Cool & Creative Ice Cube Tray Hacks to Make Your Life Easier
Many people tend to overlook ice cube trays, as they are so commonplace in today’s kitchens and can often be found in the forgotten plastic goods section of stores. Despite their unassuming external appearance, however, ice cube trays are incredibly versatile and can be used for a variety of tasks.
Making cool drinks is just one of the perks of having ice cube trays in the fridge. This often-forgotten object can be repurposed in many different ways, both inside and outside the kitchen. Ice trays can even be used for craft projects, such as making shapes out of melted chocolate or creating cute handmade soaps. In this list, we have collected the most useful and impressive ice cube tray hacks we could find.
Organizing Cookie Dough
Even the most experienced bakers may have difficulty accurately dividing cookie dough, especially without a scooper. An ice cube tray, however, is an effective tool for making sure the dough is evenly distributed. There’s more to this hack, though. For example, why not freeze individual cookie dough mounds in the ice cube tray and bake them as needed? This way, one can avoid having too many cookies around the house.
Well, it’s not that having too many cookies is a problem, only that being organized should always be a priority. It’s also better to keep the dough in the freezer, where it lasts much longer.
Makeshift Vinegar & Lemon Cleaner
Vinegar and lemon are acidic and have the capability to counteract alkaline compounds, such as scale from hard water, according to Utah State University. This combination is also the perfect remedy for when the garbage bin begins to emit an unpleasant smell, so it is a good idea to always have some nearby.
Though vinegar is not the ideal thing to have in the fridge, freezing it with small lemon slices can help keep any foul odors at bay and can disinfect garbage cans. The vinegar acts as a powerful cleaner, while the lemon slices provide the makeshift cleaning mix with a nice scent.
Getting Fresh Anytime
When summertime rolls around annually, it’s difficult to avoid those delightful cold beverages and it’s essential to have them stocked in the fridge, particularly for the children. To make a delightful, thirst-quenching smoothie, one just needs to put some fruit juice in an ice cube tray and blend it when the temperature gets too hot.
Even better, the kids can do it themselves but with a grown-up watching over them. Allowing them to learn essential tasks, like making a snack, helps them develop into more dependable adults. This one’s a summertime favorite, but it can be used year-round and for other drinks.
Storing Small Objects
Worried about the disorganization in your home leading to stress and anxiety? Don’t fret! An extra ice cube tray can be one’s saving grace, as it can be used to organize small items, or even as a makeshift jewelry box for beads, earrings, pendants, and other accessories. No more worries about lost earrings? That sounds like a dream!
Why spend money on a jewelry organizer when an ice cube tray is much more accessible? The tray can also be customized with some paint to get that extra-beautiful look. Adding labels to each of the ice-cube compartments is also a great idea.
Planting Seeds Inside the Tray
As people across the globe increasingly take up gardening as a calming, family-oriented hobby that yields edible rewards, it’s clear that gardens are becoming more important than ever. Fortunately, we don’t need a lot of space to get started, as ice cube trays are just the right size for growing seeds.
All we need is some soil and a drainage hole at the bottom of each compartment, and we’re ready to go. The ice cube trays can be stored anywhere in the garden and it is incredibly easy to remove the plants from the tray once they’re getting too big.
The Perfect Paint Holder
Parents know how important it is to provide the necessary supplies for their children to be able to express their creativity through painting. Fortunately, there is a way for them to save some money by using old ice cube trays as paint or watercolor holders. The compartments of ice cube trays are deep enough to prevent colors from mixing, which is an issue that often occurs with more expensive and shallow paint palettes.
Professional painters have a justification for spending lots of money on their material, but why would any run-of-the-mill painter waste a few bucks on a paint holder when an ordinary ice cube tray does the trick?
Flavorful Herb Cubes
The introduction of home gardens has made it possible for us to cultivate most of the food we need, instead of relying on grocery stores. Herbs like sage, rosemary, and thyme are some of the easiest to grow in a home garden, but the surplus could be wasted if not utilized. To keep these herbs fresh and preserve their flavor, we can freeze them in olive oil or butter, since the oil will absorb the flavor.
The best part is that it’s super easy to grab one of these individual herb cubes and place them directly on the pan. It sounds (and looks) super tasty!
Who Doesn’t Love Bacon?
Have you ever wished you could always have delicious bacon drippings on hand? Well, we’ve found the perfect solution to this annoying problem! By pouring the bacon drippings into an ice cube tray and storing it in the fridge or freezer, one can save money by not having to cook bacon every time he or she wants to enjoy the flavor.
The hardest part is… Stopping eating bacon! While bacon is considered to be a very nutritious food, it’s also unhealthy because 68% of its calories come from fat, roughly half of which are saturated fats (as per Time.com).
Flavorful Coffee on the Go
Are you ever in a rush and need to cool down your piping-warm cup of java? You could use ice cubes, but that would water down the flavor. It’s very hard to find a way of dealing with unused coffee because it tends to go bad very quickly and lose its wonderful flavor in mere hours.
Luckily, we have the perfect solution: freeze coffee in an ice cube tray! This way, one can cool the coffee without compromising its flavor. It’s also a great way to make iced coffee, which comes in handy during summertime. We know too much caffeine’s bad, but we just can’t live without it!
Have you ever tried making sushi at home? It’s not that easy to cook sushi, and it takes years to perfect the craft. But if one doesn’t have that kind of time, why not go with an ice cube tray? Just cover the tray with cling wrap, and then layer in the toppings, rice, avocado, and sesame seeds. Finally, chill and flip the tray upside down.
It’s a great way to enjoy sushi without all the fuss! Although sushi was initially a Japanese food, it has now become popular worldwide. The first time it was sold outside Tokyo was in 1970.
Stop Buttermilk Waste
Buttermilk is a must for bakers. We can buy a carton of this essential ingredient, but sometimes recipes only need a small amount. To make sure that the leftovers don’t go to waste, we can store them in ice cube trays. The instructions are simple: just pour the buttermilk into the compartments and allow some room for expansion, then freeze it.
This way, we have a steady supply of buttermilk whenever we need it and, most importantly, we avoid wasting food. According to RTS, Americans waste a staggering $218 billion worth of food annually, with dairy products being the worse.
Ready-To-Make Hot Chocolate
If you want to make the best hot chocolate, start by melting some real chocolate and adding it to warm milk. To store the chocolate, melt it and then pour it into ice cube trays and freeze. When you’re ready for a cup, take out a few cubes and put them into the warm milk. You’ll love watching the chunks of chocolate melt into the milk and cool it down so you can enjoy your treat.
For a more delicate touch, one can also add some chocolate sprinkles and fruit to the chocolate and milk combo. It sounds and looks delicious!
Awesome Food For Babies
With busy parents in mind, it is important to prepare ahead of time for situations where there is not enough time to make a meal for the baby. An easy way to do this is to freeze baby food in an ice cube tray. Then, when it comes time to feed the baby, all that needs to be done is to warm the food and add milk or water to thin it out.
Every parent wants the best for their children, and this is a great way to ensure that even when time is limited, their little one is still getting a nutritious and homemade meal.
Leftover Wine Cubes
If one wants to cool wine without watering it down, the perfect solution is to freeze the leftover wine in an ice cube tray. This way, one can use the cubes to chill his or her next drink and also add a few cubes of wine to a recipe without having to open a new bottle!
Not only does this method save the leftover wine from going to waste, but it also allows you to enjoy a chilled glass of wine without compromising the flavor. Remember not to drink too much, though: ice-cube wine may look cute, but it’s still alcoholic!
Get Perfect Skin With Green Tea
Green tea not only has calming properties that can help us relax and lose weight, but it also provides antioxidants to improve our body’s immunity against diseases. To get even more out of it, we can freeze it in an ice cube tray and use the cubes to massage our faces.
This will help to reduce open pores, inflammation, and lighten dark spots, resulting in more beautiful skin. Drinking the tea isn’t such a bad idea either, as it may improve brain function, reduce bad breath, and even prevent type-two diabetes! The same hack works for other types of tea.
Fun Fruit Cubes
Kids love having fun no matter what, and why shouldn’t they? After all, fun helps to foster kindness and good morals, something that Tribeca Play Therapy is a huge believer in. As parents, we should always strive to keep things fun and exciting. One way to do this is to get creative with the ice cubes.
Instead of just regular cubes, why not add some fruit to each compartment and watch your children guess what it is before they take a sip of their cold drink? This hack is also great for impressing adult friends, especially during a Sunday cocktail party.
Making Delicious Ice Cream at Home
The heat of summer can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a bit too much to handle. To cool off, why not try making mini popsicles with ice cube trays? That way, one doesn’t need to buy a whole tub of ice cream and can enjoy a cold snack every time he or she starts to feel the heat.
According to the CDC website, exposure to extreme heat is dangerous and can result in dizziness, sweaty palms, and—in more serious cases—heat stroke, heat cramps, heat rashes, and heat exhaustion! Luckily, we can always count on ice cube trays to keep it cool…
A Lavish Hack For Lavish Parties
When planning formal events like high teas, receptions, and baby showers, adding some extra flair with ice cubes is sure to capture attention. An easy way to do this is to add edible flowers to the water when filling the ice cube trays. Be sure to choose edible flowers like pansies, hibiscus, nasturtium, rose petals, lilac, and violets.
While lavender is edible, it is mostly used for its fragrance. While not common, poisonous flowers can pose a risk if you are unaware. These include flowers such as tobacco, mistletoe, wisteria, water hemlock, castor bean plant, and the accurately-named deadly nightshade.
The Perfect Hack For Hydrated Children
Getting children to drink enough liquids throughout the day can be difficult for parents. Healthy Children recommends that children between one and eight years of age drink four to five glasses of liquid a day, ideally water. Other outlets (such as Mayo Clinic) recommend drinking even more water, namely 15.5 cups per day (for men) and 11.5 cups per day (for women).
To make water more attractive and appealing to children, add natural food colors to it and freeze it in an ice cube tray. This can make it seem like they are drinking something else when in reality they are just consuming their daily amount of water.
Say Hello to Aloe Vera
No one wants to experience extended periods in the sun and its effect on burned skin. Fortunately, there are numerous proven ways to help reduce inflammation such as using a towel, an ice pack, or cold water. Additionally, we can take advantage of the healing properties of aloe vera by freezing it in an ice cube tray. Doing this can help us hit two birds with one stone.
Aloe vera is an incredibly beneficial plant because it contains antioxidant and antibacterial properties, lowers blood sugar levels, increases wound healing, and can even be used for preventing wrinkles (as per Medical News Today).
This Yogurt Hack Can’t Hurt!
Yogurt is a nutritious treat that many health-conscious people incorporate into their diets, due to its calcium, vitamins, and probiotics, which aid in the development of gut microbiota. However, some varieties contain a lot of sweeteners and preservatives, which can be unhealthy.
But with an ice cube tray, that won’t be a problem, since we can make our healthy treat by blending unsweetened Greek yogurt with our favorite fruits and freezing it. The advantage of doing so is having yogurt available at all times; because it’s such a versatile food, yogurt can be combined with multiple ingredients, such as chocolate, honey, or muesli.
Making Better Ice Cubes
Creating ice cubes is incredibly easy for everyone. All one has to do is fill an ice cube tray with water and put it in the freezer. Despite this, the ice cubes we make ourselves are usually not as clear as the ones we see in bars. So, how can we get the crystal-clear ice cubes of our dreams without leaving the house?
Even though bars have special machines to make theirs, we don’t need to use those. The simple solution is using a tray designed for directional freezing and using distilled water that has been boiled and then cooled.
The Life of the Party
Parties should be full of fun, and our ice cube trays can be the perfect way to liven them up! Who wouldn’t love homemade jelly shots? All you have to do is dissolve the gelatin, add your favorite alcoholic beverage, and freeze it in the tray.
While these may be less strong than a cocktail, remember that this isn’t an activity for children! Instead, encourage them to try other cool ice cube tricks, such as the ones we have previously listed. According to Liquor.com, vodka is the best alcohol to put inside homemade Jell-O shots—white rum also works wonders!
In addition to the traditional plastic and ceramic ice cube trays, silicon and stainless ones are also excellent for containing hot liquids, such as wax for making attractive tea-light candles with little effort. The melted wax from used candles can be reused for this purpose, and one can even add some color to it before pouring it into the mold and adding a wick.
You don’t even have to put it in the refrigerator, as cooling will harden the wax anyway, which means there’s enough room left in the freezer to try other ice cube tray hacks. Makeshift candles are a great house-party souvenir.
A Pro-Level Pasta-Filling Hack
Making pasta with fillings is a popular dish all around the globe. Ravioli and tortellini are two of the most well-known recipes. They are quite simple to make, too! All we have to do is lay a sheet of dough in an ice cube tray and add the desired filling, then place another layer of dough on top and cut it into smaller squares.
The magic of the pasta is in the quality of the ingredients, but cooking perfect homemade Ravioli is a lot easier with this hack. It’s five minutes and… Voilà, you have your delicious pasta with fillings!
Always in Stock
Creating our own stock from fresh produce is a great way to save money and be safer. Safer why? Because a homemade stock is more natural than artificial stocks that are full of preservatives. The only issue is that making stock often leaves one with a lot of leftovers.
To avoid this, it is possible to freeze the stock for later use. After boiling, allow the fat to solidify and simply skim off the hard layer. Use a ladle to pour the stock into an ice cube tray. Now you have single portions of stock on hand whenever you need them!
Dreamy Nugget Ice
Believe it or not, there is wide a range of ice cubes out there, from regular cubes to spheres and even weirder shapes. Recently, chewy or nugget ice has become increasingly popular. These cubes are softer and easier to chew than regular ice, which is important for people with sensitive teeth.
Making nugget ice is quite simple. All you need is a nugget ice cube tray with smaller compartments. Fill it with carbonated water before freezing and you should be good to go. This type of chewy ice has many applications, but it’s most commonly used in cocktails and cold desserts.
Relax With Homemade Bath Bombs
Our old, bigger ice cube trays make perfect bath bomb molds. Just mix one cup of baking soda, half a cup of citric acid, half a cup of Epsom salt, half a cup of cornstarch, and a few drops of essential oil and water in a bowl, then press the mixture into the tray compartments.
Let the whole mix settle for a day and then you can use the bath bombs for a relaxing bath or make shoes and carpets smell nice. This hack is amazing for people who enjoy long baths routinely, as commercially-available bath bombs can be quite expensive.
Time to Get Artsy!
Children love to have a good time no matter where they are. At home, there are lots of ways to keep them entertained. One activity that can be a little different is painting with watercolors, but one can make it even more fun by freezing the watercolors in ice cube trays.
How? Simply fill the compartments with different colors, add popsicle sticks for your kids’ little hands to hold, and freeze the whole thing. This is a fun and creative coloring activity, but be mindful and make sure that children don’t eat the ice cubes—after all, paint isn’t normally edible.
Another Yogurt Hack
We’re sorry, but we truly have to go back to yogurt, as we just can’t get enough of it! When the summer heat hits, a cold snack is just the thing we need. But let’s be honest: plain yogurt can be a bit boring… Fortunately, we can mix things up by freezing the yogurt!
Frozen yogurt is a delicious and versatile treat. Not only can one eat it straight from the tray, but also add it to one’s favorite milky drinks for an extra-cool treat. Once you try it, you won’t believe how easy it is, especially if you’re a fan of yogurt already.
Storing Eggs Safely
If we want to buy eggs in bulk, proper storage is key to making them last. Simply brush some oil into an ice cube tray, pour in the eggs, and freeze. Once they’re frozen, store them in a Ziploc bag, and they should last up to three months, as per Acouplecooks.
Please don’t forget to defrost the eggs for 24 hours before consuming them. Eggs are such a great option for a fast and simple meal, so this is a great way to have them on hand. If needed, put the egg inside a glass of water—if it floats, it’s because it’s gone bad. If not, it’s safe to eat.
Decorating For Halloween
It’s Halloween again, and it seems like we have to spend a fortune on decorations yet again. But does it have to be this way? Well, with some free time and a good ice cube tray hack, it’s possible to celebrate Halloween on a budget.
So, make Halloween extra eerie by adding a few creepy, edible crawlies to ice cubes. Gummy worms, spiders, and gummy eyes are a great way to make one’s drinks spookier and more exciting. This is a great hack for any occasion and especially for the kids. So, please don’t forget to include these creepy insects in your ice cubes for a truly spooky Halloween!
If Life Gives You Lemons…
To keep lemons fresh for later use, squeeze the juice into a pitcher and slowly pour it into the ice cube compartments. Be mindful not to overfill, as each cube may be too large for certain applications. Lemons are generally available throughout the year, but it is still important to stock up on extra supplies.
Ice cube lemons can be used for all sorts of purposes, but they are especially handy for cooking. A bit of lemon can add a nice touch to a pork roast and some extra flavor to any summery dessert. One can also simply use the lemon cubes to make some lemonade.
Miniature Kids’ Buffet
Getting kids to eat healthily can be a challenge, but the good news is that they tend to be drawn to the sight of different colors on their plates. This hack with an ice cube tray can help make it easier. Separately put in each compartment of the ice cube tray different fruits and vegetables.
Your child will be attracted to the bright colors, not knowing that it’s good for him or her. This is a great way to get children to eat healthily without them even realizing it: all they will think about is how colorful their meal is.
Another Must-Follow Hack for Kids
As human beings, our sense of sight is fundamental to how we view the world around us, including the food we eat. This is especially evident with children and their Rice Krispie treats. It can be difficult for parents to shape them into something pleasing to the eye, but with the help of an ice cube tray, this is no longer a concern.
Before adding the mixture to the tray, it is important to spray it with a non-stick solution. Then, when it has taken form, the blocks can be removed and arranged into an attractive pyramid that is sure to capture the attention of any child.
Dessert Wonderland (With Vitamin C!)
For a balanced main meal and a delicious dessert to follow, why not make chocolate-covered strawberries at home? All one needs is an ice cube tray, melted chocolate, coconut oil, and some strawberries (other fruits are okay as well).
The step-by-step guide? Simply fill each compartment with a mixture of the chocolate and oil, place a strawberry in each one, and top with extra chocolate. It’s so easy it’s hard to believe how delicious it is! It’s also a treat that’s filled with Vitamin C, which is great for protecting one’s cells against the effect of free radicals such as tobacco smoke and solar radiation.
Need a Dirty Martini?
Making a Dirty Martini at home doesn’t have to mean missing out on the fun! All one has to do is poke each olive with a toothpick and place it in an ice cube tray. Then, simply add a drink of choice to the tray and get your very own martini mix! Whenever someone needs a drink, just pop out a cube and add it. In the end, you’ll be praised as the best martini mixologist around.
The legend goes that the famous Martini was invented in 1911 by a man named Martini who worked as a bartender at the Knickerbocker Hotel.
Making Some Garlic Butter
If you’re looking for a tasty addition to sandwiches or other dishes, garlic butter can be a great option. It’s perfect with bread but also ideal for cooking many dishes—it can be used instead of oil to cook some top-notch steak, for example. But if you don’t have time to make it every time you need it, why not make a batch to store?
Put a mixture of butter and finely chopped garlic in an ice cube tray, and freeze it. Once it’s solidified, store it in a plastic bag and you can just toss it in the oven whenever you need it!
Another Fun Game for Children
With the abundance of gadgets that parents turn to for keeping their children occupied, it is important to consider the potential risks associated with too much screen time. These risks include impaired learning, obesity, and mental disorders. Instead of relying on screens, parents can choose to engage their children in an excavation activity with toys such as Lego.
Simply freeze small parts of one or more Lego men in the water and put them in an ice cube tray. Children can then wait to discover the different parts as the ice melts, and they will be occupied for some time.
Seeing Past the Obvious
Having ice cube trays on hand is beneficial for more than just cooling drinks. For instance, they can be used to clean drains, as seen in a popular TikTok trend from 2022. To do this, pour several ice cubes into the sink and then turn the faucet on. If the water comes out murky, this is an indication that the drain needs to be cleaned.
Cleaning is about sweeping and scrubbing, but one can only get to cleaning after knowing what’s dirty and what’s not. With this clever hack, we’ll never get confused about how clean our drains are ever again.
Everything’s Gonna Be All Rice
Have you ever heard of using ice cubes to heat rice? It’s true, and it is a great way to ensure that rice is cooked evenly in the microwave. The ice cube will provide the rice with the necessary moisture, while also helping to make it fluffy. Just remember to be careful when reheating rice, as it can easily become overcooked.
With the help of an ice cube, you can now enjoy perfectly cooked rice every time. The best part is that we no longer have to throw leftover rice in the thrash just because it has a bad texture.
The Mysterious Mpemba Effect
Surprising as it may sound, warm water freezes faster than cold water! Don’t just take our word for it, as this happens to be an actual scientific fact. This phenomenon is known as the “Mpemba effect,” which is caused by the decrease in mass due to evaporation. This phenomenon was first discovered by Erasto Mpemba, a Tanzanian teenager.
An added benefit of warm water is that it makes the best ice cubes! Cold water contains more dissolved air than warm water, which leads to the formation of bubbles. On the other hand, warm water produces crystal-clear ice cubes that are perfect for making cold drinks.
Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
For those fortunate enough to own a dishwasher, here’s a great hack to make the process of washing dishes easier and safer. Avoid the use of potentially harmful chemicals found in most cleaning products by making your DIY dishwasher detergent at home. It may sound complicated, but it’s easier than it seems.
You’ll just need half a lemon, essential oil, washing soda, citric soda, and sodium percarbonate. You can even use ice cube trays to portion the solution and let it settle. This hack is not only useful but great for saving money on dishwasher products and is very environmentally friendly.