If you’re always on the lookout for ways to create less waste and save some money in the process, prepare to meet your new best friend! A standard plastic or silicone ice cube tray can become an indispensable tool in the kitchen when it comes to saving and storing various kinds of food in a way that makes them easy and practical to use later on. And outside of the freezer, an ice cube tray can be a useful tool for organizing, measuring, and portioning!
There are a million different kinds of ice cube trays out there, so I thought I’d begin by sharing a few the ones I use at home. First, there’s this extra large ice cube tray. It makes nearly 2″ cubes, so it also makes a great mold for homemade bath bombs and other projects.
Second, there’s this little ice cube tray. It makes dozens of small cubes, about 1/2″ wide, which is perfect for freezing things you want to use in smaller amounts. And lastly, there’s this standard ice cube tray. The thing I like about this one in particular is that it has a lid, so you can stack it in your freezer any way you want without having to worry about it spilling.
Now let’s get on to the good stuff, shall we? :-)
21 Brilliant Ways To Use An Ice Cube Tray
1. Freeze unused ingredients. You know those ingredients you buy for a recipe, but you only end up using a small amount? The rest probably sits in your fridge for a week or more until you eventually throw it out. Instead, use an ice cube tray to freeze the unused portion of those ingredients to use next time. This really helps cut down on food waste, and you’ll be saving money at the same time! Some of the ingredients I like to freeze in ice cube trays include:
- Whipping cream
- Coconut milk
- Chipotle peppers in adobo
- …And more!
2. When using an ice cube tray to freeze foods, make sure to measure the amount going into each cavity while you’re filling the tray. (For example, maybe you’re freezing leftover buttermilk and discover that each cavity holds 2 tablespoons.) Write that measurement on the freezer bag you store the cubes in, so you’ll know how many cubes to grab later when you need them later!
3. Freeze your extra coffee in an ice cube tray to use later in an iced coffee. It will keep your drink cool without watering it down!
4. Freeze fresh fruit in your ice cubes for a special addition to a cool beverage. Use pomegranate seeds, strawberries, or raspberries for a pretty drink presentation this Valentine’s Day.
5. Let a tub of ice cream melt slightly, then fill an ice cube tray with it and refreeze. The ice cream cubes can be used to make super simple ice cream floats! Make several trays ahead of time for a fun and easy ice cream float party for kids or family.
6. Don’t let those leftover fresh herbs go bad in your fridge! Roughly chop or puree them, and place them in the cavities of an ice cube tray along with oil or your favorite broth. Freeze your herb cubes and use them later in your favorite recipes, like pastas, soups, sauces, stews, and more!
7. Freeze leftover broth or wine in an ice cube tray, and use the cubes later on to make quick and easy pan sauces! After sautéing meat or veggies, add a little butter to the pan, along with some shallots and herbs. Then add a cube or two of frozen wine or broth, and you’ll have a flavorful pan sauce in minutes!
8. Make loads of fresh pesto in the summertime when basil is in abundance, and freeze it in a ice cube tray. Defrost a few cubes as needed to make delicious fresh pesto sandwiches or pesto chicken any time of the year!
9. If you’re a smoothie fan, blend some greens (spinach, kale, chard, etc.) with a bit of water and freeze in an ice cube tray. Pull out a couple of cubes to throw in your morning smoothie for a nutritional boost. This will also ensure that your greens won’t go bad before you can use them.
10. Frozen aloe vera cubes are amazing for soothing sunburned skin. Make them in the coming weeks, and you’ll be thanking yourself the next time you’re out in the sun a bit too long!
11. Freeze small portions of coconut oil in a ice cube tray to use in your morning coffee, for oil pulling, as dog treats, and more! Read about more ways to use coconut oil at link below.
12. Keep your garbage disposal smelling fresh with a few frozen cleaning cubes! Learn how to make them at the link below.
13. Don’t let those bacon drippings to go waste! Save them and freeze them in an ice cube tray. Use a cube or two to add tons of flavor when sautéing meat or potatoes, or add a cube to your favorite homemade salad dressing.
14. Ginger and garlic freeze remarkably well! Grate tablespoon portions of ginger and whole clove portions of garlic, then freeze them in an ice cube tray. You’ll save yourself quite a bit of time and effort in the long run!
15. If you come across a great deal on lemons or limes at the grocery store, you can really stretch your dollar by buying them in bulk, juicing them, and freezing the fresh juice in ice cube trays! You’ll be able to enjoy the delicious taste of fresh citrus juice in your recipes all year round.
16. If you don’t go through eggs very quickly, extend their life by freezing them. Simply whisk several eggs together and pour into your ice cube tray. You can also separate the yolks and whites into separate cavities so you can use them individually.
19. Ice cube trays can make a great organizer for jewelry, office supplies, loose change, medications (if kept away from children!), small hardware and more!
20. Make your own seed bombs for sprucing up your yard. Use an ice cube tray to help you to shape seed bombs and to keep all of them together while they dry. Once dried, throw the seed bombs around the areas of your yard that could use some color.
21. Make your own all-natural scented wax melts. Many of the store-bought varieties of wax melts are made with paraffin wax, a petroleum-based wax that can emit toxic chemicals when burned. These use beeswax and coconut oil as a base and are scented with essential oils instead of artificial fragrances.