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Ninja Creami review: Homemade ice cream and gelato in a flash

Danielle Amato
15 Jun 2022
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
200
in VAT

The Ninja Creami offers ice cream lovers a fun, fuss-free way to make a variety of frozen desserts at home but you’ll need deep pockets

Pros 
Quick
Easy to use
Lots of variety
Cons 
Expensive
Noisy
Bulky
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The Ninja Creami is an automatic ice cream maker but perhaps not as you know it. While traditional models freeze cold or room temperature ingredients as they churn, with the bowl having to be frozen beforehand, the Creami flips this process on its head. Instead, it requires you to freeze your mixture solid, before churning it into your frozen treat of choice. This speeds up the ice cream making process considerably, taking two to three minutes versus 30 minutes on average for traditional ice cream makers.

It’s not just its backwards churning process that makes the Creami unusual, though. It also looks odcd – more like a filter coffee machine than a traditional ice cream maker – and its blender-like blades mean you can use it to make everything from ice cream and gelato to smoothie bowls and milkshakes. The catch is that it’s expensive.

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Ninja Creami Ice Cream and Frozen Dessert Maker review: What do you get for the money?

At £200, the Creami is very much a premium ice cream maker. It’s much more expensive than most traditional machines, even the more sophisticated, such as Cuisinart’s traditional 2L model, which can cost around £100.

With the Creami, you get an ice cream maker with motorised blades, three pint-sized tubs (with extra available to purchase separately) and a recipe guide with 30-plus recipes to get you started. All the removable parts are dishwasher-safe, too.

On the machine’s front fascia is a selection of backlit, touch sensitive “buttons”, each giving access to a separate recipe: ice cream, light ice cream, gelato, sorbet, smoothie bowl, milkshake and mix-in. The latter is used for adding things like chocolate chips and sweets to your ice cream once it’s mixed. There’s also a countdown timer, indicated by four glowing lights and another light to alert you if the bowl or blades aren’t installed correctly.

Design-wise it’s a weird one. It looks a lot like a classic filter coffee machine and, as such, it’s a tad bulky. It measures 16.5 x 27 x 40.5cm (WDH) so you’ll need a lot of vertical space above it, and you’ll probably want to avoid lugging it around too much as it weighs nearly 6.5kg. If you do have the space though, it’s a good-looking machine and one you’ll be happy to have on display.

Plus, once you’ve figured it out, it’s relatively simple to operate: pop your frozen ingredients in one of the supplied pint containers, freeze for 24 hours then drop into the outer container. This is then raised into place beneath the motor unit before being churned into ice cream.

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Ninja Creami Ice Cream and Frozen Dessert Maker review: What’s good about it?

Simplicity is what makes the Ninja so appealing versus other ice cream makers. Not only are there plenty of recipes to get you started – most of which require minimal prep time – but the quick, one-touch buttons make easy work of churning your ice cream, with no need to loom over the tub while it works its magic.

This ease of use means it’s not only good for beginners but that it’s less likely to end up gathering dust on your counter because it’s too much effort. What’s more, with three tubs included in the box, it’s really easy to make ice cream in bulk and store in the fridge for several weeks to enjoy – Ninja recommends you store it for no longer than two weeks but we got away with longer without seeing too much crystal formation.

Making ice cream in the Creami does take a bit of getting used to. You’ll want to follow the instructions and ingredients with strict precision during your first few attempts and you should expect a few not-so-great batches to begin with. For example, the brand of milk or cream you use, the ripeness of the fruit, how long you freeze the ice cream for and how long it’s left out of the fridge before churning can all alter the end product. Persevere, however, and you’ll achieve excellent results almost every time.

The recipe book has over 30 recipes, as well as ideas for mix-ins, so there’s plenty to get on with if you’re new to making your own ice cream. In testing, I found most of the recipes to be spot on. You can even make a quick sorbet using just tinned fruit and the syrup it's stored in, ideal if you want to prep a sweet treat but don’t have loads of ingredients to hand.

I was also impressed with how well it handled dairy-free and vegan ice cream. Non-dairy ice cream, particularly the homemade stuff, tends to lack that smooth, creamy texture but all of the vegan recipes I made from the recipe book came out as silky-smooth as their dairy counterparts and in some cases, the texture was better. The Creami also made excellent gelato, sorbet and milkshakes and, if you’ve already got some ice cream to hand, the milkshakes don’t require any prior freezing, either.

It’s also quick. You will need to freeze your pre-made mixture for a minimum of 24 hours – it’s really important to do this if you want to avoid any unplesant textures or crystals – but once you’ve done this it only takes 2mins 30secs to whip up a pint of ice cream or even less time if you’re making yourself a milkshake or smoothie bowl. It’s not quite as speedy if you want to churn larger amounts, as you can only prep one pint at a time but it’s still notably speedier than traditional-style ice cream makers, which can take up to 30 mins to churn three to four pints, as well as 24 hours of bowl freezing time prior to churning.

Another extra that might sway you towards the Creami over traditional models is the variety. While most makers have settings for sorbet and gelato, this goes a few steps further offering settings for smoothie bowls and milkshakes.

One last thing to note about the Creami is that it’s easy to clean. The blades detach from the lid with relative ease and these, along with all the other detachable parts are dishwasher-safe. Even if you don’t own a dishwasher, the parts are still very easy to clean by hand.

READ NEXT: Best freestanding dishwashers

Ninja Creami Ice Cream and Frozen Dessert Maker review: What could be improved?

The Creami’s biggest downfall is that it’s very expensive for an appliance that only has a few uses. There’s also no getting away from the fact that you can achieve similar results with a much cheaper, more traditional ice cream maker. What you’re paying for here is speed, ease of use and depending on your tastes, a stylish design.

Cost aside, there are a few smaller niggles. The first is that the Creami is very noisy. During the ice cream cycle, I measured it at an average of 86dB when measured from 1m away. To put that into perspective, the high-power Ninja 3-in-1 food processor and blender measured up to 88db in testing. The cycles last, at most, 2mins 30 seconds but it’s something to bear in mind if you’re sensitive to noise.

Another issue that might affect those with small or fully-stuffed freezers is that the ingredients can’t be processed if they’ve frozen above the max fill line. This means if you’ve filled your tubs to capacity, you won’t be able to store them at an angle or on their side before processing. After churning you can do that without worry, though.

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Ninja Creami Ice Cream and Frozen Dessert Maker review: Should you buy it?

The Ninja Creami is expensive and noisy. Moreover there’s a fair bit of trial and error involved in getting the perfect scoop. That said, if you’re serious about making homemade frozen desserts or milkshakes and want something that makes the process fast and simple, this product is going to get a lot of use.

If you’re not quite ready to commit to spending £200 on an ice cream maker, you could opt for a classic machine such as the Cuisinart 2L ice cream maker (£100). It’s not quite as speedy or intuitive, but it makes ice cream and gelato well for half the price.

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