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How to make snow cone syrup

Updated on June 23, 2011

How it all started

We've made snow cones for years in our family. But, it wasn't until one fateful summer that we learned how to make snow cone syrup ourselves. Up until then we were content with buying syrup, for a premium indicative of the summer heat, from the local stores. It never occurred to us that we could make it ourselves. Then one year, as summer dropped in like a sledgehammer and the thought popped into my head that it was “Snow Cone” time, my journey began. As per the usual ritual I made the pilgrimage to the store in search of the necessities of the art, only to discover that they were all out. Heartbroken that we might not be able to feed our summer sweet-tooth, I went from store to store, all across town (thankfully it's a small town) only to encounter the same situation over and over again. Everyone else had the same idea and with our luck, they had the idea a day before leaving nothing but empty shelves in their wake. It looked as if the heat was going to win out. Sad face

Homemade cherry & grape snow cone
Homemade cherry & grape snow cone

Time to get Inventive

That was when the idea hit me. We've always prided ourselves on being able to make things on our own. So, I set out in an attempt to make snow cone syrup. After all, that mysterious substance that drapes itself over crushed ice in such a delicious fashion couldn't be that hard to conquer. Could it?

As it turned out, it wasn't. In fact, the basic recipe for snow cone syrup was so easy I couldn't believe I've never tried it before. Only three ingredients are needed to make a syrup similar to what you'd find on the store shelves. Water, sugar and kool-aid! That's right, kool-aid does all the magic here. The name should of given it away. Kool... Aid... Get it? Ok, so I’m lame. Sue me. All this time I thought kool-aid was just for the kids. After some testing and experimentation, to the delight of my family and friend's taste buds, this is the recipe I've settled on.

Basic Snow Cone Syrup with Kool-aid Recipe

What I do is bring the water and sugar to a boil, Stiring every now and then till the sugar dissolves into the water. Then, remove it from the heat and add the kool-aid. Stir again and let cool. If you just can't wait, it'll chill faster in the freezer.

1 cups
2 cups
4 tsp
For less sugar, use 1 cup instead of 2. I also found it cheaper to buy the larger containers of off brand kool-aid instead of the little packets. It all tastes the same to me.

The best part about this is that your not confined to the usual cherry and grape flavors. Mind you, cherry is still my all time favorite. But, there is nothing wrong with having a little diversity in life.

You also know exactly what is going in it. Sugar tastes good, and anything that tastes good isn't good for you. So this way you can play around with the recipe to find the balance your after.

How to Make Snow Cone Syrup Using Extracts

I didn't stop there. While this is nice and easy to make, there's just some flavors kool-aid doesn’t offer. Plus, I felt that if I was truly going to call this “homemade”, I had to find a way to replace the kool-aid with something else.

That's when I started to make it with extracts. The beauty of this is that you have more flavors available and it's also easier to mix and make new flavors to a more exacting degree. Cherry Root Beer snow cones anyone?

Because different extracts vary in intensity you might have to play around with this a bit depending on which one you use. I've found this is a good starting point.

I also add some food coloring so that it resembles the way it tastes. This step is optional though.

Snow Cone Syrup with Extract Recipe

Bring the water and sugar to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Then, remove from heat and add the extract and food coloring of your choice.

You can let it cool enough to pour into the bottle before adding the extract & coloring to keep the cleaning of your sauce pans to a minimum. Just remember to shake it up really good.

1 cups
2 cups
1-2 tsp
Add as needed
Food coloring
Again, use only 1 cup sugar if you want less sugar. Also, some extracts may require a bit more food coloring to achieve the proper texture.
Recycle empty bottles as syrup containers.
Recycle empty bottles as syrup containers.

Experimentation & Storage

What I'd suggest is making “test batches” to experiment with. Once the water boils, poor it off into three or four separate bottles. Then, add the various food colorings and extracts to each. That way your family can try out different flavors and pick out the best before making up a larger batch.

As for storage, I find that old glass bottles are best for using as snow cone syrup containers. Have a bottle of soy-sauce that's about out? Save and re-use it, it's better on the environment than throwing it into the landfill. Don't worry about the the old taste contaminating the syrup. What I do is clean the bottles with vinegar & hot water. Thoroughly rinse with water afterwards and let dry. There won't be an odor left after that. I recommend using only glass bottles though, it's hard to get odors out of plastics no mater what you do. Been there, done that, and garlic won the day.

Don't worry if the syrup isn't as thick as you expected. Once it's refrigerated and allowed to cool it will thicken up as it should.

The Mind Warp

This is one of my favorites. I made this one year as a prank. But, so happened, it went over quiet well. What you do is make a batch with your favorite flavor extract. I used cherry. Then, for the food coloring, make it completely opposite of what it should be. Like, blue colored cherry snow cone syrup. Then, sit back and watch the look on their faces as they try to figure out what the heck it is you served them. Since then, every time I come up with a new bottle of syrup, it's always suspect.


Since this is so simple to make it's a great activity to let the kids join in on, with the proper supervision of course. Nothing would please them more than coming up with their very own snow cone flavor. It's just another summer activity to help get your mind off the heat. So have fun and remember, there's no "wrong way" to make a snow cone.


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    • idigwebsites profile image

      idigwebsites 4 years ago from United States

      I can't wait for the summer to really, really enjoy this treat! Thanks for sharing. Voted up, useful and awesome. :)

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      Sounds good to me. I always have kool-aid around. Thanks for the recipe. Voted up.

    • profile image

      Katia 4 years ago

      My family loves snow cones but we hate the expense of the syrup. We never get koolaid because my husband hates it but I'm gonna try the extract recipe. Thanks for the idea!

    • profile image

      Christine 5 years ago

      Wonderful, was going to go and buy syrup but now I will try your kool-aid recipe! Thank you.

    • profile image

      Amber 5 years ago

      Great!! Thanks!

    • profile image

      Mary 5 years ago

      I've made the kool aid syrups for years! Love themlast year I experimented adding fruit! Love the crushed pinapple with coconut extract and or marachino cherry crushed!

    • profile image

      Epiphany 5 years ago

      I love this idea because my daughter is having a B-Day party. And we are doing sno cones and slushes. And my husband and I couldn't find the syrups anywhere

      So thanks to you we can make them our selves. Thank You!!!!!!!!