What Happens if You Freeze Carbonated Water?

LaCroix sparkling water cans in ice

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Freezing sparkling water into ice cubes may sound like an exciting way to add some additional bubbles to your drink. Just imagine a LaCroix, Topo Chico, or alcoholic beverage with sparkling ice cubes! Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work how you might expect.

Glass of sparkling water with ice

Does Sparkling Water Freeze?

Yes, sparkling water will freeze — but the results may not be what you would hope for. When you freeze carbonated water, the liquid expands by 9% as it turns into a solid. This is the same as flat water. In its frozen state, the sparkling water will not retain its former carbonation. In other words, when you freeze sparkling water, it will lose its sparkle and become flat.

But why doesn’t sparkling water stay carbonated after freezing? During the freezing process, the carbon dioxide gas (CO2) is pushed out of the water. Carbon dioxide is what gives sparkling water its bubbles, imparting a tangy taste and a refreshing tingly mouthfeel.

If you were to thaw the formerly carbonated water out, you would find that it is no longer carbonated – there are no bubbles. However, you would also find that it doesn’t taste quite like regular water.

In addition to any flavoring that may have been added to the beverage, you may taste a mild acidic flavor as a result of carbonic acid. Carbonic acid forms in all carbonated beverages in small amounts. This is a result of a chemical reaction between the water and carbon dioxide gas.

Carbonic acid was in the beverage to begin with, but the flavor is less distinct when masked by carbonation. Try letting your sparkling water go flat and see if you can taste this acid. Note that the amount of carbonic acid in sparkling water is harmless.

Will Carbonated Water Explode in the Freezer?

You might be thinking sparkling water in a sealed can or bottle could retain its bubbles when frozen. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and you should not freeze sealed sparkling water.

When you freeze a can or bottle of sparkling water, the liquid begins to expand into a solid with a volume greater than what the can was designed to hold. Eventually, immense pressure builds up in the can, until it bursts. Fortunately, sparkling water won’t leave a sticky mess like soda. But, it can still be a hassle to clean up — especially if it was a glass bottle.

If you are looking to chill your sparkling water more quickly than it would in a refrigerator, placing it in the freezer for a short period can speed up the process. However, do not forget about your sparkling water in the freezer. It could lead to a pretty big mess. It may be helpful to set a timer on your phone as a reminder for your chilled drinks.

If you want to avoid having your sparkling water freeze unintentionally, learn about proper storage of sparkling water.

What is the Freezing Point of Carbonated Water?

Technically, carbonated water freezes at a lower temperature than regular flat water, which freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The greater the concentration of CO2 in the water, the lower the temperature at which it will freeze.

Practically speaking, sparkling water does not contain enough CO2 for its freezing point to differ from that of flat water. When you freeze carbonated water, the carbonation is simply pushed out of the beverage as the water turns to ice, permanently turning the water flat.

There are other variables in the freezing temperature of sparkling water as well, including sodium content. Salt has the effect of lowering the freezing point of water by blocking water molecules from packing together when the temperature gets lower. This is why salty ocean water freezes at a lower temperature (28.4 degrees Fahrenheit) than fresh water.

How Long Does it Take Seltzer to Freeze?

The time it takes seltzer, club soda or sparkling water to freeze depends on your freezing method. Different freezers maintain different temperatures. Another factor is the volume of the container the beverage is frozen in. The greater the volume, the longer it will take to freeze.

A can or bottle of seltzer should freeze in a typical freezer in about an hour and thirty minutes. Of course, you should consider the starting temperature of the beverage as well. If you were to move a drink from the fridge to the freezer, it would take less time to freeze than if it started at room temperature.

Hard seltzer will freeze in a similar timeframe as water, soda, beer or any other beverage — about 1.5 to 3 hours after placing in a freezer — assuming you are starting at room temperature.

Ice cubes

Can You Make Sparkling Water Ice Cubes?

Sure – you could make ice cubes out of sparkling water, but they would not retain their carbonation. Upon freezing, sparkling water expels its carbon dioxide (CO2). This means that ice cubes made from sparkling water would not add any carbonation to your beverage.

However, if you were to freeze flavored sparkling water into ice cubes, it would retain its flavor. If you’d like to add a subtle hint of fruit flavor to your drink, ice cubes made from flavored sparkling water may be just want you need.

Making ice cubes from sparkling water is simple. Just fill an ice cube tray with your favorite flavor of sparkling water and place it in the freezer until completely frozen. In an ice tray, sparkling water will freeze significantly faster than it would in a bottle or can.

Can You Freeze Sparkling Water?

Sparkling water will freeze just the same way that regular flat water would. However, freezing bottles or cans of sparkling water can be messy and dangerous, so you should avoid it. Ice made from sparkling water will not retain any of its carbonation. For that reason, it is probably not worth the trouble unless you are just looking to capture the flavor of the beverage and not the carbonation.