If the mid-summer temperatures are tempting you to indulge in ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, let this information seal the deal: July is National Ice Cream Month. Instead of sweating your way to the store to pick up a pint, why not make your own? Scroll down to find out which ice cream makers we’re screaming about this month, from the Zoku’s single-serve dish to Nostalgia’s old-fashioned bucket.
1. Zoku Ice Cream Maker; $28
Zoku’s cereal-bowl-sized ice cream maker is perfect both for people who live alone and for people who like to personalize their ice cream with unconventional mix-ins. It’s also magically fast, as long as you remember to stick the stainless steel bowl in the freezer about 12 hours before dessert time. Then, when your ice cream craving hits, pour your chilled ice cream mixture into the frozen bowl, stir, and watch your ice cream soup solidify into thick, creamy deliciousness in about 10 minutes—no electricity needed. Treat yourself to this BPA-free appliance in red, blue, green, yellow, or purple.
Buy it: Amazon
2. Nostalgia Electric Wood Bucket Ice Cream Maker; $48
This ice cream maker from Nostalgia has all the sentimentality of ye olde ice cream-churning days, without any of the splinters or blisters. To use it, pour your ice cream mixture into the 1-gallon stainless steel canister along with the plastic dasher, pop on the plastic lid, and place the whole thing inside the wood-paneled bucket. Layer the perimeter with ice and salt, seal the lid, and let the electric motor churn for 20 to 30 minutes. Host an ice cream party or store your leftovers conveniently in the canister. To make the process even less labor intensive, you can buy Nostalgia’s pre-made ice cream mix in vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry (or all three).
Buy it: Amazon
3. Cuisinart Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker; $100
With a 4.6-star average rating on Bed Bath & Beyond, it’s safe to say that Cuisinart’s Pure Indulgence ice cream maker is worth your while. Like with the Zoku ice cream maker, you have to remember to freeze the bowl at least half a day before churning time, but that’s about it—the bowl is insulated with a freezing material, so there’s no need to add ice. Plug it in, pour in your mixture, and turn it on. It’ll make up to 2 quarts of pure indulgence in about 25 minutes, and the lid has a hole in the top where you can toss in toppings while it churns.
Buy it: Bed Bath & Beyond
4. Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker; $500
The Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker lives up to its name: The automatic machine alters its churning process to match whatever hardness setting you choose, based on what type of frozen dessert you’re whipping up. Turn the dial toward “Softer” for sorbet, “Harder” for ice cream, and somewhere in the middle for gelato or frozen yogurt. Ice cream takes about 50 minutes, but you can also manually set the time if your recipe specifies a churning time. Once it’s ready, the Smart Scoop will play a jingle (or beep, if you prefer) to let you know.
Another huge advantage of the Smart Scoop is that you don’t have to remember to freeze the bowl or add ice—the machine does the freezing for you. Activate the “Keep Cool” setting and the machine will keep your dessert frozen for up to three hours. The device is about the size of a small toaster oven, can hold up to 1.5 quarts, and features a child lock.
Buy it: Williams Sonoma
5. Dash My Pint Ice Cream Maker; $20
The Dash My Pint Ice Cream Maker is similar to Zoku’s in that you have to freeze the bowl beforehand, and it makes about a single serving (in this case, 1.6 cups). But you don’t have to do any manual churning with this one. It works with the press of a button, takes around 30 minutes, and comes in a cool mint color that looks just as refreshing as whatever dessert you're creating. (One reviewer even uses it for nutritional drinks, which turns them into a soft ice cream.) If you want your dessert to be thicker, several reviewers recommend that you chill your mixture either before or after churning it. This ice cream maker weighs just 2 pounds and stands 9 inches tall, making it easily portable and storable.
Buy it: Amazon