The best way to enjoy frozen yogurt is to make it at home. More effort, but definitely worth it.
Thankfully, a home frozen yogurt machine makes the process really simple.
And the good news is that you don’t have to pay for the most expensive frozen yogurt maker to get the best frozen yogurt!
Sounds too good to be true?
Read on to find out more.
After reviewing and testing many frozen yogurt machines, we’ve brought to you a list of what we think are the best frozen yogurt makers.
Our Top 5 Picks for the Best Frozen Yogurt Maker
• Basic and easy to use
• Simple on/off switch. No other controls.
• Makes 1.5 quart frozen yogurt, ice-cream or sorbet
• Freezer bowl type
• Flexibility to customize the churning duration
• Features digital countdown timer with alarm and auto shut-off function
• Makes 2 quart frozen yogurt/ice-cream, sorbet or gelato
• Freezer bowl type
• Adjustable countdown timer
• Able to make multiple batches of frozen yogurt or ice-cream back-to-back
• No need to pre-freeze the freezer bowl
• Makes 1.5 quart frozen yogurt, ice-cream, sorbet or gelato
• Compressor type
• Cons: Bulky and expensive
• Great way to eat more fruits
• Dairy-free so it can be enjoyed by everyone, including weight-watchers.
• Chute/Plunger Type
• No need to pre-freeze freezer bowl
• Makes 4 quart frozen yogurt/ice-cream
• Cons: Need to dispose of the partially melted ice and salt mixture
• Salt and Ice Type
Why bother with homemade frozen yogurt?
What’s not to love about frozen yogurt? You feel like you are eating ice cream, except that it is healthier.
That’s the rhetoric we all want to believe.
But let’s be honest.
If you are eating store-bought FroYo, you may be taking in more calories, sugars and chemicals (stabilizers, emulsifiers and thickeners) than you think.
Making your own frozen yogurt at home is different. It’s fresh, delicious and more natural.
It may not taste “perfect” like the commercial froyo, but you have full control of the ingredients. And you can have lots of fun experimenting with your own flavours and textures… balancing the tang and sweetness.
Most of these frozen yogurt machines also allow you to easily make your own ice cream or sorbet. So, one machine multiple treats.
Are you ready to find out which frozen yogurt machine is best for you?
Let’s get started.
- Our Top 5 Picks for the Best Frozen Yogurt Maker
- Why bother with homemade frozen yogurt?
- #1: Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker ICE-21 – Best Value
- #2: Cuisinart Electric Ice Cream Maker ICE 70– Best for the Gourmet Eater
- #3: Cuisinart ICE-100 – Best for Making Multiple Batches
- #4: Yonanas Deluxe Frozen Dessert Maker – Best for Dairy-Free Frozen Yogurt
- #5: Nostalgia Ice Cream Maker – Best for Large Capacity
- Common FAQs & Tips
#1: Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker ICE-21 – Best Value
The Cuisinart ICE-21 1.5 quart Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream Maker can be considered as an entry level model. However, I always feel that the term “entry-level” does not do justice to its quality and functionality.
It is smaller, lighter and cheaper than other Cuisinart models. But this doesn’t mean that the quality is compromised.
In fact, because of its smaller capacity of 1.5 quart, the mixture is able to freeze more quickly and the mixing speed is also faster. As a result, you will find that it makes smoother frozen yogurt and ice cream.
The Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker ICE-21 takes about 15-20 minutes to make a frozen yogurt treat. At its price range, I don’t think you can find a better alternative home frozen yogurt machine. With the right recipe, you can also make ice cream and sorbet.
This is a freezer bowl type ice cream maker, which means that it comes with a removable bowl that you need to pre-freeze for 16-24 hours.
So, the biggest downside is that you will need to either plan ahead or keep the freezer bowl in the freezer so that it’s readily available for use. But this is a well-known and common issue for all freezer bowl type frozen yogurt makers.
Otherwise, it is a very simple to use and easy to clean machine.
Do you know?
Unlike other brands of “freezer bowl” ice cream machines, Cuisinart makes use of the heavy-duty motor at the bottom to rotate the bowl rather than rotate the paddle from the top. The mixing paddle is instead held in place by the transparent cover.
This means that Cuisinart frozen yogurt- ice cream makers are generally more powerful and efficient than other brands. Hence they are able to handle thicker mixtures better than others. The improved paddle design also makes the mixing more efficient and allows the mixture to freeze more quickly and evenly for a smoother texture.
- Affordable price but comes with a powerful motor and efficient mixing paddle.
- It’s basic and fuss-free. There is only one on/off switch button on the unit, so there’s really not much room for things to go wrong.
- Easy to use. There are just 4 simple parts to the Cuisinart ice cream maker ice21- a motorized base, a freezer bowl, a paddle and a transparent cover. Simply put them together, turn on the machine and pour in the chilled liquid mixture.
- Easy to clean. The mixing paddle can be quickly lifted out in 1 piece and there’s no nooks and crannies in the dasher design. So, it’s really easy and fast to scrape the frozen yogurt off the paddle and clean afterwards.
- The transparent cover makes it really easy for you to check in on the progress and consistency of the mixture.
- The cover also comes with a large spout so you can easily pour in the chilled liquid mixture or throw in any mix-ins without worrying about spillage.
- Measuring 9.5 x 9 x 11.25 inches (LxWxH) and weighing 9.9 Ibs, it stores compactly. It is not too large for apartment living and not too heavy to stow in and out of the cabinet.
- You can only make a small batch at one time. 1.5 quart is about 6 cups (3 pints or 12 scoops) of frozen yogurt. This may not be sufficient if you have a big family or a group of friends to feed.
- Like all freezer bowl machines, you can’t make multiple batches of frozen yogurt consecutively unless you have more than 1 freezer bowl. And that is provided you have enough freezer space to pre-chill more than 1 freezer bowl.
- There is no lid for the spout opening. Therefore, you may end up having to use a plate or cling wrap to cover the opening to protect against dust/bugs and reduce the loss of cold air (for better and faster freezing).
TIP: Avoid filling the bowl to the brim
During the churning process, the liquid mixture would expand as a fair amount of air is being added to the mixture. So, even though the Cuisinart Ice-21 comes with a 1.5-quart bowl, you can’t put a full 1.5 quarts of liquid mixture into it as the frozen yogurt would overflow and create a mess. Recipes that uses 3 cups of liquids are generally good to go.
- Capacity: 1.5 Quart
- Dimension: 9.5 x 9 x 11.25 inches (LxWxH)
- Weight: 9.9 Ibs
- Freezer bowl dimension: 5.5” in height and 7” in diameter
Interested to learn more about the features of the Cuisinart Ice cream maker ICE 21 and how to make the best out of it? Check out our in-depth review here.
#2: Cuisinart Electric Ice Cream Maker ICE 70– Best for the Gourmet Eater
The Cuisinart ICE-70 is a more premium model compared to ICE-21. With a capacity of 2 quarts, it is also larger than ICE-21.
You should consider upgrading from the ICE-21 to the Cuisinart ICE-70 Electronic Ice Cream Maker if you are particular about the texture and consistency of your frozen desserts.
What sets ICE-70 apart is the ability to select 3 different program settings for ice cream/frozen yogurt, gelato and sorbet.
Most machines can only vary the amount of air whipped into the mixture by varying the duration. The Cuisinart ICE-70 allows you to do more than that.
When you select the different program settings on the LCD panel, both the duration and speed of churning are varied. These factors give rise to the difference in texture and consistency of the frozen dessert.
Other nice to have features include the digital countdown timer with alarm and auto shut-off function. When the timer is up, the alarm will beep and start counting negative while keeping the unit cool for up to 30 minutes.
Otherwise, the Cuisinart ICE-70 Electronic Ice Cream Maker also uses the removable freezer bowl which needs to be pre-chilled in the freezer at least a day in advance.
- The different program settings in the Cuisinart ICE-70 help to achieve different texture for the different frozen treats – ice cream, frozen yogurt, gelato or sorbet. NOTE: For frozen yogurt, select the same program as “Ice Cream”.
- The pre-programmed settings take away the guesswork if you are new to making homemade frozen yogurt. BUT Cuisinart offers you the flexibility to customize the churning time using the up/down arrow buttons, depending on the ingredients and the temperature of the mixture you are using.
- Even though you cannot adjust the timing once the machine has started, you can always stop the machine using the On/Off button ahead of the pre-set time if your frozen yogurt has reached the desired texture and consistency ahead of the time
- Comes with a spout cover (which is an improvement from ICE-21).
- The brushed chrome look is sleek, stylish and durable.
- Compact – It doesn’t take much bigger space compared to ICE-21 even though it has a bigger capacity. There is also a small hole at the base for you to wind up the cords for storage.
- Digital countdown timer with alarm and keep cool function for 30 minutes.
Nice to have features, but not exactly a deal-maker?
I like that you can easily tell how much time is left but the alarm is not exactly a deal maker for me.
I’ll typically check in on the frozen yogurt before the pre-set time to see how’s the consistency and texture, as well as to add any mix-ins. If the frozen yogurt has reached the desired consistency ahead of time, I will stop the machine to avoid over-churning (yes, that affects the quality too).
But if you are someone who tends to multi-task and forget about the frozen yogurt maker running, then the countdown timer with alarm and auto shut-off/keep cool feature will be a really helpful feature.
- The spout opening is smaller compared to the Cuisinart ICE 21. IMPORTANT: Do not be tempted to pour the mixture directly into the freezer bowl before assembly. Always pour in the mixture through the spout after the machine is started to ensure smooth churning.
- It is more expensive than other freezer bowl frozen yogurt machines. But when compared to the compressor-type home frozen yogurt machine, it is still cheaper.
Cuisinart ICE-70 vs Cuisinart ICE-30BC: Improved dasher design
Compared to the ICE-30BC (an older 2 quarts model), ICE-70 features an updated design for the mixing paddle. The new mixing paddle is more efficient so the mixture freezes faster, hence giving you a smoother frozen yogurt. The new design also makes it easier to scrape off the dessert.
- Capacity: 2 Quart
- Dimension: 9.7″ x 8.6″ x 13.2″ (L xW x H)
- Weight: 13.5 Ibs
- Freezer bowl dimension: 6.5” in height and 7.8” in diameter
#3: Cuisinart ICE-100 – Best for Making Multiple Batches
The Cuisinart ICE-100 compressor ice cream and gelato maker is a completely different type of frozen yogurt maker compared to the first 2 models. It makes use of a self-refrigerating compressor so you DO NOT have to pre-freeze the bowls.
To put it in simpler terms, it has its own built-in freezer.
A compressor-type home frozen yogurt machine is great if you don’t like to plan in advance or if you don’t have sufficient freeze space to fit the bowl in. All you need is about 40 minutes to make your frozen yogurt.
You can also make multiple flavors of frozen yogurt in batches one after another since you will no longer be limited by the need to pre-chill freezer bowls.
The Cuisinart ICE 100 also comes with 2 different types of paddle design to vary the amount of air introduced into the frozen dessert – one for ice cream/frozen yogurt and the other for gelato.
The biggest downsides of the Cuisinart ICE-100 are that it is way more expensive and it takes up a lot more room on the counter-top. It only makes 1.5 quarts of frozen yogurt, which is the same as ICE-21, but it is much heavier and bulkier. If you are making frozen yogurt regularly, you’d really want to set aside a dedicated space for it.
The Cuisinart ICE-100 is considered to be among the second tier in the category of compressor ice cream machines. It is cheaper but there’s also a lack of functions and the controls are not the most user-friendly.
For example, the Breville Smart Scoop is almost double the price but features 12 different hardness settings to choose.
Cuisinart ICE 100, on the other hand, only features 3 buttons on its LCD panel – Power, Start/Stop and a 60-minute countdown timer.
After the timer goes off, there’s also a 10-minute keep cool cycle to keep your frozen yogurt chilled. But it’s not perfect… more on this later.
Nevertheless, the Cuisinart ICE 100 Compressor Ice Cream and Gelato Maker is considered to be durable and reliable. In terms of frozen yogurt, the texture is great – smooth and creamy.
- Makes great frozen yogurt/ice-cream and gelato with its 2 dasher designs.
- Adjustable countdown timer, which you can set from 10 to 60 minutes. But the control buttons are not the easiest to use (more on that under the cons).
- The machine automatically shuts off when the timer is up.
- No need to plan ahead to pre freeze the freezer bowl the day before.
- Can make multiple batches of frozen yogurt back-to-back.
- There’s a hatch on the plastic lid for adding mix-ins without removing the lid.
- It is more expensive compared to the freezer type home frozen yogurt machine.
- It is heavy and has a large physical footprint. But it does not make bigger batches compared to freezer bowl machines.
- There are no pre-set program settings.
- The default setting is 60 minutes. You can press on the “Timer” button to adjust the time down. However, the buttons are not the easiest to control. You got to press and release the button quickly to decrease the time in 1-minute increments or hold it longer to decrease it in larger 5-minute increments. If you missed the desired timing, there’s no UP button to increase the timing and you have got to start over.
- The 10 minute “Keep Cool” cycle only kicks in 10 minutes after the timer reached 0. What this means is that the frozen yogurt will be warming up/melting for the first 10 minutes then re-freezes again for the next 10 minutes when the compressor starts running. This is not ideal for the frozen yogurt as that can result in formation of ice crystals which will affect the texture.
- The freezer bowl, lid and dasher are relatively easy to clean, just like the other Cuisinart freezer bowl models. However, regular dissembling and cleaning of the seal housing at the underside of the bowl is recommended to prevent any accumulation of hardened diluted ice cream.
- The lid is a little tricky to align and lock at times.
Tip to making a smoother frozen yogurt with the ICE-100
1. Pre-chill the liquid mixture for few hours (or even overnight) before adding into the frozen yogurt machine.
2. Pre-cool the freezer bowl for 15-20 minutes.
Even though you can just turn on the ICE 100 and start pouring in the liquid mixture, the results will be better if you actually cool the freezer bowl first. The colder the freezer bowl, the faster the liquid mixture freezes and hence the smoother the frozen yogurt.
You can do so by setting the timer to include the pre-cool time plus the churning time. It is a bad idea to let the timer goes to 0 as it will take a couple of minutes for the compressor to restart (and your freezer bowl temperature will rise rapidly again in those precious minutes).
To make things even easier… just leave the timer to the default 60 minutes. Let the machine run for 15-20 minutes before pouring in the liquid mixture. You can always stop the machine before the timer is up when the frozen yogurt has reached the desired consistency.
#4: Yonanas Deluxe Frozen Dessert Maker – Best for Dairy-Free Frozen Yogurt
The Yonanas Deluxe is a great option for weight-watchers to enjoy frozen fruit ‘yogurt’.
This is not a true frozen yogurt machine as it does not make use of any yogurt, making it suitable if you are looking to enjoy a dairy-free frozen dessert.
You can use the Yonanas Deluxe to churn any frozen fruits directly into healthy soft-serve frozen desserts. The key is adding the frozen bananas to give it the creamy texture found in a soft-serve frozen yogurt. However, the use of banana is not mandatory.
Even if you are not a fan of bananas, you can still enjoy the frozen fruit dessert by using any of your favourite fruits. The texture without using banana will be more sorbet-like.
You will be surprised by the combination of fruits you can use and variety of frozen desserts that you can make with the Yonanas. To kickstart your creativity and party ideas, it comes with more than 75 recipes to make your own ice-cream/yogurt cakes, YoPops, cookie sandwich and even Grasshopper Parfait!
Yes, you are free to throw in some chocolates and even frozen cubes of champagne, wine or mint liqueur into the Yonanas.
The Deluxe model is more expensive than the Classic model, but much recommended for its more powerful motor.
- Great way to eat more fruits – This is a truly healthy frozen dessert as no additional sugars and fats added. Because it tastes like frozen yogurt, it is a great way to trick kids (and adults alike) into eating more fruits.
- It is dairy-free so everyone can enjoy it.
- Simple to use – Cut the fruits into smaller pieces and freeze the fruit. Thaw the frozen fruits for a couple of minutes before turning on the Yonanas frozen yogurt maker. Simply push the fruit down the chute using the plunger and place a bowl at the bottom of the chute to collect the frozen dessert.
TIP to prevent dessert from turning out to be too frosty or icy
Allow the frozen fruits to thaw for 7-10 minutes before putting them through the machine, and alternate pieces of banana with other fruits.
Let the mixture sit for a few minutes and give it a little stir before serving. That’s how you get the nice soft-serve texture.
- Cleaning is more troublesome. Even though the chute assembly, plunger and blade are top-rack dishwasher-safe, I find that the cleaning is more tedious. You need to take the unit apart and there’s a lot more frozen fruit yogurt stuck in the nooks and crannies of the interior which needs to be scraped off (more wastage too!).
- Unlike ice-cream makers where even the most basic model allows you to control the churning duration to get to the frozen yogurt to your desired consistency, there is no such control here at all.
- It is pretty loud and noisy.
- I find that the if you chill the soft-serve dessert in the freezer overnight, the texture is not as smooth as most ice cream makers. The ice crystals in the frozen yogurt feel coarser.
#5: Nostalgia Ice Cream Maker – Best for Large Capacity
With a capacity of 4 quarts, the Nostalgia ice cream maker has the biggest capacity in our list of frozen yogurt machines.
The nostalgia electric ice cream maker combines tradition with technology. It makes use of rock salt and ice for the freezing process, just like the old-fashioned way. But it incorporates a robust electric motor to churn the mixture, giving you a smooth creamy frozen yogurt or ice cream.
Personally, I think is too much hassle and mess for everyday use in the kitchen. It could however be a great fun for large parties, BBQs and large families because of the large capacity. It also seems like a great science experiment for the kids.
- Large capacity.
- Easy to assemble and use.
- No need to pre-freeze the bowl as the mixture of salt and ice brings the temperature very quickly to sub-freezing temperature.
- You can start making frozen yogurt anytime anywhere. You can even make batches after batches as long as you have enough salt and ice.
- Weighing 7 pounds, it is lightweight and portable. The bucket comes with an attached handle so you can even easily bring it on summer vacations.
- Automatic shutoff
- The frozen yogurt is soft-serve upon completion. If you prefer a firmer consistency, chill the finished frozen yogurt directly in the freezer for a few hours using the same aluminum canister with the lid. Unlike the Cuisinart, you don’t have to transfer to a separate air-tight container.
Nostalgia vs Hamilton Beach: More powerful electric motor
Hamilton Beach is another frozen yogurt maker that makes use of salt and ice. Nostalgia cost a little but more features a more powerful and robust motor that can handle thicker mixtures and add-ins. Because of that, you do get a frozen yogurt with a comparatively softer and creamier texture.
- Requires plenty of salt and ice on hand.
- It is a hassle to dispose all the partially melted ice and salt. Potentially it can get really messy if there is a spill.
- Loud churning noise.
- The frozen yogurt is also slightly icier compared to those made from the more expensive ice cream machines.
- Saltwater accelerates the rusting of metal and wood, so you need to give the bucket and handle a good wash after use.
Common FAQs & Tips
Can you just freeze yogurt to make frozen yogurt?
Unfortunately, you can’t simply freeze yogurt and eat it like ice cream.
Making frozen yogurt is not as simple as putting regular yogurt into the freezer. If you harden it this way, the water in the yogurt will freeze into hard icy crystals. What you will get is an icy tub of frozen yogurt that is hard like brick, rather than the rich creamy texture that is scoop-able.
More Tips on Making Frozen Yogurt Using Home Frozen Yogurt Machine
- Freeze the soft serve frozen yogurt for firmer consistency, and do it fast
The frozen yogurt will be soft-serve when the frozen yogurt machines complete the churning process. If you prefer a firmer consistency, transfer to a pre-chilled air-tight container and freeze for 1-2 hours before serving.
It is important to perform the transfer as quickly as possible as it can affect the texture of the frozen yogurt. If the frozen yogurt starts to melt and then re-freezes in the freezer, it will result in the formation of larger ice crystals. These will give you the coarse, grainy and icy texture on your tongue that we want to avoid.
- Strain the whey from the yogurt to make a creamy frozen yogurt
I found this tip from Cuisinart’s recipe book and it works!
Instead of using the usual plain yogurt directly, strain the whey from the yogurt through a cheese cloth for about 2-4 hours to reduce the water content. This extra step helps to give the frozen yogurt a creamier texture. You can also use a couple of layered paper towels if you don’t have a cheese cloth.
Alternatively, you can also try using greek yogurt directly as it is thicker and creamier compared to the regular yogurt to begin with. However, greek yogurt has got a more sour and tangy taste that not everyone likes.
On the other hand, if you prefer a lighter sorbet-like texture, you can simply use the regular yogurt without straining.
This is what I like about making your own homemade frozen yogurt. You can try different ingredients to customize the taste and texture to your own likings.
- Flavoring your yogurt through infusions, add-ins and toppings
Explore your creativity and play around with the flavors and textures – grated ginger, pureed or chunky fruits, chocolate chip, nuts…
How to Make Frozen Yogurt with KitchenAid?
If you already own a KitchenAid, I would recommend that you get their ice cream bowl attachment. Unlike other mixers, KitchenAid is powerful enough to keep churning as the mixture freezes and harden.
Since the KitchenAid is already taking up a substantial amount of space of your counter-top, it would be more convenient to make the best use out of it instead of getting a separate ice cream machine.
It works on the same principle as the freezer-bowl ice cream makers, so you will need to pre-freeze the bowl attachment for at least 6 hours.
However, even at the lowest setting, the KitchenAid mixer is still turning at a faster rate than the ice cream makers so you might find your frozen yogurt to be more airy.
|Dimension (LxWxH)||9.5″ x 9″ x 11.3″||9.7″ x 8.6″ x 13.2″||16.7″ x 12″ x 9.3″||6.5″ x 10.2″ x 15.6″||12.3″ x 12.3″ x 15.8″|
|Type||Freezer Bowl||Freezer Bowl||Compressor||Chute/Plunger||Salt and Ice|
|Warranty||3 years||3 years||1 year|
I find that the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker ICE21 provides the best value as it strikes a sweet balance between price and quality. Definitely my most recommended entry model.
However, if you want to enjoy the extra fineness in homemade desserts and intend to make different types of frozen desserts, then it is worthwhile to upgrade to the Cuisinart ICE-70 Electronic Ice Cream Maker. The different program settings vary the amount of air incorporated so you will be able to taste the difference in texture and consistency of your frozen yogurt, ice cream and sorbet.
If you don’t like to go through the hassle of pre-freezing the freezer bowl or you want to be able to make multiple batches of different flavored frozen yogurt back-to-back, then the Cuisinart ICE-100 compressor type home frozen yogurt machine is the one for you. But be prepared to set aside a bigger budget and space as the built-in refrigerator is very bulky and heavy for the same frozen yogurt capacity.
Yonanas Deluxe frozen fruit ice cream maker is a great option for weight-watchers to enjoy frozen fruit ‘yogurt’. Definitely a great way to introduce kids to more fruits too. It is not a true frozen yogurt machine as it does not make use of any yogurt, so it will also be suitable for those looking for a non dairy alternative.
Nostalgia is great for parties due to its huge 4 quart capacity. But cleaning up can be a hassle and messy due to the melted salt and ice. If you intend to make frozen yogurt regularly or to make multiple batches, you will need to have a lot of salt and ice handy.