The Best Ice Cube Tray

Ice Cube Tray

If one thing is for sure, you can never have enough ice. But if your freezer doesn’t come with an ice machine, you’ll need a handy ice tray to meet your home’s beverage needs. Of course, no one wants a tray that spills all over the place or needs to be twisted to release a single bucket. Fortunately, there are many innovative models available that eliminate the clutter and hassle that comes with a faulty ice tray. Trust us, gone are the days of tiptoeing to the freezer with a tray full to the brim.

you’ll want to make sure you’ve chosen a good replacement. Taking these factors into account will ensure that you find an ice tray that is right for you.

Cube count

Ice trays come in a variety of different sizes and can usually make from four to 18 cubes at a time. Are you making too much ice? Then you’ll want a tray with a high mold count that can keep up, especially if you’re entertaining guests. If not, opting for a tray with fewer rows will best suit your beverage needs.

Cube shape and size

Speaking of cubes, you’ll also want to consider the shape and size of ice cubes. While rectangular cubes are more traditional, there are molds that can make perfect circles and squares as small as a centimeter or as large as two inches.

Generally speaking, the larger the cube, the slower it will melt in your drink, so larger cubes are preferred for cocktails and drinks that you don’t want to be diluted.

Larger cube molds also give you more room to play with if you’re looking to spice up your favorite drinks with inventive Ice Cube recipes. Smaller buckets, on the other hand, freeze faster, are easier to crush, and can fit into water bottles and narrow glasses. Plus, they’re easier to chew if you’re someone who always chews their ice cubes.


Once you’ve figured out the details of the material and size, you’ll want to make sure you’ve chosen an ice tray that best suits your freezer situation. If the space is narrow, it will be a good idea to select molds that offer a thin profile.

For those with freezers that are always filled with meal prep containers and bags of frozen vegetables, ice cube trays with lids will come in handy. Their covered design will allow you to easily stack them on top of each other, or around your frozen products, without creating spills or messes. Lids also minimize the chances of the ice absorbing any unwanted smell or dirt from your freezer and its contents.

When it comes to the production of ice cubes, many people find themselves in a dilemma. They could buy large bags of pre-made ice in a store, but storage becomes a problem. They could invest in a refrigerator with an automatic ice cube machine, but these appliances are expensive. The most economical method of producing ice cubes remains the tried and true ice cube tray. Multiple ice cube trays can produce enough ice for a party in a matter of hours, and the process requires minimal labor.

However, finding the ideal ice cube tray can be a challenge. Traditional metal trays work well, but they can be difficult to transport and difficult to empty. Plastic ice cube trays provide more consistent results, but cannot be used for other tasks. Silicone ice cube trays, which are flexible and easy to use, provide quality ice cubes and are safe to use in the oven if desired, but are generally more expensive.

Building materials

The first generations of ice cube trays for home use were made almost exclusively of heat-conducting metals, such as aluminum or stainless steel. Metal ice cube trays still offer the fastest freezing time, but they can also be easily damaged, and cubes are not always consistent. Metal is not a bad choice for those looking for durability and faster results, but they can also be more expensive.

Plastic has replaced metal in many modern kitchens, but there are some concerns about leeching chemicals, such as BPA, in ice cubes. Plastic trays provide a more consistent end product, but removal can be difficult if flexibility is limited. One advantage is that the trays can be filled even if they are partially filled.

Silicone ice cube trays are growing in popularity, largely due to their versatility and ease of use. Silicone is much easier to flex than many plastics, meaning removal is a minor challenge for users. It is also heat-resistant and oven-safe, making it suitable for other tasks in addition to forming ice cubes. However, silicone ice cube trays can be more expensive than standard plastic trays.


A single ice cube tray usually produces 15 to 24 standard cubes at a time. This may be enough to meet the daily needs of some users, but not enough to cater to a party or other large event. Some manufacturers pack their trays in sets of two or four, allowing users to produce ice in bulk. There are also trays that make a large number of smaller buckets for drinks. When buying an ice cube tray set, it is important to consider the volume of ice you may need.

Ease of use

While filling an ice cube tray with water may seem like an easy task, some ice cube trays are harder to fill than others. While an overflowing waterfall works for many models, there are some that need to be filled individually. Some cannot be refilled until all the existing ICE has been removed. Releasing buckets may only require a slight twist of the tray, but others require pulling a lever or pushing individual buckets.

Stacking capability is also an important consideration when it comes to ease of use. Some trays stack perfectly on top of each other, while others include removable lids to keep the trays separate. Individual trays of ice cubes can occupy a large amount of valuable real estate in a standard refrigerator freezer, so it is worth investing in stackable models.

Types of ice cubes

Vintage metal ice cube trays produce large square cubes or cubes of various sizes. These buckets work well for casual use, but are not always practical for a wet bar. Many plastic trays produce a smaller bucket more clearly, but they can often break during release. Silicone models can produce rounded cubes that look better on drinks. The ultimate in ice cube production is a craft ice cube maker, which creates a very clear ice globe that won’t dilute drinks too fast.

Q. I want to make perfectly clear ice cubes for my new bar. Can I do that with a standard ice cube tray?

A. producing perfectly clear ice cubes has always been a challenge, mainly due to the process of freezing the water. As the water freezes in a tray, any impurity settles on the bottom, resulting in a murky appearance. You can improve the clarity of ice cubes by using only the highest quality filtered water, but you can also consider a larger “artisanal” ice cube machine designed for mixologists.

Q. Why do I see a white powder on my ice cubes from time to time?

A. most water sources, especially systems with “hard” water, contain some dissolved minerals. While these minerals are completely harmless to consumers, they can form an unpleasant layer of residue on the buckets and tray. If you have hard water, you may want to use bottled water in your ice cube trays to improve the look and taste.

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