21 Brilliant Ways You Can Save Money With An Ice Cube Tray

Uses for Ice Cube Trays

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!

Uses for Ice Cube Trays

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.

Uses for Ice Cube Trays

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

Uses for Ice Cube Trays

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:

  • Buttermilk
  • 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!

Related20 Ways To Use Your Freezer To Save Time And Money

Uses for Ice Cube Trays

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!

Uses for Ice Cube Trays

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.

Uses for Ice Cube Trays

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.

Uses for Ice Cube Trays

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!

Uses for Ice Cube Trays

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!

Uses for Ice Cube Trays

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!

Related: Here Are The Only 11 Sandwich Hacks You’ll Ever Need

Uses for Ice Cube Trays

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.

Uses for Ice Cube Trays

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!

Uses for Ice Cube Trays

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.

Related: 35 Surprising Uses For Coconut Oil That Will Change Your Life

Kitchen Cleaning Hacks

12. Keep your garbage disposal smelling fresh with a few frozen cleaning cubes! Learn how to make them at the link below.

Related: How To Naturally Clean And Sanitize Your Garbage Disposal

Uses for Ice Cube Trays

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.

Uses for Ice Cube Trays

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!

Uses for Ice Cube Trays

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.

Uses for Ice Cube Trays

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.

Uses for Ice Cube Trays

17. Let’s not forget one of my all-time favorite frozen treatsfrozen yogurt dots! An ice cube tray with small cavities turns this frozen treat into bite-sized bliss!

Uses for Ice Cube Trays

18. Ice cube trays also make a great mold for making non-food items, like my homemade Dishwasher Detergent Tabs or stress-relieving Bath Bombs.

Uses for Ice Cube Trays

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.

Related:  Beautiful Things You Can Make With Handmade Paper

Uses for Ice Cube Trays

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.

Related:  How To Make Homemade Wax Melts With Safe & Natural Ingredients

Read This Next

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • Great ideas! I freeze ginger whole in a zippy bag and grate it with a microplane: it’s so much easier! And for a non-food use, the heating element in our dryer died and a repair would have been pricy. We ordered the part to do it ourselves. After watching numerous how-to videos we knew there were multiple screws that needed to be segregate. Ente4r the ice cube tray, 2″ wide painters tape (to cover the screws from falling out), and a black marker to ID where the screws came from.

  • This is truly a non-standard use for ice cube trays (or mini-muffin pans), but we are a LEGO household, and I will use ice cube trays and mini-muffin pans to sort pieces into when building a LEGO kit. I put like pieces together in each divot, making it super easy to find the parts I need for each step. This is particularly effective when building the Architecture kits, as they often have 100 or more identical pieces, which are needed one or two at at time. No more fishing through the bag to find just the ones I need!

  • Some great ideas I hadn’t thought of before. Buttermilk always goes to waste in my house but not anymore. Same with broth cartons that I use for flavoring and always assume I’ll use the rest but never do. It doesn’t go back on date printed – it goes bad a few days after being opened! Herbs are another super idea – so easy I don’t know why I never thought – just threw away the unused stuff. I LOVE fresh ginger but always wasted so much but won’t ever again!

  • FYI – I drink coffee, but when it’s first made, I cannot drink or even sip it while so hot. I began making “coffee ice cubes,” about a year ago. I let some coffee cool, pour it into an ice tray,
    and freeze it. That way, to cool down my too hot coffee, I just add a coffee cube or two,
    and my coffee isn’t weakened, but cooled.

    • sprinkle bi carb soda and leave then vacuum or just leave it there if your pet has done wee or poo wipe it up then a good sprinkle of bi carb soda and spray with white vinegar let sit for 5 minutes then clean it the vinegar and bi carb work together as a cleaner and deodorizer i had to do this all the time when my puppies were babies and now that they are old and senile its time to load up again

  • Ooops – Forgot to to add… I think for me the portioning ideas for watching your weight (or just being sensible with your portion sizes) would be endless! With those ice cream floats, make the cubes only as big as a portion of your ice cream so you don’t do what we all do and eat out of the bucket a whole lot more! Same for many foods like for me I would cook whole pots full of brown rice and freeze the rest in portions for easy side dishes from the microwave, or perhaps ground beef so I don’t make those huge hamburbers, any leftovers, or for that little tray, butter pats! I tend to use a whole lot of dairy products coming from WI and portioning my dairy in any way helps! I think having friends over for tea and having out those little butter pats would look classy to go with a scone maybe! That little tray is just to cute not to find and use! I love it!

  • Jillee – love the ideas! I love the little flowered tray I could see myself using that for coconut oil for my skin since is dissolves so quickly. Where did you find them, JoAnne’s Fabrics? Amazon? I have also seen the trays used for fresh mint leaves to go in Iced Tea. Could you use them for Antibacterial Gels also? Great for the beach I would think! Same with Sun Screen? Also, my thing is all my containers I like to keep clear for storage stuff. Do you know where I can get clear instead of foggy looking ice cube trays? I can’t imagine what they would be made of but just a thought. I’m not sure about the egg deal. I see you using whole eggs in the pic, but wouldn’t they have to be scrambled and how long do they last frozen?

    • I found the flower tray at Ikea, but there are lots of similar ones here on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2FhcrQD. I’ve never seen clear ice cube trays, but I love the idea! I’ll have to keep my eye out for some. You can use either whole or scrambled eggs. I like using whole eggs, they thaw just fine! They’ll last about 3 months frozen, depending on how fresh they were when they went in to the freezer :-)

  • I recently saw a picture on an organizing site (can’t remember which one…sorry) of storing washi tape in ice cube trays. One roll in each cube. I thought it was a good idea.

  • MILK freezes and thaws amazingly well – the texture is not affected! I always cover the trays with a clean, clear and tough plastic bag while freezing. I can then run some hot water over the bottoms of the trays very briefly and flex the trays to release the cubes into the bag, no cubes drop into the sink that way. Then transfer them into a ziplock till needed.
    I’ve been buying 1/2 gallon (the smallest amount for sale) whole fresh milk from a local farm here Vermont but am not able to finish it before it goes bad, since I only use it for my morning coffee – and what a flavor shot it is! By freezing half of each purchase – just two regular trays is about a quart – my purchase lasts nearly two weeks. When the farm had to stop selling while the cow had her annual calf, I relied on my frozen cubes for part of that time. Next winter I will start saving up earlier!
    Yesterday I realized I should be freezing portions of my homemade blackberry syrup, since it always will go moldy over time, so I used my silicone muffin pan liners to make easy to pop out portions. My husband’s favorite birthday cake requires this syrup so now I know it will be available. For some reason my black currant syrup never molds and it is WONDERFUL in plain yogurt with a few drops of vanilla.

  • I have that exact small tray bit it’s next to impossible to get anything out after it’s frozen. Any tips for accomplishing this without letting the ‘cubes’ half melt?

    • Nicole this tid bit came from Pocahontas: I just copied and pasted part of what she said about how she gets her ice cubes out of the trays once they are frozen. MILK freezes and thaws amazingly well – the texture is not affected! I always cover the trays with a clean, clear and tough plastic bag while freezing. I can then run some hot water over the bottoms of the trays very briefly and flex the trays to release the cubes into the bag, no cubes drop into the sink that way. Then transfer them into a ziplock till needed.

  • Great ideas. There’s also a hack somewhere for use the ice tray to make chocolate candies. We’ve always used our ice trays for making our own ice. Our fridges have never had ice machines and it’s cheaper than buying the bagged ice. We sell alott of the bagged ice in the store I work in , and its an expense that can add up.

  • I like a lot of the ideas here! I seem to remember making coffee ice cubes when I lived in Florida. Freezing buttermilk is a great way to make it last longer. I just have to find out HOW MUCH longer it lasts. I usually make sour milk using lemon or lime juice in milk because I was tired of the buttermilk expiring on me.

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