The Best Tools for Making Ice Cream at Home

This summer, skip the line at your local shop and make your own delicious ice cream.

Nothing says summer quite like a bowl of ice cream. And this summer I’m ready to try my hand at making some at home. Most recipes require an ice cream maker. We tested six models and found a compact, inexpensive machine that works with just the push of a button. It produced velvety ice cream and evenly-textured sorbet and frozen yogurt, too. But I might skip the ice cream maker entirely and use a blender to make this brilliant recipe for no-churn ice cream. Machine or no machine, I’m excited to get started. The only question left is, what flavor should I make first?

—Carolyn Grillo, Associate Editor, ATK Reviews

This folded metal pan produced tall, picture-perfect pound cake and sandwich bread with crisp corners. Like all folded pans, it lacked handles and had crevices in the corners that trapped food. We had to clean it very carefully. The corrugated pattern on the metal didn't affect the appearance of the baked goods. It still scratched slightly.

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This easy-to-use machine quickly made perfect, evenly golden-brown waffle cones from the first time we tried it. A color-control knob lets you set your preferred browning level, nonstick plates released smoothly, and cleanup was simple, aided by an overflow channel that contained messes. While it’s pricier than its rival, it’s much more solidly built and gave consistently good results.

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This new blender from Breville improves upon its predecessor in a few key ways. It’s more powerful, so it can get smoothies and almond butter even smoother, and it has a dedicated “green smoothie” button that completely blends fibrous ingredients into a silky smooth drink. It’s reasonably quiet and reasonably compact, and combined its ingredients efficiently with minimal pauses to scrape down the sides. Like the previous model, it still automatically stops every 60 seconds, which can be a little annoying during longer blends, but this wasn’t that big of an issue. Its timer makes tracking recipe stages very easy.

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This quiet, high-powered blender has simple, intuitive controls. As for its blending capability, it was top-notch. It was able to produce fine-textured foods without incorporating excess air, thanks to its narrow blender jar. The tamper accessory was helpful when blending thicker foods, and the blender’s 7-year warranty insured our investment. It’s tall, at 20.25 inches, so it can’t be stored on a counter beneath a standard 18-inch-tall cabinet, and its narrow jar made scraping out its contents a minor challenge.

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With an ergonomic Santoprene rubber handle and a balanced, lightweight feel, this whisk was like an extension of a hand. It whipped cream and egg whites quickly, thanks to 10 wires that were thin enough to move through the liquid quickly but thick enough to push through heavy mixtures and blend pan sauces to smoothness.

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These precut parchment sheets, which come in a large plastic zipper-lock bag, are the only ones in our lineup that are stored completely flat. They're also sized just right to slide easily into a standard rimmed baking sheet, although we did have to use two overlapping sheets when rolling jelly roll cakes into coils. Their superior convenience made them the runaway favorite. Don't let the purchase price distract you: The per-sheet cost falls squarely in the middle of our lineup.

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The deeply beveled edge of this scraper cut through pizza and bread dough quickly and scraped the work surface effectively. The textured polypropylene handle was easy to hold on to, even with greasy or floury hands, and was thinner than other scrapers’ handles, helping us hold it flat to the work surface for easier, more effective scooping and scraping.

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