how to make ice cubes without tray

How to Make Ice Cubes Without a Tray – (7 Best Methods)

When it comes to the process of creating ice, I’m sure you’ve heard of ice cube trays. So, when did ice cube trays become popular? No one knows the precise date. Many think that John Gorrie developed the refrigerator in 1844 to treat his yellow fever patients. Many say that he built tiny containers to freeze little ice blocks and insert those cubes of ice into his patients’ beverages.

It’s difficult to say when ice cube trays first originated, although they’ve been around for a long time. Ice cube trays are a regular household item; do you need some ice for your beverage? You look through the ice cube trays to see whether there is any ice left.

One of the most frequent ways to make cubed ice is to use a tray. This way of producing ice is effortless. You should pour water into a plastic ice cube tray. Could you put it in the freezer? Wait a few hours, and you’ll have beautiful ice cubes ready to cool your favorite drink. It is also not an arduous task to break the ice. Remove the tray containing the ice from the freezer. Twist it a couple of times to loosen the cubes. The ice cubes will fall out of the dish in no time. They’re ready for you to put in your glass. 

How to make ice cubes without a tray? One would wonder why you would do such a thing. After all, ice cubes are among the most ubiquitous household items, aren’t they? However, you may occasionally have a freezer that is too tiny to accommodate an ice tray inside.

Sometimes you have a large enough fridge, but you’ve crammed so much inside it that you don’t have room for an ice tray. It’s moments like this that you wish you had some more options. What do you do when conventional ice cube trays aren’t an option?

There are numerous alternatives to using a tray to make ice cubes, such as tiny containers in your cupboards, measuring spoons, a plastic bag, or anything that will hold water and fit in your freezer. In this post, we will look into all of your choices.

When you’re out of ice and don’t have an ice cube tray, you’ll have to think outside the box to solve the problem. This article will look at several creative ways to make ice cubes without using an ice cube tray. We include various methods for producing ice without a tray that will work nicely in a pinch or emergency. These solutions employ stuff you probably already have around the house. 

ice cubes without a tray

How do you Make Ice Cubes Without Using an Ice Tray?

If you choose to replace ice trays entirely, the methods include short-term, emergency, and long-term alternatives.

1) Use Ziploc Bags to Make Ice

Fill a ziplock bag halfway with water, set it in the freezer for a couple of hours, and keep it there until the water freezes. If you refill the pack, there’s a risk it’ll explode, or the ice will become incredibly “blocky” and tough to shatter. 

You will determine the amount of ice you receive by how much water you put in the bag. If you fill the bag to the top, you’ll obtain a huge chunk of ice. To utilize it, you may need to smash it into smaller bits. An excellent tip is to fill the Ziploc quarter-way, zip it up, and place it flat on the freezer bottom. It will result in a medium-thick coating of ice that is easy to break up into smaller pieces.

The main disadvantage of using Ziploc bags is that your ice will be primarily shapeless. However, if you are not concerned about appearances, this should not be an issue.

ziplock bags

2) Freezer Bag

The first approach might not produce precisely formed ice. The aesthetics of the ice made using the Ziploc bag may be imperfect. If perfection is your goal, you may try this alternative. Freezer bags would be a more practical solution. These may be obtained at a reasonable price on Amazon.

The Ice Cube Tray Easy Release 100 Pcs Ice Molds has a high rating. It is pretty simple to learn how to utilize freezer bags. 

Fill a freezer bag halfway with water and freeze it, precisely like you would a Ziplock bag. This ice freezing method produces more precisely formed cubes since freezer bags have dividing lines on the inside, so you’ll receive some perfectly-shaped ice cubes rather than a massive chunk of ice. 

The benefit of these bags is that they prevent food odors from transferring to the ice and leaving you with delicious ice. As a result, the days of ice tasting like garlic, rotten eggs, or mildew are over.

3) Silicone Molds

Silicon molds are used to create a broad range of products including confectionery, baked goods such as cakes and bread, and even soap. Because of their flexibility, you may also use them to make ice cubes.

The molds should be filled with water and placed in the freezer overnight or for several hours, like an ice cube tray. Leaving them overnight results in firmer, more solid ice that does not melt as quickly. Because these molds are available in various forms, you may make ice in different exciting and unusual shapes, such as substantial crystal balls or heart-shaped ice for the kids.

4) Cartons of eggs

It is an emergency method for making ice cubes without a tray. This approach is strongly discouraged. However, if you need ice quickly and cannot get to a store, this approach may be ideal. A few things would be required as part of the hack, including egg cartons – whether plastic or polyethylene – and metal file paper.

You may be wondering how this approach might work. Suppose you have a plastic egg carton on hand. Thoroughly wash and rinse it. Fill it halfway with water and put it in the freezer. After a few hours, you’ll have beautiful ice to use in your beverages or iced tea. You can use the procedures above if you have a plastic egg carton.

It may, however, have a hole in the bottom from time to time. In these situations, line the tray with aluminum foil and then fill it with water. Place the container in the freezer until the water has frozen. When the ice has formed, pour it into your drink.

egg cartons

5) Plastic Dish or Muffin Tins

Here’s an excellent suggestion: make ice cubes in a plastic container or a muffin tin. We all have different shaped containers around the house, so finding one should be simple. Here’s an Ice Maker Geeks hack for you. Fill a muffin pan halfway with small pieces of fruit. It will look great and add some taste to your drink.

Fill the muffin pan with fruit juice or another beverage to make some delicious chilled delights. Please make sure that it is of food-grade quality. The benefit of utilizing a container to produce ice is that they are constantly available. You could even have some attractively shaped pans for added flair.

Perhaps you have a little heart pan and want to make heart ice for a particular occasion. There are several fascinating ice concepts that you may create utilizing a container from your own house.

6) Freezers with Built-in Ice Makers 

From here, we’ll discuss long-term ice-making alternatives that you should think critically about. You’ll never need ice cube trays again if you use one of these methods. Begin with a built-in freezer ice maker. Some big refrigerator models have an extra-large freezer with an ice-making kit. It will then supply ice anytime you require it.

The advantage of this method is that you can acquire ice whenever you need it. You don’t have to wait long for it to freeze. You also don’t have to do anything because the ice maker does all of the work. Furthermore, once set up, you don’t have to do anything to acquire ice. The ice maker operates on its own.

The disadvantage is that such a refrigerator will be expensive. Another significant disadvantage is the lack of available space. The ice-making kit will take up a lot of room in the freezer. The fridge itself may be relatively large, necessitating additional space in your kitchen. 

7) A Portable Ice Maker

Making ice without a tray is a breeze with a portable ice maker. Portable ice producers are sometimes known as countertop ice makers. Countertop ice makers are ideal for use in boats, RVs, and tiny houses.

Portable ice makers are an excellent kitchen accessory, especially for families with a high demand for ice. And even a modest fridge freezer is insufficient to meet the family’s ice needs. Ice makers generally produce more ice than other techniques and do it considerably faster than a Ziploc bag, freezer bag, or egg carton.

The ice machine has ice on autopilot. It makes ice on demand; typically, a batch of ice is ready to go in seven minutes. You may set the size of the ice cubes in advance. There are three sizes to choose from: small, medium, and big. This equipment is simple to operate. Connect it. 

Fill the reservoir to the fill line with water. Turn on the machine and pick the size of ice needed – small, medium, or significant. After a few moments, the first batch of ice is ready. A set of ice is typically made in seven to fifteen minutes by most portable ice machines. When the ice bucket is filled, the device will turn off automatically.

Because these machines are well-insulated, the ice will remain frozen for an extended time. After some time, the ice will begin to thaw. The melted ice will drain back into the reservoir and be pushed back up to the internal ice tray, where you will create fresh ice. Portable ice makers are available in a variety of sizes, colors, and ice varieties.

Freestanding Ice Maker and Under-counter Ice Maker

If you have a little more cash, you can get a much larger specialized ice machine. There are two types available: freestanding ice maker and under-counter.

A standalone ice maker resembles a refrigerator. An under-counter ice maker is a bit smaller and is installed beneath the cabinet. Both have significantly larger production capabilities than portable ice producers, with some capable of generating up to 85lbs of ice each day.

These ice makers are ideal if you have a large family or are planning a significant event. If you enjoy nugget ice, you may need to purchase a whole machine because there are no excellent portable nugget ice producers.

Alternatives Ice tray: Using to Make Ice Cubes:

1) Candy Molds and Gelatin

Gelatin, candy, and soap molds are available in various sizes and shapes, allowing you to make ice cubes in any form or size you choose. Wedding, flora, animals, religion, seashells, and musical instruments are just a few of the themes offered in these molds. The options are nearly infinite, and the molds are simple to use. Fill them with water rather than sweets or soap and place them in the freezer.

2) Go for Automatic

Consider replacing the ice maker trays with an automated model. Many refrigerators now have automated ice makers, which fill themselves with water and produce ice without the need for human involvement. After the water freezes, the ice maker dumps the ice into an onboard container, from which the ice is cubed or crushed.

3) Frosty Recyclability

Being environmentally responsible entails making the most of each thing before disposing of or recycling it. Apply this eco-conscious approach to make ice cubes. You may produce ice by filling chocolate gift box trays and deviled egg containers with water. Empty milk bottles and yogurt cups can also suffice. These containers do not have attractive ice cubes, but they are ideal for keeping foods cold during power outages or picnics.

4) Make Ice use of Measuring Spoons

In your freezer, use measuring spoons as mini–ice trays. You must be extremely cautious not to spill any water. Measuring spoons come in a variety of sizes and are ideal for freezing tiny spoon-sized ice cubes. Just make sure your measuring spoons are of high quality.

The nice thing about measuring spoons is that they come in a variety of sizes. Who knew spoons could be so effective at producing ice in the absence of an ice cube tray?

measuring spoons

6) Baking Pans with a Twist

Cupcake and baking pans come in various shapes and sizes, and they make excellent ice cube trays. These pans are sturdy, and when half-filled with water, they freeze ice cubes in multiple designs, from Valentine’s Day hearts to Christmas trees. You may even use an essential Bundt pan to create a lovely circular ice ring to float in your punch bowl.

The Best Way to Make Clear Ice

In case you want to make transparent ice cubes in large chunks.


  • A small cooler that fits in your freezer
  • Warm tap water


  • You can fill the small cooler with 4 to 5 inches of warm tap water and freeze it for 24 hours (making sure it is not hot). With the top off, place the cooler in the freezer. Freeze for 18 to 24 hours, or until several inches of ice has formed. You’ll want to keep some water under the ice (this prevents the ice from getting cloudy).
  • Place the more incredible upside down in the sink for 5 to 10 minutes to remove the ice. The ice block should then be carefully shaken out (or it may fall out on its own).
  • Put the ice block on a cutting board and cut it into cubes. Then, with a serrated knife, cut the ice into the appropriate chunk size by performing the following: Holding the ice with a towel or oven mitt, softly score the top of the ice with the knife until a strip of ice pops off. After that, cut the strip into cubes.       
  • Form using an ice pick (optional): If desired, hone the final state using an ice pick (see the section above).
  • Store the ice: Place the ice in a covered container in the freezer. Allow the ice cube to remain at room temperature for 2 minutes before using it in a drink to prevent breaking. By tempering the ice, the outer layer will also melt (and any freezer burn).

How do You Make Quality Ice?

Here’s what you’ll need to do if you want to make high-quality ice in the comfort of your own home:

  • Purchase a bag and insulated cooler that can easily fit inside your freezer.
  • Open the cooler’s cover and fill it with water to roughly a quarter of its capacity (it would be best to use distilled water to get much more transparent ice).
  • Place your cooler into the freezer, and do not replace the cover.
  • Remove the cooler from the freezer after 12 to 14 hours and allow it to liquefy for at least 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Now, take the ice and cut it into clear cubes using an ice pick.

Which Is Better For Making Ice Cubes: Hot Or Cool Water?

Yes, using hot water instead of cold water speeds up the process of making ice cubes. Because of the enormous quantity of energy, hot water may freeze considerably faster than cold water, resulting in much clearer ice cubes.

What Is The Difference Between Sonic And Nugget Ice?

With the newest advances in Kitchen Appliances, we see numerous types of Ice and Ice Makers being utilized in homes and businesses for various applications. One recent example is “nugget” or “sonic” ice; the word “sonic” comes from the Sonic Restaurant chain, which became famous for its ice, which is used to cool beverages.

Last Words

As you can see, you’re only limited by your imagination, and these aren’t even close to all of the possible methods to produce ice cubes. But, perhaps, they provide you choices the next time you don’t have an ice tray on hand.

It is quite possible to make ice without an ice tray. You may use Ziploc bags, freezer bags, or even egg cartons if you need ice right away. However, if you want professional-looking ice, an ice maker is unquestionably the most acceptable option.

We wish you a refreshing (ice-making experience!


Is it better to use silicone mold ice cube trays?

Extracting cubes from steel trays is a little more complicated, but they are also more crack-resistant. Silicone trays are more flexible and durable than metal and plastic trays, but they can collect unpleasant freezer scents if not correctly cared for.

Is it true that hot water causes ice to form faster?

The Mpemba effect refers to the fact that warm water freezes faster than cold water. As a result, freezing occurs more quickly. Another factor is that warm water evaporates quickly, and because this is an endothermic process, it cools the water, causing it to freeze faster.

How does bulk ice get made?

Using a silicone ice block mold is one of the simplest and most convenient ways to produce big blocks of ice at home in your freezer. Silicone is perfect for colossal block ice because it is sturdy enough to retain its shape yet flexible enough that it will not shatter as the ice expands.

What is the most suitable material for ice cube trays?

Stainless steel is an excellent choice for ice cube trays. Stainless steel is BPA-free and does not absorb freezer or food aromas like other more porous materials.

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