I used this $27 snow cone machine to make healthy treats — and now my kids can’t get enough

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dash shaved ice maker

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DASH

  • The prepackaged desserts you pick up at the store are typically full of sugar and additives, and they can get pricey.
  • Shaved ice is an excellent year-round treat that can be as healthy as you want it to be and only costs a few cents per serving.
  • The Dash Shaved Ice Maker makes crafting slushies, cold cocktails, and other shaved ice treats effortless: Just add ice, plug in the machine, and go.
  • The Dash is among the most affordable shaved ice makers you can buy – it’s currently $26.90 on Amazon, though it normally sells for $40 – and it comes with several recipes you can try.

After dinner, we have a nightly battle in our household. What’s for dessert? At one point, it was so bad that my sons – Jerome, 15, and Bucky, 5 – would barely touch their dinner so they could save room for unhealthy sweets. This clearly wasn’t sustainable. So, we instituted a rule where the boys could not ask for dessert within an hour of dinner’s completion. If they did, they would not get dessert that night.

Our logic was that they must not have eaten enough if they are hungry so soon after dinner. Our rule went to the wayside once we got a shaved ice maker and could make healthier treats.

Dash, a New York-based kitchen appliance maker, sent me its shaved ice maker to test. Before long, we were topping shaved ice with syrups made from in-season, locally-grown fruits and feeling less guilty about giving our boys nightly desserts.

Getting started with the Dash Shaved Ice Maker

For the most part, the Dash Shaved Ice Maker is made of hard plastic. The base, motor housing, interior and exterior bowls, gear hoop, dial, lid, and ice guard are all plastic. The shaving blade is stainless steel. For scientific purposes, I tried to put the shaved ice machine together without following the instructions, and I succeeded with minimal effort. You just put the motor unit on the base and insert the pre-assembled exterior/interior bowl into the notches on the inside of the motor unit. No tools are needed.

Using the appliance is also simple. First, you put ice cubes in the white interior bowl, place a bowl on the base of the unit, and put the lid on and turn it counterclockwise to start the machine. The interior bowl rotates the ice quickly over the steel blade producing ice shavings that fall into the bowl. When you’re done, you just turn the lid clockwise to disengage the motor.

Making treats with the machine

For our first try at the Dash Shaved Ice Maker, we purchased snow cone syrup from the store. We filled the interior bowl, plugged the unit in, and let it do its work. The shaved ice maker works on its own without your hand on the lid. But, occasionally, the bowl will catch rotating the lid and turn off the machine. When full, it takes about two to five minutes to shave all of the ice. This is typically enough for two cereal bowls worth of slushy goodness.

The shaved ice maker comes with recipes for matcha, cold brew, and rainbow shaved ices as well as several syrup recipes. We decided to make our own syrups after being unimpressed with the store-bought varieties. If you decide to make your own syrup, I recommend picking up some condiment squeeze bottles and funnels for getting the syrup into the bottles.

Jerome was the biggest fan of the shaved ice maker. During the summer, he used it every other day, and Bucky would serve as his little assistant. Even at 5 years old, Bucky could feel like he was helping by loading the ice and turning the lid on.

At about 12 inches tall by 9 inches deep amd 7 inches wide when assembled and only weighing about a pound, the Dash Shaved Ice Maker is easy to store and transport. We brought it along with us to our friends’ lake house, and the kids couldn’t get enough of it. We were the most popular parents there.

Clean up is pretty simple. The Dash Shaved Ice Maker is not dishwasher safe, and you need to be careful not to submerge the motor in water. Other than that, it’s easy to clean by hand with a mild detergent and water. Since I was only using ice in it, I didn’t really clean the machine all that often. I’d just make sure I dried it thoroughly when I was done. The device will attract mold if you don’t dry it well.

A few quirks to consider

The shaved ice maker doesn’t work as well with ice directly out of the freezer. You need to let it sit on the counter for about 15 minutes before going to town. Otherwise, some of the cubes will not shave down to a nice snowy fluffiness.

Making homemade syrups can be tedious, but it’s worth the effort. I tried cutting corners by not cooking the liquids down to a syrupy consistency. This does not work well. The “syrup” didn’t adhere to the ice and ended up on the bottom of the bowl.

I would have liked it if the shaved ice maker came with some sample syrups so that you could just add ice and be ready to go. But, this is a minor quibble, and I appreciate that Dash kept the price down on this unit.

The bottom line

Overall, the Dash Shaved Ice Maker is a fun appliance to have around. It’s easy to use, promotes the healthier consumption of sweets, has several uses, and it cleans up and stores effortlessly. If you like margaritas, snow cones, slushies, cold cocktails, and other shaved ice delights and don’t have a heavy-duty blender or just want something portable, I strongly recommend picking up this affordable unit.

Buy the Dash DSIM100GBPK02 Shaved Ice Maker on Amazon for $26.98 (originally $39.99)