Straight to the Point
The Ninja Creami Deluxe could be a fun kitchen gadget—if you feel motivated enough to use it (you have to freeze your ingredients 24 hours in advance). We also found most results were crumbly and not really smooth (save for a creamy slushy, which was also not what we expected). Instead, we recommend investing in our winning ice cream maker, the Cuisinart ICE-21 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker (which also happens to be significantly cheaper), and a good blender.
As someone who has a stubborn, anti-bandwagon streak, I’ve rebuffed TikTok’s wiles, preferring to encounter reality in all its humdrum glory (okay, I AM on Instagram, so perhaps I am not so pure). But even so, TikTok still manages to influence me: take the Ninja Creami Deluxe—it was all the rage on the app at some point, and as a gear nerd and equipment reviewer, I took it upon myself to review this oddity of an ice cream maker to see if the masses were right in their favor.
The Ninja Creami Deluxe promises to make pints of ice cream out of anything—no custard base or hours of churning required. Just freeze whatever you want to creamify in one of the pint containers the machine comes with (for 24 hours—no one said this thing was instant), pop it into the machine, pick a creaming option, and watch (and hear its high-pitched scream) as the blade descends into your frozen base and magically turns it into ice cream (or sorbet or a “drinkable,” like a slushy). We used the Ninja Creami to make sorbet, ice cream, and a slushy, to see if it was worth the TikTok hype.
- Mixed Berry Sorbet Test: I made Ninja’s recipe for Fresh Mixed Berry Sorbet.
- Pina Colada Sorbet Test: I made a pina colada sorbet using pineapple, banana, heavy cream, and coquito, based on Ninja’s sorbet recipe format.
- Ice Cream Test: I made Ninja’s recipe for vanilla ice cream.
- Slushy Test: I made Ninja’s recipe for a Coconut Mango Slushy.
- Usability and Cleaning: I noted how easy the machine was to use and clean throughout testing.
How Does The Ninja Creami Deluxe Work?
Ninja Creami Deluxe 11-in-1 XL Ice Cream Maker
The Ninja Creami Deluxe was predated by a pricey gadget called the Pacojet (which is limited in its availability), which was all the rage in the nascent days of molecular gastronomy. The Pacojet looks eerily similar to (though a bit more svelt than) the Creami and operates on the same mechanical principle: each machine uses a bit attached to a blade (Ninja calls it a paddle), and this bit/blade combo spins and descends slowly into the frozen base, shaving it super finely and making it creamy (they’re kind of like food-centric drill presses). The idea is that you get a purer taste of whatever it is you want to make into sorbet or ice cream since you don’t have to worry about infusing custard or adding lots of other ingredients (you could just use fresh fruit if you wanted to). To create, say, a fruit sorbet, you would place some fruit into the pint container, mash it, then repeat with the remaining fruit. Then, you freeze the mixture for at least 24 hours before placing the pint glass into the outer container, screw it into the machine, and then press the button for whichever option you’re looking to make.
The Ninja Creami Deluxe version expands upon the original Ninja Creami, which offers seven functions (ice cream, sorbet, lite ice cream, gelato, milkshake, smoothie bowl, and mix-in) while the Deluxe offers 11 (it adds slushy, Italian ice, frozen drink, Creamiccino, and frozen yogurt to the mix). The Deluxe is also larger than the original—the containers hold three cups each versus the original’s 1.5 cups.
What We Learned
The Ninja Creami Deluxe’s Results Were Inconsistent
I found a lot of the pre-programmed settings didn’t live up to expectations. For example, I expected the berry sorbet to be creamy and smooth but, instead, it emerged powdery and impossible to scoop into neat curls even after running it through another round in the machine (Note: after posting this review, a Ninja rep reached out and recommended adding some liquid to the mixture before re-spinning to make it creamier). Ice cream was similar. Instead of creamy scoops, the ice cream was crumbly and it compacted when we dug into it with a spoon. It was kind of like Dippin Dots, which, while a fun fad some 15 years ago, wasn’t exactly what I was looking for in a pint of ice cream. As for the mango coconut slushy, I expected shimmering shavings of ice in a juicy slurry, but the result was more like sorbet: smooth and creamy.
The only result that somewhat met my expectations was a mashup sorbet recipe that included bananas, pineapple, cream, and coquito (creating a sort of pina colada sorbet). This produced creamy results, though the mashed bananas weren’t integrated fully into the mixture. Overall, the different settings didn’t match up with the expected results.
It’s Big—and Loud
Looking for a small, countertop doodad to make ice cream easily and inconspicuously? This ain’t it. The Ninja Creami Deluxe is tall (nearly 17 inches in height) and very loud, to the point where I dreaded turning it on. To be fair, countertop ice cream machines with built-in cooling systems aren’t exactly quiet, but they produce more of a low hum, whereas the Creami makes a loud, high-pitched whining sound akin to a circular saw. Overall, this isn’t the kind of gadget you leave on your countertop for guests to admire.
It Wasn’t the Easiest to Set Up and Use
While the Ninja operated somewhat simply (the blade spins and bores down into the ice cream/sorbet base), it wasn’t all that simple to get up and running. I had trouble pressing the tab to lock the lid onto the outer bowl, and even more difficulty loading the outer bowl into the machine (it kept getting stuck before it could swivel up all the way). Also, to install the blade (a.k.a paddle), you have to handle the blade’s edges, which felt risky. To be fair, once I got the hang of using the machine, it did get moderately easier to put together.
The Ninja Creami Deluxe has a few more bells and whistles than the original version, but, if you’re looking for a replacement ice cream maker, the results might disappoint. We also found other creations, like sorbet and slushy, didn’t meet textural expectations (read: the sorbet was powdery and the slushy was smooth and creamy). The machine was also rather large and very loud.
Ninja Creami Deluxe 11-in-1 XL Ice Cream Maker
The Ninja Creami Deluxe has some fun functions if you want to experiment with making ice cream or sorbet out of anything (gazpacho sorbet anyone?). It has a fervent (and vocal) fanbase that raves about its creations, so some people really love it.
It’s a large, loud machine, and the ice cream, sorbet, and slushies didn’t come out how we expected (not to mention you have to freeze most items for 24 hours before you can creamify them). I also found it a little difficult to assemble.
- Weight: 14.4 lbs
- Wattage: 800 Watts
- Machine dimensions: 12 x 8.4 x 16.7 inches
- Container capacity: 24 fluid ounces
- Functions: Ice cream, mix-ins, milkshake, sorbet, gelato, lite-ice cream, slushy, Italian ice, frozen drink, Creamiccino, and frozen yogurt
- What’s included: Two pint-sized ice cream containers, one paddle
- Care: All attachments are top-rack dishwasher-safe; ensure the paddle, pint, outer bowl, and lids are all separated before placing in the dishwasher
- Warranty: 1-year limited
- Price at time of publish: $250
Is the Ninja Creami Deluxe worth it?
If you are looking to experiment with making ice cream and sorbet with unconventional ingredients (and without having to make a custard base for ice cream), then the Creami might be useful. However, we found most results were crumbly and powdery, hardly like the creamy sorbet and ice cream we expected.
What can I use the Ninja Creami Deluxe for?
The Ninja Creami Deluxe has 11 pre-programmed settings: ice cream, sorbet, lite ice cream, gelato, milkshake, smoothie bowl, mix-in, slushy, Italian ice, frozen drink, Creamiccino, and frozen yogurt. You can use the machine to make all of these frozen treats.
What’s the difference between the Ninja Creami and the Ninja Creami Deluxe?
The Ninja Creami has seven pre-programmed settings, while the Ninja Creami Deluxe has four additional settings, adding slushy, Italian ice, frozen drink, Creamiccino, and frozen yogurt.
Should I buy the Ninja Creami Deluxe or an ice cream machine?
Considering how loud and pricey the Creami Deluxe is, we don’t think that the Creami is worth the cash. Instead, we recommend investing in a standalone ice cream maker, which is easier to use and produces more consistent results. And if you like making smoothie bowls, a blender is our preferred gadget of choice.