What’s the difference between shaved ice and a snow cone?

Untitled design 69
Untitled design 69

Most people use the terms “shaved ice” and “snow cone” interchangeably as a way of referring to a sweet treat that’s widely available at fairs, festivals, school fundraisers, and just about anywhere else you can find large crowds. But there are some very important differences between shaved ice and snow cones! If you’re going to be making your own shaved ice or snow cones (and you should), then it’s helpful to know the difference between them. That way, you’ll know what kind of equipment to buy and how to create the perfect consistency in your product.


Shaved ice is a frozen dessert made of finely shaved ice. Snow cones, on the other hand, are a frozen dessert made of crushed ice.

What’s the difference between shaved ice and snow cones? The main difference is that while both contain a sweet syrup (usually flavored with fruit or candy), shaved ice is finely shaved so it melts quickly in your mouth, while snow cones have bigger chunks that take longer to melt. This makes them ideal for warm weather when you want something cool but don’t have time to sit down and eat it right away—a classic summer treat!


Snow cones are smaller and more finely shaved than shaved ice. Snow cones are all about the finer details, so you can expect to pay a little more for your shave. Snow cones also tend to be more sweet than their icy counterparts, which makes them a treat rather than just something you eat when you’re thirsty.

Finally, there’s the matter of color: A snow cone will almost certainly have bright colors added to it—typically red, yellow or blue—while shaved ice tends toward clear or white frosting.

How to make

Shaved ice is made with a snow cone maker. Snow cones are made with a snow cone machine. Snow cone machines are also sometimes called “snow cone makers,” but that term usually refers to the kind of snow cone machine that makes shaved ice rather than those that make regular old shaved ice, which can be confusing when you’re trying to decide what kind of machine you should buy for your business.

How to use

  • You can use shaved ice as a topping for anything, from smoothies and milkshakes to sundaes and puddings.
  • Shaved ice can be used as a drink by itself or in cocktails. It’s perfect for cooling off after a long day at the beach.
  • Shaved ice makes an excellent dessert when paired with fresh fruit, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, or any other sweet treat you want to top it with!
  • Add some shaved ice to a glass of cold milk for an extra-refreshing summertime treat that’s sure to cool you down on even the hottest of days!


The difference between shaved ice and snow cones is not as simple as you might think. Shaved ice has a much smoother consistency, giving it the cold and refreshing taste of real snow. Shaved ice is more likely to be served at a commercial location than a snow cone, which can easily be made at home with an ice shaver or blender. Either way, both options will keep you cool on those hot summer days!


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