Machines are becoming the most emergent tools in our daily life and sometimes we are fully dependent on them. Ice cream makers make our life easy and comfortable; the best soft serve ice cream makers are known for convenience and heavy duty performance.
After our research, we found two machines best for soft serve ice cream. The most affordable option is the Cuisinart ICE-21P1 and if you have the money to spend, go for the Cuisinart ICE-100.
Here are all of the picks we’d choose for our family.
- Most entertaining for kids: Cuisinart ICE-45 on Amazon
- Most affordable and lightweight: Cuisinart ICE- 21P1
- Best price for quality and features: Cuisinart ICE-70 Electronic Ice Cream Maker
- Highest quart capacity: Nostalgia Electric Bucket Maker
- Easiest and most time-efficient, but costly: Cuisinart ICE-100 Ice Cream and Gelato Maker
Ice cream, arguably the most delicious dessert, might just be the world’s favorite frozen food. For those like our kids, family, or friends that are a fan of dessert, fulfill their dreams and wishes by getting the best soft serve ice cream machine.
If you are a parent you know how important it is to be concerned about your child’s health. But if you can make their favorite ice cream at home with a healthy recipe, they might not bother you to go out and instead, it will lead to more beneficial healthy options.
Difference Between a Hard and Soft Serve Ice Cream Machine
When comparing a soft or hard ice cream maker, it can be hard to note the differences between the two products. There are, however, notable options like an electric motor or one that has to be churned by hand.
One of the key features of a soft serve ice cream machine is the dispensing process. This can also serve frozen yogurt, gelato, and sorbet and can set it apart from one that requires a scoop.
Is soft serve ice cream better than scooped hard ice cream?
Soft serve is created by mixing air into ice cream during the freezing process and contains less milk fat. If the diet or lifestyle you follow requires less fat, then yes, this could be a more healthy option. Typically though, the choice between scooped or soft-serve is by preference.
Here are our choices for the top 5 soft serve ice cream models. with highlighted features, and some pros and cons.
01. Cuisinart ICE-45P1 Soft Serve Ice Cream Machine (1-1/2 Quarts)
Buy on Amazon
Buy at Walmart
Buy at Bed Bath & Beyond
Choice for the most entertaining for kids. We’d consider this the best soft serve ice cream machine overall.
Thinks We Like (Pros)
- this machine comes with a cone holder
- store up to 6 regular cones
- toppings containers with clear storage – “mix-it-ins”
- toppings dispense into the ice cream as you pull the handle
- can make soft-serve ice creams, yogurt, or sorbet recipes
What Could Make it Better (Cons)
- topping sizes are limited to things like mini M&Ms and mini chocolate chips
- freezer bucket could be larger
- several pieces to clean after using
If you want to entertain guests, the Cuisinart ICE-45 promises a fun way to serve dessert. You can use recipes that contain a soft serve, yogurt, or sorbet mix.
This countertop model has condiment dispensers that hold “mix-it-ins” for your soft-serve mix. You can store three different toppings and pick your favorite one while the ice cream is dispensed.
A stylish design, reasonable price, and unique features make this a solid choice for those looking to wow their family or friends. Plus, you can’t go wrong with having a pull handle to serve it.
- good machine for soft-serve, yogurt, or sorbet recipes
- try using Dole pineapple soft serve mix (same as Disney parks)
- soft serve ready after 20-25 minutes (after freezer bowl has been stored in the freezer for 8-24 hours)
- 1 1/2 quarts capacity
Highlighted Features of the Cuisinart ICE-45
- dispensable machine design makes serving fun and easy
- removable drip tray to catch drips or spills (easy to clean)
- the base has non-slip materials
- about 25 minutes to ready (after freezer bowl is cold)
- this model offers a mixing arm
- top lid is easy to open for soft serve mix
- lightweight and easy to move
- all-in-one dessert maker machine
- no messy ice or rock salt
- double-wall insulated freezer bowl
- dispense handle on front of machine
02. Cuisinart ICE- 21P1 1.5 Quart Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker
Choice for the most affordable and lightweight. No ice or salt needed for soft serve ice cream.
Thinks We Like (Pros)
- The cooling liquid in between the double-insulated wall allows you to know if the bowl is ready. (If you hear the liquid then it is not ready) So it’s easy to see if your bowl is ready or not by the sound of the liquid.
- No need to add extra ice or rock salt to the machine
- You can buy a second freezer bowl to serve to a larger crowd.
- Extra-large lid spout assists you to pour ingredients through it
What Could Make it Better (Cons)
- The machine is loud
- Nuts and other ingredients should be no larger than a chocolate chip. It would be nice if bigger ingredients could be mixed in.
This Cuisinart ICE-21 (1.5 Quart) soft ice cream machine is at the top of our list for its simple usability, sturdily built quality, and affordable price.
If you are looking for a simple machine that is reliable, just works and doesn’t break the bank, the ICE-21 is your option. Definitely the best soft serve budget-friendly choice.
- This soft ice cream machine will allow your desserts or frozen drinks to be ready within twenty minutes (after freezing the double insulated bowl 16-20 hours) If you would like a thicker consistency, after mixing ingredients, freeze for two to three more hours.
- The bowl needs to be used immediately after taking it out of the freezer.
- All pieces are not dishwasher safe
- Comes with mixing paddle which is quite fast and automatic
- Container capacity is impressive up to 1-1/2 quarts
- Double-insulated freezer bowl
- The transparent lid with a large spout is very effective
- The heavy-duty motor makes frozen yogurt, soft ice cream, sorbet – even frozen drinks – in 20 minutes or less.
- North American electrical standard built quality
- Totally automatic
- Mixing paddle works really great while you need to mix all the ingredients on freezer bowl
- The non-slip rubber feet help to keep the machine steady and serve you a safe service
- Easily push-able cord helps to keep the counter neat and clean as well as safe. One of the simplest counter-top models.
03. Cuisinart ICE-70 Electric Ice Cream Maker
Choice for best price quality and features.
Thinks We Like (Pros)
- Holds 2 Quarts of frozen ice cream rather than the 1 1/2 quart
- 3 set speeds to make ice creams, gelato, or sorbet. No guessing on getting your soft serve just right.
- No need to add extra ice or rock salt
- Easy to use
- Stainless steel finish
What Could Make it Better (Cons)
- This ice cream machine is quite heavy and it is loud
- The lid is small for pouring the ice cream mix, but can simply be fixed by pouring with a pitcher
What makes your holidays special, fun, and outstanding? You can enjoy your days with your family at every moment in numerous ways. Then we prefer delicious ice cream which adds an extra impact to these special moments.
Have you been wanting an ice cream maker, but also something to make that delicious delicate gelato?
The Cuisinart ICE-70 electric soft serve ice cream maker is the perfect choice for an easy way to make gelato, ice cream, or sorbet by a pre-set timer and speed matching the consistency for each type of dessert.
This model ice cream machine provides the best service by all means. Nowadays, ice cream machines are well designed and are capable of making more than ice cream only.
- The freezer bowl contains the same qualities as the Cuisinart ICE-21 ice cream maker model
- Gelato is one one the most challenging desserts to make because of its lower fat content. This gelato making machine will ease some of that frustration with the double-insulated bowl, preset timer, and speed control getting your gelato just right.
- Automatic shut-off timer
- Has 2-quart capacity
- Compatible for making ice cream, frozen yogurt, gelato, and sorbet
- Effective mixing paddle performs quite fast and helps to mix all the ingredients very well
- Cuisinart offers a digital control screen which is very helpful for handling the full process of making your favorite dessert
- Multiple speed changing capability
- The machine is totally automatic and electronic
- Compact ingredient spout for adding ingredients
- One button operating system
- Digital LCD display with time programming function
- Fully automatic with a countdown timer with auto shutdown system
- Stainless steel for easy cleaning with an attractive appearance
- Comes with sleek brushed metal housing which makes it more durable
04. Nostalgia Electric Bucket Ice Cream Maker With Easy-Carry Handle, Makes 6-Quarts
Our pick for the highest quart capacity ice cream maker (family-friendly and entertainment ready)
Thinks We Like (Pros)
- Has a large 6-quart capacity making this one of the largest ice cream machines on the market. This is family-friendly and eliminates the need to buy an additional canister like in the previous Cuisinart models.
- Makes delicious ice cream, frozen yogurt, or gelato
- This soft-serve ice cream machine is stylish
What Could Make it Better (Cons)
- If the freezer bowl was double-insulated
- If it had preset timers to make the process of making ice cream or soft serve easier.
- Ice and salt is needed in a layered fashion to make frozen desserts
The large capacity of this 6-quart ice cream machine is the highlight of this model. Bring back the feel of an ice cream parlor with this wooden design while being large enough to serve a crowd.
The Nostalgia Electric Bucket Ice Cream Maker comes in handy if you like to make ice cream traditionally with the help of an electric motor.
Try this ice cream maker if you don’t mind adding ice and salt to make your yummy treat.
- The unit works perfectly with all Nostalgia ice cream mixes
- It does not contain different speed setting for the mixing paddle
- 6-quart large capacity for frozen desserts
- Compatible for making ice cream, frozen yogurt, gelato, sorbet, etc.
- The machine comes with a real wood design on the outside
- Motor lock function: notches keep the motor in place, keeping all parts secure during the ice cream making process
- The machine is fully automatic
- Clear led for watching the ice cream being made
- Aluminum canister
05. Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Soft Ice Cream Machine and Gelato Maker
Our pick for the easiest and time-efficient ice cream machine
Thinks We Like (Pros)
- The Cuisinart ICE-100 has a commercial quality compressor so there is no need to freeze the ice cream bowl before making ice cream. You can make one batch of ice cream right after the other.
- It comes with two different ice cream paddles. One for ice cream and one specifically designed for gelato.
- The compressor makes this a commercial ice cream machine
- You can truly make ice cream within the hour from start to finish.
- Stainless steel design
What Could Make it Better (Cons)
- This is one of the widest ice cream machines due to the compressor. So it’s not the best as a space saver like the other countertop models.
- For thicker ice cream, it’s best to store the ice cream in the freezer for a minimum of two hours. But still, that’s a total of three hours making this one of the best soft-serve ice cream machines.
The best thing about the Cuisinart ICE-100 is the most efficient with saving time due to its compressor. So if waiting on a delicious treat is more of torture then this ice cream machine will be more of a dream come true, right from your home. This commercial ice cream machine has the quality built-in to last.
There is a reason this ranks as the best soft-serve ice cream machine. This pick will allow you to get to the closest taste of a commercial ice cream machine for ice cream or gelato.
A residential ice cream machine usually takes more time to prepare the dessert. With this model, you get the commercial soft serve from a business mindset that allows for a treat right from your home.
- No need for ice or salt
- Mix-ins can be added 5 minutes before the soft serve dessert is done
- Stainless steel design making this machine easy to clean
- Heavy-duty commercial-grade compressor (saving time on having to freeze the ice cream bowl)
- Commercial soft serve quality
- The fast and easy process makes it reliable
- Fully automatic, just push a button and relax
- Blue LCD screen with an automatic timer
- Touchpad controls
- 2 paddles – a gelato paddle for authentic gelato and an ice cream paddle for creamy ice cream, this also mean automatic frozen yogurt!
- BPA free
- 10-minute Keep Cool feature keeps your ice cream or gelato cool after the timer has gone off
- 1-1/2-quart ice cream bowl capacity
- Transparent lid with a mix-in lid to add mix-ins (5 minutes before the ice cream is done)
- The Start/Stop button can be pressed at any point
How To Make Ice Cream With Ice Cream Maker At Home
Soft Serve Ice Cream Recipes
Looking for a soft serve recipe with non-dairy products? Look for Dole Soft Serve Mix with orange, lemon, lime, or pineapple flavors. You can make this with just water or with whole milk.
Disney Pineapple Dole Whip Recipe
- 1 3/4 cups Dole Pineapple Soft Serve mix
- 2 cups cold water
- 1 3/4 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
- In a large bowl, mix the Soft Serve mix with the cold water with a wire whisk until smooth (use a mixer if you have one; it’s much easier).
- Blend in the milk and cream until completely smooth. Mixture will be a bit thick.
- Chill for 30 minutes to overnight, or even a few days if you want to make small batches like we did.
- Pour 3.5 cups into your ice cream machine.
Premium Vanilla Ice Cream Starter Mix Recipe
- 1 pouch Triple Scoop Ice Cream mix
- 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
*Freeze bowl of ice cream maker 24 hours prior to making ice cream.
- Empty 1 pouch Of Triple Scoop Ice Cream Mix products into a large bowl
- Whisk in half & half and heavy cream until mix is completely dissolved.
- Place frozen ice cream bowl and paddle into ice cream maker as directed; turn machine on.
- While machine is running, carefully pour prepared mix into machine.
- Freeze until ice cream is ready, 25-30 minutes.
- Enjoy immediately!
Triple Scoop products say that each pouch makes about 4 cups of ice cream. They also have other ice creams such as chocolate and strawberry.
Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker Buying Guide
Making ice cream at home with traditional taste is not easy if you do not have the best ice cream machine in your kitchen. But if have a good soft ice cream machine at home, this task will be quite simple and enjoyable.
Buying the best soft ice cream machine for your home or business is an investment that can reduce extra spending going out, and instead focus on your family at home.
If you set your mind to invest some money to purchase a soft-serve ice cream machine for your home, your decision is just right and perfect.
You must be agreeing with us that if you haven’t ideas about the ice cream machine, it will be too tough to select one for you.
Numerous features, making materials, and various price ranges are really confusing, and we are here to assist you on that matter and provide a full guideline.
Let us allow us to uncover every single point that makes your selection perfect.
Types of Ice Cream Makers
In the market, online or offline, you can see two types of ice cream machines: ones with or without a freezer bowl.
Soft serve machine with freezer bowl: Many popular models come with this configuration which means you need to freeze that bowl before using it. Sometimes it requires overnight to freeze the bowl properly.
Although these types of machines seem problematic because of their pre-freezing canister, it works really great. It amazingly helps to make ice cream at home with an exact taste, looks, and flavor also. Some machines need ice and salt while some do not.
Our picks of ice cream machines with freezer bowls:
- #1:Cuisinart ICE-45 1-1/2 Quarts Soft Serve Ice Cream Machine
- #2:Cuisinart ICE-21 1.5 Quart ice cream maker
- #3: Cuisinart ICE-70
- #4: Nostalgia Electric Bucket Ice Cream Maker With Easy-Carry Handle, Makes 6-Quarts
Ice Cream Machines without Freezer Bowl or with Built-in Freezer: These types of machines are superbly convenient and have worldwide demand.
This type is the most realistic compared to a commercial-grade ice cream machine.
When you need not be prepared from earlier and you can make ice cream when you need it within a short time then it is just awesome.
The built-in freezer or compressor helps to cool the mixture fast and the temperature controlling system monitors the required temperature. You haven’t added extra ice or rock salt for making your ice cream in these machines.
Our picks of ice cream machines without a freezer bowl:
- #1: Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Ice Cream and Gelato Maker
Before purchasing any ice cream maker inspect its size and sure about its weight. Compact sizes and lightweight machines are convenient to handle and maintain. Check to see how much capacity it holds for ice cream.
Stainless steel is always a plus when it comes to quality and durability.
Functions and Mechanisms
Most of the soft serve ice cream machines are electronic and come with electronic functions like an on/off button and LCD display with digital control panel, making these electric machines easy to use.
Tip: Another feature to look out for is a motor protection function that will prevent the motor from burning up too soon.
Larger bowl capacity allows you to make required desserts at a time for your entire family, which is a great side of a compact ice cream machine.
Generally, ice cream machines come in two standard sizes: 2 quarts and 1.5 quarts. You can choose one of them according to your family size. Or this Nostalgia Electric Bucket Ice Cream Maker makes 6 quarts of frozen goodness.
The time it takes to make your ice cream depends on what type of ice cream maker you have. If you have a pre-freeze bowl it can take from 8-20 hours to freeze the bowl and around 20 minutes to make in the machine.
If you have an ice cream maker with a compressor then the total time can take 60 minutes in the machine and 2-3 hours in the freezer after making.
You can make ice cream, frozen yogurt, or sorbet with most ice cream machines. Ice cream makers with a gelato feature are more likely to get the best homemade gelato due to fat content and air control.
Some ice cream machines come with a handheld dispenser. Others have an LCD screen and speed controls. Some are heavy than others. When choosing an ice cream maker, find your favorite features based on quart size, the way it’s made, what type of ice cream you are wanting, and the time it takes until completions.
If you have already spent some time to search for or gathering information about it, you must have the idea that its prices vary slightly. If you fixed a price range, and wish to buy the best one at that range the please stop and search again.
Reasons To Do Ice Cream Making At Home
Dessert means celebrations, people like desserts more than any type of food from childhood. Every occasion or party remains incomplete without delicious food.
We have many reasons to throw a party and celebrate it with our friends and families. Now we are going to explain why and when you could make desserts at home.
We all love desserts so why not know what is exactly in them.
Kids and adults love desserts, especially ice cream with different flavors.
So to beat the greed of food chains, to know what’s in what you eat, or to make a healthy frozen treat, making ice cream at home is a fun splurge.
Create or use a healthy recipe or make your own organic, non-GMO ice cream, gelato, or sorbet. Making desserts as well as ice cream at home is enjoyable and healthier without all the additives and preservatives.
Desserts Could Be The Special Recipe For Your Family
Wanting to add some family time to your schedule, but don’t know what to do together?
Spending time with family is amazing; it helps to improve our mental health and is a great way to get connected.
Making desserts as a family is a special way to spend quality time together.
If you wish to pass some time with your family and want to make a surprise dish for dinner or lunch, desserts could be a perfect choice then.
Special Occasions Are Perfect For Desserts
Special tastes hold treasured memories for generations. Celebrations days like Christmas, Birthdays, and anniversaries. All of us prepare for these days and try to make some exceptional foods and delicious items that can blow the mind of our guests.
Do you like to entertain guests?
Want something for people to remember?
Making ice cream at home is a fine choice to share and make memorable treats everyone will love.
More Questions about Soft Serve
How much is a soft serve ice cream machine?
Expect to pay in the range of $70 for a standard soft serve machine all the way to $300 for a commercial-grade machine. Each machine comes with its own features and benefits, and prices will reflect what you get with these options.
Can I turn regular ice cream into soft serve?
The Food Truck Cookbook has a way to change existing ice cream into easy to use soft serve. Follow this recipe to enjoy the softened version at home.
Recipe: how to change regular ice cream into soft serve
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups hard pack ice cream, chocolate or vanilla, softened
- Place the cream in a large metal bowl and whip with an electric mixer until it forms into soft peaks.
- Add in the sugar and vanilla until just combined. Do not over-whip!
- Fold in softened ice cream with spatula
- Move the mixture to a freezer bag for about 4 hours
- Snip off a corner to use like a soft serve dispenser
How to dispense soft serve ice cream
Here are two ways you can dispense soft serve.
- The first way is to use a soft serve machine that has a pull-dispensing spout. Some of these ice cream makers allow for mixed in toppings.
- The second way is to place a soft-serve mixture into a bag and cut off the corner to the size you prefer.
How to store soft serve ice cream in the freezer?
Use a plastic bag to prevent ice chips from forming on the ice cream. When it’s pulled out of the freezer, no need to put it in the microwave or thaw on the table!