Nugget ice is not something you come across often, but once you do you never forget it. Sonic, the fast food chain, is the original source of all the fanaticism. Their cherry limeade sodas come stack full of Nugget ice. Dedicated followers even started a thread to help each other hunt down the ice wherever possible. But the long drives around town for a cup of ice are over. Compact Nugget ice makers are due to hit the scene in 2020. Still debating if Nugget ice is worth the hype? Keep reading to find out.

  • What is Nugget ice and what makes it so great?
  • Are there refrigerators that make Nugget ice?
  • Nugget ice vs Crushed ice
  • How do you make Sonic ice?
  • Where can I buy a Nugget ice maker?
NewAir Nugget Ice Maker Sonic Ice Good Ice

Image credit: NaMo Stock/Shutterstock

What is Nugget ice and what makes it so great?

Nugget ice (also known as “Pellet”, “Chewy”, “Sonic”, “The Good” ice) is a cult classic for the following reasons:

  • It is the most satisfying ice to chew on
  • It is light and airy
  • It doesn’t melt as quickly as crushed ice
  • It chills drinks quickly

For avid entertainers, or really anyone who enjoys an icy beverage on a hot summer’s day, Nugget ice may be your new go-to cocktail companion. Nugget ice especially works well if you like any of the following:

  • Juleps, pina coladas, and crushed ice cocktails
  • A tall glass of lemonade, Mexican coke, or some other fizzy beverage
  • Iced coffee, tea, creamy iced mochas and Thai iced tea

Are there any refrigerators that make nugget ice?

In order to get the crunchy ice, you love, you will need to either make your own (more on this later) or buy a Nugget ice maker for your countertop.

You may be thinking that Nugget ice sounds a lot like crushed ice from your refrigerator. But the difference of how these two styles of ice are made has a big impact on how they taste.

Nugget Ice vs Crushed Ice

Nugget ice is layers of flaked ice frozen together. This process creates pockets of air in the pellet ice nuggets. These air pockets are also what makes Nugget ice so chewy and such a joy to munch on.

Crushed ice is made from large cubes that have been crushed in to smaller, more jagged pieces of ice. These crushed pieces of ice vary in size but still maintain the hard texture of the larger cubes of ice.  

How do you make Sonic ice?

Mixologist Jim Meehan has a video on how to make Nugget ice. But it involves a mallet and the process mirrors that of crushed ice rather than that of pellet ice.

There is a different Nugget ice maker 3-step process if you rather take the DIY route. It goes like this:

  • Freeze frizzy, sparkling water in an ice tray.
  • Put the frozen cubes in a cloth bag (or any bag where the ice won’t break out).
  • Break the cubes into smaller chunks with a mallet

Neither option gives you Nugget ice quite like what you get at Sonic, nor will you be able to make big batches that will last all party long. However, they are cost-effective methods if you want to small batch for your evening cocktail.

Where can I buy a Nugget ice maker?

NewAir Nugget Ice Maker Sonic Ice Good Ice

NewAir Portable Bullet Ice Maker. Photo by @squeaksandcheeks

For a long time, Nugget ice was only available at Sonic or random convenient stores across America. This meant you always had to drive out of your way when a craving hit. But now the hunt is over. Get batches of Nugget ice in 5 minutes with the NewAir Nugget Ice Machine. The compact, countertop Nugget Ice Maker will be available by the end of June—just in time to make delicious crunchy ice cocktails. Stay tuned for your new go-to appliance in Summer.

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