summer

The Popular $16 Gadget You’ll Want for Making Fluffy Snow Cones This Summer

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Ice isn’t always thought of as an ingredient, but during the summer, it’s one of my favorites. I’m an unabashed fan of frozen margaritas and frozen daiquiris, and while their flavors may come from alcohols, syrups, and fruit juices, their undeniably refreshing mouthfeel depends on ice. Not just any kind of ice, either: The ice must be either chopped into small pebbles or shaved into super-fine flakes, both of which require specialized equipment that’s usually (unfortunately) pretty expensive.

Thankfully, there’s an affordable, simple, and small-space-friendly way to make finely-shaved ice at home — and it works in seconds. This piece of kitchen gear doesn’t need to be plugged in, so you can even bring it with you to an outdoor cookout and create mounds of fluffy ice shavings on the spot. At just $16, it’s significantly cheaper than the shave ice attachment we usually recommend and produces ice shavings that are comparable in quality. Make this small investment now and you’ll be prepared for a more refreshing, thirst-quenching summer ahead.

This countertop ice shaver works by grinding a puck of ice against blades that produce thin shavings, which are collected in a clear container. It requires a little bit of assembly when you first take it out of the box, but once you have the handle section all screwed together, it will be ready to use at a moment’s notice. And, because the blades are strong and sharp, you won’t have to struggle or work too hard to get a nice pile of flakes. The included ice puck mold makes the shaving process easier, and you can fill it with water, juice, coffee, or the liquid of your choice to get any number of flavors. 

Credit: Amazon

The machine produces pretty fine shavings, which are ideal to eat as shave ice or snow cones with a drizzling of sweet syrup or condensed milk and a topping of sliced fruit. You can also use the shavings in slushy drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and if you freeze a puck of milk, you’ll get a dessert that’s reminiscent of ice cream but much lighter. For added convenience, do yourself a favor and keep a frozen ice puck in your freezer at all times. This will let you cool down with a delicious treat whenever you get the taste for one. If you forget to keep a puck on hand, you may be able to get away with using regular ice cubes, but you’ll have to work harder to shave them and the end result won’t be as even.

Credit: Amazon

According to Amazon shoppers, each puck produces enough shave ice for two or four servings, so if you’re planning on making a lot, you’ll want to freeze several pucks ahead of time. People with young children have found it to be a big hit, and many confirm that it’s easy to use. “I love shaved ice but the hassle of setting things up kept me from making it as often as I like,” one reviewer wrote. “This solves the problem perfectly. Almost no time needed to set up and clean up. It takes a bit of muscle, but I am an elder and have no difficulty.”

If you want some recipe inspiration while you wait for your ice shaver to arrive, check out this popular Korean dish. It may make you rethink the way you approach frozen desserts entirely.

Buy: Portable Ice Shaver, $15.99