Nugget Ice: Everything You Need To Know

by Daniel Wroclawski | Published On

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What is ice? just water in a frozen state, right? But for people, it can be more than just ice as they try to make it into such shapes and sizes that they look like some kind of gourmet dish by using some complex freezing technology.

In nugget ice-making technology, makers focus on an auger system that helps make tiny ice flakes, which are later collected into tiny nuggets.

As the nugget is tiny, just like a snowflake, its texture is light, munch-worthy, and addictive to those who consume it.

The process of making nugget ice may appear to be fun and games, but in reality, it is much more difficult than it appears.

The nugget ice-making machines are on the expensive side, and they are specialized pieces of pure scientific machinery. Thus, there is a lot more to know about nugget ice than knowing it to be just ice.

Is The Hype Justified?


Yes, it is justified; as we all know, nugget ice is not ordinary ice; however, this ice is available on the market and is commonly referred to as chewy ice.

It’s the good ice because it’s so satisfying to chew; it’s light and airy in texture, and they have an advantage over crushed ice because they don’t melt as quickly as crushed ice and are known for cooling your drinks much faster.

If you are someone who loves to enjoy their summertime with their favorite drink, just don’t forget to use your favorite ice makers, especially when you are trying to have pina Coladas, crushed ice cocktails, or a tall glass of lemonade; they just taste a lot better when you use nugget ice.

How Does It Work?

Nugget Ice makers are known for their sophistication and style, they make pellet ice is made out of these machines. In nugget ice making a flake is compressed up to a point where it turns into a small, compressed Nugget.

Their surface-to-volume ratio is high, which makes it perfect for cooling the drinks quickly.

Water runs through a metallic cylinder, which does have an auger right in the center, as the water gets filled in the cylinder, the refrigeration works, and the walls start to cool, after a while you’ll see

Ice is formed on the walls, later the auger starts to work, this scrapes the wall;

The cylinder forces the ice to lead to the storage area; now the flakes are made and they are pushed through a little tube, that compresses the ice, into a single structure.

By the end of the tube, you will be having ice pieces that will break off easily if not then they are broken manually into smaller uniformly shaped nuggets.

Nugget Ice Vs Bullet Ice

Ice is necessary for any drink you have, you might think.

What difference does an ice maker when it comes to drinking, every ice will make the drink cold but here’s the catch, the shape, the quality of the ice, and the process from which it is made all the difference?

Let’s see the pros and cons of nugget and bullet ice-

Nugget Ice


  • This ice is light, it does have a chewy texture and feels amazing.
  • It absorbs all the Flavour of your drink in itself.
  • It has a faster cooling effect on your drinks.
  • It is easily blended with your drinks.
  • Fills up the drink cup pretty quickly.


  • It is not easily available and they are expensive.
  • It has a faster Melting property than bullet Ice.

Bullet Ice


  • It’s easily made and cheaper to produce.
  • Its melting rate is slow.
  • It requires a lot less time to produce.
  • Mostly used in commercial spaces.


  • Not easily blendable
  • It’s not chewable and bigger in size

Both of the ice have their purpose and reasons, you should just buy them according to your needs.

If you are looking for cheap ice then you should go for bullet Ice, and if you are searching for quality ice go for nugget ice, as it’s a perfect match for your drink and it’s blendable and easily chewable, which is a hit.

Nugget Ice Vs Crushed Ice

Nugget Ice

This ice is created as layers of ice are frozen into a flaked structure, by creating airy pockets in the pellet ice nuggets.

The airy pockets are the reason people enjoy their drinks so much, it’s that distinctive chewy texture of the nugget ice.

Crushed Ice

When we see crushed ice, we see that when large chunks of ice cubes are crushed into smaller bits and pieces, their shape and size vary, but they still have the texture which they used to have when they were large cubes of ice.

Where To Get Nugget Ice?

As you know, the good ice or the nugget ice is like a cult and people just can’t get over the texture it gives when added to their drinks.

They just want to get their hands on this beautiful bag of nugget Ice or even the appliance that makes such Ice would do wonders.

Thus, for anyone who is in search of nugget Ice, from my personal experience, you could go to Sonic Drive-In. Or, you could always look for nearby places on the maps to get the exact location near you.

You can go to Chick-fil-A or Cook Out or you can even check stores like Walmart Or Target. The list goes on and on. I try to look for places nearby to get my hands on a pack of nugget ice for my usage.

Ice Maker Options

There are several types of ice maker options available, like-

  • Commercial

    These machines are known for durability as they are used at a commercial scale, they are designed in such a way that they work continuously when the demand for ice is high.

    The cost of commercial ice makers is pretty hefty as they cost a lot of dollars, they are known as an investment. When you run your business or you have a crowd that needs a lot of ice, this machine is just perfect for you.

  • Countertop

    These countertop Ice machines are a hit amongst those who like having nugget ice and they aren’t producing it commercially.

    The size of the appliance is as small as a microwave would be, they just don’t produce ice on a very large scale.

  • Undercounter

    When you don’t need Ice at a commercial scale but you do need ice in quantity a little bit more than the countertop then you can surely buy an undercounter model.

    They are available in different shapes and sizes, you just need to know what you need, just search a little before you invest in buying the ice maker of your choice.

Driving To Sonic Or Buying Your Own Ice Maker?

Everything we have in our lives carries its positives and negatives, so we need to see this from that point of view.

When you talk about Sonic Drive-In, you’ll have its own benefits you won’t be investing in buying an ice maker machine as you won’t have any maintenance issues or issues with less kitchen space.

Rather, you’ll also have a loss of not being able to get ice whenever you want to and you will have to travel each time to get your hands on buying ice, which will include transportation charges and the product itself will be expensive.

How To Make Nugget Ice?

When you have an ice-making machine you will have endless options to choose from, such as how you should make your Ice, you just need to have a perfect Ice making machine.

For that, you just need the ice-making machine to be filled with water and just in a few hours, you will have amazing, chewy texture ice at your disposal.

They are some machines which are highly advanced you need not worry about the water supply as they are connected to its source and this makes the water storage always kept nicely.

You can make your own nugget ice if you don’t have a nugget ice maker. For that, you could use club soda to make ice.

For that distinctive nugget-size ice, you could require-

  • Use small ice cube trays or silicone trays
  • Add Soda to the mold
  • Keep the ice for 6 hours max
  • Pop the ice cubes out
  • Crush it into a blender or use a muddler
  • Enough that they are, a little chunky
  • Now you have your soft ice ready
  • Serve it with your favorite soft drinks or cocktail of your choice


Now that you have some information about what nugget ice is all about, you can always use this knowledge whenever you are out and about looking for ice that is chunky and just different in taste.

You must decide which nugget maker is best for you based on your preferences and lifestyle. You just need to know your preference, and accordingly, you can buy or make your own ice.

Next time you see ice, you will know the whole backstory of how this beautiful pack of ice must have been made, when finally, you are enjoying your favorite drinks on a summer day.

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Daniel Wroclawski

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