If the question is, can you freeze your soda, then yes. However, if the question is, should you freeze your soda, then the answer is much different.
For starters, freezing your soda places the container at risk of bursting. However, even if the soda doesn’t explode, the carbon dioxide (CO2) will become compromised, and it will escape. That leaves your soda with less fizz and less flavor.
If you are interested in chilling your soda, or you want to understand how you can freeze it without the container exploding, keep reading to learn about various methods, how to thaw a frozen soda safely, and other commonly asked questions.
What Happens When You Freeze Soda?
Soda is mostly water with flavored sweet syrup mixed with CO2 gas to give it fizzy properties. CO2 molecules tend to want to escape liquid by rising to the surface, which is why the bubbles rise when a soda gets opened.
The factor that causes frozen soda to burst has everything to do with how soda and water molecules interact with each other in a sealed container.
The temperature can significantly affect the movement of molecules, and likewise, the movement of molecules will affect the volume of a given substance. Moreover, most substances contract when cooled or frozen.
The properties of water are a bit unusual in that the molecules actually expand when frozen rather than contract: oxygen atoms in water molecules are attracted to the hydrogen atoms in nearby water molecules. These attractions form rigid and expanded ice crystals.
The newly formed rigid structures now take up more space due to being frozen as a solid than when it was a liquid. The ice then expands in the soda container causing it to push out the CO2 and possibly rupture the container.
Methods to Freeze Soda
One of the best benefits of freezing soda has to do with the fact that you can make a homemade slushy. However, please don’t leave it in for too long or you risk overdoing it.
You can use any soda you please, which comes in a plastic bottle such as Pepsi, Sprite, Coca Cola, Mountain Dew, etc.
Note: Plastic is preferred because it can expand, whereas cans are more prone to explode.
First Method: Place in the Freezer
Begin by taking a plastic bottle and placing it inside the freezer for 30-45 minutes. Be sure not to forget that it’s in the freezer, or it will indeed be frozen solid when you return.
Depending on how you like your slushy, you may want to keep it in longer for firmer or ice-like slushy, but if you’re looking for a softer texture, then you will let it stay in for less time. Of course, this all depends on how cold your freezer is as well.
Don’t be afraid to check periodically because you want to get the slushy just the way that you want it. Waiting too long can cause it to become too frozen for your liking.
Second Method: Ice Cube Tray
If you utilize this method to freeze your soda, it won’t turn out like the traditional I’ve cubes that you’re used to making. That is, they won’t be smooth. You’ll end up with a slushy texture, or at best, the top will be solid and smooth, and the inside will still be liquid.
That is because the water can separate from the soda contents and will freeze over the top while the inside won’t react the same way to the freezing temperature. The soda forces the water molecules out of shape. They need to form ice, and that is why you won’t get the conventional ice cube you might be expecting.
The only way to achieve that texture is to use a substance that freezes CO2, like liquid nitrogen or dry ice. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a cool way to make soda cubes, using an ice cube tray will get the job done for slushy cubes that are more fragile.
Third Method: Cup
This method is a little safer than a container because the top of the cup is open and allows more room for expansion without constriction.
However, make sure you do not fill the cup to the top. It’s best to leave at least one inch beneath the rim of the glass to allow for the soda to expand.
How to Thaw Frozen Soda
You will still be able to drink the frozen soda as long as the containers don’t rupture. In this situation, when you thaw the soda, the carbonation will be similar to how it was before it was frozen, but not exactly the same.
Make sure you do not take the frozen soda container from one extreme to the other, which means don’t immediately try to run the container under scalding hot water. That alone can cause an eruption. It’s better to place the container into the refrigerator, where the temperature is constant and regulated.
One tip to ensure that you don’t get a mess in your fridge while you’re trying to thaw the frozen soda is to use a Ziploc bag. You can also use a heavy-duty freezer bag if you have one handy. Place the container inside to catch the slush if the can or bottle explodes.
Here are the responses to a few of the most commonly asked questions regarding whether you can freeze a soda:
Why isn’t my soda as sweet after it thaws out?
Your soda will taste flat after you freeze it and it thaws. The water molecules have crystallized, forcing the CO2 out of the solution. Since it can’t re-enter once thawed out, you’re left with a less than desirable soda that’s still drinkable.
How long does it take to thaw a frozen soda safely?
Depending on how frozen it became in the freezer, you would keep the soda in the refrigerator for about one to two hours. It will gradually thaw out there, or you can place it on the counter for quicker results.
How long can soda stay frozen?
How long it takes to freeze a soda depends on the size of the container. A standard 16.9 oz plastic bottle will take about three hours to freeze. A diet coke will respond differently because the freezing point will decrease due to dissolved solute.
Diet soda has a higher water content than regular soda, making it thinner and able to freeze faster. You should never leave a can or bottle of soda in the freezer for an extended period to avoid an explosion.
Remember that it is dangerous to freeze a soda on purpose. Not only can it momentarily ruin your freezer, but it can also cause physical harm should it explode when you try to open it.
If you want to chill your soda or achieve a slushy texture, you can always use an ice cube tray or consider a cup with space at the top for expansion.
The flavor and carbonation may not be the same after you freeze it, so be mindful of this if you want to preserve the taste. So, in conclusion, can you freeze a soda? Sure, but it’s trouble waiting to happen. Instead, just get it nice and frosty and enjoy it the safer way.