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 trays or the bendy silicone kind, are great for eliminating wasted food. Say bye-bye to rotted herbs and 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 thing to make life better. It’s the little things, you know?

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. That’s another good use: freeze actual food instead of water when you don’t want your smoothie, wine, or coffee to get watered down.

Get some more specific ideas and instructions with these ideas we curated for you.

1. Spiked Frozen Coffee Shots


Extra-strong espresso, sweet condensed milk, and coffee liqueur are the perfect adult coffee drink when it’s hot out. Get our Spiked Frozen Coffee Shots recipe.

2. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Chocolate Covered Katie

You can always count on Chocolate Covered Katie to have a great chocolate-y idea. This simple one Get the recipe.

3. Buttermilk Cubes

Homestead Revival

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 recipe (sort of).

4. Pesto Cubes

Vibrant Bean

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 recipe.

5. Broth or Stock Cubes


Pour your leftover broth or stock into the ice cube trays, concentrated or at least not diluted. Stock makes everything better. Get the recipe.

6. Herb Oil Cubes

Yakka Fit

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 recipe.

7. Flower Ice Cubes

The View from Great Island

Distilled water and edible flowers (with no pesticides) can make your spring and summer more beautiful, one spiked lemonade and ice tea at a time. Get the recipe.

8. Iced Coffee Cubes

Let the Good In

Unlike those spiked shots, this is for your everyday coffee before work when it’s hot out and you want iced coffee that’s not watered down. Get the recipe (sort of).

— Head Photo: The Honey Bee by Andee Layne.


Amy Sowder is a writer and editor based in NYC, covering food and wellness in publications such as Bon Appétit, Women's Health, Eat This, Not That!, Upworthy/GOOD, Brooklyn Magazine, and Westchester Magazine. She loves to run races, but her favorite finish lines are gelato shops. Learn more at AmySowder.com.
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