How to Create an Ice Bowl

Two Methods:Balloon Ice BowlFloral or Citrus Ice Bowl

An ice bowl is a spectacular way to present food or drinks for a party or dinner table. Or if you are bored, and are looking for something to do, this is perfect! There are several ways to create an ice bowl, depending on what presentation you're after and how much effort you're prepared to put in. Two approaches to making ice bowls are presented here for you to try.

Method 1
Balloon Ice Bowl

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    Gather the tools listed below. You can also substitute the knife with a blow torch or a lighter.
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    Create a water balloon. This should be medium size. Put the water balloon in the freezer for about 2-3 hours. You may need to experiment with the timing––the balloon should be frozen only until an outer layer of ice forms. It is very important to still have water in the middle of the balloon.
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    Take the semi-frozen balloon out of the freezer. Shake it, and if you see bubbles, or hear "jiggling" then you did it correctly.
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    Slit the balloon to get the rubber off. Run the knife on the edge, and peel off the balloon.
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    Find a place in the ice that looks good for creating an opening. Poke the knife through the ice and gently create a hole.
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    Drain all the water out of the center of the balloon.
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    Make the opening bigger by carving it carefully with the knife. This can be hard, so either "shave" the ice, or use the blow torch or lighter. The fire is easier, but may take more time. You can make the opening big, or small.
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    Now it's complete. This ice bowl is good for adding food such as fruit salad or melon balls. See the suggestions in the next method for more ideas.

Method 2
Floral or Citrus Ice Bowl

This version of an ice bowl can hold flowers or citrus peel rounds within the ice for a beautiful look. It also helps to keep food chilled. The flowers can be real or silk, depending on what you've got.

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    Prepare the flowers or the citrus fruit rounds as follows:
    • For real flowers, choose edible ones. See How to choose edible flowers for ideas of what to choose; you could choose a mixture of flowers or just one type, such as rose petals. Wash the flowers and pat dry.
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    • For silk flowers, choose ones that have non-toxic dyes. If you can't ascertain this, don't use them unless the bowl is going to be used for non-food purposes (such as for holding cans of drink).
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    • For citrus rounds, choose suitably sized oranges, limes, lemons, etc. and cut into perfect round sections. Cut enough to go around the bowl.
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    Fill the 2-1/2 quart (2.3 litre) bowl half full with water using a pitcher to pour. Place the flowers across the top of the water so that it's completely covered. If using citrus rounds, see next step.
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    Place the 1 quart (950ml) bowl over the flowers in the bowl and gently let it drop to the base of the larger bowl. The water should shift up the side gap, which will be about 1 inch (2.5cm) in thickness. The flowers will be caught both underneath and along the sides of the bowl as well; add more flowers to the gap, pushing them in with the wooden skewer. It can be as packed with flowers as you like, or left more sparse.
    • If you're using citrus rounds, this is the time to slip them into the gap at equal intervals around the gap. Use the wooden skewer to align the citrus rounds.
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    • Large globs of poster tack can be rolled up and stuck between each bowl edge to maintain an exact distance. You'll need to mold the tack over the rims to keep it in place.
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    Fill the 1 quart (950ml) bowl with ice cubes. Put freezer tape across the bowls to hold them in place. Alternatively, use crepe bandage––tie two lengths of crepe bandage around the outside bowl and tie tightly at the top of the bowls. The second bandage should be placed at a right angle to the first bandage for best results.
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    Put the bowl arrangement into the freezer for 30 minutes.
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    Remove from the freezer and add more flowers inside the gap, if needed. Or, simply reposition the flowers or citrus rounds if they've slipped in directions that aren't so aesthetically pleasing.
    • If adding more flowers or rounds to already frozen edges, wet them a little for added stickiness.
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    Place back in the freezer. It's recommended that you check a few more times to reposition flowers or rounds as needed. Then, leave to freeze overnight.
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    Remove from the freezer the next day. Take off the tape and scoop out the ice cubes. Leave on a towel for a few minutes. It might come loose on its own. If not, fill the smaller bowl with lukewarm water and gently ease it out.
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    Remove the outer bowl. If it hasn't already loosened while sitting on the towels, dip it into a basin with a little lukewarm water. Twist the ice bowl to loosen it and gently pull it out.
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    Place the ice bowl onto its own platter or stand. Return to the freezer until needed. If you're keeping it in the freezer, wrap it in kitchen foil first to prevent sticking to the freezer or other frozen items.
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    Serve. There are several things you can do with the ice bowl, such as:
    • Arrange a fruit salad or single fruit such as hulled strawberries.
    • Fill with a garden salad full of edible flowers.
    • Add ice cubes and stick ice confectionery on sticks into the ice cubes.
    • Add ice cubes and a few small cans of drinks.
    • Use a container for dips.
    • Arrange cooked seafood, such as prawns, shrimps, etc. that need to be kept cool.
    • Use for a cold soup such as a gazpacho.
    • And saving the best till last–– fill with ice cream!


  • Boiling the water before freezing to make ice will give a more clear ice.
  • Add some crushed ice cubes into the bowl to give it a cool effect.
  • Only place the ice bowl on the table for the course intended; don't add it too early in case it begins to melt before the course starts.
  • Don't put in a warm place. This means not on a stove, not near a fire, not in an over-heated room, in direct line of the sun, outside on a warm day, in a car with the heat on, in the oven, etc.
  • For the second method, if you don't have the exact bowl sizes, it can still be done––just be sure to check that there is a decent gap between the two bowls when the smaller one is inserted in the larger one, to allow space for the ice and flowers.


  • Make sure none of your guests have a latex allergy when you use the balloon method. Balloons are made out of latex and your bowl will have latex protein on it, which could end up on your food. This could cause a severe, possibly life threatening, allergic response.
  • Have a towel handy to mop up spills over the sides of the bowls.
  • Be very careful when handling a sharp knife or the kitchen blow torch. These are dangerous if not in the right hands, and can hurt you.

Things You'll Need

Method one:

  • Knife
  • Freezer
  • Balloon
  • Sink
  • Kitchen blow torch or flame (if you want)

Method two:

  • One glass bowl approximately 2-1/2 quart (2.3 litre) - the bowl must be strong and freezer proof (plastic bowls are okay too)
  • One glass bowl approximately 1 quart (950ml) - the bowl must be strong and freezer proof (plastic bowls are okay too)
  • Pitcher
  • Poster tack
  • Ice cubes
  • Freezer tape or crepe bandages
  • Wooden skewers
  • Towels or absorbent kitchen towels
  • Platter or stand for finished ice bowl

Sources and citations

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