Whether or not you have an ice maker in your freezer, those classic rectangular ice cube trays can be useful for more than water. These trays, the old-fashioned stiff ice cube trays, or the bendy silicone kind, are great for eliminating wasted food. Say bye-bye to rotted herbs and unused buttermilk. We can go on and on, and we will, to a point. Check out some of our top tips on how to use that ice cube tray to make life better. It’s the little things, you know?
Ice Cube Tray Hacks
The list of alternative uses feels almost endless. Ice cube trays can create jewels in your drinks when you freeze fruit or flowers in them. College students may already know about the Jello shot abilities of an ice cube tray. And resourceful new moms can use the baby-food freezing trick. Save time and steps by freezing sautéed diced onions and garlic for soups, sauces, casseroles, and stir-fries. Freeze fresh greens for your smoothies. The list goes on.
OMorc Easy-Release Silicone Ice Cube Trays, 4 for $14.99 on Amazon
These come with lids to guard against spills before things freeze up.
Get some more specific ideas and instructions with these 11 ice cube tray ideas we curated for you:
Extra-strong espresso, sweet condensed milk, and coffee liqueur are the perfect adult coffee drink when it’s hot out—even better if they’re frozen into shot-size servings. Get our Spiked Frozen Coffee Shots recipe.
2. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (& Other Filled Chocolates)
You can always count on Chocolate Covered Katie to have a great chocolate-y idea. This simple one makes two-bite peanut butter cups in an ice cube tray—but the same trick also works for other filled chocolates, like the no-bake cheesecake bites shown above, or chocolate-covered cookie dough bites, just for starters. Get the Ice Cube Tray Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups recipe.
One of life’s biggest hoaxes is the big containers of buttermilk at the grocery store that you’re forced to buy when you only need a tiny bit for one recipe. It’s such a shame to let the rest go bad. So don’t. Get the Buttermilk Cubes recipe (sort of).
Related reading: 22 Recipes to Use Up Leftover Buttermilk
4. Pesto Cubes
Save the pesto! Once your basil plant gets going, it seems like it won’t quit. So the next time you make pesto, double the recipe and freeze half of it. You can pop out the cubes to store in a freezer bag for single servings or whatever amount you need. Get the Pesto Cubes recipe.
When you have fresh herbs that you can’t use up in time, or your plant is growing so many you can’t use and give away enough, do this. Freeze your chopped fresh herbs in butter or olive oil. Get the Herb Oil Cubes recipe.
Related Reading: 21 Ways to Use Fresh Herbs Before They Go Bad
You can even use an ice cube tray as a ravioli mold if you want to venture into homemade pasta without investing in special equipment (when it comes to ravioli molds, at least).
9. Cookie Dough
Pop raw cookie dough of any kind into an ice cube tray and freeze it—so when a sweet craving hits, you can simply pop out one or two frozen dough nuggets and bake them for a quick fix.
10. Wine Ice Cubes
Not only are these great for chilling your sangria without diluting it, they can be used for cooking too—stash them in your freezer and throw one in a hot pan to deglaze, or add to a stew or braise when you don’t want to open an entire bottle just for your recipe. This is an especially good way to deal with any leftover wine (people swear that’s a thing) or a bottle you don’t love enough to finish drinking but don’t hate enough to pour down the drain.
11. Flower Ice Cubes
Sometimes there’s no need to completely reinvent the wheel—just tweak it a little. Distilled water and edible flowers (with no pesticides, please) can make your spring and summer more beautiful, one spiked lemonade and iced tea at a time. Get the Flower Ice Cubes recipe.
Header image courtesy of Unsplash.