Freezing in Ice Cube Trays

Most of us use ice cube trays to, well, make ice cubes. But you can use ice cube trays to freeze a variety of foods. This way you can avoid waste, and sometimes even prepare some food in bulk and store it for the long term. In this article, we’ll go through how to freeze food in ice cube trays, what foods and liquids you can freeze this way, and a few tricks related to this form of freezing.

How To Freeze In Ice Cube Trays

I know this method is not rocket science, but I think it makes sense to have a good description of the process so we can be on the same page. Here’s how to do this:

  1. Take an ice cube tray and pour the liquid into the cubes. Make sure to leave some headspace because the liquid expands when frozen.
  2. Throw the tray into the freezer and leave it there until cubes are frozen solid.
  3. Transfer the frozen cubes into a freezer bag or airtight container. Add a label with a name and date if needed.
  4. Put the bag or container into the freezer.

That’s it. The whole process usually takes about 10 minutes, plus a few hours of waiting for the cubes to freeze.

What Foods I Can Freeze In Ice Cube Trays?

The number of foods you can freeze in ice cube trays is quite amazing. Each time I do some research for an article, I learn another way of using the trays. Below are some of the most popular ones:

  • Leftover milk and milk alternatives. If you only use almond or coconut milk for recipes, freezing the remaining milk is the best way to avoid waste. Please note that thawed milk works best only for cooked recipes or smoothies.
  • Leftover alcohol for cooking. If you have some red wine or cooking sherry you would like to keep fresh for longer, freeze it. It will work just fine for a cooked dish.
  • Homemade sauces. Making homemade sauces such as barbeque sauce or teriyaki takes time and making only a single serving often feels like a waste of time. Instead, you can make a couple of servings and freeze the rest.
  • Homemade syrups. Same thing as with sauces. Homemade syrups don’t contain any artificial preservatives and aren’t pasteurized, so they don’t last that long. Some of them, like chocolate syrup, freeze quite well in trays. Results of freezing depend on the recipe, of course.
  • Fruit juices. Flavored water is a great refreshment on a hot day. Freeze some orange juice, or lime juice and add a few frozen cubes to a glass of water.

Ice cubes
(credit: rawpixel)

Tips And Tricks For Freezing In Ice Cube Trays

Below you can find a few tips and tricks related to freezing in ice cube trays. Hope you find them helpful:

  • Use a muffin tin instead. If the ice cube trays are too small for whatever you want to freeze, often a muffin tin will do the trick. Just make sure the one you’re using is freezer-friendly. Muffin tins work great for sauces like tomato paste, or leftover soups.
  • Measure the volume of a single cube. Ice cube trays vary in sizes, so it’s good to know how much liquid a single cube holds. This way you’ll be able to easily add as many cubes as needed for a recipe you’re preparing.
  • Throw it in frozen to the dish you’re cooking. When it comes to cooked dishes, often you can get away with throwing in ice cubes directly to the pot, without thawing it first.