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Types of Snow Cones

Types of Snow Cones

Whether you are opening a new specialty shop or want to serve delectable iced desserts at your festival or event, it's important to know what kind of shaved ice or snow cones best suits your customer demand. By offering snow cones, shaved ice, and other treats during hot summer months, you'll help boost impulse sales when they see the array of toppings and colorful syrups available.

Snow Cones vs. Shaved Ice

Snow cones are made with larger granules of ice than shaved ice, which results in a crunchy, flaky texture of ice. Shaved ice, also commonly referred to as Hawaiian ice, is made with fine granules for a soft, fluffy texture that is more comparable to snow. Both are made using flavored syrup to complete the dessert. Snow cones are typically served in a 6 oz. conical shaped paper cone cup and shaved ice is typically served in a paper or foam cup with a spoon, similarly to ice cream.

Snow Cones vs. Shaved Ice

Types of Commercial Snow Cone Machines

Snow cone machines can help you create the quintessential crunchy treat. Let's look at the different types of snow cone machines.
Carnival King Snow Cone Machine

Snow Cone Machines

  • High-output, heavy-duty motors that crush large amounts of ice per day
  • Include ergonomic handles to help push ice through the hopper
  • Storage below the unit to keep ice ready to serve and visible to customers
  • Easy to operate and store
  • Designed especially for ice cones with coarse ice texture

Carnival King Ice Shaver

Ice Shavers

  • Multi-functioning machines with adjustable shave settings
  • Can also be used for cocktails, Mexican snow cones, and other popular ice desserts
  • Utilizes cubed or bagged ice
  • Perfect for high-volume service with multiple menu options
  • Some units include foot pedals for hands-free operation during busy hours

Cube and Block Shavers

Cube and block shavers are ideal for creating a variety of shaved ice treats. The fluffier, snow-like texture will help you craft any regional specialty dessert for your customers.
Carnival King Block Shaver

  • Create fluffy, snow-like ice for shaved ice / Hawaiian ice, sno-balls, or kakigori
  • Uses large ice blocks to create high output
  • Some units include foot pedals for hands-free operation during busy hours
  • Corkscrew design creates even ice texture
  • Incorporate diverse toppings like frozen fruit, bursting boba, condensed milk, matcha, or syrups

Ice Texture Scale

This texture scale outlines the consistency of ice depending on the type of machine you're using. Use this scale to find the perfect machine for your desired ice dessert! Snow cone machines are perfect for harder, chipped ice to flaked and crystallized ice, while cube shavers and block shavers are ideal for creating smooth and fluffy to the softest, snow-like ice available.
Snow Cone Texture Scale

Regional Shaved Ice Varieties

So, you bought your ice shaver, now what? Take a look at all the different types of shaved ice desserts from around the world and expand your offerings to include a taste of diversity!
Restaurant Equipment


Kakigori is a Japanese shaved ice dessert that is traditionally made using a hand-cranked block ice shaver. High-quality ice is key to this dish, so blocks of tempered mineral or spring water are frequently used to achieve a crisp, fresh taste. While comparable to Hawaiian ice, kakigori is much softer and snow-like. Top with flavored syrups and condensed milk to complete the dish.

Restaurant Equipment


Bingsu is the Korean variety of shaved ice desserts. Unlike other shaved ice types, bingsu is characterized by its incorporation of red beans, sometimes called pat-bingsu. Red bean paste is a popular topping in Korean desserts, as it adds a slightly sweet and natural taste to the dish. For further balance, chopped fruit, fruit-flavored syrups, and condensed milk are also common toppings.

Restaurant Equipment


Baobing is the shaved ice dessert found in China and Taiwan, with the Taiwanese name being tsuabing. Baobing is served in large portions with ice texture similar to snow cones. Frequently, the ice is shaved from pre-flavored blocks. Common toppings include sugar water, tapioca or boba, sliced fruit, and even mung beans! Like many other shaved ice varieties, condensed milk is often incorporated for a creamier texture.

Restaurant Equipment

Mexican Shaved Ice (Raspado)

Mexican Shaved Ice, or raspado, is a popular street dessert in Mexico. Raspado means “scraped”, alluding to the shaved ice texture and how it is created. Raspado is often created by hand-scraping the ice with a tool called a raspador. Raspado is served in cups with your choice of toppings and a straw to help you reach all the melted ice and syrup on a hot day. Common toppings include fresh fruit, ice cream, or chili powder for a little spice!

Snow Cone Essentials

Now that you understand the different types of snow cones, you'll want to know about the different supplies and accessories that will help round out your operation. From syrups and pumps to carts and cones, you'll want to consider a wide range of products to display and serve snow cones.
Carnival King Snow Cone Syrup

Snow Cone Syrups

Syrup enhances the appearance, color, and taste of shaved ice desserts.

Snow Cone Vending Cart

Vending Carts

Vending carts add convenience, mobility, and merchandising appeal.

Snow Cone Cup

Snow Cone Cups

Snow cone cups add fun, flair, and function to your service.

Spoon Straw

Spoon Straws

Spoon straws come in many colors and have a multi-use design.

Ice Bags

Ice Transport Supplies

Perfect ice bagging solution that prevents leaks and messes.

Gummi Bear Topping


Boost impulse sales with candy, marshmallows, or fruit toppings.

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