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7 Affordable Ninja Creami Alternatives: Comparison & Reviews 2024

7 Affordable Ninja Creami Alternatives: Comparison & Reviews 2024

    Making delicious ice cream and other frozen treats is easy, especially if you're using the TikTok-obsessed Ninja CREAMi Ice Cream Maker . It's all good, except it's a bit pricey, but those on a budget can find an alternative to the Ninja CREAMi, and here are 6 of the best ice cream makers for homemade frozen treats—from Cuisinart, Hamilton Beach, and more.

What is the Ninja CREAMi?

The Ninja™ CREAMi®, America's #1 ice cream maker, turns almost anything into ice cream, gelato, milkshakes, sorbets, light ice cream, and smoothie bowls. 

Ninja, the #1 brand in small kitchen appliances in the US, is a part of JS Global Lifestyle Company Limited, which also includes Shark and Joyoung. JS Global ranks as one of the largest small household appliance companies in the world.

The Ninja CREAMi 7-in-1 ice cream maker came out in July 2021, but in 2024, it's an incredibly popular kitchen gadget on TikTok.

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Should you buy the Creami?


Ninja CREAMi Review Summary:


REASONS TO BUY

  • Multiple functions for ice cream, gelato, sorbet and more.

  • Creamiest, richest, and densest gelato I've ever made at home.

  • Easy to make dairy-free, low-fat, low-sugar versions of your favorite ice cream treat.

  • Consistency is superb and can't be achieved in a regular blender.

  • There are an endless amount of really delicious recipes you can make with this, especially if you want to try it with protein shakes.

  • It creams things in a minute or less.

  • Cleanup is really easy and it comes with easy-to-store cups/lids.

  • If you eat ice cream all the time, these will end up saving you money in the long run.

  • Incredibly user-friendly, with separate buttons for everything.

  • Easy to take apart and clean.

  • Huge library of recipes.


REASONS TO AVOID

  • 12-24 hours of freezing required

  • High price tag

  • Only two pints included

  • Loud when in use

  • It is heavy and takes up a decent amount of room if you have a small kitchen.

6 Affordable Ninja Creami Alternatives and Comparison List

We found ice cream makers from top brands like KitchenAid, Cuisinart, and Hamilton Beach, ranging in price from $20 to $100.




Overall RatingPricePerformanceCapacitySoundspeedPre-freeze timeDimensionsWeightDishwasher safe

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Ninja® CREAMi Breeze™5$1994.81.5 quarts65Excellent16

Yes
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Cuisinart ICE-21

4.8$654.71.5 quarts55Excellent17

no
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KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment

4.5$88.954.42 quarts52Good13

Yes
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Cuisinart ICE-30BC

4.4$105.994.22 quarts60Good208.25 x 8.25 x 11.5 inches
no
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Hamilton Beach 4 Quart Ice Cream Maker

4.1$49.994.14 quarts55Average20

no
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DASH My Pint

4$21.953.91 quart50Good20

no
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Nostalgia ICMW400

4$61.2544 quarts55Average20

no


To find the best ice cream maker, we tested 20 models. We used each device to create two frozen recipes—traditional ice cream and sorbet—and evaluated them for design, ease of use, performance, taste, ease of cleaning, and more.

Read on for our exhaustive reviews of which are the best ice cream makers for fluffy, creamy smooth ice cream with no ice crystals/freezer burn and the least hassle.



What We LikeWhat We Don't Like

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Ninja® CREAMi Breeze™
  • Multiple functions for ice cream, gelato, sorbet and more.

  • Creamiest, richest, and densest gelato I've ever made at home.

  • Easy to make dairy-free, low-fat, low-sugar versions of your favorite ice cream treat.

  • Consistency is superb and can't be achieved in a regular blender.

  • There are an endless amount of really delicious recipes you can make with this, especially if you want to try it with protein shakes.

  • It creams things in a minute or less.

  • Cleanup is really easy and it comes with easy-to-store cups/lids.

  • If you eat ice cream all the time, these will end up saving you money in the long run.

  • Incredibly user-friendly, with separate buttons for everything.

  • Easy to take apart and clean.

  • Huge library of recipes.

 
  • 12-24 hours of freezing required

  • High price tag

  • Only two pints included

  • Loud when in use

  • It is heavy and takes up a decent amount of room if you have a small kitchen.

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Cuisinart ICE-21

  • It yields smooth, creamy, and consistently-mixed ice cream and sorbet.

  • The four feet provide a sturdy base, so this machine won’t move around while in use.

  • The machine is quiet and easy for beginners to understand and use.

  • The churning process takes longer than some of the other machines we tested.

  • Because this uses a frozen bowl method, you’ll need enough storage space to store the bowl.

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KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment

  • Simple to use

  • Good value

  • Relatively quiet

  • Great quality results

  • Creates a smooth and delicious sorbet.

  • Only compatible with KitchenAid

  • Difficult to store in freezer

  • Long prep time

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Cuisinart ICE-30BC

  • Good for ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet

  • Good value

  • Small footprint

  • Is a high-end, attractive product

  • Large spout makes adding ingredients easy

  • Large bowl capacity

  • Unique churning mechanism

  • Simple function

  • Instruction/Recipe book

  • Limited 3-year warranty

  • BPA Free

  • Requires overnight prep

  • Makes a little bit of noise

  • Brushed metal casing prone to fingerprints

  • The texture of the ice cream is slightly gritty

  • It takes 30 minutes to reach the desired state

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Hamilton Beach 4 Quart Ice Cream Maker

  • A budget buy

  • Pretty large capacity

  • Makes up to 1 gallon at a time

  • Automatically stops when ice cream is ready

  • Lightweight when empty


  • Can be noisy while churning

  • Obnoxious operation

  • Requires a lot of ice

  • Can’t make small batches

  • Harder to clean

  • Takes twice as long

  • May result in condensation when in use

  • Has a short cord for such a large machine

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DASH My Pint

  • Quick and easy

  • Easy to assemble

  • Easy to store

  • Fun for kids

  • Must pre-freeze the bowl

  • Hand wash only

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Nostalgia ICMW400




Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker


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#1 Pro. cheap price

The Cuisinart ICE-21 may not have some of the features of higher-end models, but it's fully automatic and can deliver premium homemade ice cream in 20 minutes at a great price. No need to upgrade to self-cooling compressor models.

It typically sells for under $75, so it makes both a great gift for beginners and a useful research tool for ice cream experts.

The machine also comes with a three-year limited warranty—longer than any other machine we picked.

#2 Pro. The best entry-level ice cream maker that produces good texture

Both ice cream and sorbet have an even texture, albeit a bit softer and more soft serve–like than some other machines. 

Place the finished product in the freezer for a few hours to harden but still retain its smoothness and scoopability.

We're delighted that ICE-21's ice cream is creamy, dense, and chewy.

#3 Pro. Ease of use:

With just a switch (to turn the machine on and off) and a lightweight base, the ICE-21 is very simple to install.

The process of using it is simple and designed not to be confusing. The double insulated freezer bowl fits into the base, the mixing paddle fits into the base, and the plastic lid holds everything together.

You pour in your base mixture, and as the bowl spins, the paddle scrapes a layer of frozen material off the interior wall, incorporating it back into the mixture. After about 20 minutes, you get fully churned ice cream. 

#4 Pro. Roomy opening for ingredients

The ICE-21 has a wide opening, so you can pause and taste or easily add mix-ins.

And it comes with non-slip feet so it won't move around while the paddle mixes the base.

#1 ConNeed to prepare in advance

Since this ice cream maker uses a freezer bowl. If you want to make ice cream right away, it has to stay in the freezer all the time and takes up a lot of space.

In addition to the freezer bowl that comes with this ice cream maker, we recommend purchasing a few extra jars and keeping them in the freezer so they are always on hand when you crave a treat.

Bowls take 16 to 24 hours to freeze completely. You shouldn't hear any liquid sloshing, or you'll end up with ice cream with an uneven consistency like a frozen milkshake.

#2 Consmall capacity

This model has a smaller capacity than some of Cuisinart's other ice cream makers, so be mindful of batch sizes when following recipes and scaling down accordingly to prevent spillage.

Batch yields are a bit small for homemade ice cream.

#3 Conbulky

And the machine is rather bulky. Also, none of the parts are dishwasher safe, but they're also unlikely to need anything more than a rinse.

#4 Conlong time

According to the brand, you control the device by turning a switch on or off, and you can whip up ice cream, sorbet, or frozen yogurt in about 20 minutes. This machine takes longer to blend the ingredients than some others we've tried. 

#Cuisinart ICE-21 Competitor Comparison

If you want more capacity but don't want a compressor: The Cuisinart ICE-70 is another bowl ice cream maker with a half-quart larger capacity than the ICE-21. It also has some additional features, such as a timer and a wider opening for adding mixture. It also has three modes, gelato, ice cream, and sorbet, rather than the ICE-21's one-size-fits-all switch. As with the Cuisinart ICE-21, with this machine you can make multiple batches in a row if you purchase additional freezer bowl inserts.

The 2-Quart Cuisinart Pure Indulgence Ice Cream Maker (ICE-30BCP1) makes ice cream that is icier than our selection. It's slightly louder than the ICE-21, but louder and slower. If you want to make more ice cream in one go than the ICE-21, try the Cuisinart ICE-70.

The Cuisinart ICE-100 ice cream maker couldn't compete with other compressor models; it took a long time to churn, and its ice cream ranked last in taste tests.

KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment


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Why not let your KitchenAid stand mixer double as an ice cream maker? "If you already own a KitchenAid, this kit is a great option for you to try making ice cream at home. It may not offer all the features of a standalone model, but it's easy to use and adds more functionality to your existing appliances.

#1 Pro. easy to use

KitchenAid stand mixers double as ice cream makers with this freeze-bowl attachment, which is compatible with most of the brand’s tilt-head and bowl-lift models.

Once frozen, you can attach it directly to your blender like you would a typical mixing bowl.

You pour in the base mix, set the mixer to whisk (it's the slowest setting), and let it do its thing.

According to the brand, in about 20 to 30 minutes, your ice cream, gelato, sorbet, or other frozen treat is ready.

For the best results, you'll need to plan on storing the freezer bowl in your freezer for at least 15 hours. 

#2 Pro. save money

If you're not too keen on having other appliances on your counter, the KitchenAid Ice Cream Mixer Attachment is perfect.

If you already own a KitchenAid mixer and want to add more versatility to your machine, upgrade it with this stylish ice cream attachment. The purchase includes a 2-quart bowl, a palette and mixer attachment, all of which feel sturdy and durable.

#3 Pro. This attachment produced smooth and delicious sorbet.

If you’re looking to make considerable quantities of soft serve ice cream, sorbet, or frozen yogurt, this is perfect. It’s relatively quick, quiet, and very hands-off.

The ice cream result is a milkshake-like consistency. Followed the manufacturer's instructions to add the mix at 13 minutes, but it seemed too early. After 12 hours in the freezer the ice cream went from very liquidy to pretty icy and it tasted icy.

However, sorbet is much better than ice cream. It took about 35 minutes to make the sorbet, and we were initially concerned that it would start to liquefy when we poured it into pint containers. However, after 2 hours in the freezer, it regained its shape and texture and was smooth and delicious.

#4 Pro. easy to clean

It's also easy to clean, with a dishwasher-safe paddle assembly and a bowl that can be easily rinsed by hand.

#1 Conlong mixing time

Even though the directions said a batch should take 20 to 30 minutes to freeze, our batch was still a bit soft even after half an hour, tested with sorbet and ice cream. If you prefer a firmer texture, we recommend letting it sit for 35 or even 40 minutes, and putting it in the fridge for an hour or two after stirring.

#2 Conbig bowl

Before use, KitchenAid recommends that you freeze the bowl for 16 hours. Although this is a common feature of ice cream makers, this is nearly eleven inches tall. You'll have to clear at least half a shelf of space for it. It also needs to be at the back or coolest part of your freezer, so you can’t precariously push it in anywhere. 

Cuisinart ICE-30BC Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet & Ice Cream Maker


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Cuisinart are market leaders for ice cream makers and the Pure Indulgence doesn’t disappoint.

#1 Pro. dignified appearance

Standing tall, square and ceremonial, this Cuisinart ice cream maker is unabashedly good-looking and one of the freeze-first models we feel deserves pride of place on the kitchen counter.

Although a larger model, it doesn't take up a lot of space on your kitchen counter.

#2 Pro. value for money

Cuisinart has strong strength and rich experience in the ice cream maker market; the Pure Indulgence model is a safe bet.

You can get more frills and flourish, but for under $100, this is good value and a great option for domestic use. 

#3 Pro. double insulated freezer bowl holds up to 2 quarts 

This freeze-first model has a generous two-litre capacity, which equates to 1.5 litres of ice cream base, making this the ideal choice for ice cream lovers or those looking to make big batches. 

#4 Pro. good performance

The resulting ice cream and sorbet were generally smooth, though we noticed a slight grittiness in the ice cream. But both are firm and ready to serve in no time.

Ice cream wasn’t as silky as we’d have liked, but delicious nonetheless. The ice cream had a slightly gritty texture due to the ice crystals that form. We would have liked it to be silky smooth, so that's a shame. But when eaten, the ice cream was firm and melted slowly.

The Cuisinart produced a fantastic sorbet. It was firm and, unlike the ice cream, there were no ice crystals to be seen or felt when eating: it was perfectly smooth.

#5 Pro. large ingredient spout for adding mix-ins

Putting this ice cream maker together is straightforward. The lid is totally clear, making it easy to sneak a look at how your ice cream is getting on, plus the large hole in the top makes adding mix-ins effortless.

#1 Conit’s not automatic

There’s an on/off dial but no timer, so keep an eye on the consistency of your ice cream or check the manual for info about timings. 

#2 Conmore cleaning

All parts of the Cuisinart are not dishwasher safe, so you will need to wash them by hand. It's very quick and easy.

However, the base station showed a bit more fingerprint than we'd like. This requires more cleaning than other models.

#3 Contime consuming

Cuisinart advises freezing the bowl for at least 12 hours, giving you plenty of time to make your base and let it chill completely.

When making ice cream, Cuisinart recommends at least 20 minutes of churning. But we found that it took about 25 minutes to make ice cream. After another five it was firm and perfect.

It has a unique churning mechanism, so the paddle stays still and the bowl rotates. This makes the mixture more likely to keep moving if the ice cream is thick or your motor is flagging. 

Hamilton Beach 4 Quart Ice Cream Maker

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A popular name in the small appliance world, Hamilton Beach delivers reliable products at reasonable prices. 

#1 Pro. modernization of an old design

When you want ice cream made the old-fashioned way, but without the hassle. Instead of churning rock salt and a base by hand, the Hamilton Beach Automatic Ice Cream Maker does it for you.

Well, technology has caught up and took that old design and gave it a modern makeover with the Hamilton Beach Automatic Ice Cream Maker.

#2 Pro. prepare a Variety of Frozen Treats

In addition to a lot of ice cream, the Hamilton Beach Automatic Ice Cream Maker offers a lot of value through its included manual. You’ll get tips for operating the appliance, as well as 20 delicious recipes to try out, from ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet, gelato to fruit sherbet.

#3 Pro. makes Enough Ice Cream for the Whole Family

The large 4 quart capacity is the perfect size for making ice cream and other frozen desserts for family, friends and special occasions.

#4 Pro. cheap price

This ice cream maker is honestly a steal, especially considering it can make a gallon of ice cream. As ice cream makers get more expensive, their capacities often get smaller, with some high-end models making less than two quarts.

#5 Pro. easy to use 

The machine’s canister is surrounded by ice and rock salt, so you don't have to pre-freeze it like you do with some other ice cream makers. 

As such, you can start making ice cream as soon as you have all the ingredients you need. 

Once your ice cream is thick enough, the maker stops churning automatically, signaling that your dessert is ready.

If soft serve isn’t your style, you can always chill the bucket beforehand and get a much harder consistency.

#1 Conloud

Its motor is powerful, which is great for churning ingredients but also means this ice cream maker is quite noisy.

#2 Contoo long

In general, salt rock and ice machines, like this one, take longer to churn than models with freezer bowls.

The manual claims you only have to wait half an hour to eat homemade ice cream, but in our testing, we found it takes at least an hour of mixing and plenty of ice and salt to yield good results.

There also isn’t an on-and-off switch, so you have to unplug the ice cream maker to check your mixture.

#3 Conobnoxious operation

There’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to attaching the motor, because it needs to snap perfectly onto the bucket, the spatula rod, and the canister cover. Its short electrical cord means you need to place it close to an outlet. 

#4 Contime consuming to clean

Because this model relies on salt and ice to freeze the ice cream, it can be a messy process and is best for backyards and patios.

It has a lot of surface area, but the flexible plastic and aluminum material is relatively easy to clean. When cleaning, watch out for rock salt that may have crusted on the bottom of the barrel. It takes about 10 minutes, which is twice as long as cleaning the top models.

DASH My Pint Electric Ice Cream Maker Machine for Gelato, Sorbet + Frozen Yogurt with Mixing Spoon & Recipe Book


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#1 Pro. compact and lightweight

The problem with most at-home ice cream makers is that they usually take up a lot of room in your freezer while their contents are waiting to be eaten. That’s why I love this mini ice cream maker that churns out just less than one pint at a time.

Weighing less than 1 lb, it's a must-have for first apartments, smaller kitchens, college dorm living, or camper/RV travel. 

#2 Pro. very affordable

At $22, it's much less expensive than other bulky machines. While we can't deny our love for the Cuisinart, you can achieve cool, creamy homemade ice cream at home with only $25, 30 minutes of waiting time, and little-to-no space taken up in your kitchen.

#3 Pro. simple design

It has a removable core that you can leave in the freezer overnight, then put it in the machine, pour in your ice cream base, and pop the top on to start churning. 

It has no frills and no unnecessary extra features, just a simple ON/OFF switch and the ability to make ice cream, sorbet, or gelato in less than 30 minutes. 

It’s everything you want in an ice cream maker — and it’s easy enough for kids to operate, too.

#4 Pro. easy to use 

The Dash My Pint can churn out 1.6 cups of soft-serve texture ice cream in roughly 30 minutes.

As great as the ice cream is after you let it firm up in the freezer, there’s something so delightful about eating a few spoonfuls of the freshly churned mixture when it’s still semi-soft.

#5 Pro. mixing spoon

It additionally comes with a mixing spoon so you can dig in straight from the bowl or fold in toppings with it.

#1 Consoft serve ice cream

The result is not hard-frozen ice cream, it’s more like soft-serve.

Nostalgia ICMW400 Electric Bucket Ice Cream Maker With Easy-Carry Handle, 4-Quarts


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Nostalgia Electrics produces numerous kitchen appliances with retro aesthetics. And this model marries the heritages style of bucket ice cream makers with contemporary innovation, reflecting the old-fashioned values of simplicity and quality for a fun, at home ice cream making experience.

#1 Pro. rustic look

Though its wood-like appearance may seem quaint, the Nostalgia 4-Quart Wood Bucket Ice Cream Maker is not old-fashioned in the least bit. That’s because it’s equipped with an electric motor and sturdy plastic paddle that can make ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sorbets in under an hour. 

#2 Pro. operation is simple

Put the aluminum mixing canister, loaded with the chilled mix, into the center of the bucket. Fill the gap between the canister and the bucket with ice and salt, then turn it on. When the mixture is ready, the machine will gear down to a stop. 

#3 Pro. auto shut off

The automatic shut-off is another feature users appreciate, as it takes the guesswork out of determining when the mix is ready.

#4 Pro. easy to carry

This product is very portable thanks to its easy carry handle.

Featuring a powerful electric motor that locks securely into place, it doesn’t require any manual churning to operate. 

#5 Pro. 4-quart capacity

This pick stands out because it has a 4-quart capacity (the biggest of all the ice cream makers we tested), making it ideal for large families, BBQs, and children’s parties. 

You can also make your own ice cream flavors by mixing in the chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry flavor packets that come with it.

#1 Contakes 40 minutes

Preparing the ice cream will take 25 to 45 minutes, depending on the quantities and ingredients used.

It took us 40 minutes of churning to turn 2.6 quarts of base mixture into 4 quarts of ice cream. At first, it seemed too soft to scoop at all. However, after 2 hours in the freezer, the texture improved significantly. After 5 hours, the ice cream was ready to scoop, although there were some bits of ice here and there.

#2 Consoft texture

The result will be a smooth and rich ice cream with the texture of soft serve – serve as is, or chill in the freezer for a few hours to firm and harden.

#3 Conquality needs to be improved

A lot of reviewers were disappointed that what they received wasn’t an “authentic” wooden bucket, but wooden slats glued onto a plastic recepticle. Some others complained about the finish on the slats being scratched and worn, with the appearance of a used, rather than new, item. 

Final verdict

1690422918341482.pngNinja® CREAMi Breeze™

CREAMi is perfect for making ice cream and other frozen treats. Five or seven or eleven different functions really make it a kitchen wizard.

I've been impressed with the Ninja Ice Cream Maker's ability to create soft, creamy desserts that rival the frozen desserts you get at ice cream parlors.

Traditional ice cream machines require a high level of fat to ensure the mixture can be churned into a smooth, creamy dessert. However, if you want to create a gourmet meal with an alternative, Ninja has dedicated programs for low-fat and dairy-free options, which are ideal.

I was also impressed with Ninja Creami's wide range of recipes, its ability to handle multiple recipes at once, and how quickly it turned frozen ingredients into ice cream and frozen desserts.

The Ninja Creami is the best and most convenient ice cream maker in your kitchen. I will definitely be using it year-round, not just in summer. While it can be a bit noisy and on the pricier side, I have to say that the Ninja Creami is far faster and far superior than other ice cream makers.

Overall, I definitely recommend Ninja CREAMi to anyone who wants to make ice cream at home. Remember to order online if it's back in stock, as you'll also get up to 3% cashback to save money.

1691141832327634.jpgCuisinart ICE-21

The Cuisinart ICE-21 is one of our favorite non-compressor ice cream machines, and we think it is the best bet for most people shopping on a budget.

Hands down, this Cuisinart ice cream maker was one of the easiest-to-use models we tested, and the results were just as impressive. Our only advice is to make sure you have enough storage space in your freezer because the freezer bowl is quite big.

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