How To Make Shaved Or Crushed Ice With A Vitamix

How to Make Shaved or Crushed Ice With a Vitamix

Remember having a shaved ice as a kid?

It’s been too long—it’s time to revisit some old summertime favorites and make some memories in the kitchen.

Your Vitamix is insanely powerful, especially when compared to rival blender brands, making it perfect for the task.

A lot of the work has already been done for you. Look at the way your Vitamix pitcher is designed: it’s made perfectly to hold ingredients that will be met with the same level of force and make contact with the blade.

There are some methods to get this done properly since there’s no real set-and-forget style, so let’s discuss everything you’ll need to know.

Can You Crush Ice With a Vitamix?

Absolutely, though you have to be careful.

Vitamix blenders usually use between 11 and 12 amps of power in their motor base, which is enough to drive a screw through steel.

Ice is fragile in comparison, so how do you get crushed ice instead of just snow?

You have to feather the pulse button. Feathering simply means lightly tapping the button until it goes on, and releasing right away.

Instead of using short, controlled 2-5 second bursts with the pulse button, this is a bit more gentle and doesn’t completely obliterate the ice.

Crushed ice should be the same consistency as dot ice cream—differently sized, but small bits of ice that all stick together when housed in a single container.

Because blenders use a vortex method when left on for long enough, you might have to intervene a bit here to ensure consistency.

Vitamix blenders are among the best, but since we’re feathering the pulse button, it’s not going to create the same vortex.

Instead, after every six-or-so pushes of the button, use a silicone spatula to mix the ice around.

The Best Ice for Blending

Ice Cubes

There are different types of ice, and some are actually better for blending certain recipes.

If you have an ice machine in you8r fridge/freezer, it’s likely creating one of two types: cubed or crescent.

If you can get a countertop ice maker to make crescent ice cubes (if they aren’t already readily available to you), this would be the best bet if you’re passionate about getting the perfect consistency with blending.


These are full, thick pieces of ice that can be blended up into super-fine snow, or mix into smoothies to create nice thick consistencies.

Crescent ice is the absolute best for blending because it’s the most predictable. However, you need to account for the thickness of the ice when blending.

If your blender can’t handle it properly, then you’ll be left with solid chunks of ice in smoothies and frozen beverages.


Cube ice isn’t a bad option either, though it can sometimes feel a bit melty and less thick.

Where crescent ice blends evenly and breaks apart slowly, cube ice can shatter and leave thin fractals in your beverage or dessert, which isn’t good for consistency.

They’re not a bad choice, just don’t expect to make anything gourmet with them.

Half Cube

Arguably the worst type of ice for smoothies and desserts.

Half cubes look like small cubes, but they’re hollow on the inside. Ice machines in freezers use these because they’re faster to make, but much like the issue with full cubes, this shatter.

It doesn’t take long to go from a thick and chunky ice drink to a watered-down mess.

Half cubes are only good for those $20.00 blenders from the department stores, but if you’re using one of those, then there’s only so much potential for the quality of your frozen drinks anyway.

How to Make Difference Types of Ice in Your Vitamix

Taking Crushed Ice From Blender

There’s crushed, shaved (powdery), and blended, which creates the perfect consistency for slushes and frozen summertime drinks.

Let’s get a good consistency on all of them

How to Make Crushed Ice in a Vitamix

We talked about feathering the pulse button, but there are other options available as well.

It all depends on what type of ice you start with. Crushed ice is essentially small balls of ice that stick together, and can be used for desserts and Italian ice.

  • Drop-in cube or crescent ice into your Vitamix. Press the pulse button once for about five seconds, and let go.
  • Use a silicone spatula to churn the ice over. Try to raise the crushed portions of the ice towards the top.
  • Repeat step 1 and 2 until desired consistency.

Alternatively, you can simply press the lowest speed setting and let her rip. Your Vitamix is powerful, so it won’t need much time, but it can be a quicker way to get the job done.

How to Make Shaved Ice Treats in a Vitamix

Shaved ice is a mix between crushed and blended. This method gets the job done, but relies on your ability to measure by eye.

  • Drop-in your crescent ice. For every eight ounces of ice, put in one ounce of water.
  • The second that you drop the water in, pop the lid on and hit the medium speed button for a ten-second cycle.
  • If needed, add one more ounce of water and repeat step 2 until you get a good consistency.
  • Hold pitcher upside-down over the sink to drain the water out (be careful). Once the water has drained out to a dull drip, pulse once to blend everything together again.

How to Make Blended Ice in a Vitamix

Blended ice is what you’d expect to see for a Slush Puppy machine from convenience stores and gas stations. Use crescent ice for this: two parts ice, one part water.

  • Drop-in your ice and water. Before the water has time to freeze entirely, hit the pulse button to stir things up.
  • Run-on a low speed for 10-20 seconds. It’s okay if it pulverizes the ice a bit since we’re going for a more watered down consistency.
  • Monitor the consistency by stopping the process every 10 seconds, and use a rubber or silicone spatula to see the resistance when stirring. Repeat steps 2 as necessary until you reach the desired consistency.
  • Blend in your flavoring or whatever it is that you’re going to add. Use small amounts of liquid. If you’re placing a flavored syrup inside, you can reduce the number of water in step 1 by the equivalent volume of your additives.

Watch Out for Friction Heat

Crushing Ice In Blender

Vitamix is powerful, and that comes with its own series of problems.

Making shaved, blended or crushed ice is a delicate matter, and you’ll notice in these steps that we recommend short bursts for most of the processes.

That’s because that 12 amp motor in your Vitamix model gets hot. Even if the motor is cool-running, the heat is going to be transferred into the blades.

There’s nothing wrong with that; it actually comes in handy for other functions, like making hot soup without needing a stove.

The problem is that Vitamix blades rely on friction speed for much of their power; you can only make a blade so sharp and fine-pointed without risking chipping the thin blade after mild use.

If you notice that your shaved ice is a bit too watery, but you’re positive that you’re using a good blend of ice and water, it could be friction heat.

You should only use your Vitamix for frozen recipes after it has had time to cool down properly.

Don’t rinse it out with hot water in between uses; keep the pitcher cool, and if possible, chill it in the freezer for ten minutes prior to use.

Do I Need the Ice Blade?

Blender Ice Blade

If you’re going to make a habit of making frozen beverages, then you should get the ice blade attachment for your Vitamix.

It’s a slightly more abrasive blade that crushes and pulverizes ice better than the standard blades, and without the risk of chipping or breaking from extended use.

The ice blade attachment can also give you more consistent results, even if you’re using the more conservative methods for crushed and shaved ice as shared in this guide.

If you’re going to make high volume batches of slushies or smoothies on a constant basis, it’s a good investment to grab the ice blade.

More Recipes Are Open to You

Shaved ice is integral for a ton of excellent desserts, and allows you to make your own smoothie textures; it’s a way to customize and personalize your food, and nothing does it better than a Vitamix.

We’ve covered the very best Vitamix blenders in a comprehensive buying guide, as well as other recipes and things you can do with them.

Making perfect crushed ice (and delicious Italian ice treats) are just another reason why nothing compares to Vitamix.

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