7 Easy Ways To Make Soft Chewy Ice At Home

Chewy ice, popularized by the Sonic restaurant chain, is sought after for its softness, ability to pick up different flavors, and ability to cool down your drink very quickly. Rather than needing to go to your local Sonic you might want to know how you can make soft chewy ice at home.

Since it can easily help you make a delicious treat and enjoy your favorite drink even more, it is very useful to know how to make it at home.

Here are a few straightforward ways to make chewy ice: 

  1. Use a small nugget ice tray.
  2. Use a nugget ice machine.
  3. Freeze carbonated water.
  4. Crush ice in a blender.
  5. Smash your ice manually.
  6. Use an ice shaver.
  7. Fill up your ice cube trays a tiny bit

If you’re preparing for a party or just want to enjoy your iced drink, learning how to make your chewy ice will surely come in handy. Read on to learn how to make your own chewy ice in no time! 

1. Use a Small Nugget Ice Tray

The simplest way to make nugget ice is to use a specialized mini ice cube tray. Nugget ice trays are designed to create small ice nuggets with minimal effort. It works just like any other ice tray – you pour water in it, leave it in the fridge for a few hours, and just like that, you’ve got some chewy ice. 

This Silicone Mini Ice Cube Tray (available on Amazon.com) is a great option for anyone looking to make chewy ice using the ice tray method. It comes at a remarkably low price, and works pretty well to make good sized nugget ice.

This simplicity comes at a cost, though. This process is rather time-consuming, as you’ll have to wait for at least six hours until you get your ice cubes. Ice cube formation can take even longer than six hours, depending on your freezer. Also if you leave the ice too long in your freezer the ice may taste bad even if the water is fine. But this can be avoided by using filtered water and storing your ice properly in your freezer after it's made.

This technique can also be inconvenient if you have limited freezer space. It can also be time consuming to push out every little piece of ice from the silicone mold. You may want to consider an easy release ice cube tray to make getting the ice out easier.

See the latest price of the Silicone Mini Ice Cube Tray at Amazon

2. Use a Nugget Ice Machine

Making chewy ice with a specialized machine is probably the best and the easiest option. Using a nugget ice machine takes almost no effort. You can get perfect nuggets of ice in practically no time, and you’re able to make really large quantities of them.

Making Ice With a Nugget Ice Machine

A nugget ice machine, like the Opal ice nugget machine, works by pumping water through a metal cylinder. This freezes the water very quickly, which makes ice form on the cylinder’s interior walls. After that, a special auger scrapes the ice from the walls and pushes it in an upward direction.

The next step is compressing the ice through small holes, after which a metal cone cuts them down into nugget-sized pieces, and they fall into a bin specialized for ice collection. How nugget ice makers work is very fascinating.

This is by far the easiest way to make chewy ice at home and also how to maker the largest quantity of nugget ice. The Opal Nugget Ice maker can make 1 pound of nugget ice every hour. That's 24 pounds per day.

Choose an Efficient Ice Maker for Best Results

The Opal nugget ice machine makes the first ice cubes after just fifteen minutes, which is incredibly fast, especially compared to traditional freezers. It continues making ice after that, and each batch is better than the previous. As time goes on, you will get ice that is increasingly better in texture. 

The GE Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker (available on Amazon.com) is an excellent model of nugget ice maker. The product has a high-quality design, and it’s made to fit easily in any kitchen.

The machine can make about a pound of ice per hour, which makes it ideal for large parties and similar gatherings, as it ensures that you never run out of ice. The major problem with the opal nugget ice maker is its cost, but many would agree that the higher price is worth the product’s value. 

See the latest price of the GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker at Amazon
(or compare to the price of the GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker at Walmart)

3. Freeze Carbonated Water

LEFT: Chewy ice made with carbonated water – RIGHT: Regular ice cube made with tap water

Carbonated water will make white ice that is full of bubbles and light and chewy in texture. The cloudy ice is completely safe to consume and tastes just like normal ice.

You can use a regular ice tray or a nugget ice cube tray using this technique. However, if you’re using a regular tray and you want to get smaller nuggets, don’t fill the molds to the top with liquid. Instead, only fill them halfway. This is a great ice cube tray hack for making soft chewy ice.

If you completely fill the ice cube tray with carbonated water you'll get ice cubes that push out above the ice cube tray as you can see below when I did this at home.

Apart from using carbonated water, you can also use club soda. Either way, the results will be pretty much the same. You just have to make sure that the soda is not flat. The more carbonated it is, the better results you will get. The air bubbles in the water will ensure that the ice you get is nice and chewy. 

Making Chewy Ice With Carbonated Water

All you need to do is pour the liquid into the ice cube molds and let it freeze for a few hours. You can check to see if the ice is ready by gently pressing it. If it gives in when you touch it, put it back in the freezer. 

Once frozen, the air bubbles in the water will make sure that the ice you get is nice and chewy. 

If you want to make the ice taste even better, you can use fruit-flavored carbonated water or some kind of artificial or natural aroma. Even better, you can also add food coloring to make it more visually appealing. Feel free to experiment with an array of fun, unique colors! 

4. Crush Ice in a Blender 

If you have a blender that can handle ice, you can follow this method easily. Your blender’s label probably states whether it is suitable for ice or not. However, if the blender has a thick glass bowl, metal blades, and a power setting of at least 400 watts, you’re likely good to go. 

I personally have a Nutribullet and it worked just fine.

It can be a bit tricky to completely crush the ice as the flakes of ice tend to get stuck to the bottom with the large ice cubes bouncing around above the blades and never getting cut. The ice needs to move around to be properly crushed.

You can experiment with pulsing the ice while moving it around with a spoon to prevent it from getting too flaky. 

Be careful not to overdo it on the blending; the goal is to make the ice soft, not to make it a powder. 

When I tried to make chewy ice this way I found that it made a combination of flaked ice and larger chunks of ice. It doesn't make ideally shaped pebble ice like some of the other options on this list.

But it wasn't too hard to do and if you only have large ice cubes this is one way to get them smaller.

5. Smash Your Ice Manually

If you don’t have a suitable blender, you can try manually crushing your ice. This is a pretty effective technique, even though it can be a bit messy. 

The easiest way to smash your ice is to first place it in a clean kitchen cloth. Wrap the ice completely in a tea towel, regular towel or cloth. Make sure that it’s not spilling out of the cloth.

Then place the cloth with ice on a chopping board so you don't ruin your kitchen bench.

Then, smash it with a rolling pin, meat mallet, or any similar tool. Don’t smash it too hard. You don’t want to end up with tiny flakes of ice—you’re looking for nuggets. 

I found if I hit it too many times it just turned completely into crushed ice. But a couple of smaller hits made good chunks of ice that were great to put in my drink.

This process also makes your tea towel wet so you'll need to hang it out to dry after you're done.

6. Use an Ice Shaver

Using an ice shaver is another affordable and convenient way to make some soft ice. There are manual and electric options on the market, but of course, an electric ice shaver is going to be the better option in this case. 

Just load your ice shaver with some fresh ice, and you’ll have some nice, soft ice that’s going to make your drink so much better without any effort!

See the latest price of the Hawaiian Electric Ice Shaver at Amazon

7. Fill Up Your Ice Cube Trays a Tiny Bit

If you don't have small nugget ice cube trays like we talked about above then a unique and clever idea is to use a regular ice cube tray but only fill it up a tiny amount.

Put a thin layer of water in each ice cube hole and then place it in your freezer to freeze. The good thing about this is that your ice cubes will freeze really fast, the bad thing is you'll need quite a lot of trays to make a decent amount of chewy ice.

Once frozen twist your ice cube tray to release the ice cubes.

The good thing here is that because the ice was so thin this twisting naturally broke a bunch of the ice cubes into smaller pieces which is perfect for munching on.

It was hard to get some of the ice cubes out but just sitting the bottom of your ice cube tray in some hot water for a couple of seconds makes them come out really easily.

Once out of the tray place the ice cubes into a tupperware or ziplock bag and store them in the freezer. Then refill your tray and make some more. After a few rounds you'll have a good supply of chewy ice for whenever you need it.

Key Takeaways

There are many ways to make chewy ice in your own home! Depending on what you have available in your home, you can use an ice cube tray, ice maker, or even a rolling pin to achieve a pleasant, chewy texture in your ice.

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