All you need is a blender and a little creativity to bring back the best summer treat of childhood.
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Is there anything more quintessentially summer than a fresh snow cone on a hot day? Even just the phrase conjures up childhood memories of endless daylight, a dripping paper cone, and sticky fingers—the ultimate summer treat. Something that's perhaps not as fun to consider is the amount of sugar and artificial food coloring in one of those frosty treats. No need to fret—as it turns out, it's simple to make healthy and delicious snow cones right at home, no special equipment required. 

How to make a snow cone at home

Perfect the Ice

Sure, you could splurge on a shaved ice machine, but if you're just looking to cool down with a snow cone in the peak of the summer heat, don't bother cluttering up your valuable kitchen storage space with one more home appliance. It's easy enough to whip up a few batches of snow cones using nothing but standard kitchen equipment.

Some blenders have an "ice crush" setting, so that would be the obvious choice in this scenario, but no need to run out and get a special piece of equipment. Simply process one cup of ice at a time (without adding any additional liquid) in a food processor or high-speed blender, pausing often to scrape down the sides and mix the ice around to make sure that all cubes get transformed into soft and fluffy flakes. Voila—you now have the base for the perfect snow cone. 

Get creative with toppings

Now for the most important part: the flavoring. Most of the snow cones you get from the beloved neighborhood ice cream truck or local stand use corn syrup and food dyes to create their signature psychedelic look, but by taking matters into your own kitchen, you can go a bit more natural and feel even better about eating and serving the frosty treats. 

Instead of artificial food colorings, rely on real foods to both flavor and color your piles of shaved ice. Fruit blended with a little water and sugar, honey, or stevia drops add a vibrant hue and a ton of flavor. For an easy alternative to traditional syrup, just mix together two parts fruit juice concentrate of your choice to one part water. You can even integrate superfoods by mixing spirulina powder with a bit of water for an electric blue vibe.

Looking for flavor inspiration? Try one of these unique and tasty combinations:

  • Make an easy homemade berry or peach sauce (just make sure to let it cool before pouring over ice) for a universal crowd pleaser.
  • For a more sophisticated palate (i.e., maybe not your toddler), top your cone with rosemary, ginger, and grapefruit syrup.
  • Mix together powdered spirulina with coconut water and a dash of pineapple juice for a tropical twist.
  • For a creamy combo, blend canned full-fat coconut milk with a dash of maple syrup.
  • Treat the adults to a snow cone cocktail by combining rum, mango juice, and a splash of grenadine —topped with a maraschino cherry for extra nostalgia! 

Consider presentation

For a truly authentic feel, you can purchase the classic paper cones to pile high with your crushed ice creations, or just use a bowl or small glass jar. Use an ice cream scoop to get that perfectly rounded top, and if you're feeling fancy, top it all off with some shredded coconut or diced fruit. Then find yourself a shady spot and enjoy your cool, sweet, and sneakily healthful creations!