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We tested the Ninja CREAMi: Why the TikTok-famous ice cream maker is worth it

One of my core beliefs in life is that every weather is ice cream weather. 

To me, it doesn’t matter if it’s 95 degrees out of or if we’re in the middle of a blizzard — I’m going to end each day with a nice bowl of my favorite cold, creamy treat.

I always have a few pints in my freezer, and I’ll never say no to going out for a sundae, but I never really wanted take the next step and make my own ice cream. That is, until I found the Ninja CREAMi. (Related: best ice cream makers and the best ice cream scoops).

I’d been eyeing the appliance for a while, but I was hesitant. I don’t typically go for single-use appliances because I lack the space for them, but once the Ninja CREAMi started blowing up on my TikTok For You Page, I finally decided to pull the trigger.

What’s better than customized ice cream on-demand?

(Spoiler alert: not much).

TikTok users are using the CREAMi for everything from protein ice cream to spiked sorbet and the brand has definielty noticed all the attention they’ve been getting!

“We’re thrilled to see such enthusiastic consumer response surrounding the Ninja CREAMi,” said Sonal Majmudar, Vice President of Marketing at Ninja, exclusively told the New York Post. “It’s a testament to Ninja’s Creamify Technology powered by Dual Drive Motors. We’re proud to be at the forefront of reinventing traditional ice-cream-making from the comfort of your home by taking frozen ingredients and transforming them into CREAMi creations.”

ninja creami on counter empty
Angela Tricarico

With a whopping 1,700+ raving reviews and a 4.5-star rating on Amazon, plus more than 402.6 million views on Tiktok (#NinjaCREAMi) at the time of publish, we’re not the only ones obsessing over this ice cream maker!

How does the Ninja CREAMi work?

The Ninja CREAMi comes with seven one-touch programs, all of which do different things:

  • Ice Cream: for traditional recipes using dairy and dairy alternatives.
  • Lite Ice Cream: for recipes that are low in sugar or fat, using sugar substitutes, or follow keto or paleo diets.
  • Gelato: for custard-style bases.
  • Sorbet: for fruit-based recipes with high water and sugar content.
  • Smoothie Bowl: for recipes with fruit/vegetables frozen with dairy, dairy alternatives, or juice.
  • Milkshake: use store-bought ice cream, milk, and mix-ins. Requires no freezing.
  • Mix in: folds candies, cookies, nuts, cereal, frozen fruit, etc. into your frozen treats.

Five of the seven one-touch programs have a freeze time of 24 hours, meaning you’ll need to prep a base at least a day or so before you plan on spinning it. After that, you take your frozen pint, install it into the outer bowl, pop the lid on, and choose your program. One and a half to three minutes later, you’ll have a fresh pint of ice cream, sorbet, or gelato ready to be eaten immediately.

How we tested the Ninja CREAMi:

I’ve used nearly all of the programs in the few weeks I’ve had my CREAMi, but for purposes of this review, I kept it simple by using the star of the show: the ice cream program.

24 hours before I knew I’d be testing, I mixed up a base using Ninja’s “perfectly personalized ice cream” base, which consists of cream cheese, sugar, heavy cream, milk, and the extract of your choice for flavoring — mint, in my case. I also added a dash of green food coloring.

(I’ve tried other bases in the past, like mixing milk with a Jello pudding powder and got a similar result, but the Ninja base recipe is the one I’ve found I like best.)

When the time came to test, I pulled my pint out of the freezer and spun it once on the ice cream setting and then once on re-spin (more on that later). Since I was making mint chip, I also took Ninja’s recommended advice and made a small hole that reached the bottom of the pint, poured chocolate chips in, and installed it for one more spin on the mix-in setting.

mint chip ice cream three steps
Angela Tricarico

I also tested the machine on the sorbet setting. For that, I simply froze an entire can of Dole pineapple chunks in pineapple juice. This kept things simple but tasty.

How does the Ninja CREAMi compare to other ice cream makers?

Essentially, the Ninja CREAMi works in reverse from all of the other major ice cream makers because it requires a completely frozen base, whereas the other ones start with a liquid mixture.

Instead of freezing your ice cream maker’s bowl and refrigerating a base, the CREAMi uses proprietary Creamify Technology to shave away at the pre-frozen block and mix it into the creamy texture we recognize as ice cream.

ninja creami lid and creamerizer paddle
Angela Tricarico

Because of this, it takes just minutes to make ice cream in the CREAMi while other traditional ice cream makers need at minimum 15-20 minutes of churning before you’ll start seeing ice cream.

Our review of the Ninja CREAMi:

I’ve been using the Ninja CREAMi for about three weeks, and in that time, I haven’t even wanted to get ice cream from the grocery store or my local ice cream shops. It’s that good.

As someone who’s spent the last few years getting more and more comfortable in the kitchen, I’ve really enjoyed getting to mix my own bases, creating flavor combos with mix-ins like strawberry cheesecake with graham cracker pie crust, Froot Loops milk with cereal mix ins, cinnamon bun, orange creamsicle, chocolate with Italian rainbow cookies, and my entire family’s personal favorite so far: a classic mint chip.

On my CREAMi journey so far, I’ve realized a few things:

  1. The recipe book that comes with the appliance features measurements that’ll fill one of the included pints. In my house, one pint feeds three people. You don’t have to fill the pints up to the max fill line, though! If you’re making ice cream for one, just mix enough base to fill half of the pint.
  2. The 24 hour freeze time wasn’t as much of an inconvenience as I previously thought it would be. Prepping more than one base at a time means you’ll have a few ready to go in the freezer whenever the craving hits. Buying extra pints will help with that too.
  3. On that note, base mixtures will likely lose a bit of sweetness as a result of being frozen. If you think your base is sweet enough when it’s still liquid, make it just a little bit sweeter than that for the perfect flavor once mixed.
  4. Their mix-in guidelines are spot on. They say hard mix-ins will remain intact, while softer ones get broken down. The chocolate chips in my mint chip stay fully intact, and the Italian rainbow cookies also stayed in larger chunks. Both the pie crust and cereal got broken down into a coarse dust that didn’t do much more than change the texture of the ice cream.
  5. Ninja recommends a re-spin when your first spin comes out crumbly (due to an extra-cold freezer temperature), but I’ve noticed that a re-spin is usually necessary every time no matter what you’re making. It’s not a con, for me at least, but it’s something to note.
  6. The finished consistency is something between a classic soft-serve and hard ice cream.
  7. Ninja says that you can re-spin leftovers as long as you smooth out the top of the pint and freeze it solid again. I’ve done this and found that it wasn’t as good as a freshly spun pint.

Ninja CREAMi pros and cons:

Our verdict

ninja creami on counter
Angela Tricarico

If you’ve seen any Ninja CREAMi videos on TikTok, you’ll already know everything there is to know about the machine by the time it arrives at your door. It’s that easy to use. There’s no real learning curve, and making ice cream would be a fun family activity as we approach the summer.

The appeal of the CREAMi, to me, is the ability to get creative with flavors and mix-in combinations. If you are an always will be a vanilla ice cream person, the CREAMi might not be worth the investment. It’s a steep price, but for people who either need to make customizations for food restriction reasons (dairy and gluten intolerances, for example), or who just want to know what exactly goes into the ice cream they’re eating, it’s well worth it.

Even if you think you’ll only be frequently using one or two programs on the appliance, we recommend adding the Ninja CREAMi to your cart.

Check out the New York Post Shopping section for more content.