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Awesome Ice Cream Makers For Your Cookouts

Your patio or lawn is fantastic, but when the weather warms up, it’s great to be able to cool off. And ice cream is an awesome way to do it! Imagine being about to make your own sweet frozen treat, right there in your yard!

Homemade ice cream is delicious and it hearkens back to simpler times. Sure, it takes some work, but it definitely pays off. And modern-day ice cream makers don’t all demand a lot of physical effort. In the old days, a lot of churning was involved, but there are simpler alternatives now.

We’re going to look at some great options for making ice cream in your yard. There are tons of fantastic ice cream makers, but we’re going to focus on those with a more “traditional” look. They can still offer modern convenience, but we’re not considering machines that look like they belong in a fancy restaurant. Instead, we’ll look at ones that have a simpler appeal.

What To Look For In An Ice Cream Maker

The main difference between home ice cream makers is how much work is involved. Older ones took a good bit of effort. They were entirely manual. You had to mix rock salt and ice and then churn the cream. But newer systems are electric. That saves you tons of time and energy. 

The typical ice cream maker makes four (4) quarts of ice cream. But some make 6 and there are even smaller ones that make two. And if you want to go for two flavors at once, you can even get units that will make them side-by-side!

The type of ice cream you like is also another factor to consider. Some ice cream makers will produce something more like soft-serve, but others will give you a thicker, harder consistency.

What Ingredients You’ll Need

The basic ingredients for ice cream are simple. Of course, there are a million different flavor options, but we’ll leave those up to you!

To get started, though, you’ll need milk, heavy cream, and sugar. A pinch of salt helps, too!

For four quarts of ice cream, you should have about the following:

  • 4 ¾ cups of milk
  • 3 ⅓ cups of heavy cream
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • ⅜ teaspoon of sea salt

The remainder depends on what flavor you’d like. You could add chocolate chips, chocolate sauce, vanilla, cookie dough, mint leaves, chopped fruit, or anything else you’d like! There are tons of great recipes online.

We’ve got a more complete guide to making your own ice cream, too!

Our Picks for the Best Ice Cream Makers

We’ve searched high and low to find some of the best ice cream makers for your lawn and patio. As we mentioned, we wanted to go with a “look”, not just a function. So we’ve left out some fantastic machines that make great ice cream simply because they look like they belong in a high-end kitchen. But the machines we recommend get the job done, too! 

AMERIHOME ICM6C 6-Quart Old Fashion Ice Cream Maker

amerihome ice cream maker

This ice cream maker captures the look we’re talking about when we say we want something that seems to belong in the backyard! But of course, it takes more than good looks to make great ice cream, and it doesn’t disappoint there, either.

You can choose between the convenience of an electric motor or the old-fashioned hard work of hand cranking your ice cream. This model lets you switch back and forth whenever you want!

The outer case is made of pine and the inner tub is aluminum. You’ll have to crush ice (crusher included) and place it, along with rock salt, into the case. Insert the tub and fill it with your ingredients. Then use the included mixing paddle to stir up the mix – or let the motor do it for you. In about 30 minutes you can have six quarts of delicious soft ice cream.

The instruction manual includes some great ideas and recipes, too!

There have been reports that the motor stops working after a couple of uses. We didn’t experience that, but our recommendation is to make sure to clean the machine thoroughly after each use. After all, the ingredients could get sticky and gum up the works.

Nostalgia Electric Bucket Ice Cream Maker With Easy-Carry Handle

nostalgia brand electric ice cream maker

We’ve seen a lot of Nostalgia-brand products over the past few years when we venture out to big-box stores, and they have a lot of great ideas. This ice cream maker definitely ranks up there!

We like the rustic look that makes it feel right at home in the outdoors. And there are a couple of color varieties available (see the link for options). The slats that make up the outer casing are genuine wood.

This is an electric ice cream maker, so you do need a place to plug it in. The ice and salt get added over the container, so it’s not possible to manually mix your recipe. You don’t need to chill the canister before use, either.

It can make up to four quarts of the tasty treat! It’ll take about thirty to forty-five minutes to complete the process.

The inner container and its lid can even be placed in the freezer. The lid is transparent so you’ll always be able to tell which flavor is waiting for you!

Nostalgia also offers flavor mixes for use with this. Here are a few:

(Note that these are packs for flavoring and do not include all the ingredients you’ll need).

Nostalgia PICM2DBL Double Flavor Electric Bucket Ice Cream Maker

make 2 flavors of ice cream at once with this electric ice cream maker

Another model from Nostalgia also makes our list. It doesn’t quite have that classic look, but it gives us a great tradeoff: we get to make two amazing flavors of ice cream at once!

This item has an oval plastic bucket that contains two separate buckets and motors for mixing your ice cream. It doesn’t look fantastic – it kind of looks like an odd-shaped kids’ beach bucket, actually. But in the end, it’s the taste that matters, and you get two for the price of one here!

Each bucket can make up to two quarts at a time. And you can use all the same flavor packets that we listed above. 

Like other Nostalgia ice cream makers, the canisters have see-through lids. That makes them easy to store in the freezer. That is if you manage to resist the urge to gobble it all up in one sitting!

It does require a good amount of ice to get it to the right temperature, and the users’ manual does recommend freezing the bowl before use. We’ve seen complaints about the motor not working after a couple of uses. Again, we recommend making sure that it’s cleaned well. It’s not a fix-all but can help in some cases.

Elite Gourmet EIM-308L 4 Qt. Electric Motorized Maker Ice

review elite gourmet ice cream maker

This electric ice cream maker from Elite Gourmet could pass for a typical garden bucket, so it fits right in with outdoor decor! More importantly, it makes a great batch of ice cream without much work on your part.

You’ll quickly be making great frozen treats with this galvanized steel bucket that has an inner aluminum canister. You’ll need to add rock salt and ice between them, and your ice cream ingredients inside the canister. Turn on the motor and you’re on your way!

You can’t get a manual-crank experience with this unit because of the design. But most people aren’t looking to be that authentic, anyway. 

You can prepare up to four (4) quarts at a time with this model, which is also available with a pine bucket.

The canister should be frozen before use. That takes about two hours to get it to the right temperature. From there, it’s about 20 to 30 minutes to prepare your ice cream.

The unit seems to hold up well. Like all ice cream makers, you have to be sure to use the right proportion of rock salt to ice to make it freeze well.


Your yard is for relaxing, and nothing helps you cool off like delicious ice cream! It tastes even better when you make your own. Fortunately, there are a lot of great ice cream maker machines that can help you do that. Of course, there are still old-fashioned ones that require churning, too, but that can be lots of fun! Have you tried making your own ice cream yet? Share your favorite flavor!

About Us

Tom and Sarah Greenwood are the dynamic duo behind “Yards Improved,” dedicated to the joys and challenges of gardening, pool maintenance, and lawn and patio care. With Tom’s passion for landscape design and Sarah’s enthusiastic approach to gardening, they share their journey of transforming their backyard into a thriving retreat. We strive to offer practical advice aimed at helping you enhance your outdoor space.