Sometimes, just one Cornetto isn’t enough. But buy an ice cream maker and you’ll be able to create as many delicious desserts as you like. We defy you not to lick your lips as you're reading this...
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Hate waiting for the ice cream van to come around? Get yourself one of our pick of the best ice cream makers, and you can enjoy a cone or bowl of heaven whenever you want. And for a fraction of the price of premium brands.
Some machines will also make gelato, sorbet and frozen yogurt, and can be used with soya and almond milk, making them a worthwhile purchase for anyone with a dairy intolerance. In case you were wondering what the difference is between gelato and regular ice cream, the Italian version contains more milk and less cream, and is whipped more slowly. For that reason, your machine might come with two different paddles that you swap in depending on which you’re making.
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Prices for ice cream makers vary hugely, from under £20 to upwards of £300. The more affordable designs have a bowl that you’ll need to remember to chill in the freezer for between eight and 24 hours beforehand. Alternatively, the less organized among you might feel it’s worth investing in a machine with a built-in element – this cools the bowl to the optimum temperature in minutes as the ingredients are being churned.
Here are some of our favourite ice cream makers, plus a handy extra gadget for making the cones!
Someone sound the Aldi Specialbuys klaxon! The latest irresistable bargain comes in the form of this sweet ice cream maker. At less than £15, it’s a small price to pay to keep the freezer stocked up with the kids’ favourite summer treat.
The bowl needs to be frozen for 24 hours beforehand – it then takes another 45 minutes to whip up a litre of the good stuff. If you’re stuck for inspiration, a recipe book is included.
Buy Now: Ice cream maker, £14.99, Aldi
Best for gelato
A special feature of Cuisinart’s Gelato & Ice Cream Professional machine is that it comes with a separate paddle for making gelato. It will churn up a generous 1.5ltrs of the stuff, as well as ice cream, frozen yogurt or sorbet. It can do so in as little as 40 minutes, and the results are seriously impressive – ‘light, fluffy and tasty’ is the verdict of our friends over at Trusted Reviews.
The machine is self-refrigerated, so you don’t have to remember to put the bowl in the freezer, and has a 10-minute keep-cool function. The removable bowl is super-easy to clean, and there’s a chute that lets you add extras like raisins, chocolate chips or pistachios to the mix. It’s quiet, too.
Best for lasting value
Whip up ice cream or sorbet in this affordable but high-quality machine from Magimix – Digital Editor Amy has had hers for years and it still works perfectly. Just pop Le Glacier’s bowl in the freezer and it should be ready to go in 8-12 hours.
It can make just over a litre of ice cream and comes with a book with recipes for 35 ice creams, sorbets and sauces, including old favourites Rum & Raisin and Lemon Sorbet.
Best for gourmet ice cream
The Smart Scoop may have a Flake-crumbing RRP of £350, but as far as ice cream-making features go, it’s second to none.
Choose from 12 hardness levels – from the hardest for ice cream to the softest for sorbet – and this self-chilling machine automatically keeps it at the right consistency for up to 3 hours. It makes a litre of ice cream, has a child lock and even plays a tune like an ice cream van when it’s ready. Just make sure you’re ready for the stampede!
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Best for guilt-free dessert
Mix salt and ice in the base for the Shake ‘n’ Make ice cream maker, add your mixture to the stainless-steel dish and shake it up vigorously – ideally while listening to Taylor Swift – for about three minutes for a scoop’s worth of yummy ice cream.
The workout you get in the process will make you all the more deserving of the tasty treat you’ve created. It comes with a recipe booklet and a leakproof lid.
Best for sharing
Strawberry, chocolate or vanilla? It’s a tough choice, but with this machine you can make a litre ‘mug’ of two different flavours in one go. Yes, we did say mug, as each has a handle you can hold as you eat so you don’t get frosty fingers.
The Mine And Yours ice cream maker takes 6 hours to freeze the mugs but only 15 minutes to make the ice cream, and you can add nuts and other treats via the two chutes as your desserts churn. Peanut butter M&Ms, anyone?
Best for cones
So you’ve made your ice cream, but did you remember to buy cones? It’s not a problem if you have this gadget to hand. Just whisk up a batter (the recipe is included), spoon it onto the hotplate, cook for a couple of minutes, then use the shaper to turn the wafer into a cone. It also makes waffle bowls, or you could cut the cooked batter into shapes with a cookie cutter, and pop them into afresh scoop of ice cream.
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So what are you waiting for? Grab yourself an ice cream maker and get experimenting. Just think of all the gourmet flavours you can try – brown bread, mint choc chip, egg and bacon… sorry, we’ve been watching too much Masterchef!