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How to Make Ice Cubes Without a Tray?

When we make ice cubes, we generally take an ice tray, fill it with water, and stick it in the freezer. Several hours later, we have a tray of ice, fully at our disposal. But let’s say that we don’t have an ice tray, or we damaged it; what then? We need ice, what can we do to get it? Well, here are a few methods that can help you out in a pinch.

1. Ziploc Bags

How to Make Ice Cubes Without a TrayOkay, you may not have an ice cube tray in your house – but you might have some Ziploc bags lying around. All you have to do is take one, fill it with water and place it in your freezer, leaving it there for a couple of hours until the water freezes.

Bear in mind that you might not want to fill it until it’s about to burst. Otherwise, it might end up very “blocky” and very difficult to crack. Make sure that you’re placing it flat enough for the ice to form thin – therefore, allowing you to break it.

2. Freezer Bags

Ziploc bags are great for emergency use, but they don’t exactly give you perfectly shaped cubes – you just break chunks of the ice. If you want the ice to preserve at least a certain degree of aesthetics, you may want to use a freezer bag.

They are like Ziploc bags but feature some separate lines inside. When the water freezes, it will be mostly cubic (or at least an aesthetic shape) that will look better in a glass. Granted, it will not be perfect, and there will still be a couple of cubes that freeze awkwardly, but it will still beat the awkward chunkiness of the Ziploc bag.

3. Silicone Molds

Remember those silicone molds that you’ve been using to make cookies or to form chocolate in? Well, in case of an emergency, you may use them to make ice as well. These are more convenient in comparison to the average plastic tray, as the ice is much easier to take out of the mold.

The beauty of silicone molds is that unlike ice trays, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Sure, you may get them in the standard cubic shape, but you may also come across circular shapes, for example. If you like pandas, we are certain there are some silicone molds shaped as pandas out there somewhere.

Thus, silicone molds are a great option if you are looking for rock-solid ice that has little to no flaw. Plus, they are great if you have a theme party and you want some custom-shaped ice.

4. Egg Cartons

We know, we’re desperate – but as long as it helps us get ice in the end, every method should help. Bear in mind that this is an emergency solution and that it should by no means pass off as something permanent. It should only be used when you really have no other option, and you will be needing some ice that day or the next one.

So, what do you need? Obviously, you cannot turn the water directly into the carton – the water will simply cause it to fall apart. To prevent this from happening, get some aluminum foil and shape it around where the bottom half of the egg should be. Once the foil is in, add some water and place it into the freezer. The cartons should be filled halfway – otherwise, the ice may turn out too big and chunky.

You may also use egg cartons made of plastic, for which you will not necessarily need aluminum foil. However, it can help you in taking the ice out much easier – without it getting stuck to the margins of the egg cartons. If you are planning to go foil-free, make sure that you clean the egg cartons properly before adding the water. Like with regular cartons, don’t fill them until they are full – but do so halfway.

5. Nugget Ice Maker

Countertop Ice MakerIce makers are a great option if you are planning a big party and need more ice at hand. If you had a couple of trays, that would have been wonderful – but why overly-complicate yourself when you can get a countertop ice maker? Plus, they can also give you access to various types of ice, particularly if you go for a nugget ice maker that can make softer ice.

Ice makers like these come in a variety of shapes and sizes. A smaller model can make around 20-26 pounds of ice every day, whereas a larger one can make around 28-40 pounds per day. They are the perfect options for family use or big house parties, as they can give you access to ice quite fast.

Plus, you can always go for under-the-counter ice maker if you don’t want your ice maker sitting on the countertop. However, remember that this kind of ice maker is not as portable.

Final Thoughts

Making ice is not that difficult if you are determined enough. You can use Ziploc bags, freezer bags – even egg cartons if you are in an emergency. Anything that has a shape can be used as a makeshift ice tray, but you should steer clear of glass as that one can break. If you need professional-looking ice, though, an ice maker is the most appropriate solution.

About Aaron Walters

Aaron Walters is a code writer by day, and a cocktail enthusiast by night. Once he realized that high-quality ice is equally important as other ingredients, he started researching ice machines of all types and sizes. is a library of researched topics regarding all things ice he made along the way.

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