’ve got the scoop on the best budget-friendly ice cream machines below. Thank us later.
What’s an ice cream maker?
This one is pretty self-explanatory. An ice cream maker is a cool appliance designed specifically to make small quantities of ice cream, as well as frozen yoghurt (fro-yo), gelato and other frozen treats. There are different types of ice cream machines available on the market, including manual bucket or freezer bowl models and fully automatic units. Most range in capacity from 1.2L and upwards.
10 affordable ice cream makers
- Zoku Ice Cream Maker (Red) − $29.95
- Sunbeam Fresh Food Slicer & Frozen Dessert Maker − $44
- Davis & Waddell Electric 1.5L Ice Cream Maker − $59
- Breville The Freeze & Mix Accessory Mixing Bowl − $99
- Maxkon Electronic Ice Cream Maker − $100
- Bear Double Bucket 1L Ice Cream Maker − $102
- Iris Ohyama Ice Cream Maker Home Automatic − $119
- Yonanas Deluxe Frozen Dessert Maker − $128
- Cuisinart Cool Scoops 1.5L Ice Cream Maker − $139
- Smeg Ice Cream Maker − $169
Zoku Ice Cream Maker (Red) − $29.95
You can make individual portions of your favourite ice cream flavours in a jiffy with this Zoku ice cream maker. Just keep the inner bowl in the freezer and when you’re ready, pour in your chilled ice cream mix, then stir, scrape and add your toppings once the ice cream begins to form and voila! This nifty little gadget can also be used to make custard, frozen yogurt, gelato, sorbet and sherbet. The Zoku ice cream maker comes in four funky colours, including red, green, purple and blue – so everyone in the family can have one! This model is available on the retailer’s website or from Amazon.
Sunbeam Fresh Food Slicer & Frozen Dessert Maker − $44
You can conquer multiple courses with this two-in-one Sunbeam Fresh Food Slicer & Frozen Dessert Maker (FC2000). This model has two functions, both powered by the same 250W motor which will make you save both time and space. The food pusher features thick slicing, thin slicing and grating blades to make easy work of cutting up herbs and veggies for your main meal. When it’s time for dessert, just attach the frozen dessert maker attachment and feed your frozen fruits, small ice cubes and yoghurt down the chute to make ice cream or sorbet. It’s that easy. You can also get creative with your creations by adding roughly chopped nuts, cookie dough, sprinkles etc. This model is available to purchase on Appliances Online.
Davis & Waddell Electric 1.5L Ice Cream Maker − $59
This Davis & Waddell electric ice cream machine is capable of whipping up all sorts of chilled desserts, including ice cream, sorbet and gelato − without making a mess of your kitchen. It comes with a fully enclosed transparent lid and paddle to help you break down all the ingredients and get the perfect consistency for your ice cream. This model features a decent 1.5L capacity freezer bowl to make ice cream for the whole family and comes with an instruction leaflet with recipes included. What more could you want? This Davis & Waddell ice cream maker is on sale for $59 on eBay.
Breville The Freeze & Mix Accessory Mixing Bowl − $99
This Breville thermal freezer bowl can help you create a variety of frozen desserts in a quoted 10 minutes. It features a large 2L capacity and an innovative scraper paddle said to help scrape the sides of the bowl more effectively and aerate the ice cream for a fast and creamy result, whether you’re making ice cream, frozen yoghurt or sorbet. It also comes with a splash guard to minimise messes. This Breville model is available to purchase on Amazon.
Maxkon Electronic Ice Cream Maker − $100
If you’re looking to make ready-to-serve, soft, creamy ice cream in under an hour, this Maxkon electronic ice cream maker is a must. It comes equipped with LCD timing control (so that you can set your machine to work and come back later), a built-in reversible thermostat and detachable double isolation freeze bowl to help nail the texture and consistency of your ice cream every time. This Maxkon model also comes with an instruction book and recipes, so you’ll never run out of dessert options to try at home. You can typically find it for sale on Kogan.
Bear Double Bucket 1L Ice Cream Maker − $102
This Bear Double Bucket Ice Cream Maker (BQL-A10E1) is fully automatic and oh-so easy to use with a simple push button switch operation. This model is boasted for its powerful copper motor, pushing type two-way stirring blade and speed freezing liquid function that can help make two bucket loads of ice cream in about 20 minutes, according to the brand. This Bear ice cream maker is available online on Wish.com or Ali Express. Bear in mind (pun intended) that Bear is a Japanese brand which means you may need an adaptor to plug your appliance.
Iris Ohyama Ice Cream Maker Home Automatic − $119
This Iris Ohyama automatic ice cream maker features a single touch operation and double-layer freezing technology to help you make DIY ice cream and popsicles, in under 15 minutes. The brand also claims this model is safe for children to operate (with adult supervision of course). It has a cartoon macarons design which can definitely get the kids excited about making their own soft serves for dessert. It can also be used to make smoothies and milkshakes. You can buy this Iris Ohyama ice cream machine on MyDeal.com.au.
Yonanas Deluxe Frozen Dessert Maker − $128
You can turn frozen fruits into dozens of frozen treats with this automatic Yonanas home ice cream maker. Whether you’re craving a simple soft serve, fro-yo, or more unique flavours with a gelato or gourmet ice cream, this model is boasted for its ability to achieve thick and creamy results without liquids, to avoid ‘runny’ consistencies like what you’d get from making a smoothie in a blender. This Yonanas ice cream machine also comes with instructions and a healthy dessert book with over 75 recipes for frozen treats, pies and even chocolate creations! We’re sold. You can nab this model on Amazon.
Cuisinart Cool Scoops 1.5L Ice Cream Maker − $139
This Cuisinart ice cream maker features a heavy-duty motor, a 1.5L double-insulated freezer bowl and a mixing paddle that can automatically churn ice cream and chilled desserts in less than 20 minutes, says the brand. It also comes with a transparent lid for easy viewing of the process and a ‘mix-in’ opening for adding toppings like chocolate chips, honeycombs or lollies (or all three) during the churning process. This Cuisinart ice cream machine comes in a stainless-steel or rose gold finish and is available to buy on Appliances Online.
Smeg Ice Cream Maker − $169
Is there anything Smeg can’t do? It seems not. This retro-style 50s stand mixer ice cream maker attachment features a cold accumulating double wall construction with a 1.1L capacity. It also includes an ice cream spatula, a mixing spatula with magnetised adapter, and a transparent lid to allow you to keep an eye on the churning process which should take approximately 30 minutes. Please not this accessory is only compatible with Smeg stand mixers with a stainless-steel bowl (SMMB401). It’s available to purchase from Harvey Norman online and in-store.
How to make homemade ice cream
Here’s a step-by-step guide to making ice cream at home.
Step 1 – Prepare your ice cream mix
First, you’ll have to prep your ice cream mix depending on the flavour you want. A standard vanilla ice cream mix will typically contain milk, thickened cream, sugar and vanilla extract (you can also add eggs or custard). Make sure to follow a recipe for proper cup measurements or you risk ending up with a mess.
Step 2 – Heat and let your ice cream mix simmer
Heat your ice cream mix in a saucepan (on medium heat) for about 10 minutes or until a small ring of foam appears around the edge. Make sure the sugar has completely dissolved and then remove from heat and stir everything to taste.
Step 3 – Let your ice cream mix and freezer bowl chill
Once you’ve stirred and heated your main ingredients for the ice cream mix, let the mixture chill in the fridge for a few hours (at least two hours) or ideally overnight to let the flavours ‘soak’. At the same time, don’t forget to put your freezer bowl in the freezer in preparation for churning.
Step 4 – It’s time to churn your ice cream
This is arguably the fun part (besides eating the ice cream). Pour your cold ice cream mix into your ice cream maker, turn on the machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you’re using a manual bucket or freezer bowl model, you’ll have to use a spatula and a bit of elbow grease to churn the mix yourself. This process can take between 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the gadget you’re working with.
Step 5 – Add your toppings and serve
Once you’ve achieved your desired consistency, you can add your toppings such as shaved chocolate, fruits, hazelnuts etc. You can serve and enjoy your ice cream immediately after that or put it in the freezer to firm for later.
Is an ice cream maker worth it?
If you’re looking for an easy way to make healthy frozen treats at home, then an ice cream maker is a great investment, especially because it’s a reasonably priced and versatile appliance that can be used to also make chilled drinks like milkshakes and smoothies, and all types of cold desserts. It’s also a pretty useful tool if you’re vegan or lactose-intolerant and want to have control over what’s going in your ice cream. Lastly, making ice cream at home is also a cost-effective and fun way to treat the kids to their favourite soft serve while getting them involved in the churning process. What’s not to love?
Picture credits: Bartosz Luczak, Shutterstock.com/Tatiana Foxy, Shutterstock.com/Rimma Bondarenko, Shutterstock.com.