The 9 Best Snow Cone Syrups

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This wiki has been updated 30 times since it was first published in February of 2017. On a hot summer day, there's almost nothing more refreshing than a delicious snow cone. They may just be a mix of crushed ice and flavoring, but they're so satisfying that kids and adults alike find them hard to resist. We've rounded up a selection of shaved ice syrups that should appeal to most palates, including classic options, like cherry and blue raspberry, and some less conventional choices. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Hawaiian Shaved Ice Pints Kit

2. Shave-Ice-Syrups Set

3. Joe’s Syrup Organic

Editor's Notes

April 02, 2020:

A good variety of flavors, that ideal consistency that clings to your frozen dessert, and a nice mix of classic candy-like options as well as some healthier ones were all important to us when creating this list. Of course, we also made sure to choose options that would work well with snow cone makers.

When it came to consistency, we had to remove Jelly Belly because they have a tendency to clump on shaved ice, and we favored Great Northern Popcorn Company 8644, which coats ice nicely without causing big lumps. The toppings in the Hawaiian Shaved Ice Pints Kit also offer that perfect balance between fluid and thick, and mix quite well with a frozen dessert. The Concession Express 12 Pack is another that lost its spot because the syrups were too watered down.

Since we wanted to present some of the expected flavors, as well as some less-conventional choices, the Shave-Ice-Syrups Set was included, which may have you missing your childhood, thanks to its lime, orange, grape, and other old-fashioned picks. The Nostalgia SCK3 lives up to the name with its three simple flavors of blue raspberry, cotton candy, and cherry. If you prefer to mix things up, you may like Great Northern Popcorn Company 8644, which has more surprising options like pina colada and tropical tiger's blood.

If you'd like to bring something a bit more natural home, there are Wabry Organic and Joe’s Syrup Organic, both of which have impressively pure ingredients.

Special Honors

Hawaiian Shaved Ice Boozey Recipes Snow cones don't have to be kid-friendly all of the time. If you want to enjoy a nostalgic treat with your friends while also imbibing in some more adult beverages, one of the most reputable manufacturers of snow cone syrup and snow cone machines offers a batch of alcoholic shaved ice recipes here. It has two creations using vodka, and one that relies on rum for its buzz-inducing qualities.

Crate & Barrel Spoon Straw The spoon straw is possibly the best item to use when enjoying a snow cone, because you can at first eat it up like ice cream, but later slurp up the remaining syrup. While plastic and paper straws must be disposed of after each use, this stainless steel options is durable, dishwasher-safe, and can be used time and time again. Its material is also a great insulator, so it should keep your dessert chilled all the way to your mouth.

4. Great Northern Popcorn Company 8644

5. Snowie Premium Banana

6. Time for Treats VKP

7. Snappy SnoCone

8. Wabry Organic

9. Nostalgia SCK3

A Brief History Of Snow Cones

So, regardless of whether you call it shaved ice, snow cones, raspados, or anything else, one thing's for sure: you'd better call us when they're ready.

It's one of those things we take for granted in modern times, but for most of human history, ice wasn't readily available. It wouldn't be until the Industrial Revolution came along in the 1850s that it was possible to buy ice year-round.

At that time, large ice houses in New England would sell giant blocks to businesses and consumers in southern states, and those blocks would be transported via train or wagon. When those transports rolled through the towns along the way, children would run up to them and ask for shavings; noticing this, those kids' mothers began to make flavorings using eggs, vanilla, and sugar.

Over time, it became increasingly easy to acquire ice, and since these treats required few additional ingredients, they became one of the few dessert items that were affordable for the vast majority of Americans during the Great Depression. Their low cost also made them easy to sell, and many people who were down on their luck took to hawking them as a way to get by.

In 1934, an inventor named Ernest Hansen patented an ice block shaver that he hoped would replace the crude (and largely unhygienic) push-carts that were ubiquitous in many cities. His wife, Mary, whipped up a few syrups to go over the ice, and these new treats — called "sno balls" — became a massive hit in their hometown of New Orleans.

When WWII broke out, almost all of the available ice cream was being sent to the soldiers overseas, and so people back home had to make do with the next best thing: sno balls. Once the war ended, ice cream and other confections became widely available again, and quickly pushed their way back to the forefront of America's dessert consciousness (yes, America has a dessert consciousness — just trust us on this).

While ice cream has proven to be vastly more popular, snow cones and shaved ice still have their place, especially since they continue to be a low-cost treat.

So, regardless of whether you call it shaved ice, snow cones, raspados, or anything else, one thing's for sure: you'd better call us when they're ready.

Making The Perfect Snow Cone

One of the great things about snow cones is how easy they are to make. It's almost impossible to make one that tastes bad — although you can certainly make one that looks terrible — so it's easy to see why so many people make their own.

Once you've got your cone prepared, it's time to pour the syrup.

The first thing you need to do is thoroughly clean your machine. It's simply hygienic, and you also don't want any leftover syrup residue affecting the taste of your cone. Different machines have different cleaning instructions, so check to see what the proper way to clean yours is before you begin.

You should also see what type of ice the manufacturers of your machine recommend using. Some require you to use special ice molds they provide, while others are fine with homemade or store-bought ice. It's important to find out for sure, though, both for quality and to ensure you don't damage your machine.

Consider leaving your ice out for a few minutes before you start making your dessert, as well. This allows the ice to soften a bit, which is better for your machine and makes fluffier ice.

Once you've got your cone prepared, it's time to pour the syrup.

The best way is to leave a little room on the outside of your cup, so that a slight pocket forms. Then, apply the syrup around the edge of the ice first, letting the excess drip down into the cup. Rotate your wrist as you move the bottle, ensuring you don't linger too long in any one place. Then, when you're done with the sides, give a last shot straight down the middle — this should only take a second or two.

It may require a little practice, but you should be a pro in no time. And, even better — all that "practice" time is the perfect excuse to eat more snow cones.

Benefits Of Eating Snow Cones

Listen, you don't need us to tell you to eat snow cones. You already know they're easy to make and delicious.

However, beyond that, they're actually one of the healthier treats you can eat.

Again, we're not trying to sell you on our revolutionary new snow cone diet.

Now, we're not saying they're actually good for you. Unless you get a sugar-free syrup, they're filled with a massive amount of sucrose, so don't overdo it. However, just about any other frozen dessert you eat will also have tons of sugar, as well as lots of fat, carbs, and other undesirable ingredients.

Since snow cones are mostly ice, however, you'll get a little extra hydration with each one, and your body will have to burn a few more calories keeping your core temperature up. All that additional water could help you feel full, as well, reducing how much you eat.

They're healthy for your pocketbook, as well. Since all you need is a machine, some ice, and a few inexpensive syrups, you can have a different delicious dessert every night of the week for a fraction of the cost of ice cream.

And because they're incredibly simple to make, you can teach your kids how to make their own. This gives them something to do, and prevents them from constantly bugging you to make one. It's a great way to entertain a group of children at a birthday party or sleepover.

Again, we're not trying to sell you on our revolutionary new snow cone diet. You should go easy on them, and don't gorge yourself. However, if you have a sweet tooth, there are certainly worse options for you out there.

Brett Dvoretz
Last updated by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as in front of a laptop screen, Brett can either be found hacking away furiously at the keyboard or, perhaps, enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He has been a professional chef, a dog trainer, and a travel correspondent for a well-known Southeast Asian guidebook. He also holds a business degree and has spent more time than he cares to admit in boring office jobs. He has an odd obsession for playing with the latest gadgets and working on motorcycles and old Jeeps. His expertise, honed over years of experience, is in the areas of computers, electronics, travel gear, pet products, and kitchen, office and automotive equipment.

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