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Some people are addicted to shopping. Some can’t go a day without playing the lottery. Ice cream happens to be 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 a top notch machine that promised me it would make my own ice cream anytime, how could I turn it down?
The Ninja Creami (yes, it has a pretty terrible name, but luckily that doesn’t affect performance) is listed for $229 on Amazon (although it’s currently discounted to $199.99), where he has more than 1,100 reviews to date, the vast majority of which are stellar. With an overall rating of 4.6 stars out of 5, it’s one of the top rated kitchen appliances I’ve seen on the site.
The Creami promises to help you make homemade ice cream, sorbet, gelato, smoothies and milkshakes, all with the push of a button. After mine was delivered, I tested it by trying three different recipes.
Was the creami real enough to impress a certified ice cream fan? Read on to see how it went.
What the Ninja Creami does
In the box, the Creami comes with the device itself, which weighs a whopping 13 pounds and feels a lot heavier than I expected given its sleek looks, a recipe book, and two washable pint containers with lids. More of these can also be purchased from Amazon if you want to add to your collection.
The first thing to know about the Ninja Creami is that technically it doesn’t make Ice. Your freezer will freeze ingredients and then the creami will work its magic, turning that rock-hard mass of ingredients into the texture to suit the type of frozen treat you prefer. Much like Ninja’s most popular implements, the Creami works a bit like a blender, except the blending blade comes down from the top, moving vertically through your ingredients.
In that way it’s similar to other countertop ice cream machines you can find online, but what makes Ninjas different is its seven one-touch settings and how quickly it turns frozen ingredients into smooth ice cream (or sorbet or whatever you like). can be easily scooped.
I’ll say it’s very noisy since it works, but since it’s all done in about a minute it’s not too much of a problem. However, my son and cooking partner might disagree with this statement.
Make ice cream with the Ninja Creami
For my test series, I selected three different ice cream recipes that were optimized for the Ninja Creami. One was from the recipe book that came with it, which I found surprisingly robust, one was from Ninja Test Kitchen, and the other was from The Ice Cream Confectionals, a blog I found that has a lot of unique recipe ideas for the creami.
First I wanted to see if the Ninja Creami could make convincing Dole Whip, so I found a recipe for it from Ninja Test Kitchen, a Ninja recipe website. The instructions called for combining frozen pineapple chunks, frozen mango chunks, pineapple-mango juice, coconut milk, and vanilla extract in a creamy pint and freezing it for at least 24 hours before running it through the machine (this length of time is standard for all the recipes, which I found from scratch, so you’ll need to be patient and plan ahead).
The next recipe I made was Lemon Cookie Ice Cream from The Ice Cream Confectionals. This should be more of a typical ice cream cone, with ingredients like whole milk, whipped cream, sugar, lemon extract, crushed biscuits, and…wait for it…cream cheese. Full Disclosure: I’m not a fan of cream cheese, but as I’ve found looking at recipes, almost every Ninja Creami ice cream recipe calls for a tablespoon of cream cheese. It’s apparently the secret weapon needed to achieve the right texture.
The final recipe I chose was a simple milkshake made with store-bought vanilla ice cream, milk, and candy mixes that the book said would be expertly incorporated by the machine. Read on to see how my tests turned out.
Is Ninja Creami Ice Cream Good?
Part of the reason I went with the three recipes is because it would give me the ability 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 by far the most disappointing of the trio, largely due to texture.
I should mention that I deviated from the Ninja Test Kitchen recipe by doubling the pineapple chunks, omitting the mango chunks, and substituting plain pineapple juice for pineapple-mango juice. After the ingredients had been frozen for a day, I popped the pint into the creami, pressed sorbet and let it sit.
I was expecting Dole Whip’s signature soft-serve texture, but instead got a treat that was far more powdery and crumbly. It tasted like the original, but I wondered if I should have tried the ice cream setting instead.
Next was the lemon cookie ice cream. This was the only recipe I tried that used cream cheese, and the texture was definitely the closest to ice cream dipping at a parlor I had during my testing. I could taste a hint of cream cheese in the actual ice cream, which didn’t wow me, but it was weak and no one else who tasted the ice cream seemed to notice.
This recipe had shredded golden Oreos to add after the freeze time, so I ran the frozen pint onto the ice cream setting before digging a hole through the center, filling it with cookies, and pressing the “Mix-In” button Squeezed is designed to evenly distribute your mix-ins throughout the ice cream without crushing them. I can say it worked like a charm and this ice cream was a winner across the board.
I ended up making a milkshake with the Ninja Creami and found it a lot easier than the way I’ve made them before: throw everything in the blender and hope I didn’t mix too much. Using the instructions in the recipe book that came with it, 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 hit milkshake.
When my milkshake was ready, it was a little thin for my liking, but that was probably because I added a little too much milk. The candies 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 tasted great, couldn’t have been easier to make and didn’t leave a mess on the counter.
The Ninja Creami is definitely an investment, but like other expensive kitchen gadgets from Nespresso or Kitchen Aid, it lives up to its price by doing exactly what’s advertised and doing it well. One of the most exciting things about creami is the cult following it’s garnered online, meaning there’s a whole community of custom recipes for you to try.
While I haven’t been able to replicate my beloved Blizzard, I hope that one day I’ll find the right combination of ingredients and settings to get it right. The great thing about Creami is that even the failures are wins because you can still have a custom made ice cream without leaving home!