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How to Make Shaved Ice Without a Machine? – All 6 Methods

There are 6 ways to make shaved ice without a machine:

  1. Crushing ice with a mallet,
  2. Slicing it with a sharp knife,
  3. Scraping an ice block using a fork,
  4. Using the ice pick,
  5. Or a manual ice shaver,
  6. Or a grater.

All of the methods are explained in detail along with the pros and cons.

1. Use a Mallet

How to Make Shaved Ice Without a MachineWhat You’ll Need?

  • A mallet or rolling pin or any other heavy kitchen instrument,
  • A water-tight ziplock bag,
  • Water


1. Fill a quarter of the ziplock bag with water, seal it tightly, lay it flat in the fridge and give it a couple of hours to freeze,

2. Once the ice has formed, take the bag out of the fridge, put it on the counter, and start crushing it with a kitchen tool that can be used for pounding (ideally a mallet),

3. Continuously pound the ice bag until the desired hardness and texture is achieved,

4. Add ice, condensed milk, syrup, and/or other flavoring and toppings into a bowl.

Pros: Crushing ice by using a mallet or rolling pin is the easiest way to make shaved ice without a machine because most people already have these kitchen tools in their homes.

Cons: Pounding ice with a mallet is unlikely to result in the same consistency, texture, and smoothness using a professional shaved ice machine would.

2. Use a Sharp Knife

What You’ll Need?


1. Fill a square container with water, place it in the freezer, and wait until it turns to ice,

2. Once a block of ice is created, take the container out and let the ice thaw for 5 to 10 minutes so it is more convenient to scrape,

3. Put protective gloves on and sharpen the knife,

4. Take the thawed ice out and place it on a clean cloth,

5. Start slicing the ice quickly in linear motions whilst being careful the ice block is not sliding,

6. Once the desired amount of ice is sliced, place it in a bowl and add other ingredients.

Pros: Slicing ice using a knife is a cost-effective way to make shaved ice at home. The consistency and texture of the shaved ice are better than with the mallet method.

Cons: Slicing ice using a sharp knife could be dangerous if not wearing protective gloves. One can get a burn or cut themselves if not extra careful with this method.

3. Use a Fork

Option 3: Use a ForkThings You’ll Need:


1. Repeat the first 4 steps explained in the previous section,

2. Hold the ice block tightly to prevent sliding,

3. Scrape the ice using a fork until the needed amount of ice is shaved,

4. Place the ice in a bowl and mix it with your favorite toppings.

Pros: Fork is a must-have item in every kitchen. Using a fork to shave ice is an easy and relatively safe method.

Cons: Scraping ice using a fork is time-consuming and requires patience, unlike the previous methods listed.

4. Use an Ice Pick 

What You’ll Need?

  • A clean ice pick or an ice chipper,
  • An ice mold or a large plastic bag,
  • Water,
  • Gloves (optionally),
  • A cloth.


1. Freeze some ice in an ice mold,

2. Put a glove on, take the ice out of the mold, and place it on a cloth/towel to minimize slipping,

3. Use the ice pick (alternatively, use an ice chipper or a flat-head screwdriver) and carefully chip away the ice,

4. If the ice texture is still messy, use a ziplock bag and put the chipped ice in it, then crush it with a hammer/mallet.

Pros: Almost every household has an ice pick, which is why this method is relatively easy and affordable.

Cons: It takes some time to master the art of shaving ice with an ice pick.

5. Use a Manual Ice Shaver

Use a Manual Ice ShaverWhat You’ll Need?


1. Fill a large ice mold with water and let it freeze,

2. Once the ice is ready, take the mold out and let the ice thaw for 5-10 minutes,

3. Place the ice block on a cloth, hold it with one hand (wearing gloves is optional),

4. Position the ice shaver on top of the ice block and start pushing layers of ice away,

5. Repeat until there is enough enough ice, then put it in a bowl.

Pros: Using a specifically designed tool for ice shaving results in better texture and smoothness of the ice.

Cons: You would have to buy an ice shaver if you don’t have one already. Also, shaving ice this way includes some trial and error.

6. Shave the Ice Using a Grater

What You’ll Need?

  • A grater (flat or box, although the flat one is a better option),
  • Water,
  • A block ice container,
  • A towel/cloth,
  • A plastic bag,
  • Gloves (optionally).


1. Fill the ice container with water and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours,

2. Take the container out of the fridge, then take the ice out and wrap a plastic bag around it while making sure the biggest portion of the ice is outside the bag,

3. Wrap a towel or a cloth around the plastic bag and hold it tightly,

4. Use the fine side of the grater to shave the ice straight into a bowl,

5. Unfold the plastic bag as you are shaving,

5. Add milk, syrup, and other flavorings into the bowl.

Pros: This is a relatively simple and economical method because most of us already have graters in our kitchens.

Cons: You should be extra careful not to rip the plastic bag while shaving ice.

About Aaron Walters

Aaron Walters is a code writer by day, and a cocktail enthusiast by night. Once he realized that high-quality ice is equally important as other ingredients, he started researching ice machines of all types and sizes. Icemaking101.com is a library of researched topics regarding all things ice he made along the way.

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