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How Are Sonic-Style Ice Nuggets Made?

how is sonic ice made

How Are Sonic-Style Ice Nuggets Made?

Did you ever think that the ice you add to your drink every day could be converted into something unique and fun? This quirky rendition of our daily ice- is popularly known as Sonic ice and is chewable!

Sonic Ice is special in so many different ways that those who’ve tasted it call it “the caviar of the ice world.” Its USP is also the fact that it’s porous and soaks up the flavor of the drink, making it extremely fun to chew. It dilutes very slowly, keeping your drink chilled for longer, and the leftover ice is perfect for snacking! The question of the hour however remains “how to make sonic ice?” and that  is exactly what we are going to address. Read on to find out how to make sonic ice at home in the easiest way possible!

What is Sonic Ice?

The first question that comes to mind is “what is sonic ice.” As mentioned above, Sonic ice is a type of ice that is soft and chewable. It is known by various other nicknames, such as nugget ice, pearl ice, and cubelet ice. Please note that despite being confusing, flake ice, nugget ice and cubed ice are indeed different.

The “Sonic” in the name refers to the popular Sonic restaurant franchises whose signature slushes have become immensely popular.

How Are Sonic-Style Ice Nuggets Made

Sonic Ice comes in various sizes depending on its use. The most common and popular form of Sonic ice is the nugget-ice size, usually 3/8″ to ½” in terms of width and length, and is used in drinks. It is also crushed into smaller pieces and serves as pebble-like shapes. Irrespective of the size, the flavor remains intact, ensuring that it’s fun to chew.

Can You Buy Sonic Ice?

Some Sonic outlets do sell their ice in 10-pound bags while others don’t. It really depends of the demand their particular outlets are faced with. To really know if a local sonic restaurant sells their signature sonic ice, you might have to take a trip to them and enquire about it. If they do, their rates are very reasonable. Last time I checked, you could buy a 10-pound bag of sonic ice for just 3 dollars.

How is Sonic Ice Made?

Often people wonder “how is sonic ice made.” And since Sonic Ice cannot be made using any common ice machine, they also wonder “what ice machine does sonic use.” Most ice makers that make sonic ice commonly known as ‘cubers’ have an auger system. The water enters the machine in a liquid form but exits as coarsely compacted cubes divided into soft, porous nuggets that we call Sonic ice.

1. Clean Water Intake

Every kind of ice requires a basic ingredient for its composition, and that is- Water, of course! Clean water is required to ensure that the quality of the ice produced is up to the mark. Moreover, the kind of water used can also impact the final product.

For instance, boiling the water before freezing releases most of the air trapped in the water, so the nuggets produced are clearer. Filtered water can result in less cloudly-looking nuggets that are softer to chew as well. If you have a preference for appearance, it becomes essential to keep these things in mind.

However, if the aesthetics do not carry much importance to you, then your focus should be solely on the texture and taste. As long as the water is clean and purified, your ice should turn out fine! Consistency of the water is important, and filtering can help you remove unnecessary minerals. This makes the texture of the water is smoother and prevents issues like clogging of the ice machine.

2. Freezing into Flake Ice

The main freezing aspect of sonic ice begins once the water has been poured into a Sonic Ice Maker. A Sonic Ice Maker is very different from the traditional molds that are used to create ordinary ice cubes. Traditional ice cubes are made by freezing water in a tray made up of several cubic molds. This water freezes when exposed to cold temperatures, and the ice can be removed and utilized immediately.

If you want to know what ice machine does sonic use and how it ends up with such nuggets, the answer is here. A Sonic Ice Machine does not have cubic molds but instead has an auger system. The traditional plate is replaced with a large metal cylinder that contains the auger.

On starting, the inside of the machine drops to a low temperature, and the walls of the cylinder become ice cold. Slowly, thin sheets of ice begin to form along the walls, and that is when the auger begins to turn. It scrapes the ice of the walls and up through the cylinder. The end result is ice flakes that are collected for further use.

3. Shaping Into Nuggets

The final step of the process involves converting these ice flakes into small Sonic Ice nuggets. This process is the answer to the popular question, “how does sonic make their ice?” It begins from the auger and ends in the ice bin, and is usually varies from machine to machine. People often wonder “what kind of ice machine does sonic use” and the answer isn’t a single one, there are various machines that are involved and each differ in some way. However, the most common method involves gathering the flakes and forcing them through a compression tube where they break apart naturally due to various forces.

Some machines also have blades that cut the flakes into nuggets as soon as they exit the tubes. In even more advanced models, the nuggets are compressed at the end before releasing so as to make them slightly harder and firmer. Making them more compressed also improves their longevity. The more expensive the model, the more finesse involved in cutting and shaping these ice cubes.

How to Make Sonic Ice at Home?

Today, Sonic Ice is extremely popular and is no longer restricted to famous fast-food chains and fancy restaurants. Almost everyone knows how to make nugget ice and most create it in the comfort of their home, using a simple residential Sonic Ice Maker! These machines can be set up in your kitchen in no time and will allow you to enjoy chewable ice from the comfort of your home.

These machines are affordable and easy to assemble. One of the most popular and commonly used Sonic Ice Machines is the GE Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker. This ready-to-use machine will help you create Sonic-styled ice in under 20 minutes. All you need to do is plug it in and fill the reservoir with water.  As the ice melts, the water returns to the reservoir, where it will simply be made back into more ice.

Using this machine, you can create up to 24 lbs. of ice per day and store 3 lbs. at a time for future use in the machine’s bin. And most importantly, you can connect it to an app on your smartphone using Bluetooth and schedule fresh ice for whenever needed- This way, your drinks can always have chewy and refreshing Sonic Ice!

GE Profile Opal Sonic Nugget Ice Maker
9.8/10 Our Score
  • Compact footprint; ideal for countertops and islands
  • Soft and easily chewable ice
  • Convenient operation; can be controlled with a mobile application Via BT connectivity
  • Decent daily output of 24 lbs. of ice
  • 3 lbs. of ice bin capacity 
  • Portable; can be moved around without the concern of a nearby water hookup
  • Zero water wastage; all water from melted ice is directed back to the reservoir
  • Limited 1-year warranty (parts & labor included)

Final Thoughts

Not only is Sonic Ice a fun and quirky alternative to normal ice, but it has added benefits. It retains the taste of your drinks, making them enjoyable to chew, and at the same time, is easy on your teeth. However, making sonic ice can be quite a hassle. If you want some quick refreshing ice, nothing beats the good old freezer ice. Just put an ice tray filled with water and let the freezer do its magic. Can’t find the ice tray? Well, you can still make ice cubes without an ice tray.

Sonic Ice is perfect for cocktails, sodas, and other refreshing beverages and is loved by adults and children alike! So what are you waiting for? Get your very Sonic Ice Maker now, and never resort to boring, traditional alternatives again.

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