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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

Best Slushie Makers for Kids at Home in 2023



slushees on table
Making delicious slushies is a fun way to keep kids entertained and busy.

It’s hard to get the kids to have fun without using some sort of electronic screen. What about trying some new but old-fashioned fun with them?

As a kid, one of my favorite things to do was to make snow cones with my family in my backyard. Keeping the little ones entertained while spending lots of time at home does not need to be an issue anymore!

We’ve compiled a list of the best slushee/snow cone machines on the market to keep your kids busy and having fun! (Some of these make adult beverages, too, in case you were feeling left out!)

Slushy versus Snow Cone?

A slushy and a snow cone are very similar. Technically, a slushy is a sweet liquid mixture that is slowly frozen and agitated until it becomes…well….a semi-frozen slushy mixture. A snow cone is a base of ice which has been shaved or cut into very fine particles and then packed together, then a syrup is added in.

You’ll find slushee machines commonly in gas stations or convenience stores, because they are extremely labor-saving. Employees just pour the liquid into the hopper in the morning and turn the machine on, and the slushy’s are self-serve.

We’ve taken the liberty of compiling a list of both slushy and snow cone machines, since we don’t think you’ll be running this machine at home on a 24 hour basis! There is definitely a machine for you, keep reading on the various options.

In a hurry? This is the slushee maker we like best from Amazon.

1. Zoku Slush and Shake Maker

Zoku Slush and Shake Maker, Compact Make and Serve Cup with Freezer Core Creates Single-serving Smoothies, Slushies and Milkshakes in Minutes, BPA-free, Blue

The Zoku doesn’t only make slushies, but it can make milkshakes, frozen drinks (alcoholic drinks as well), and healthy fruit smoothies too! In as little as 7 minutes, you can make any fun drink you can think of.

This maker is one of the smallest and most convenient on the market, being the same size as a regular drinking cup. You can make, serve, and drink the slushee all from this slushee cup!

This kit comes with one 8-ounce inner freeze core, one protective outer cup, and one specifically-designed spoon to scrape the ice. To use the Zoku, you first have to freeze the inner core for 8 hours or more. You then remove it from the freezer and place it into the outer cup. Add all the ingredients and use the spoon to scrape the icy inside the cup to make your awesome slushee drink.

However, there are some liquids that will not work in this maker. Anything “diet” will not work: you have to use a drink that uses real sugar!

View on Amazon.

2. Nostalgia Margarita and Slush Machine

Nostalgia Margarita & Slush Machine, Makes 1 Gallon of Drinks, Easy-Flow Spout, With Carry Handle, Aqua

Next up is one for the parents: the Nostalgia Margarita and Slush Machine.

This one is perfect for parties and large gatherings because it can make up to a gallon at one time!

Worried about moving it from room to room? No worries! This machine has a convenient carrying handle that lets you transport this machine with ease.

The double-wall insulation lets your drink stay cold for hours at a time without worry. It also operates super easily. All you have to do is flip the lever of the easy flow spout to fill your cup. You can also pull the lever to fill it faster, though some customers have reported the spout breaking off because of this.

One last unique quality of this machine is its blending cage. Made out of stainless steel, this blending cage has a motor to shave ice and beverages into a slushee frozen concoction.

View on Amazon.

3. Cuisinart Snow Cone Maker

Cuisinart Snow Cone Maker, One Size, Red

This next machine, much like the Zoku, does not only specialize in slushies or snow cones. You can also use it for adult drinks, frozen lemonade, frozen sodas, and more!

This simple machine uses regular ice and shaves it down to a snowy consistency. Because of its small size, some customers do not think it’s worth the price, which is more than similarly-sized slushy makers. However, it will shave enough ice for your snow cones in under one minute!

For flavoring, you can use whatever it is that you prefer, though we recommend using simple syrups or fresh fruit juice for these snow cones. To hold your cones, this machine has two fold-down holders to put the cones in when your hands are busy.

Most important is that this slushy maker is completely safe for the kids! There is an interlock safety feature to limit any possible injuries from using this machine.

View on Amazon.

4. Hawaiian Shaved Ice and Snow Cone Machine

Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A Shaved Ice and Snow Cone Machine with 3 Flavor Syrup Pack and Accessories

The Hawaiian has everything you could possibly need to make your warm fall days even better.

This kit comes with the machine itself, three different flavored syrups, ice molds, snow cone holders, and scoop straws. It even comes with bottle pourers to attach to the syrup bottles.

To use this maker, you freeze the ice in the circular mold into disks. Some customers don’t like the disks, but others say that the ice comes out the perfect consistency!

This machine is on the smaller side and would be used best in small group gatherings. There is also a non-skid mat that attaches to the tray, so you won’t need to worry about accidental spills or messes in the kitchen.

View on Amazon.

5. VIVOHOME Electric Ice Shaver

VIVOHOME Electric Ice Shaver Snow Cone Maker Machine Silver 143lbs/hr for Home and Commercial Use

The VIVOHOME, unlike the slushie maker above, can make snow cones at an industrial level. This machine is very heavy duty, rapidly shaving ice at about 143 pounds per hour. That’s a lot of snow cones!

This water-resistant machine is good for commercial use. Because of its size, it is said to be on the heavier side, which is bothersome for some people. But working as well and as fast as the VIVOHOME does, I’d say it’s pretty worth the weight.

One personal favorite feature of mine is its automatic shut off. No other slushy machine has it! Once the lid is lifted, the machine is turned off and the blade stops spinning. This is to prevent injuries from happening due to its high powered blade. The lid comes up, the blade goes off!

View on Amazon.

6. MANBA Ice Shaver and Snow Cone Machine

MANBA Ice Shaver and Snow Cone Machine - Premium Portable Ice Crusher and Shaved Ice Machine with Free Ice Cube Trays - BPA Free

Next up is a machine that is super kid-friendly, which may be what a family is looking for.

The MANBA is small, portable, and easy to use. There’s a crank on the side of this machine which is used to crush the ice. It is very easy to turn–young kids could have no problem with it!

This machine has a total of four blades, making it faster and more precise than most on the market. Because it has so many blades, it really grinds the ice into a fine snow consistency. This makes the machine perfect for snow cones, but maybe not so perfect for slushies, depending on your preference.

Included with every machine is a free silicone ice tray. I love these trays because of how easy they are to use! Just push up on the cube and it comes out with ease.

View on Amazon.

7. Dash Shaved Ice Maker

Dash DSIM100GBAQ02 Shaved Ice Maker + Slushie Machine with Stainless Steel Blades for Snow Cone, Margarita + Frozen Cocktails, Organic, Sugar Free, Flavored Healthy Snacks for Kids & Adults, Aqua

This Dash Shaved Ice Maker is great for people of all ages, but especially kids.

It is super lightweight, weighing a mere pound when it’s empty. But, due to its light weight, there are some complaints about the machine not working very well. Because of this, the consistency of the shaved ice is similar to fine crushed ice, not snow.

This makes the Dash ideal for slushees, but maybe not the best for snow cones. Either way, it’s easy to use and easy to maneuver, making it a kid’s favorite!

View on Amazon.

8. Nostalgia Inch Tall Snow Cone Cart

Nostalgia Inch Tall Snow Cone Cart, Metal Scoop Makes 48 Icy Treats, Includes Storage Compartment, Wheels For Easy Mobility – White/Blue

Last but certainly not least is the Nostalgia Inch Tall Snow Cone Cart.

This classic machine gives you the traditional carnival food feel with its fun design guaranteed to get your kids excited.

It’s best for birthday parties or other large events, considering it can hold enough for 72 snow cones at one time!

Not only that, but it shaves 2 pounds of ice in 90 seconds or less. Some customers have had issues of the package showing up with pieces missing, but a quick email to the company will fix any issue you make have.

The Nostalgia Snow Cone Cart is also compatible with a bunch of other products made by Nostalgia, like their cones and snow cone holders.

Any sized ice will work with this machine, but it is recommended to just use normal-sized ice that you can find in any store.

View on Amazon.

Summary of the Best Slushee Makers

Everyone loves slushies, adults and kids alike. Being able to make an endless supply will save you time, money, and the hassle of loading up your kids every time they want a snow cone.

These top-rated machines are the best to turn any ordinary party into one that your kids will actually love. No more worries about keeping your kids entertained during quarantine!

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can you use carbonated beverages, like Coke or Pepsi, in slushie machines?

Actually, yes. Most of the slushy makers will suggest using syrups as well, but most carbonated beverages are just fine for use and will make an absolutely delicious frozen treat. One warning: sugar-free beverages like Diet Coke or Diet Sprite will not work in a slushee machine, so make sure you get the full sugar drinks for your get-together.

What are some tips if I want to make frozen alcoholic drinks, like daiquiris and margaritas, using my slushy maker?

Sometimes you’ll want to use your children’s slushee machine after they’ve gone to bed. You certainly can make boozy grown-up drinks in these snow cone makers. Add the ice and the alcohol, but remember: you’re going to have to add more mixer than you usually would; otherwise, your final beverages will be too diluted and not taste like the non-frozen versions. For example, if you’re making a daiquiri, use the same amount of alcohol that you normally would, but twice the amount of syrup or mixer.

Interested in margarita machines? Check out our review. And don’t forget the margarita mix too.

Additional Resources:

  • This article from Sciencing will awe you if you’re always curious about how things like slushee machines work.
  • It’s easy to buy syrups for your slushy maker, but it’s fun (and healthier!) to prepare them yourself. Check out how to Make Your Own Snow Cone and Slushie Syrup recipe.

Image Credit via Flickr Creative Commons: “Slushie Brain Freeze” (CC BY 2.0) by Chris Yarzab

Kitchen Professor author
About the Author: Rhonda Richardson, Editor

Rhonda grew up with parents who gardened, hunted, fished, canned, and preserved food. Her mother was a professional cook and Rhonda credits her teaching everything from how to make homemade biscuits and gravy to what kind of meals to serve for different occasions. In the kitchen, Rhonda uses a mix of old-fashioned country cooking and up-to-date fads in the kitchen, often experimenting with replacing higher-calorie or fat ingredients with healthier options that still retain the delicious flavors of the originals.

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