Why Shave Ice Experts Prefer Block Ice Molds

As any shave ice expert could tell you, there are a few different factors that separate authentic Hawaiian shave ice from other ice based desserts. So what’s the secret to light and fluffy Hawaiian ice? Simple; block ice molds.

Ice Cubes vs. Block Ice

It may sound strange, but the texture of shave ice is almost wholly dependent on the form of ice you choose to use. A single large block of ice simply creates higher quality shave ice than using multiple ice cubes. But why? Why does shaving block ice create a higher quality product than shaving ice cubes?

Surface Area

The biggest reason for the difference in quality can be attributed to the differences in surface area. A single block of ice has a larger surface area than multiple ice cubes.

Imagine for a moment that you need to mow a lawn. For the most part, a lawn consists of a flat surface of grass that is easily accessible by mower, letting you make a clean and even cut across the entire surface. Now imagine you have to mow the less uniform portions of the lawn. Areas where the grass meets structures or concrete, or hilly areas without even dimensions become a lot more difficult to mow. Instead of getting an even and clean cut, you may have to forsake the mower all together to manually trim the grass.

The same is true for shave ice. Part of what makes shaved ice so fluffy is being able to shave the ice into thin strips. That way, when you eat the shaved ice, you get a mouthful of a snow-like texture as opposed to chips of ice. Block ice molds create a single large ice block that can be shaved, as opposed to ice cubes which are much smaller. It’s easier for a shaved ice machine to get a close and clean shaving of ice with a large block than with several cubes. As a result, shaved ice made with a block ice mold tends to be finer and of higher quality.


In addition to providing more surface area, block ice in general is more suited to shaving. A single block of ice is easy to secure in place, meaning the shave ice blades can get the best possible cut with each shave. Multiple ice cubes are more prone to slip and slide inside of a machine. Rather than locking into place for multiple strokes, cube ice can move around between strokes, which effects shave quality.

Compare making shave ice to making a smoothie. If you wanted to make a smoothie with a block ice base, you’d most likely break your blender. In the case of a smoothie, starting off with smaller pieces of ice that can move with the blender’s blades is more efficient than trying to break up one large piece of ice. Different types of ice are better suited for different products. In the case of shave ice, using a block ice mold to create block ice is a better fit.


In terms of storage and restocking, block ice is more efficient than ice cubes. If you want to make your own ice cubes instead of having them delivered, each ice cube has to be removed from its individual mold. Likewise, restocking them is made more difficult by having to accommodate storing them without spilling as they freeze. Because block ice molds are larger, you can get the same volume of ice from a single mold. Additionally, their standardized shape makes them less likely to spill while freezing.

Get Block Ice Molds And More

Real Hawaiian ice stocks everything you need to run a shave ice business. From block ice molds and general supplies to high-powered shave ice machines, Real Hawaiian Ice is your one-stop shave ice shop.