Best Manual Ice Cream Makers Review

Making ice cream used to be a social event. It was mainly due to the high level of manual labor needed to crank the handle.

It took numbers of laborers to produce ice cream with a manual ice cream maker. The secret to making ice cream in a hand crank ice cream machine is the melting point (making ice colder) of ice with salt.

A canister is submerged in the ice salt combination and churned by hand. The churning does several things, it keeps the mix from freezing in to clumps, it keeps the mix from separating, and it transfers the cooling temperatures throughout making freezing time shorter.

A crank is attached to the top of the canister and secured to the bucket. The crank spins some paddles in the container stirring the mix inside.

It would take a few people to keep the machine churning and since only one person can churn at a time there is a lot of time for conversation.

Fortunately the finished product is so wonderful it is worth the pain and wait. The reactions on your family members’ faces will be worth all the sweat you put in to making fresh, healthy, unique ice cream made by you!

Ice cream is first credited to the Chinese and date back to about 3000 B.C. It is believed they used fruits and either shaved ice or mountain snow.

It was much later when Marco Polo, after returning from his sail to the East, is believed to introduce the Italians in the West to this early form of ice cream.

Although there are earlier reports of Roman Emperors enjoying similar treats centuries before Marco Polo was even born.

The Italians, being fond of sweets, took the concept and made it their own by making it creamier and the predecessor to what we now know as ice cream.

Ice cream remained a rare delicacy until 1800 when insulated ice houses were invented. This made ice and ice cream available year round. Industrial manufacturing of ice cream followed shortly after.

Hand cranked or manual ice cream makers can make ice cream of all levels of hardness. For the lovers of softer ice cream, just remove the container earlier when the mixture is starting to feel firm.

Keep cranking the handle longer and the ice cream will freeze harder. It will not become rock hard but if you put it in the freezer for some time it will become rock hard.

Another benefit of a manual ice cream maker is that you can add any mix-ins you wish. There is no risk of burning up a motor, just burning out your friends and family.

You can also control the nutrition of your ice cream by making your own.

It is important to remember when looking for a manual ice cream maker that it will take more than its share of abuse.

Think of all the volunteers changing positions, kicking the bucket by accident, torqueing on the handle when the churning gets difficult.

Look for manufacturers with a reputation for quality. Consider what material the bucket is made with, wood should stand up to the abuse much better then plastic that tends to age and get brittle.

The wood bucket will need to be prepped by swelling the wood if it has not been used for some time.

Top Manual Ice Cream Machines


Donvier Manual Ice Cream Maker 1 Quart, White


One of the advantages of this smaller hand crank ice cream maker is that you can make individual or small portions of ice cream.

The smaller size also means the ice cream will freeze up easier. The best thing about this machine is that there is no salt or ice needed.

All you do is occasionally turn the crank for 15 to 20 minutes and the pre frozen canister that has liquid between the walls will freeze your ice cream mixture while you stir the insides preventing ice clumping.


  • Durable
  • Easy to use
  • Great for individual or 2 person serving sizes


  • Pre-freezing takes 7-24 hours
  • Limited by the number of containers to the number of batches made at one time

We rate this manual ice cream maker 7.5 out of 10


White Mountain PBWMIMH412-SHP Appalachian Series Wooden Bucket 4-Quart Hand Cranked Ice Cream Maker


White Mountain actually makes 2 sizes of this manual ice cream maker. You can buy it in either a 4-quart or 6-quart size.

Using traditional ice and salt as the cooling agent keeps this traditional style ice cream maker authentic. It is improved from the older versions with a twin blade “Dasher” moving in clockwise and counter clock wise directions.

White Mountain uses only the best materials, New England Pine, stainless steel for the canister and a heavy-duty cast iron dasher.


  • Higher priced
  • Easy to use
  • No electricity needed
  • Carries on tradition and history
  • 2 sizes offered


  • Hard to turn when ice cream mixture is almost frozen

We rate this manual ice cream maker 9 out of 10


White Mountain F64304-X 4-Quart Hand-Crank Ice Cream Freezer


This durable hand crank ice cream maker will be a great activity to give families bonding time. The maple finish bucket conceals the modern stainless steel canister and dasher improvements over the traditional manual ice cream maker.


  • Traditional in appearance
  • Easy to use


  • Reports of the mechanics failing
  • Metal in the finished ice cream

We rate this manual ice cream maker 7 out of 10

Bring the family out for bonding time with a reward at the end. Since only one person can crank at a time there will be loads of time for conversations and games.

Reconnect with the ones you love. Invite the neighborhood kids over for a summer time treat that they can make themselves.

Liven up your 4th of July picnic with this fun nostalgic activity. The events are limitless just like the flavors you can create making your own ice cream.

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