The 10 Best Soft Serve Makers

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Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive

This wiki has been updated 18 times since it was first published in January of 2017. While we all have our own favorite brands and flavors of store-bought ice cream, nothing can beat making your own frozen desserts at home with one of these nifty soft serve machines. Our selection includes models that are easy to use and capable of churning a variety of ingredients and toppings into creamy, delicious treats the whole family will enjoy. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best soft serve maker on Amazon.

10. Cuisinart ICE-21

9. Sunbeam Polar Blast

8. Spaceman 6210

7. Breville Smart Scoop

6. Gourmia GSI180

5. Polar Swirl D150

4. Cuisinart Gelataria

3. Vevor Commercial

2. Nostalgia FDM1

1. Yonanas Elite

Special Honors

SaniServ No matter what type of frozen beverage or dessert you're interested, SaniServ makes a machine that produce it in huge batches. Including milkshakes, soft serve, hurricanes, and some of the biggest batches of ice cream you've ever seen, their appliances are often seen making sweet treats in professional commissaries and eating establishments.

Taylor C161 They offer a wide range of options, all of which do differ slightly, but Taylor's C161 model is particularly highly recommended and is one of their most popular. It sports dual 1.5-liter freezing cylinders and has an impressive duty cycle that can stand up to some of the longest lines on the hottest days in the busiest amusement parks. Thanks to dual holding tanks and 3 dispensers, it can even produce the almighty chocolate and vanilla zebra cone.

HC Duke and Son Electro Freeze Electro Freeze is quite the diverse line of machines, so if you're outfitting a dessert shop or entire theme park with equipment, they can almost certainly provide you with the perfect model. Their products will set you back more than much of the competition, but their speed, reliability, and consistency may well be worth it to high-volume institutions.

Editor's Notes

October 17, 2019:

There are different ways to go about creating silky, delicious soft serve. Traditional ice cream makers like the Cuisinarts are quite effective at making frozen desserts, but the drawback is that their chilling comes from a freezer bowl rather than a built-in compressor. The Breville is an excellent step up from those low-tech models, and although it's quite loud, it's also highly effective and lets you set exactly how stiff you want the results using a digital control panel.

Then there are commercial-style machines, the likes of which can be found at buffets across the country. These generally have the drawback of being absurdly expensive and incredibly bulky, but the Vevor is at least on the low side of both of those. The Polar Swirl is considerably more compact although it is more expensive, and can only dispense a single flavor. If it'll be seeing full-time use, consider something like the Spaceman, which is the entry-level model from a company that often supplies commercial outlets. One model that's particularly intriguing is the Nostalgia, which uses a configuration similar to a commercial machine but takes up very little room by comparison, though it is still pretty pricey.

Then there's an entirely different method that starts with frozen fruit or dairy (or both) and sends it all through a grinding or mashing gear to achieve a smooth consistency. As long as you keep all the ingredients that you need frozen and at the ready, this is one of the easiest methods as far as serving size and cleanup go. The Yonanas Elite is one of the best of these, but the Gourmia is also good if you'll only use it occasionally. And while the Sunbeam isn't meant to pulverize frozen fruit, it can help you to make Flurry- or Blizzard-style desserts in the comfort of your own home.

Why You'll Be Glad You Bought A Soft Serve Maker

It seems like every time you log online or open a newspaper today, you learn about some new, unhealthy ingredient being snuck into the common snacks you have every day.

The decision to buy a new kitchen appliance is never an easy one. We understand that your countertops are perhaps already lacking real estate, but it's definitely worth it to make some room for a soft serve maker, especially of you have children. Think of the first thing your kids want after a soccer game or a ballet recital: ice cream. After a long day of shuttling them around and sitting in traffic, the last thing you want to do is stand in line to buy them scoops — not to mention that some varieties are just getting too expensive. Skip that unnecessary stop and just go straight home, where you can make them a cool and sweet treat, right out of your kitchen.

For special events such as birthday parties and summer barbecues, you must have a refreshing dessert to serve guests. You could rent a soft serve machine, but you'll find that can easily costs you an arm and a leg. Purchasing tubs of ice cream is another option, but they either cram up your freezer or melt on the countertops when people take too long to get to them. A soft serve machine lets you better manage how you dole out this frozen delight and will keep those freezer shelves available for the single TV dinners you like to stock up on. They are also great way to promote some family time with the kids on ordinary nights.

When you make soft serve at home, you get to control what goes into your food, too. It seems like every time you log online or open a newspaper today, you learn about some new, unhealthy ingredient being snuck into the common snacks you have every day. At least when you use one of these machines, you know exactly what goes into your tasty treat. In that way, a soft serve maker can take some of the guilt out of consuming something sugary after dinner.

Why Soft Serve Is Better Than Ice Cream

If you still need some convincing to leave the ice cream camp and come over to the soft serve side, here you go. The consistency of ice cream is often problematic. It's too hard to eat when it first comes out of the freezer. Your two options are to wait for it to soften (in which case, you might just forget it's on the counter and it melts) or just gobble it up as is, but that just results in an awful brain freeze, or cold stimulus headache to go by the technical term. Plus, if it's in a cone, you wind up biting rather than licking your ice cream because it's too stiff. Soft serve comes out with the perfect texture and thickness. Just toss on your favorite toppings and it's ready to go.

In addition to being easier on your waistline, it's also gentler on your teeth.

On the subject of toppings, you've probably noticed that these stay on soft serve better than they do on scoops of ice cream. The swirly ridges in the former hold onto sprinkles, miniature gummy bears, and coconut shreds much better than perfectly round, smooth mounds of ice cream. When you put these goodies on top of cold, hard scoops, you just find them at the bottom of the bowl — you can't get the flavorful experiences of having them mixed into each bite. Another delicious thing you can easily add to a soft serve cone that you can't quite to scoops is a chocolate shell. That makes the dessert even better.

Soft serve is better for your health than ice cream is, too. The reason it's so light and fluffy is that it has a much lower fat content. If you also make your own cone at home with a machine, you can fully control all the ingredients in your dessert. In addition to being easier on your waistline, it's also gentler on your teeth. Those with sensitive chompers may have found that soft serve doesn't hurt them as much as ice cream does. That's because the former is typically served at around 25 degrees Fahrenheit, while the latter comes in at around five chilly degrees. Last but not least, you have the option to swirl several flavors together with a soft serve machine — you just can't do that with regular old ice cream.

Features To Look For In Your Soft Serve Maker

When it's time to select the perfect soft serve maker for your home, there will be a lot of different options. If you want to use plenty of frozen fruit in your concoctions, make sure your machine has the ability to slice, grind, and grate chunkier items. You can even select one with a built-in cooling system that will get your ingredients cold and ready for you, so you don't need to store them in the freezer. For easy cleanup, consider a model with machine-washable parts.

Meanwhile, brighter, more family-friendly homes might like one of the cheery looking models with colorful parts.

If you're planning a special party for kiddos, complete with a cotton candy machine, bouncy house, and more, go all out by getting the type of soft serve maker that's like a mini ice cream shop. Some have a hopper that houses sprinkles, a compartment that holds cones, and big, shiny lever to serve the treat up, just like the one you'd find in an old soda shop. As we know, children can be a bit rambunctious, so make sure your model has non-slip rubber feet.

You may need to consider counter space. While some models have huge hoppers, ready for a party, if your kitchen is small, you may want a more compact model. It's always nice when your appliances match your decor, too, so if you have a more modern kitchen, you'll want an industrial-looking model. Meanwhile, brighter, more family-friendly homes might like one of the cheery looking models with colorful parts. Regardless of style, a transparent lid will help you check the progress of your dessert, and a strong motor will speed up the process. You really can't go wrong with any design you choose because, either way, you'll bring homemade soft serve into your life.

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Christopher Thomas
Last updated on October 21, 2019 by Christopher Thomas

Building PCs, remodeling, and cooking since he was young, quasi-renowned trumpeter Christopher Thomas traveled the USA performing at and organizing shows from an early age. His work experiences led him to open a catering company, eventually becoming a sous chef in several fine LA restaurants. He enjoys all sorts of barely necessary gadgets, specialty computing, cutting-edge video games, and modern social policy. He has given talks on debunking pseudoscience, the Dunning-Kruger effect, culinary technique, and traveling. After two decades of product and market research, Chris has a keen sense of what people want to know and how to explain it clearly. He delights in parsing complex subjects for anyone who will listen -- because teaching is the best way to ensure that you understand things yourself.

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