Which ice cube tray is best?

It’s easy to take ice for granted. That is until you run out. If you don’t have the luxury of a built-in ice maker, you already understand the importance of keeping ice cube trays filled in the freezer. But which trays make the best ice? 

If you want a versatile tool that is great for ice cubes and other applications, the Tovolo Perfect Cube Ice Mold Tray is the best choice. 

What to know before you buy an ice cube tray

Material

Ice cube trays come in three basic materials.

  • Plastic: Plastic trays are the most affordable, traditional option. These are low-tech and require just a little twist to release ice cubes. However, the brittle plastic breaks easily and is less durable than other trays.
  • Silicone: To release cubes from a silicone tray, a peeling and pressing action is used. This makes for easy release, but some users find this material flimsy and hard to manage with liquid. These are also more expensive than plastic.
  • Metal: Metal ice cube trays are considered vintage objects and can be challenging to find. They feature a lever that you pull to release the ice cubes. 

Capacity

While a single sphere of clear ice can make a delicious drink beautiful, it limits the number of cocktails you can serve unless you plan ahead. When the shape or style of your cube is unimportant, look for high-capacity ice cube trays that hold a dozen cubes or more. 

Shape

Unless you are a cocktail connoisseur or hosting a themed party, the shape of your ice cubes is less important than the function they perform. However, it can be fun to explore large spheres or squares, novelty shapes and something other than a rectangle. 

What to look for in a quality ice cube tray

BPA-free

Every time plastic touches something you eat, it needs to be labeled food-safe. Look for BPA-free silicones and plastics. 

Easy release

No matter the material, ice cubes should release easily and intact from the trays. Sometimes this is a matter of practice, but in general, the simpler the shape, the cleaner the release.

Versatile uses

Ice cube trays do more than make ice. You can use the best ones for various food applications and creative tasks, in addition to making ice. 

How much you can expect to spend on an ice cube tray

While novelty ice cube trays can cost $20 or more, expect to spend $4-$12 on a simple vessel that produces actual cubes. 

Ice cube tray FAQ

Is it possible to create crystal clear ice? 

A. Yes and no. It is difficult to make clear ice at home due to impurities in water. When water freezes, these impurities solidify and block the straight path of light through the ice. This causes the center of the ice to appear cloudy. 

Contrary to popular belief, boiling water before freezing does not result in clear ice.  The only way to get clear ice is to use a mold specifically designed to freeze from the top down or freeze ice in large blocks. Some parts of a larger block of ice will freeze clear. 

Can you use ice cube trays for anything other than ice? 

A. Yes. Ice cube trays are the perfect size to freeze:

  • Single servings of yogurt
  • Pureed chipotle chilis in adobo
  • Herbs blended with oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Tomato paste
  • Stock
  • Coffee for iced coffee drinks
  • Leftover wine
  • Homemade baby food

You can also use ice cube trays as snack holders for toddlers. Fill each compartment with an assortment of fruit, nuts and other treats and place it in the refrigerator. Your toddler can access their own food as needed.

For non-food uses, ice cube trays make great jewelry, office supply and craft organizers. You can even use them to hold paint for small painting projects.

Do ice cube trays require special care? 

A. In general, no. Although some novelty or specialty ice cube trays may require hand-washing, most can be popped in the dishwasher as needed. If you reserve your trays for ice only, a simple rinse is sufficient.

However, if you freeze chopped herbs or make other foods in your trays, you’ll want to wash them before using them for ice again.

What’s the best ice cube tray to buy?

Top ice cube tray

Tovolo Perfect Cube Ice Mold Trays

Tovolo Perfect Cube Ice Mold Trays

What you need to know: These versatile silicone molds make perfect ice cubes but are good for craft projects, too. 

What you’ll love: Ice cubes are 1.25 inches square and easy to remove from each silicone pocket. This set of two trays is BPA-free, makes 30 ice cubes total and is available in nine colors.

What you should consider: You have to fill each compartment with water one at a time, which can take a while. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top ice cube tray for the money

Rubbermaid Ice Cube Tray Set

Rubbermaid Ice Cube Tray Set

What you need to know: This is a classic, affordable, durable ice cube tray. 

What you’ll love: They stack easily and are made from hard plastic. The cubes are small but plentiful, and they are easy to extract. 

What you should consider: The durable hard plastic is also a downfall. They are not very flexible and can crack with excessive force. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

True Zoo U Ice of A Silicone Ice Cube Tray

True Zoo U Ice of A Silicone Ice Cube Tray

What you need to know: Liven up a boring drink with this fun novelty ice cube tray. 

What you’ll love: Each compartment freezes in the shape of the states. They are easy to remove. The ice cube tray is made from BPA-free silicone that is also safe in the oven and the freezer. This is available in seven other designs, such as snowflakes, diamonds and animal paws.

What you should consider: The U.S. version does not include Alaska or Hawaii.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
 

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