I was watching a cooking show and one of the chefs used dry ice to "flash freeze" some fruit for a dessert - are there any other uses for Dry Ice that can be employed in preparing different foods? Obviously, you can't eat Dry Ice, so my question is based on using it as a Cooking Technique, not as a recipe. I never noticed before, but my neighborhood grocery store (Large Regional Branch) sells it....

  • 3
    To clarify, dry ice and liquid nitrogen are totally different things. Dry ice is CO2, and liquid nitrogen is N2. Dry ice is pretty cold, and directly into a gas when it melts/sublimates. Liquid nitrogen is (obviously) a liquid, and it's a LOT colder than dry ice. Your grocery store may well sell dry ice, but there's no chance it sells liquid nitrogen! Unless you know what you're doing, you can really hurt yourself with liquid nitrogen. Dry ice is not that dangerous.
    – Harlan
    Sep 26, 2010 at 14:54
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    Hi Attila - I've noticed that most of your questions have the [cooking-techniques] tag; although we haven't gotten around to totally removing it yet, we are trying to discourage people from using that tag because it's very vague and could apply to (almost) any question here (noted in the tag info). Please tag with the specific technique instead; if there isn't one, just omit the technique-related tag. Since this question is asking for a list of uses (technique or otherwise), I've tagged it [culinary-uses] instead. Thanks!
    – Aaronut
    Sep 26, 2010 at 15:07
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    @Harlan: Dry ice can be dangerous for your free time, as soon as you realize it hovers on its own gas, hence traveling almost frictionless anywere. I warned you. Sep 27, 2010 at 16:31

3 Answers 3


Yes, you can use it to carry aromas in modernist presentation or to make an anti-griddle (for making rapidly frozen items with a liquid center).

  • I want to try this aroma thing. I wouldn't actually invite people to drink it unless I had some sort of strainer-like apparatus to prevent dry ice coming into contact with diners' lips. Trust me when I say that hurts.
    – daniel
    Sep 28, 2010 at 7:28

There aren't a huge number of uses for dry ice that I know of. One of the big ones is that it's a traditional way to carbonate certain beverages. I've seen root beer made by taking the flat root beer base and dropping dry ice chips in. It sublimates and then the gas goes into solution. You could certainly use it for that.

Other than that, it's a good way to keep things frozen during shipping. It'll keep stuff deep-frozen, whereas water ice will keep everything at exactly 32 F, which is not that useful.


It is possible, though tricky, to make ice cream using dry ice. You will need the ice itself to be pulverized, then pour it into your liquid ice cream base in a mixer with the paddle attachment running. Same concept as liquid nitrogen ice cream, but with mixed results (according to a friend who has one it; I have never done it myself).

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