* Create ice cream and other popular frozen treats all year round
* Experiment with your own flavor combinations and add-ins
* An expensive freezer unit is not necessary to make great ice cream
As good as those cartons of ice cream from the grocery store can be (and they can be really good), many ice cream enthusiasts still prefer the flavor and texture of homemade ice cream straight from the bucket and churn. Trying to duplicate “homestyle” ice cream at home, however, can be a challenge. Commercial soft serve ice cream makers cost thousands of dollars, and even the consumer-friendly automatic machines with built-in freezers will set you back at least $400 on average. So, is it even possible to make delicious ice cream and other frozen treats for under $100?
Fortunately, the answer is a resounding YES. Traditional hand-cranked ice cream machines are still being produced today, along with other technology such as pre-frozen mixing chambers. For less than $100, it’s possible to make the same homemade frozen treats that our ancestors enjoyed at ice cream socials and family picnics. Of course, today’s offerings also include frozen yogurts, fruit smoothies, and non-dairy mixes.
We have compiled a list of the best ice cream makers on the market with a price below $100. The next time you get a craving for the often-imitated but rarely duplicated flavor of homemade ice cream, consider one of these super-affordable models.
1. Cuisinart ICE-30R Pure Indulgence Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, & Ice Cream Maker
Cuisinart ice cream makers have always ranked high in customer satisfaction, and this model is no exception. You must freeze the double-insulated mixing bowl at least overnight for best results, but practically every operation is automatic. It’s truly “set it and forget it” while the paddle churns, and you’ll be enjoying frozen ice cream or yogurt in as little as 25 minutes. The two-quart capacity may be a bit limited for larger groups, but the fast turnaround between batches should make up for it.
2. EECOO Ice Cream Maker Frozen Yogurt-Sorbet-Gelato Machine
While the EECOO ice cream maker mixing bowl must be pre-frozen, it has one design feature that sets it apart from other models. Many ice cream makers generate heat during operation, which can affect the quality of the finished product. This ice cream maker generates no heat, and the results are velvety smooth. The 1.5-quart capacity should be enough for two or three hungry ice cream fans.
3. Nostalgia Electrics ICMP-400BLUE Electric Ice Cream Maker
Ice cream makers priced below $30 tend to be closer to novelty items than actual kitchen equipment, but this one is the real deal at a great price. The sturdy, BPA-free plastic bucket holds plenty of rock salt and ice, and the pre-frozen mixing bowl has a generous four-quart capacity. An electric motor takes care of the churning from start to finish, no hand-cranking required.
4. Hamilton Beach 1.5 Quart Ice Cream Maker
This compact ice cream maker from Hamilton Beach uses a pre-frozen mixing bowl to create all sorts of frozen treats, from ice cream to sorbet to frozen yogurt. It’s also user friendly when it comes to the addition of popular mix-ins, and the total time from mix to finished product is as little as 20 minutes. The 1.5-quart capacity may not be ideal for large get-togethers, but it is certainly enough for a delicious after-dinner treat or birthday celebration.
5. Mr. Freeze Thermo Electric Self-Freezing Ice Cream Maker
There’s something to be said for spontaneity and the art of ice cream making. While other models require some pre-freezing or a trip to the local ice and rock salt store, this self-freezing unit from Mr. Freeze produces results in under 60 minutes from start to finish. The automatic freezing chamber has a 1.5-quart capacity, and you can actually select your preferred level of ice cream firmness. If you’re in the mood to make frozen treats straight out of the box, this fully automatic ice cream maker is definitely one to consider.
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