Why Don’t Dairy Queen’s Blizzards Fall Out of the Cup?

And why does Dairy Queen flip their Blizzards, anyway?

Ever since the first Dairy Queen opened, ice cream has always been part of their menu. You might be forgiven for thinking that the iconic Blizzard has been a staple since 1940 when the first store started in Joliet, Illinois, but the Blizzard didn’t actually make an appearance until 1985!

While we love all the flavors we’ve had over the years, we never got the answer to an important question: why does Dairy Queen flip their Blizzards? To get the answer, we took a quick trip to the past.

So, why does Dairy Queen flip their Blizzards?

The story supposedly starts with Samuel Temperato, the DQ franchise owner who came up with the idea for Blizzards, but it actually goes a little farther back than that. Temperato was actually inspired by the frozen treats sold by Ted Drewes, a local shop owner who termed them “concrete”. In 1959, Steve Gamber, then 14, would stop by Drewes’ Chippewa location for a sandwich and chocolate malt, asking Drewes to make it thicker and thicker each time.

According to Gamber, Drewes finally had enough and one day flipped the malt upside down to show its thickness, assuring his young customer that if it fell out, it was free. He then continued to use it to show customers his concoctions weren’t watered down. Temperato apparently also picked up this trick for the same reasons.

How does it stay in the cup?

Dairy Queen’s Blizzards can’t actually be classified as ice cream. With only 5% butterfat, it’s technically reduced-fat ice cream. It’s also soft serve, so compared to ice cream, it contains a lot more air (which is added to enhance the creaminess). While this increases the volume of the soft serve, it also decreases its overall weight. It’s also kept at a particular temperature (23°F, or -5°C) to ensure the flavor, consistency and texture are optimal. This temperature, along with constant agitation, is what keeps your DQ Blizzard pliable.

Lastly, it’s all about the viscosity, aka that physics term that measures how pourable a substance is. Water, for example, has a low viscosity, while ketchup has a high viscosity. DQ’s Blizzards have a high viscosity because of emulsifiers (aka the things that keep the soft serve’s ingredients from separating), which hold on to the air blended into the soft serve. Plus, after adding all the brownies, candy and/or cheesecake pieces, even more air is added. The combination of all these things keeps a Blizzard in its cup—and keeps us marveling at DQ’s unique way of serving it. No magic here—just science!

What happens if DQ doesn’t serve a Blizzard upside down?

For about a month in 2015, DQ ran a promo that claimed if your Blizzard wasn’t served upside down, your next one was free. The promo did state that this only applied “at participating locations”, and some of those locations have taken on this policy permanently, or modified it to state that the Blizzard you ordered is free.

However, whether this promo is still in place is dependent entirely on the franchise owner, according to DQ’s website. So it’s always best to call up your local Dairy Queen to check, and if not, you might as well pick up a Blizzard anyway—they’re definitely worth the money!

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Amrita Thakkar
Amrita is an Assistant Digital Editor at Taste of Home. As a writer and amateur photographer, she often ends up applying these skills to her one great love: food. She can usually be found researching global cuisines, at the farmers market, doing yoga, or looking up new places to travel to.