Hibiscus Snow Cones

"When hibiscus is steeped in water, it creates a red drink, an essential menu item of Juneteenth," says writer Nicole A. Taylor, sharing the Juneteenth memories that inspired her to create this Hibiscus Snow Cone. In this playful icy dessert, Taylor riffs on tradition, using dried hibiscus blossoms to make a sweet, tangy syrup for a celebratory snow cone. Whipped cream and crushed pink peppercorns add a final flourish. To make snow cones at home, you'll want to grab a home ice-shaving machine, like the Little Snowie Max, which, pulverizes cubed ice to a fine powder.

Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 40 mins
6 to 8


  • 2 cups plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, divided 

  • 1 ½ cups dried hibiscus flowers (about 1 1/2 ounces)

  • 1 cup water, plus more as needed

  • 1 tablespoon whole pink peppercorns, divided

  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

  • ½ cup heavy cream (optional)

  • 6 to 8 cups shaved ice


  1. Combine 2 cups sugar, hibiscus flowers, 1 cup water, 2 teaspoons peppercorns, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, until syrup has thickened slightly, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.

  2. Pour hibiscus mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a medium measuring cup, firmly pressing mixture using the back of a spoon; discard solids. Add additional water to hibiscus syrup as needed to yield 11/2 cups liquid. If possible, transfer mixture to a squeeze bottle for easy dispensing. Chill until ready to use for snow cones, up to 1 week. Let syrup come to room temperature before using.

  3. If using whipped cream, whisk together heavy cream and remaining 2 teaspoons sugar in a small bowl until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside. Crush remaining 1 teaspoon peppercorns in a mortar and pestle, and set aside for garnish.

  4. Divide shaved ice evenly among 6 to 8 (6-ounce) paper snow cone cups or glasses. Drizzle each snow cone with 3 to 4 tablespoons hibiscus syrup. (Reserve remaining syrup to stir into cocktails.) Top each snow cone with about 1 tablespoon whipped cream, if using, and garnish with crushed pink peppercorns.

    Hibiscus Snow Cones
    Photo by Jessica Pettway / Food Styling by Micah Morton / Prop Styling by Paola Andrea

Make Ahead

Syrup can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 week. Let come to room temperature before using.


Find dried hibiscus flowers at specialty stores or online at curiospice.com and foodsofnations.com.

Related Articles