Looking for a more affordable way to make authentic—thick, creamy, and delicious—ice cream at home, camping, or in areas without electricity? If yes, think the hand crank ice maker. Because it’s a handy device, it also creates a fun activity for a fun family night or friends at a party.
That said, knowing the best hand-crank ice cream maker for you is essential to ensure it lets you churn quality ice cream. After analyzing the few available ice cream makers on the market, our research team concluded that the units below would let you create delicious ice cream with the power of your muscle.
Our best hand crank ice cream maker picks:
1. Immergood Stainless Steel Ice Cream Maker
If you’re looking for an old-fashioned crank ice cream maker that’s well-made, easy to use, and gives you quality ice cream, this is it. The Immergood ice cream maker is made with quality parts and hardware, making it a long-lasting unit that will be passed to generations to come.
It features durable and rustproof stainless-steel hardware for ultimate longevity. It also features Polly wear bushings for added durability.
The unit will let you make up to six quarts of excellent ice cream with the power of your hands. It presents you with a unique triple action dasher that creates constant folding of your ice cream, letting you obtain the best possible texture.
A common problem with most ice cream makers is leakage. But not with this unit. It presents you with a single-piece poly tub to ensure you’ll never have to worry about leaking water. Even better, this tub comes insulated to offer ideal temperatures for holding your ice cream for hours, a day, or even more.
As a hand-cranked tool, it means you can use this ice cream maker virtually anywhere to enjoy a frozen treat at your next camping trip or backwoods picnic.
- Made in the USA
- Leak-free ice cream maker
- Durable stainless steel metal parts
- 6-quart capacity
- Clear plastic lid lets you see as you mix
- Triple-layer tub construction
2. Donvier 837450 Manual Ice Cream Maker
Over the years, Donvier has become popular owing to their line of quality ice cream makers that are easy and convenient to use and produce excellent frozen treats. This manual ice cream maker is one such product you can get from the manufacturer.
This unit features a one-quart capacity. It will make more than enough delicious ice cream, sorbet, frozen yogurt, or frozen drinks for your family or friends.
If you have used a manual ice cream maker, then you already know that it needs rock salt or ice for you to start producing ice cream. But this Donvier model comes as an exception! All it requires you to do is turn the crank occasionally for around 15-20 minutes to make your homemade goodness.
If you have run out of recipes to make your ice cream, the manufacturer offers you an instructional booklet with a good number of recipes you can try.
Its top is 100% transparent, so you can have an unobstructed view of what’s going on inside. The aluminum bowl and plastic lid, and outer case are easy to clean. Note that this unit carries a whopping 10-year warranty against all manufacturer defects.
- Makes a quart of ice cream
- No salt or ice needed
- Easy-cleaning aluminum freezer bowl
- Includes recipes booklet
- Measures 9 ½” high, 8” in diameter
3. AMERIHOME ICM6C 6-Quart Old Fashion Ice Cream Maker
With this ice cream maker, you can make up to six quarts of delicious homemade ice cream with fresh flavors than the store-bought ice cream. It presents you with an easy and fun way to gather your family together for a summertime BBQ and enjoy delicious and refreshing treats in approximately 30 minutes.
This ice cream maker is partly what your grandma used back in the day and comes integrated with modern conveniences. It features an interchangeable design, where you can use it as a hand crank or switch to the electric motor—offering you the best of both worlds.
The electric motor will offer you a convenient way to make homemade ice cream for a big group, say during a BBQ party, and free your hands. In contrast, the hand crank will give you the flexibility to harden your frozen treat mixture at the end of the mixing cycle without necessarily using any freezer.
The hand crank option will come in handy when you’re experiencing a power outage, at camping, or living off-grid.
The mixing canister is made from aluminum for rust and corrosion resistance, and increased longevity. The pine tub not only gives the unit a vintage look but comes fully sealed for durability. Note that the top lid is clear to give you an easy view of what’s going on inside.
- Hand crank & electric motor combo design
- Makes up to 6 quarts of ice cream
- Makes soft ice cream in 30mins
- Features durable aluminum can
- Included ice crusher and mixing paddle
- A clear plastic lid offers an easy view
- Included tested and perfected recipes
4. Elite Gourmet EIM-506 6-quart Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Maker
Here’s another great old-fashioned hand-crank ice cream maker that will bring back all the nostalgia and fun of making smooth, thick ice cream with your family or friends. The unit will improve your home’s quality of frozen treats while eliminating unwanted sugars and unhealthy ingredients.
Featuring a capacity as big as 6 quarts, this ice cream maker will let you prepare enough cold and creamy ice cream, gelato, sorbet, or even frozen yogurt for the whole family, picnics, and BBQs. It’s straightforward to use and will let you produce your favorite ice cream in around 40 minutes.
The ice cream maker comes with a solid, handcrafted pinewood tub that has that authentic retro look. Its die-cast hand crank system is easy and comfortable to use and will let you use your muscle power to churn ice with a firmer consistency.
You’ll appreciate the included heavy-duty aluminum freezing canister that makes fresh ice cream in 40 minutes. The canister lid, cap, and ice cream stirrer are also made from the same aluminum material to ensure durability.
Like our previously discussed unit, this Elite ice cream maker lets you easily switch between manual and electric operations to suit your unique needs. All the parts are conveniently removable for easy cleaning.
- Makes 6 quarts of delicious ice cream
- Handcrafted solid pine wood bucket
- Heavy-duty aluminum freezing canister
- Classic die-cast hand crank
- Interchangeable manual/electric operation
5. Lehman’s Amish-Made Hand-Crank Ice Cream Freezer
Sometimes four or six quarts of these delicious frozen goodies aren’t enough. In such a case, Lehman’s Amish-Made hand crank unit will make the best hand-crank ice cream maker for you with a large capacity of up to eight quarts.
It not only makes more ice cream but makes it faster than most models out there. You pour in your favorite recipe in the unit, crank the handle, and soon you’ll be relishing your favorite frozen treat.
The giant capacity hand-crank ice cream freezer boasts rugged construction, top-of-the-line parts, and attention to detail. It features an extra heavy, seamless stainless steel can. The fittings mixer, shaft, and handle consist of stainless steel. Add the zinc alloy gears and rust-free manganese bronze housing, and you’ve got the most rugged, longest-lasting vintage ice maker.
Probably the most notable thing about this freezer is its retro-looking white oak tub. Not just looks, you’ll also quickly notice that this tub has a pretty tall design to facilitate quick and efficient freezing.
Don’t forget that this tub is also carefully sealed to make it 100% leak-proof. It comes secured in place using adjustable stainless steel bands that you can always tighten if they get loose.
- Made in the USA
- Large 8-quart ice cream capacity
- Leak-proof white oak tub
- Heavy-duty stainless steel can
- Zinc alloy gears
- Rustproof manganese bronze housing
- 5-year warranty on stainless steel parts
6. Country Hand Crank Ice Cream Maker
The Ohio-based manufacturer also won a spot on our list with one of the finest wooden hand-crank ice cream makers. This unit involves the traditional design of an ice cream maker that brings new technology to an old idea.
This fantastic ice maker comes with white oak wooden tub—a species known for its superior properties. The tube has a tall design to improve its freezing performance. Its frame is made from rustproof manganese bronze allow, giving it a boost in durability and longevity.
All the hardware used on this tub is made from high-quality stainless steel material to assist with fast cooling and promoted extra durability. The freezing canister also features stainless steel construction to enable you to churn the perfect ice cream with every crank.
Despite the high-quality construction and superior performance, this unit isn’t the most complicated. It’s pretty simple to operate, and even your kids will have fun taking turns to crank it. It’ll take approximately 20-25 minutes to produce tasty ice cream for your family and friends.
- Stainless steel made hardware
- Tall tube design helps freezing
- Rustproof manganese bronze frame
- Adjustable stainless steel bands
- Heavy white oak wooden tub
- Rustproof zinc gears
- Stainless steel one-piece dasher
7. Donvier Half-Pint Ice Cream Maker
If you’re looking for something that makes fewer ice cream makers, this half-pint capacity unit from Donvier is an ideal choice. It also comes with a compact design, so it will easily fit in your freezer. It won’t occupy much space in your counter or kitchen storage rack.
Like all the other ice cream makers featured on this list, this model also comes with good quality construction that will last for a long time. You’ll not only be impressed by its excellent build quality but also its ingenious design.
We also like that this ice cream maker is super easy to use. It gives you an easy, smooth experience assembling it, mixing the ingredients, and stirring to make great-tasting frozen goodies in about 15 minutes. It’ll create a fun activity that all your family members can participate in when out on the porch, after dinner, when watching TV—or just any time!
And unlike other traditional type units that require you to use salt and ice, this model will let you make your favorite homemade ice cream without them. The instruction/recipe booklet included also contributes to the ease of use and convenience of this unit.
- High-quality, long-lasting construction
- Compact, space-saving design
- Half-pint ice cream capacity
- Works without ice or salt
- Makes rich, creamy ice cream in 15 minutes
- Recipe booklet included
How long does it take to hand-crank ice cream?
Now that you’ve got your preferred hand-cranked homemade ice cream maker, you might be wondering how fast it’ll take to make you a soft serve of your favorite ice cream.
The time a manually operated ice cream maker takes to churn out ice cream is roughly 20-25 minutes. However, it can take longer—up to 40 minutes—depending on the model you’re using.
Units that require you to add ice and salt as freezing elements usually need you to crank your ice creamer for a more extended period continually.
The manufacturer usually indicates the time a given model takes to form ice cream.
You can quickly tell that you’re done with hand ice cream after your unit becomes hard to run. At this point, your ice cream is ready, and any additional cranking is unnecessary.
Though up to 20-25 minutes or more might sound like a long wait, it is where the beauty of a hand crank ice maker lies.
Picture this duration as the amount of fun you and your kids will enjoy as you take turns to help crank the handle until the ice cream becomes frozen enough to eat. The extended period means that each kid will have their turn to turn, turn, and turn that baby to produce your frozen treat.
The same thing happens when it comes to making old-fashioned ice cream with friends at a party. Each of the friends will have his 2-5 minutes of churning the ice maker.
Old Fashioned Ice Cream Maker Buying Guide
Don’t mistake following the same shopping steps for a manual ice cream maker as those of electric units. To ensure you get the perfect old-fashioned ice cream maker, follow our simple criteria below.
The first important consideration is the amount of ice cream your new hand-operated ice cream maker can generate at a time.
If you plan to make ice cream for the entire family or a large group of friends, then it goes without saying that you’d want to get a higher-capacity ice cream maker.
These units have their capacities expressed in quarts. And you can get an ice cream maker with a degree as low as a half-pint to as high as 20 quarts!
For a typical family, you can get 1.5 quarts (4 cups) hand-crank ice cream machine.
A unit that offers you a capacity of 6 quarts translates to approx. 24 cups. Such models will be ideal if you’re hosting a larger group of people.
TIP: Keep in mind that the higher the capacity a unit features, the costlier it might be. Larger capacity units also come with a more significant physical size.
Ease of use
You already know the hard truth about these units. They require you to use your muscle power to get that ice cream.
For this reason, you want to get yourself a unit that is more convenient and easier for you. We suggest getting an ice cream maker that takes fewer turns to get your ice cream ready.
Units that take less time to get the ice cream ready mean that you won’t work your muscles the whole day cranking them. Anything around 20 minutes or so will make a great old-fashioned ice maker.
Some units don’t require you to use salt or ice as freezing elements when creating ice cream, making them even more convenient for you to use.
Ice cream quality
The primary reason you want that hand-crank ice cream unit so much is to help you get quality homemade ice cream.
With this in mind, you shouldn’t rush to get an ice cream that has good looks. You should do more research to find out if it can produce your favorite frozen treat in creamy, thick ice cream with a rich flavor.
Looking at the previous users’ reviews will give you a good idea of how unique the unit you want to buy is at churning out quality ice.
Remember, a hand-crank ice cream maker gives you total control over the texture and consistency of your ice cream. If you want a thicker treat, go slow with the cranking. For lighter and thinner ice cream, go faster!
- Easy cleaning: At the end of use, a hand-crank ice cream maker is one of your kitchen items and requires cleaning. As such, you should look for a unit that you can clean hassle-freely. A unit that has removable parts is usually easier to clean. Compact models are also easier to clean.
- Hybrid: In ice cream making, there are manually and electrically operated ice cream makers. You can get a hybrid model that incorporates both systems so you can enjoy the best of both worlds.
- Noise: A unit with lower noise levels is also worth considering.
- Speed: How long should you want the unit you buy to get the ice cream ready for your family or friends? Check the manufacturer’s recommended duration to ensure you get a model that meets your needs.
- Cost: You can expect to find quite affordable products because you’re investing in an old-fashioned way of making ice. But don’t it wrong; some manufacturers offer excellent features and modern convenience to their units, making them worth a higher price tag.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why should I get a hand-crank ice cream maker?
The top benefits of using a hand-crank ice cream maker include: they’re more affordable than electric models, they are more fun to use, give you total control over the texture and consistency of your ice cream, and can be used for outdoor recreations purposes and any other areas where electric power isn’t accessible.
Q: How do you use an old-fashioned ice cream maker?
As you’re already aware, these units require you to put in some physical work to get them to prepare your ice cream recipe.
The steps to follow:
- Prepare your favorite ice cream recipe by mixing all the ingredients.
- Pour your mixture into the ice cream canister. Be sure to leave around 1/3 of the can empty to give room for expansion.
- Place the canister in the tub containing the freezing element.
- Crank the handle for the manufacturer’s recommended time to churn the mixture. The duration can be 20-40 minutes, or until your ice cream attains your desired consistency.
Q: Who makes the best hand crank ice cream maker brands?
There aren’t many companies that make old-fashioned ice cream makers, which explains why there are limited models on the market. That said, there are some excellent manufactures you can trust to make high-performance units, including Immergood, Donvier, White Mountain, Buffalo Tools, Cuisinart, and Nostalgia Electronics.
Q: Why do some hand-crank ice makers require no ice and salt to work?
It’s simply because these units come with a built-in chemical coolant, rendering the use of salt and ice unnecessary. However, keep in mind that such units require the cooling agent to be pre-frozen.
A manual ice maker isn’t just an old-fashioned way of making ice in a world of electric ice makers. It will cost you less and give you a fun way of churning ice cream with your kiddos or friends at a party.
Grab one of the best hand-crank ice cream maker units we have selected for you in this guide, and start making your favorite ice cream at the comfort of your home with your desired recipes and ingredients.