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Some people are addicted to shopping. Some can’t go a day without playing the lottery. Ice cream is my personal vice.
Whether it’s a McFlurry, a Blizzard, a hand-dipped cone, a milkshake or a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, I’ve never turned down a chance to have this frozen dessert. So when I got the chance to try out a top notch machine that promised to let me make my own ice cream anytime I wanted, how could I refuse?
The Ninja Cream (yes it has a pretty terrible name but luckily it doesn’t affect performance) lists for $229 at Amazon (although it’s currently discounted to $199.99), where it has more than 1,100 notes, the vast majority of which are stellar. With an overall rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars, this is one of the highest rated kitchen appliances I’ve seen on the site.
The Creami promises to help you prepare homemade ice cream, sorbets, gelatos, smoothies and milkshakes, all at the touch of a button. After mine was delivered, I gave it a try by trying three different recipes.
Was the Creami legit enough to impress a certified ice cream lover? Keep reading to see how it turned out.
What the Ninja Creami does
Inside the box, the Creami comes with the device itself, which weighs 13 pounds and felt much heavier than I expected from its sleek appearance, a recipe book, and two washable pint containers with lids. More of these can be purchased on Amazon also if you want to expand your collection.
The first thing to know about the Ninja Creami is that it doesn’t technically work Craft ice cream. Your freezer will freeze the ingredients, and then the Creami will work its magic, turning that hard mass of ingredients into a texture that matches the type of frozen treat you prefer. Similar to Ninja’s most popular devices, the Creami works much like a blender, except the blending blade drops down from the top and moves vertically through your ingredients.
In this way, it’s similar to other countertop ice cream makers you can find online, but what makes Ninja different is its seven one-touch settings and how quickly it turns frozen ingredients into smooth ice cream (or sherbet, or whatever you like) that can be easily picked up.
I will say it’s very noisy because it works, but given that it’s all done in about a minute, that’s not too much of a problem. However, my son and my cooking partner may disagree with this statement.
Make ice cream with the Ninja Creami
For my test run, I chose three different ice cream recipes optimized for the Ninja Creami. One was from the included recipe booklet, which I found surprisingly sturdy, the other was from Ninja Test Kitchen and the other came from Frozen Confectionerya blog I found that has many unique recipe ideas for the Creami.
First, I wanted to see if the Ninja Creami could make Dole Whip convincing, so I found a recipe for this from Ninja Test Kitchen, which is a recipe website owned by Ninja. The instructions called for combining frozen pineapple chunks, frozen mango chunks, pineapple-mango juice, coconut milk and vanilla extract into a pint of Creami and freezing them for at least 24 hours before running them through the machine (this time is standard for all scratch recipes I’ve found, so you’ll need to have some patience and plan ahead).
The next recipe I made was for lemon cookie ice cream from The Ice Cream Confectionals. This one was supposed to be more of your typical ice cream, with ingredients including whole milk, heavy cream, sugar, lemon extract, crushed cookies, and…wait…cream cheese. Full disclosure: I’m not a fan of cream cheese, but as I’ve discovered by looking at recipes, almost all ice cream recipes for the Ninja Creami call for a tablespoon of cream cheese. It’s apparently the secret weapon needed to get the texture right.
The final recipe I chose was a simple milkshake, made from mixes of vanilla ice cream, milk, and store-bought candy that would be skillfully incorporated by the machine, according to the book. Keep reading to see how my tests turned out.
Is Ninja Creami ice cream any good?
Part of the reason I chose the three recipes I made is because it would give me a chance to use three of the Creami’s seven settings: sorbet, ice cream, and milkshake. The Dole Whip was the first batch I made and it was easily the most disappointing of the trio, mainly due to the texture.
I should mention that I deviated from the Ninja Test Kitchen recipe by doubling the pineapple chunks, removing the mango chunks, and replacing the pineapple-mango juice with pure pineapple juice. After the ingredients had been frozen for a day, I put the pint in the Creami, pressed “Sorbet” and let it do its thing.
I was expecting the signature soft texture of Dole Whip, but instead got a much more powdery and crumbly treat. It tasted the same as the real thing, but I wondered if I should have tried the ice cream setting instead.
The next step was the lemon cookie ice cream. This was the only recipe I tried that used cream cheese and the texture was definitely the closest thing to parlor dipped ice cream I had during my test. I was able to taste a hint of cream cheese in the ice cream, which didn’t thrill me, but it was weak and no one else who had tried the ice cream seemed to notice.
This recipe included crushed golden Oreos that needed to be added after the freezing period, so I ran the frozen pint over the ice cream setting before digging a hole in the center, filling it with cookies and pressing on the “Mix-In” button, which is supposed to evenly distribute your mixes into the ice cream without crushing them. I can say it worked like a charm and this ice cream was a winner on all counts.
Finally, I made a milkshake using the Ninja Cream and I found it to be much easier than the way I had made them before: pile everything into the blender and hope I hadn’t over-blended. Following the instructions in the included recipe book, I simply added a few scoops of store-bought vanilla ice cream, dug a hole in the center which I filled with Reese’s cups and sprinkles, added milk and pressed “Milkshake”.
When my milkshake was made it was a little thin for my taste, but that probably came down to adding a little too much milk. Candy and sprinkles have been pretty much destroyed, so if you prefer bigger chunks in your treats, definitely stick with the “Mix-In” feature. The milkshake was delicious, couldn’t have been easier to make, and left no mess on the counter.
The Ninja Cream is certainly an investment but, like other expensive kitchen gadgets from Nespresso or Kitchen Aid, it lives up to its price by doing exactly what it says it does and doing it well. One of the most exciting things about the Creami is the fact that it has become an online cult, which means there is a whole community of custom recipes you can try.
While I couldn’t replicate my beloved Blizzard, I’m hopeful I’ll find the right combination of ingredients and settings to get it right one of these days. The great thing about the Creami is that even failures are victories because you can still eat custom-made ice cream without leaving the house!