The Ninja Creami makes it so easy to make ice cream, it’s dangerous

Create delicious homemade ice cream, milkshakes, and more even if you have strict dietary restrictions

Ninja Creami makes vanilla ice cream
(Image: © Future)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The Ninja Creami makes undeniably delicious and smooth homemade ice cream and desserts. However, it takes a bit of advance planning, as you have to freeze the ingredients a full day ahead of time.


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    Easily make delicious homemade ice cream

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    Highly customizable recipes for all types of diets

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    Good mix of functions

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    Easy to clean


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    Requires a full 24 hours of freezing before you can make ice cream

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    Large countertop space stealer

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Ninja’s Creami ice cream and frozen dessert maker has been one of the hottest kitchen gadgets on social media. That’s because it aims to simplify the process of making customizable frozen treats that taste even better than what you can buy in a store. I can't seem to escape the Creami's grasp—dozens of videos of frozen candy-filled creations have taken over my TikTok feed. Meanwhile, my gym friends bombard me with protein ice cream recipes. 

But does the Ninja Creami live up to the hype? I spent a few weeks testing it out to find out. I’ve reviewed several of Ninja’s other kitchen appliances over the years, from the Foodi indoor grill to the recent Foodi DualZone air fryer, and found the Creami as easy to use; what’s more, it produced delicious results—two elements that came in handy as making ice cream is admittedly out of my culinary wheelhouse.

Making ice cream is not something you do every day, so is this $229 gadget a must-have for every kitchen or just a novelty food processor? Read on in my Ninja Creami review below to find out.

Ninja Creami review: Price and availability

The Ninja Creami comes in at $229 and includes the machine itself, two pints for processing your ice cream (or other treats), as well as a helpful recipe guide. While not cheap, you can argue that it’s not that expensive for an ice cream machine with competitors like the Whynter ICM-201SB, which costs $333 on Amazon

With that said the Creami makes some sacrifices to hit this price — most glaringly, it lacks a built-in compressor like the Whynter, which means you have to pre-freeze your base or batter for 24 hours before using it. Compressor-based models let you whip up and make your ice cream immediately within an hour or two. 

Ninja Creami review: Design and setup

At 12.1 inches wide and 16 inches high, the Ninja Creami takes up a decent chunk of counter space. I’d compare it to the size of two single-serve coffee makers stacked atop each other. Despite being made of plastic, its all-black body feels far from cheap. Not only does it hide spills, but it keeps the machine surprisingly light at just 13 pounds, so you can move it around easily. 

To use the Creami, you just unravel the plug from the back, connect it to your wall outlet, and turn it on with the power button on the front. You’ll see the control panel light up with a one-touch button operation for each of the seven functions; ice cream, sorbet, gelato, milkshake, smoothie, lite ice cream, and mix-ins.

(Image credit: Future)

In the box, you’ll find two reusable pint containers, an outer mixing bowl in which these containers are placed once they’re frozen, as well as a lid for this outer bowl that holds the detachable metal Creami Paddle. Overall the setup is quite sturdy and is built to avoid messes — each of these pieces lock into each other for a consistently effortless experience. It’s the annoyance of having to prep ice cream a day ahead where the Creami experience can be a bear.

Ninja Creami review: Performance

You’ll start off by whipping up your own recipes in a large mixing bowl, then pouring your work into the Creami’s pint containers. Most of the desserts in Ninja’s included recipe book call for milk, heavy cream, cream cheese, milk, sugar, and either vanilla extract or cocoa powder. However, when you expand to gelato or sorbet, you’ll move into more complex bases that introduce more steps like adding egg yolks and fresh fruit.

(Image credit: Future)

Ninja’s Creami requires you to mix up your frozen dessert’s ingredients and then pour them into the pint container. Next, you need to freeze this container for a full 24 hours before you can use it with the machine. Trust them on that timeframe — I impatiently tried to make my first pint of ice cream after 14 hours, and while it was delicious, its consistency was like that of melted frozen yogurt. 

Creami ice block crystals

(Image credit: Future)

This pre-freezing wait time isn’t ideal for those who need instant gratification. I’ve had to explain to friends who simply want to come over and make ice cream that this isn’t a one-day activity. If you want something in that realm, you need to buy a pricier ice cream machine with a built-in compressor. Outside of the prolonged prep time, Ninja effectively streamlines the whole process. 

Ninja creami blends ice cream

(Image credit: Future)

You just put your frozen pint into the larger outer bowl, lock this bowl into the base of the machine, and then seal it with a topper that holds the Creami Paddle which blends and processes. You then select one of the seven function presets which controls the pressure and movement to thoroughly work the paddle up and down as it spins around for different amounts of time.

Ninja creami vanilla ice cream

(Image credit: Future)

I primarily used the Creami as an ice cream and milkshake mixer each day as these functions quickly deliver smooth and consistent results. You can see the difference in each of these function's results. While both start as a block of ice, the ice cream becomes a smooth cream that's easily scoopable yet firm. Shakes come out thick but liquidy so they’re easy to suck up with a straw. 

(Image credit: Future)

Protein and coffee ice cream and milkshakes are where the machine really shined; these more granular and complex additions usually end up chalky or sandy in standard blenders and food processors I’ve used over the years. In the Creami these powders were evenly distributed to create smooth and tasty snacks.

If you like airy ice cream that leans a bit more icy, the Lite Ice Cream function has the fastest spin speed which creates a mixture closer to a frozen yogurt. I looked forward to making gelatos although they required a lot more leg work, like cracking egg yolks and working in seeds. This setting has the slowest spin speed that churns the paddle over a longer period of time. 

Honestly, the improvement in taste from the basic ice cream wasn’t all that noticeable. It was still as creamy and delicious, but the Gelato had a smoother putty-like texture. The surface was less porous overall but eating it felt like I was shredding off clay shavings versus getting a filling soft spoonful like ice cream. 

(Image credit: Future)

My blueberry and watermelon sorbets came out deliciously fruity but the textures felt crumbly, as if I took a popsicle off of a stick and threw it into a bowl. Smoothie bowls had the consistency I expected from the sorbet so overall I just find the sorbet function redundant.

The final function for mix-ins is where you can get really creative—I felt like I was working at Dairy Queen throwing in Reeses, Oreos, and chocolate chip cookies then swirling them into a soft serve. It’s a fun family activity to work on recipes and enjoy your hard work together but I can’t see a single person or even couple wanting to prep this every week. This is where the ability to buy extra pints comes in handy—you can prepare your flavors in batches to make a day of making ice cream and then leave pints handy for when you want them.

Ninja creami mix ins with chocolate chip vanilla ice cream

(Image credit: Future)

Ninja Creami review: Verdict

Ninja’s Creami isn’t an absolute must-buy appliance but it's not a novelty either. If you’re someone into health foods or follow a special diet such as eating keto-friendly, avoiding allergies, or making sugar-free desserts, you’re not going to find an easier way to make frozen treats. 

Should you buy the Creami comes down to how often you really see yourself making homemade ice cream. Considering the prep time, it’s worth calculating the cost of just leaving pints of Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer. Among other ice cream makers we tested, the Whynter ICM-201SB ($333, Amazon) churns and freezes ice cream so you can have it in as little as two hours. However, the Creami makes itself more useful as an all-in-one machine for frozen treats with its versatile seven functions.

While it’s not an everyday game-changer, the Creami hasn’t lost its charm in my household, and it's going to see a lot of use over the summer. 

Hunter Fenollol
Senior Editor, Smart Home

Hunter Fenollol is a Senior Editor for Tom’s Guide. He specializes in smart home gadgets and appliances. Prior to joining the team, Hunter reviewed computers, wearables, and mixed reality gear for publications that include CNN Underscored, Popular Mechanics, and Laptop Magazine. When he’s not testing out the latest cooking gadgets, you can likely find him playing a round of golf or out with friends feeding his paycheck to a QuickHit slot machine. Hunter started his career as an intern at Tom’s Guide back in 2019 while in college. He graduated from Long Island University Post with a degree in Communications and minor in Advertising. He has been vlogging ever since the iPhone 4 took front-facing cameras mainstream.