5 Ways To Crush Ice Without A Blender

We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

While a blender is definitely a fast way to crush ice, sometimes you may need to do without it–like when it breaks and you haven’t purchased a new blender. So if you are looking for various techniques to crush ice without a blender, this post is for you. We’ve found the best methods to crush ice by hand.

Here are five techniques that you can use to crush ice without using a blender:

  1. Use a Lewis bag & mallet
  2. Use a cocktail shaker
  3. A plastic bag & rolling pin
  4. A manual ice crusher
  5. Use a muddler

The trick to making great crushed ice is to crush it up fast. You don’t want the ice melting before you have a chance to consume it, so it’s best to know the right method to get it crushed in less than a minute. Continue reading to learn more about the best ways to make crushed ice without a blender.

A glass filled with crushed ice inside and scattered on the sides, 5 Ways To Crush Ice Without A Blender

5 Ways To Crush Ice Without A Blender

Crushed ice with sliced lemons on a wooden chopping board

1. Use A Lewis Bag & Mallet

A Lewis bag and mallet is one of the most common ways to create crushed ice. You’ll often see bartenders and professional chefs use this to create ice or various meals and drinks. Please take┬ánote that the Lewis bag is a canvas bag, meaning that it is porous. So to say, once the ice starts melting, your counter will be wet. Let’s take a look at the steps to use them to make crushed ice:

  1. Start by removing the ice from the freezer. The ice should be dry and cold so that it does not melt quickly while in the Lewis bag. The ice cube size does not matter, as you can use cubes from large or small ice trays. However, it is worth noting that you will have better results if all of the ice cubes are around the same size.
  2. Be sure to remove enough ice from the freezer as you will typically need more than you assume you will. Remember crushed ice will be much smaller than ice cubes, so you want to use about a third or twice as many that you would need for the regular ice cube sizes.
  3. Next, take out your Lewis bag and roll up the closed end of it. Take the recently removed two ice cubes and place them inside of the Lewis bag.
  4. Now take the Louis bag and place it on the counter, a table, or another hard surface. Take the open end of the bag and fold it over twice so that it is closed.
  5. Hold the Lewis bag with your non-dominant hand, take your dominant hand, grab a mallet or hammer, and position it over the bag. Next, hit the bag repeatedly with the hammer to crush the ice. You’ll want to work as fast as possible to prevent the ice from melting before you have a chance to either use it or place it in the freezer for storage.
  6. If you don’t have a mallet or hammer, you could use any other heavy object, preferably one with a handle. A meat tenderizer is also a good choice. You can also place a plastic freezer bag inside a Lewis bag if you want to prevent the counter from getting wet.
  7. Keep hammering the ice until there are no large ice cubes left. Open the bag to take a look, and if the pieces of crushed ice or to your liking, remove the ice in the bag, and you’re good to go. If there are still large chunks of ice inside the Lewis bag, close it back up and continue to smash the ice.

Remember, time is of the essence! So the faster you smash the ice, the better. Over time, you will find that you will get better at creating quality crushed ice, meaning the ice chunks’ sizes will be more consistent. Everything takes practice!

See this Lewis bag and mallet on Amazon.

2. Use A Cocktail Shaker

Bartenders often use cocktail shakers to make a small amount of crushed ice in a hurry. But how do they do it? Let’s look at the steps to use them for making crushed ice:

  1. Take your cocktail shaker and toss about 10 to 12 ice cubes into it. The ice cubes should fill the shaker about halfway to the top. As soon as you take the ice cubes out of the freezer, throw them in the shaker immediately.
  2. Next, while holding the shaker upright on a counter or another hard surface, use one hand to hold the shaker and then give it a couple of taps on the counter.
  3. Afterward, shake it with your hand in the air for about 20 to 30 seconds. Open the shaker to see if the ice chip sizes are to your liking; if not, give the shaker another tap of the counter and shake it again for another 20 to 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat these steps as necessary until the chunks of ice are small enough for you.

See this cocktail shaker on Amazon.

3. Plastic Bag & A Rolling Pin

Freezer bags can come in handy when making crushed ice in a pinch. Let’s look at the steps to use them for this task:

  1. Take your ice cubes out of the freezer and place them in the resealable bag. It’s best to use a solid freezer bag for this task as they are thicker and are less likely to split or crack during this process.
  2. After you place your ice cubes in the bag, seal it shut and place it in the freezer for about two to three hours.
  3. Next, remove the bag from the freezer and run it under hot water for about 10 seconds. The hot water will make it easier for the ice to crack once you begin to bang on it.
  4. Next, take a rolling pin and lightly tap the freezer bag until the ice forms into chips.

See this rolling pin on Amazon.

If you don’t have a rolling pin, you can also use a mallet or a meat tenderizer.

See this mallet on Amazon.

4. Manual Ice Crusher

Using a manual ice crusher is a fairly straightforward technique to crush ice. While there are many types and models of ice crushers, the overall premise is the same. Here are the steps to use them:

  1. Take your ice cubes from the freezer and place them inside the ice crusher. Most ice crushers have a reservoir that is accessible from the top of the device.
  2. Close the reservoir once you place your ice cubes inside of it.
  3. Next, grab the handle on the lever, which is located on the side of the device, and crank it to the right in a clockwise motion. If you have a more expensive ice crusher model, this will be a very simple task for you. If you have an old-school ice crusher, you may need to add a little bit of elbow grease to crush the ice. Continue cranking the lever until you have crushed all of the ice cubes inside. Remember to turn the handle quickly to prevent the ice from melting.

See this ice crusher on Amazon.

5. Use a Muddler

You can also use a muddler to crush ice if you are just crushing a few cubes for a single drink. For this method, you will also need a cocktail glass. Let’s look at the steps to crush ice using a muddler:

  1. Start by placing five or six ice cubes into the cocktail glass.
  2. Next, take the muddler and, while starting at a distance of about three inches from the highest ice cube, crush the ice using the muddler. Make sure to grind the muddler into ice using a turning motion. If you are making a drink, be sure to crush the ice first and not combine it with other ingredients until you are finished. A muddler can be too much for other drink ingredients and make them less palpable.
  3. Continue grinding the ice until it is of the desired size.

See this muddler on Amazon.

Can you use a food processer to crush ice?

Food processors are built to slice, chop, and pulverize foods that are soft and pliable. Ice does not fall into this category, and more than likely than not, will damage the blades within your food processor. These blades aren’t meant to handle rock hard items, and they may become stuck or break during use. It’s best to use a blender or one of the methods mentioned above to crush your ice at home.

Can a KitchenAid hand blender crush ice?

A glass of ice and a hand blender on a table

Yes, the Kitchenaid hand blender can crush whole cubes of ice, according to its specifications. However, we wouldn’t recommend this blender for extended use for this application specifically. It’d be better to go with a full-size blender if you plan on regularly using it to crush ice. The reason is that the motor and the blades will also be bigger and much stronger than that of the immersion or hand blender.

If you plan to use your blender to crush ice regularly, here are a few options that you can consider instead:

Ninja BL610 Ice Crushing Blender

The Ninja blenders have made their way as tough competitors in the marketplace. Not only are they easy to operate, but they are low-cost and have the durability of many expensive blenders. This particular blender is BPA-free and has a strong 1000-watt motor that can crush ice in a matter of seconds. It comes with simple settings, including pulse, high, medium, and low. It also has a sturdy 5-blade assembly that complies with ice and other hard foods. You can also use it to make smoothies, salsa, and nut butter.

See this blender on Amazon.

Blendtec Classic 575 Blender

The Blendtec classic is another affordable option for a good ice-crushing blender. This blender is lightweight and comes with 10 variable speeds. It has a 1600-watt motor that is very effective at crushing small and large chunks of ice. It’s also BPA-free and has a 32-oz blending capacity. If you are looking for a well-designed lightweight blender and can handle large tasks, this blender may be the perfect fit.

See this blender on Amazon.

Vitamix 7500 Ice Blende

Vitamix blenders have absolutely taken over the home appliance industry. These high-speed blenders are simply the best of the best. This blender has a 64-oz blend capacity and comes with 10 variable speeds and a pulse option. It also includes a radiator cooling fan and thermal protection to avoid overheating. The Vitamix blender can crush ice in a matter of seconds, and you can also use it for other applications, including smoothie, soup, and ice cream-making.

See this blender on Amazon.

What is the difference between crushed ice and shaved ice?

The difference between crushed ice and shaved ice is mainly the chips’ size and the method used to make them. Crushed ice is larger and can be created using several ways, including blenders, ice crushers, and manually crushing ice cubes.

Shaved ice is finer and thinner than crushed ice. It’s often made by rubbing cubes of ice on a sharp surface. Shaved ice is usually used to make desserts such as snow cones, yogurt, and ice cream. Crushed ice is mainly used in drinks.

What can you use crushed ice for?

For the most part, crushed ice is used to make alcoholic drinks, smoothies, iced tea, and other beverages. You can also use it to quickly cool down soups and stews without making them too watery.

Which lasts longer: crushed or cubed ice?

Crushed ice is made up of much smaller pieces than is cubed dice, which means it has less surface area. This makes it melt faster, as heat transfers from outside objects to the surface of the ice. That being stated, crushed ice will melt faster than cubed ice. So if you are looking for ice that will take a longer time to melt, large ice cubes will be better.

Wrapping Things Up

We hope this post has provided you with enough ways to manually crush ice if you don’t have a blender available! Be sure to check out some of our other posts before you go:

Can You Put Ice In A Nutribullet?

Can You Dice Vegetables In A Food Processor?

Leave a Reply