We’ve all been there before. It’s a hot summer day and you grab an ice-cold can of soda from the fridge. You take a few glorious sips, but soon the heat makes your once-frigid drink lukewarm. If only there was a way to make soda colder and enjoy it frozen like a slushy.
That’s exactly what I thought as an impatient 8-year-old. Tired of watery warm soda, I decided to toss a few cans into the freezer to rapid chill them into a delicious slushy treat. A few hours later, I heard a loud BANG that sent me sprinting to the kitchen. Soda had exploded all over the freezer, creating a huge sticky mess.
After that soda slushy fail, I gave up on trying to freeze carbonated drinks. But now as an adult, I wondered if there was a proper way to transform sodas into semi-frozen bliss. This article will provide a complete guide to successfully freezing soda, including optimal timing and what to expect when you toss sodas in the freezer.
The Science Behind Freezing Soda
Before freezing soda, it helps to understand the science of what happens when this carbonated beverage solidifies.
Soda contains carbon dioxide gas suspended within an aqueous solution. When soda freezes, the water forms solid ice crystals while the CO2 is forced out of suspension, creating bubbles between ice crystals. This gives frozen soda a characteristic frothy, slushy texture.
However, soda doesn’t freeze completely solid. The sweeteners and other ingredients in soda lower its freezing point below water’s 32°F. The optimal temperature to freeze soda to a perfect slushy consistency is between 25-30°F.
How Long Does it Take For Soda to Freeze?
If you’re impatient like me and want to rapid chill sodas into cold, slushy bliss, how long does it take?
Several factors impact the time it takes soda to freeze, including:
- Sugar content – Sodas with more sugars like classic Coke freeze faster than sugar-free options.
- Carbonation level – Highly carbonated sodas take longer to freeze than less bubbly types.
- Container – Cans freeze faster than plastic bottles due to greater surface area.
- Freezer temperature – Colder freezers will freeze soda faster than warmer units.
With all these factors, freezing times can range quite a bit. Here are some general timelines:
- Slushy texture (~25°F): 2-3 hours
- Almost completely frozen: 6-8 hours
- Solid block: 10+ hours (not recommended)
So if you want sodas chilled but still slurpable, stick to the 2-3 hour timeline for optimal enjoyment.
Dangers of Freezing Soda Too Long
While an ice-cold can of soda is tempting in theory, freezing it for too long comes with risks.
The biggest danger comes from exploding containers. When water freezes, it expands. This expansion pressure can cause aluminum cans to burst if left in the freezer overnight or longer. Plastic soda bottles are less prone to bursting but can still crack open.
Glass soda bottles are at highest risk for explosion when freezing. The liquid expands but the rigid glass can’t stretch, quickly building dangerous pressure.NEVER freeze glass soda bottles.
To avoid a huge sticky mess or risk of container injury, avoid freezing sodas for longer than 5-6 hours. Sturdier plastic 2-liter bottles handle expansion better than cans or small plastic bottles. But still limit freezing time for safety.
Steps for Freezing Soda
Want to try transforming warm sodas into frozen treats? Here are some best practices:
- Leave space for expansion – Never freeze sodas stacked or packed tightly together. Leave at least 1 inch space between containers.
- Open aluminum cans – Crack the tab on cans before freezing to allow gas to escape and prevent explosion risk.
- Limit freezing time – For best results, freeze sodas for 2-3 hours, checking often.
- Use rear freezer section – The coldest freezer spots are in the back. Avoid the door.
- Chill quickly before freezing – Get sodas as cold as possible in the fridge before the freezer.
- Freeze smaller containers – 12-20 oz cans and bottles freeze faster than 2-liter bottles.
Follow these tips and in just 20-30 minutes you can rapidly chill cans to perfection. Any longer than 2-3 hours runs the risk of freezing too solid or even exploding.
Enjoying Frozen Soda
Once your soda has chilled in freezer bliss, it’s time to enjoy! But what should you expect when you crack open a frozen soda?
The contents will have a slushy, sherbet-like consistency. While not completely solid, it will have frozen into bubbly ice crystals permeated by liquid.
The frozen soda will be thicker, frothier, and more syrupy compared to its liquid form. Its viscosity resembles a slurpee or milkshake.
The freezing process also dulls carbonation, so you’ll notice somewhat flatter soda with less intense fizz. But it will still pack plenty of flavor.
To achieve the perfect slushy texture, try stirring the frozen soda with a spoon or shaking the bottle/can before opening. This mixes the frozen and liquid portions together.
You can also pulse frozen sodas in a blender to transform them into dessert-like frozen foam – perfect for hot summer days!
Thawing and Storing Frozen Soda
Finished with your frozen soda but have some leftover? Here’s how to properly thaw and store it:
To prevent a huge mess, never leave frozen sodas at room temperature to thaw. Place them in the refrigerator to safely thaw over 6-12 hours.
Once thawed, the soda is safe to put back in the fridge for 5-7 days. The carbonation may diminish slightly after freezing.
Avoid refreezing thawed soda if possible, as this alters the carbonation and texture. But if chilled again while still quite slushy, it’s fine to return to the freezer briefly.
Pros and Cons of Freezing Soda
Freezing soda can transform a warm, flat drink into a delicious slushy treat. But it does come with some disadvantages to consider:
- Rapidly chills and thickens soda
- Creates fun, dessert-like consistency
- Allows enjoying soda frozen without a slushy machine
- Risk of explosion if frozen too long
- Can create a mess when opened
- Alters carbonation and texture of soda
For the best results, opt for freezing soda only when you want rapid cooling and slushy texture. Otherwise, the good ol’ fridge is safest for chilling cans and bottles.
We’ve all craved ice-cold soda on a hot day. And freezing sodas can transform them into slushy, semi-frozen drinks perfect for beating the heat.
To freeze soda properly, chill cans rapidly for 20-30 minutes or 2-3 hours max for bottles. Plastic bottles are safest, but opening aluminum cans helps them avoid exploding.
With the right timeline and technique, you can create frozen soda masterpieces to enjoy all summer long without a sticky mess or safety hazards. Just be sure to consume slushy sodas fast before they freeze solid.
Hi, I’m Ben Holland. I love cooking, traveling, and spending time with my family! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes, travel tips, and stories about my adventures with my wife and kids.