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Shaved Ice Versus Snow Cones: Explaining the Difference

When looking at options for desert, you might wonder about the difference between shaved ice and snow cones. Sometimes, they are even offered in the same flavors, so what exactly is the difference?


The main difference between shaved ice and snow cones is the texture of the ice that is used. Shaved ice has a fine and fluffy texture that is similar to fresh snow, while snow cones consist of a coarse and crunchy texture of ice.


Breaking Down the Difference Between Shaved Ice and Snow Cones

A shaved ice cup with blue raspberry syrup. Created by Frozen In Time Shaved Ice in Granite Bay, CA.
A Frozen In Time Blue Raspberry Shaved Ice Cup

What Is Shaved Ice?


Shaved ice is ice that has been shaved into a powder or fine form using an ice shaver. Once shaved, syrups and/or toppings are added over the shaved ice to give it flavor.


Examples of syrups that are added to shaved ice can include: mango, strawberry, orange, raspberry, and more. If preferred, toppings that are often added to shaved ice are: mochi balls, sliced fresh fruit, condensed milk, and more.


At Frozen In Time, our customer favorite flavors include: blue raspberry, pink lemonade, mango, peach, sour watermelon and wedding cake. 




Because of the ice’s fine texture, shaved ice soaks up more syrup than snow cones. This gives shaved ice more flavor in every bite. At Frozen In Time Shaved Ice, our owner, Priya, has experience on adding the perfect amount of syrup to shaved ice to make sure it’s not too sweet.


Shaved ice can be served in a variety of options, such as a cup, paper cone, or bowl. This can change based upon the setting. For example, you may get shaved ice in a cup at a carnival vs. in a paper cone at a shaved ice truck.


Examples of shaved ice around the world include: Hawaiian shaved ice (most commonly seen in the US), bingsu (from South Korea), halo halo (from the Philippines), and kakigori (from Japan).


What Are Snow Cones?


Snow cones use ice that has been crushed to give the ice a coarse and crunchy texture. The ice used in snow cones can be made by a snow cone maker or by the “crush” setting in your ice dispenser.


Once the ice is crushed, syrups are only added to the ice to make a snow cone. Snow cones often use the same type of syrups used in shaved ice, such as: mango, orange, pińa colada, raspberry, and more. 


Because of the coarse texture, snow cones do not soak up syrup like shaved ice. This usually leads to the ice holding less flavor than shaved ice. Since the ice doesn’t fully soak up the syrup, this means the bottom of your snow cone may have extra syrup floating around, while the top of the snow cone may be bland.


At Frozen In Time Shaved Ice, we’re committed to providing the best shaved ice experience at your event! We cater to birthday parties, baby showers, golf tournaments, track meets, football games, and all other sorts of parties in the Greater Sacramento Roseville area. Areas that we serve include: Roseville, Granite Bay, Rocklin, Folsom, Loomis, Auburn, Lincoln, El Dorado Hills, Carmichael, Elk Grove, West Sacramento, and more. Contact us now for more information.

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