Can you use Kool Aid liquid for snow cones?

Making snow cones at home can be a fun summertime activity, but finding the right flavored syrups to pour over the shaved ice can get expensive. As a cheaper alternative to commercial snow cone syrups, many people wonder if they can use the more affordable Kool Aid drink mix instead. This article will explore whether or not Kool Aid works well for snow cones and provide tips for getting the best results.

The Short Answer

Yes, you can absolutely use Kool Aid drink mix as a snow cone syrup. Kool Aid liquid or powder provides vibrant colors and sweet fruity flavors that work great for flavoring snow cones. There are just a few things to keep in mind when using Kool Aid to help create the best snow cone experience.

Comparing Kool Aid and Commercial Snow Cone Syrup

Snow cone syrups designed specifically for snow cones tend to be thinner, pour easily, and absorb quickly into the ice shavings. Many commercial snow cone syrups are simple sugar syrups with added colors and flavors. The consistency is optimized for easy pouring and absorption.

Kool Aid, on the other hand, is a powdered drink mix meant to flavor an entire pitcher or glass of water or milk. So using it straight out of the packet can result in a syrup that is too thick and concentrated for snow cones. However, with a few easy tweaks, Kool Aid can become just as good as store-bought snow cone syrup.


One major advantage of using Kool Aid is the wide variety of flavors available. There are over 25 unique Kool Aid flavors, from fruity favorites like Cherry, Grape, and Tropical Punch to more unique options like Surfin’ Berry Lemonade, Pink Lemonade, and Sharkleberry Fin.

Commercial snow cone syrups tend to come in primary colors and common flavors like cherry, grape, blue raspberry, lime, and orange. So Kool Aid provides many more flavor choices to keep your snow cone experience interesting.


Kool Aid drink mix is designed to provide both vibrant colors and sweetness for an entire pitcher of Kool Aid. Using it undiluted as a snow cone syrup results in a very sugary, almost cloying sweetness that can overpower the snow cone experience.

Snow cone syrups are formulated to be strong enough to flavor the ice but not too overpowering. So some adjustment to Kool Aid’s sweetness level is needed when substituting it for commercial syrups.


The consistency of Kool Aid right out of the packet is too thick for easy pouring and absorption into snow cone ice. Commercial snow cone syrup has a thinner, more liquidy texture that pours smoothly and absorbs readily.

But with some simple tweaks, you can easily thin out Kool Aid to the ideal syrup consistency for flavoring snow cones.

How to Make Kool Aid Work for Snow Cones

While Kool Aid on its own is too thick, sweet, and concentrated to use as snow cone syrup, you can very easily dilute and adjust Kool Aid to create the ideal snow cone syrup consistency and flavor.

Dilute It

The easiest way to thin out Kool Aid and lower the sweetness intensity is to dilute it with water. As a general guideline, mix together 1 part Kool Aid drink mix (about 2-3 tbsp) with 1 1/2 to 2 parts water. Stir thoroughly until the powder is fully dissolved.

You can tweak the dilution ratios based on your preferences. Use a little less water for bolder Kool Aid flavor and color or more water to thin it out further into the ideal pouring consistency.

Add Acid

Adding a splash of lemon juice or vinegar to the diluted Kool Aid mixture can help brighten the flavors. The acidity helps cut through the sweetness and brings out the fruit flavors.

Start with around 1/2 tsp per batch of Kool Aid syrup and adjust to taste. Too much can make the syrup taste too sour.

Sweeten Selectively

If you want to cut back on the sweetness of undiluted Kool Aid but maintain the color vibrancy, you can use artificial sweeteners. Replace about 1/4 to 1/2 of the Kool Aid powder with an equivalent amount of sweetener like Splenda or Sweet’N Low.

You can also add stevia drops to taste after diluting the Kool Aid to reduce the sweetness without diluting the color.

Strain Out Excess Powder

No matter how thoroughly you stir the Kool Aid powder into the water, there will likely be some graininess in the syrup from undissolved powder. For ultra smooth syrup, strain your mixed Kool Aid through a mesh strainer or cheesecloth.

This helps remove any stubborn powder clumps, resulting in a smooth, pourable syrup.

Store Properly

Homemade Kool Aid syrup won’t contain the preservatives found in commercial syrups. For best quality and food safety, store your diluted Kool Aid syrup in the refrigerator and use within 5-7 days.

An airtight container helps prevent dilution from melted ice water.

Ideal Snow Cone Syrup Consistency

The right syrup consistency and pour rate ensures even ice coverage without over sweetening. Follow these tips for ideal snow cone syrup:

  • Thin, pourable texture like warm honey
  • Thick enough to have body and viscosity to cling slightly to ice
  • Not as thick and sticky as maple syrup
  • Pours smoothly without drizzling into a steady stream

Adjust the Kool Aid dilution ratio to achieve this ideal syrup texture. Test the flow rate on a spoon to ensure it pours smoothly before flavoring your snow cones.

Tips for Making Perfect Snow Cones with Kool Aid

Follow these best practices when using Kool Aid as your snow cone syrup:

Use Very Finely Shaved Ice

The ice should be as fine and snow-like as possible to absorbing flavors instead of just getting a mouthful of crunchy ice chunks. Use freshly shaved ice before it starts melting and clumping together.

Pour Syrup Evenly Over the Top

Resist the urge to pour it all in one spot. Drizzle very gradually all over the top for even absorption throughout.

Add Syrup Sparingly

It’s easy to overdo it with the syrup, especially if it’s very diluted. Add gradually and mix gently to incorporate. You can always drizzle a little more on top if needed.

Use a Long Spoon

Stir up the snow cone from the bottom to fully mix the syrup throughout the ice without compacting it too much.

Work Quickly

Don’t make snow cones too far in advance, as they lose their fluffy texture as the ice melts and absorbs syrup.

Add Fun Toppings

For over-the-top snow cones, add whipped cream, fruit, candy pieces, coconut, crushed cookies, or other fun toppings!

Best Kool Aid Snow Cone Flavor Combinations

Take your shaved ice to the next level by layering two Kool Aid flavors in one snow cone. Here are some delicious flavor pairing ideas:

Flavor 1 Flavor 2
Cherry Lemonade
Grape Orange
Fruit Punch Pink Lemonade
Strawberry Kiwi Lime
Tropical Punch Surfin’ Berry Lemonade
Blue Raspberry Watermelon

Get creative and come up with your own flavor combos! The possibilities are nearly endless with so many unique Kool Aid options.

Making Kool Aid Snow Cone Syrup in Bulk

If you’re hosting a party or making snow cones for a crowd, try this easy technique for making a large batch of Kool Aid syrup:


  • 1 packet (0.13 oz or 3.75 g) unsweetened Kool Aid (any flavor)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice


  1. Combine water, sugar, and lemon juice in a small saucepan
  2. Heat over medium, stirring frequently, until sugar fully dissolves into a simple syrup, about 5 minutes
  3. Remove from heat and stir in Kool Aid powder until fully dissolved, about 1-2 minutes
  4. Let cool completely, then transfer to a quart container or bottle
  5. Store in fridge until ready to use, up to 1 week
  6. Shake before use to remix any settled powder
  7. Pour over freshly shaved ice as desired

This makes a large batch of syrup you can use for multiple snow cones. Adjust sugar amount to taste preference. You can also experiment with adding citric acid or tartaric acid to brighten fruit flavors.

Kool Aid Snow Cone Variations

Don’t limit yourself to standard snow cones. Liven things up with one of these fun flavor innovations:

Fruit Layering

Alternate layers of real diced fruit with the flavored ice. Try strawberries, mango, pineapple, or watermelon.

Yogurt Snow Cones

Stir a few tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt into your finished snow cone for a creamier, almost frozen yogurt-like treat.

Fizzy Snow Cones

Top off your snow cone with a splash of ginger ale, lemon-lime soda, or other sparkling beverage for some fizzy fun.

Rainbow Snow Cones

Stack different colors of ice to create a rainbow effect. Try red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.

Sour Snow Cones

Amp up the tartness with extra lemon juice, citric acid, sour candy toppings, or sour spray powders.

Boozy Snow Cones

For adults, add a spike of rum, vodka, tequila or other spirit to your syrup or top with a drizzle of liqueur.

Making Snow Cones Without a Machine

You don’t need fancy equipment to make DIY snow cones at home. Here are a few easy methods:


Fill a blender about halfway with cubed ice. Pulse in short bursts, scraping down sides as needed, until ice is broken down into fine flakes.

Food Processor

Add ice cubes to a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse to grind ice into a snow-like texture. Avoid over-processing into a slushy texture.


Use the large holes of a box grater or Microplane to shave ice cubes into fluffy flakes. Work over a large bowl to catch shavings.

Lewis Bag and Mallet

Place ice cubes in a sturdy canvas bag. Wrap bag around a wooden block to hold ice in place. Hit repeatedly with a mallet to break down ice.

Storing Leftover Kool Aid Snow Cone Syrup

Only make as much syrup as you’ll use in one event, as the diluted Kool Aid won’t keep long. But for any extra:

  • Transfer to an airtight container, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
  • Refrigerate for up to 5 days.
  • Stir before use – powder may settle on bottom.
  • Discard if mold grows or smells off.

For longest shelf life, freeze extra syrup in ice cube trays. Store cubes in an airtight freezer bag for up to 2 months.

FAQs About Kool Aid Snow Cones

Is powder or liquid Kool Aid better for snow cones?

The powder drink mix works best, as the liquid concentrate version still needs to be diluted significantly to achieve ideal snow cone syrup consistency. Powder dissolves easily in water.

How long do snow cones last with Kool Aid syrup?

It’s best to make and enjoy DIY Kool Aid snow cones right away before the ice starts to melt and absorb syrup. Snow cones are best within 30 minutes of preparing. After 1-2 hours, unused snow can become too slushy.

Can you use artificially sweetened Kool Aid?

Yes, sugar-free Kool Aid varieties made with aspartame, sucralose, or other artificial sweeteners can be used. You may want to dilute with less water since there’s no sugar to dissolve.

What can I do if my Kool Aid syrup is too watery?

Try adding a little cornstarch, xanthan gum, or guar gum while mixing to thicken the syrup. Start with 1/2 tsp and mix well. Or re-mix a small batch with less water.

How do you make snow cone ice finely shaved?

Use freshly made finely crushed ice right away before it starts to melt and clump up. Work quickly, and stir the ice occasionally to break up any chunks.


With just a few easy tips for dilution, sweetening, and acidity, humble Kool Aid transforms into an incredibly fun, fruity snow cone syrup. The variety of flavors, colors, and customization options makes Kool Aid an ideal economical syrup for fantastic homemade snow cones.

Be sure to dilute sufficiently for ideal consistency, aim for bigger ice flakes, go light on syrup, and enjoy snow cones immediately for Kool Aid snow cone success. Then get creative with layers, mix-ins, and recipe variations for endless frozen summertime fun.

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