ALDI's New $69.99 Appliance Is Life-Changing—I Wish I Had Bought It Sooner

ALDI's new stand-alone ice maker churns out restaurant-quality ice cubes in minutes.

ALDI's New $69.99 Appliance Is Life-Changing—I Wish I Had Bought It Sooner
Aldi sign
Simply Recipes / Getty Images

I've long coveted refrigerators with built-in ice makers, and in recent years, that feeling has intensified. Something happened to me postpartum that made me crave and delight in icy beverages like no other time.

I bought a few fun molds for my freezer to quell my desire for all the shapes, sizes, and textures of ice. I love them, but they require routine and upkeep. Dumping and filling the molds is not difficult, but it does require an uninterrupted 10 minutes to change out all of my trays—time that can be hard to find with two small kids.

As a result, I sometimes run out of ice. This is a very privileged problem, so I'm not complaining, but my "drink of the day" is an act of self-care. Each day, between 3 and 5 p.m., I crack open a can of sparkling water, pour it into an ice-filled tumbler, and sip. 

Like other people's post-work cocktail or glass of wine, this is my reset. It's a "do something good for myself" treat that I look forward to daily and feel disappointed without. So, when I learned that ALDI was selling the Ambiano Countertop Ice Maker for just $69.99 (significantly cheaper than most countertop ice makers), I decided to spring for it.

As a seasoned ALDI shopper, I've snagged some fantastic finds over the years, but this ice maker might take the cake. It's simple to use, easy to clean, and churns out restaurant-quality ice cubes in minutes.

Aldi Ice Maker
Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Retailer below

What I Love About ALDI's Ambiano Countertop Ice Maker

  • It's fast. After washing it, I filled the reservoir and turned it on, surprised at how quiet it was. It started cranking out batch after batch of ice cubes in six to eight minutes, producing about nine bullet-style cubes at a time. This fills the ice basket in about an hour and a half and makes 26 pounds of ice in a 24-hour period, much better than what I can accomplish with my freezer and a bunch of ice cube trays. 
  • It's efficient. When the basket gets full, it stops producing ice. When I emptied the basket (or removed some of the ice), it began producing ice again. If I forget about it or leave it overnight, the ice in the basket (which stays chilled but not frozen) eventually melts back into the reservoir to be used again. It also indicates when the machine is out of water, prompting me to refill it. 
  • I can choose between small or large cubes. Both sizes are the same length, but the large cubes are thicker, making them better for keeping iced coffee, tea, soda, and mixed drinks icy cold without diluting them too quickly. 
  • Cleaning is a breeze. The ice maker has an automatic cleaning mode that gives the interior a once-over. You just have to remove the basket, fill it with 17 ounces of water and a bit of white vinegar, press the "clean" button, and let it do its thing. Once I've used it for longer, I think it might require more labor. In this case, I'll spray the inside with vinegar water, wipe or scrub it down with a clean brush, and let water cycle through it a few times to clear it. The surface area isn't big, so I imagine doing this would take about five minutes. 
  • It genuinely improved my beverage experience! I love that ice is always ready for me: I can walk by and fill my cup without opening the freezer or fiddling with ice cube trays.

By sheer coincidence, I bought the ice maker a week before I was hosting 15 people for a BBQ and was thrilled that I didn't have to think about preparing ice. Leading up to the party, I simply let the machine run and refilled the reservoir as needed. I bagged the ice in paper bags in the freezer over a few days. (I learned from a friend that storing ice in paper bags helps prevent it from sticking together.) When BBQ day came, I dumped the ice into a large cooler and filled it with cans of beer, non-alcoholic drinks, and sparkling water so guests could help themselves. 

For $70, this splurge is worth every penny. It's so convenient and efficient I can't imagine going through another summer (or year) without it. Because I'm an ice snob, I won't give up my other favorite ice cube molds. But I will run this at least twice a week to keep my freezer regularly stocked with ice for my special drink, impromptu cocktails with friends, and last-minute dinner parties or pizza-movie nights with friends.