As you may know, quality ice is essential to produce consistently fresh and fluffy servings of delicious shaved ice and snow cones. This is especially important when you’re running a shaved ice business of your own. We’ve previously discussed the differences between cubed ice and block ice, and how block ice is recommended for shaved ice professionals.

If you’re a shaved ice business owner, then today, we’re going to show you how the temperature of your block ice can actually impact your business. If it’s too cold, the shaved ice will not stick together, and if it’s too warm, you’ll end up with a clumpy mess. Therefore, the right temperature is key to getting the best results.

To save yourself some trouble, you’ll use a method called tempering, or warming up your ice blocks so the ice is the right consistency. Tempering allows the ice to reach the ideal shaving temperature of 18 to 20 ° Fahrenheit. To ensure this is correct, place a freezer thermometer to determine the temperature, and allow 24 hours to pass for each temperature adjustment before taking any readings.

Tempering ice involves a few simple steps, but it’s well worth the time, and will ultimately make a world of difference.
  • STEP 1: Remove an ice block from the freezer roughly 10 to 15 minutes before shaving.

  • STEP 2: Place your block ice in 5-gallon buckets or restaurant trays.

  • STEP 3: Once the ice block begins to melt on the outside surfaces, place the block into chest-style, 48 or 60-quart ice coolers to maintain the temperature.
When the ice blocks start sweating or melting, that indicates that the ice is tempered. If the ice gets too warm either during the tempering process or while in the coolers, the ice will become clumpy, and will not hold flavor well. In this case, place the ice back into the freezer to refreeze.

Tempering is a process that takes a little bit of practice and experience. Based on your daily business needs, you will have to adjust the number of ice blocks that are tempered at one time, and you’ll have to get an idea about how often you need to replenish your tempered blocks.

If you have any shaved ice or snow cone tips, questions, or comments, please feel free to contact us at, and for your commercial shaved ice needs, please visit our sister site 1-800-Shaved-Ice.