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How to Make an Ice Bowl for Shrimp Cocktail

I almost didn’t post this how to because I thought it wasn’t “pretty” enough.  Sometimes the things we do aren’t all that pretty, but it is good to know information, so here it is, how to make and ice bowl.  I use mine for shrimp cocktail for a crowd, but you can use it for anything you want to keep cold, including all kinds of shellfish.  After I shared my Beach Ball Themed cocktail party I had some questions about how I made the ice bowl for my shrimp, and I want to provide answers for my readers!How to make an ice bowl (2)

How to make an ice bowl for serving shellfish

How to make an ice bowlYou begin by finding two large bowls that will nest one inside the other.  I thought these were the ones I would use, but at the last minute I decided on a larger bowl for the inside (to replace the yellow one).  How to make an ice bowl.

You will set the smaller bowl inside the larger one, put duct tape across the top to hold it down and keep it from floating and then pour your water into the larger bowl.  I also put water inside the smaller bowl to help keep it from floating.  Don’t fill the inner bowl with so much water that it reaches the top, you will end up with a giant hunk of ice that way and no way to get the bowls apart without melting all of the ice.  How to make an ice bowl

I chose to add sliced lemons to my bowl, so I just slipped the slices down in between the bowls, into the water.

A note about “clear” ice.

I have tried many times to get “clear” ice with varying rates of success.  I did boil my water ahead of time this time, but I find if I boil it and let it cool completely, and then bring it to a boil a second time it does freeze a little clearer.  There are all kinds of methods for getting “clear” ice, you can Google it and see if you want to try one of those methods.

How to make an ice bowl for displaying seafood.

Here are my bowls ready to go into the freezer.  I added a couple additional pieces of duct tape after this to make sure as it froze the inner bowl wasn’t pushed up more.How to make an ice bowl for shrimp cocktail.Here it is when I took the bowls with the ice out of the freezer.  You can see I didn’t have it sitting flat and it froze over one edge a little.  Before I tried to take out the center bowl, I just peeled off those edges.  How to make an ice bowlAfter allowing the bowls to sit out for about 10 minutes, the center bowl came out cleanly.  You can see where I was breaking off the uneven edges.  How to make an ice bowlNext, invert the bowl on a platter or baking sheet.  Leave for a few minutes until the bowl slides gently off of the ice.  Don’t use hot water trying to unmold your ice, or you could end up cracking it.  Don’t worry, your ice bowl is not going to melt significantly in this amount of time.  How to make an ice bowlWhen the bowl slides off you have your ice bowl!How to make an ice bowl.Gently turn over your bowl and you are ready to fill it and serve!  If you don’t have enough seafood to fill your bowl, you can still add some ice, cubes or crushed to the bottom of the bowl as a nest for your shellfish.  You may choose to serve up your shellfish right on a platter like this and show off your bowl.  How to make an ice bowl for serving shellfish.I knew my party would go late and I didn’t want to worry about any melting, so I rested my bowl down in a large serving bowl.  I needn’t have worried, it hardly melted at all throughout the evening.  How to make an ice bowl for serving shellfishMy guests were served up delicious shrimp cocktail that stayed cold and ready to indulge in throughout the party!  When you are trying to decide how to serve up cold shellfish for a party or get-together, consider making an ice bowl to present it in!

I will be sharing this at the following link parties:  The Bouquet of Talent | Dishing It & Digging It | Family Joy Link Party | Show and Share | The Scoop | Amaze Me Monday | Tips and Tricks | Make it Pretty Monday |Grace At HomeFuntastic Friday | Flaunt It Friday

Written By

Chloe is the creator of Celebrate & Decorate. Chloe is passionate about having a comfortable and well designed home - she also loves to entertain family and friends. Learn more about Chloe. Follow Chloe: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube


  1. It looks nice, Chloe! You spent a lot of time on it and it shows.

    Thanks for the tip!

  2. I always wondered how this was done. Thank you so much for sharing this information! Your bowl came out perfectly and I love the addition of the lemon slices. I am going to make a copy of this to keep in my recipe file! I’m also glad to know the bowl lasts a long time before melting. Very, very clever!! Rosie @ The Magic Hutch

  3. Thank you Chloe for posting the how to instructions for a pretty ice bowl. It could be used to keep even potato and pasta salads in bowl cold too, but in a very pretty way. I am sure my mom would have appreciated such a lovely idea, but in the past, they just used ice cubes. This is so much more lovely.

    Many thank-yous,

  4. Love this idea. I saw it once for a vodka bottle on Colin Cowie. Very creative Chloe. Thank for sharing your creative touch at DI&DI.

  5. Wow, this is a really cool idea! I would love to try it at a party sometime! What else would you recommend serving in an ice bowl? Thanks for sharing at the Family Joy linkup!

    1. Anything you want to keep cold, if it is an outdoor party, maybe potato salad or cole slaw.

  6. Scoops of ice cream would be nice to serve in this also. You know me I’m always thinking of dessert!

  7. So I actually need to start with three bowls that fit inside each other?
    Such a beautiful display!

    1. Just two bowls, one bowl gets taped inside the larger bowl with the water poured in between the two bowls to make your ice bowl. The water put in the smaller bowl is just to weigh down the smaller one to keep it in down in the water of the larger bowl while it freezes.

  8. Diane Farell says:

    Hi Chloe, does the shrimp stick to ice bowl ? Or is it that you have to have shrimp dry not wet at all.

    1. I don’t remember any of the ice sticking to the bowl. I think by the time we got to the bottom of the bowl the surface was melting slightly enough to keep the shrimp from sticking to it.

  9. I am glad you warned not to use hot water to unmold an ice bowl. I am going to a party next weekend and they told me to bring ice. Thanks for the idea for a shrimp ice bowl.

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