Making Sherbet

Making Sherbet: Can you tell me if any safety precautions are required for the sherbet activity, which allows students to create an acid–base reaction in their mouth? Is the recipe below okay to use for this activity?

Making Sherbet:


  • 3 tablespoons Citric Acid
  • 1 tablespoon Bicarbonate Soda
  • 7 tablespoons Icing Sugar

You will need a very dry sieve, tablespoon, bowl and airtight storage container


  • All equipment and ingredients must be absolutely dry for the sherbet to work effectively
  • Sift the icing sugar into a bowl
  • Add citric acid and bicarbonate of soda and mix well
  • Grind the contents to a fine powder with the back of a spoon
  • Store in an airtight container
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Publication Date: 16 March 2015
Asked By: Anonymous
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Making Sherbet

Making sherbet is a fun way to demonstrate physical and chemical change as well as an acid–base reaction for junior science students.

Firstly, it is important to conduct a site-specific risk assessment. Science ASSIST has developed a one page risk assessment template that may be useful. See Risk Assessment Template.

In making sherbet, it is important to consider the following.

  • The ingredients used are suitable, but should not have been in general use in the science area, so they should not have had the opportunity to be contaminated by chemicals. It is best to use newly purchased ingredients to ensure that they are not contaminated.
  • In sieving these ingredients, care should be given to minimise the dust, so consider the age and skills of the students. [Hint: It may be best to crush the bicarb before adding to the icing sugar.]
  • This activity should be conducted in a suitable room, such as the home economics room, and definitely not in a science laboratory. (Handling, preparing, storing or consuming food or drink for consumption in the laboratory is not allowed.)

The links below have variations on making sherbet: (Link Updated November 2021)

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