Whether you put the Ninja CREAMi on your Christmas list or give one to your favorite ice cream lover, get ready for the easiest and best homemade ice cream of your life.

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After nearly two years of a deep dive into homemade ice cream, and testing nearly every product on the market, I have fallen in love with an ice cream maker that flipped everything I knew about making ice cream right on its head. And the best part? It makes an amazing gift for your favorite ice cream fan this holiday season.

How ice cream makers work

The premise of pretty much every ice cream maker out there is to take a liquid ice cream base and put it in contact with a chilled bowl while churning to make your ice cream. Whether the appliance requires a pre-frozen bowl or has a built-in internal compressor, the premise is the same. I have gotten terrific luxurious results with all kinds of these machines, but nothing really prepared me for the experience of how ice cream is made in a Ninja CREAMi Ice Cream Maker.

Ninja Ice Cream Maker
Credit: Courtesy Amazon

Why I love the Ninja CREAMi Ice Cream Maker 

Instead of just pre-chilling your ice cream base and then churning and often freezing more, you reverse the process. Here, you prepare your base and then freeze it solid in one of the included canisters. Since all of my bases require a 24-hour chill in the fridge, the 24-hour recommended freeze doesn't add anything to my existing process. When you are ready to create your ice cream, you put the frozen canister into the machine, lock on the lid, and set it for the style of product you are making: ice cream, gelato, sorbets, smoothies, and even milkshakes

How the Ninja CREAMi works

Here's all you do! Press a button and a super-fast, super sharp blade essentially micro-shaves the frozen base into an ice cream of such smooth velvety texture, your mind will be blown. When it is done, you just remove the canister, and if you are not going to eat it immediately, pop the lid back on, and stash in the freezer till you want it. No messy transferring of soft-serve-texture churned ice cream into a new container to cure, and no wait time needed before consuming.

Ninja Ice Cream Maker
Credit: Amazon

Additional features of the Ninja CREAMi 

There is a mix-in option if you want to add bonus additions, a re-mix button if the texture isn't just perfect for you, and all the important parts are dishwasher safe. You can use any ice cream base you love, but they have also included a recipe booklet to get you started if you are a newbie. I love that I can freeze canned fruit in heavy syrup in the canisters, and process into a wonderful smooth sorbet with no added ingredients!

Since the canisters are just a pint each, you can make homemade ice cream, gelato, or sorbet in amounts that are rational if you are just one or two in your household, or if you do not have room in your freezer for storing large quarts. Most other ice cream makers churn between a quart and a half and two quarts, and don't do as well with smaller batches. These small canisters also make customizing easy; if you live with someone who is a chocoholic, but you prefer vanilla, you can both have your own pints. The unit takes up about the same footprint as a coffeemaker, and comes with three canisters to get you started, but you can purchase additional canisters as needed.

The bottom line

I cannot recommend this product enough, especially if you or someone you love has always wanted to make homemade ice cream but worried that it was too much of a fuss. This makes perfect ice cream every time, with minimal effort. And it is absolutely a gift that keeps on giving for the ice cream lover in your life—especially if that ice cream lover is you!