Did your ice tray break unexpectedly? Well, you can still set symmetrical cubes of ice with the items you would generally find in your kitchen. For instance, you can set ice using a ziplock bag or freezer bag and smash them with an ice picker once they are done. Alternatively, you can egg trays, baking trays and even measuring spoons as an efficient mold to set ice without an ice tray. The details to the process are mentioned below:
7 Methods to make ice without an ice tray
Method 1 – silicone molds
Molds are containers used in food preparation to give the desired shape to a finished food product. Silicone molds are technologically advanced molds made of silicone available in various shapes and sizes. Known for their thermal stability and flexibility, they can be used as a substitute for ice trays.
Take a silicone mold with a divided surface.
Fill water almost to the brim while leaving a 5mm space between the water surface and the edge. Since water expands on freezing, leaving space will ensure uniform ice shapes.
Freeze them for 5-6 hours. Check on them after that period. If completely frozen, remove by flexing the sides of the mold. Use or store as per your requirement.
If you need clear ice cubes, punch a hole in the bottom of the silicon molds and keep the molds on a tray for freezing.
Method 2 – Ziplock bag
Ziplock bags are reusable plastic bags fastened or sealed with interlocking grooves. For making ice through Ziplock bags, opt for BPA-free, eco-friendly ones at least 90 microns thick for safe freezing.
Pour boiled/ purified water into clean Ziplock bags. Use small leak-proof bags for better results.
Freeze them for 7-8 hours. Ensure the water level is 5-6mm below the opening level. Overfilling can make the ice bulge out and tear or burst the bags.
After the ice has frozen, transfer it onto a large cutting board. Use a mallard for breaking the block of ice or a serrated knife to cut them even.
Method 3 – Freezer bag
Freezer bags are similar to zipper bags by looks and nature of the material. The difference between them is in the lines of strength. Freezer bags are made of tougher plastic than Ziplocs. This makes them more suited for withstanding the cold of the freezer. For ice making, use clear freezer bags. Usually, 8.5 * 9-inch dimension bags are ideal.
Fill warm water/ purified water in a freezer bag. Ensure that the water level does not touch the edge of the bag.
Freeze the bag for 7-8 hours.
Transfer the ice inside the bag to a large cutting block. Use a serrated knife for cutting the ice into even cubes.
Do not stack 3-4 freeze bags but lay them side by side. Before filling water, press the bags to release excess air trapped inside them.
Method 4 – egg trays
Egg trays are square trays used to hold and store multiple eggs or protectively carry them without cracking them. Egg trays can be either of plastic, metal, or polymer material. They can also be of cardboard or molded pulp. You can make ice in the solid egg trays and those of cardboard origins.
Solid egg trays –
Wash the container thoroughly before use.
Fill water in the containers taking care not to fill up to the brim.
Freeze them for 6-7 hours straight. After that, remove and use them/ store them in clean containers for future use.
Cardboard/ Paper pulp egg trays
Wipe the cardboard egg trays thoroughly of any traces of dirt/ dust
Fill the pockets of the trays with an aluminum wrapper and seal the wrapper edges using glue/ adhesive tape.
Pour water inside the aluminum wrapper-covered cardboard pockets and cover them with the wrapper.
Freeze for 6-7 hours. After freezing, remove them from the foil-laden cardboard boxes, and your ice is all ready to use.
Method 5 – baking tray/ muffin pans
Both baking trays and muffin pans are metal/polycarbonate/ polymer containers used for baking muffins/ cupcakes / baked foods. For making ice, use a heavy-weight carbon-steel mold or an aluminum base.
Baking tray method
Clean the baking tray and wipe it dry. Line an aluminum foil in the body of the tray as a base to pour the water in.
Cover the water with the remaining foil. Freeze till completely frozen.
Remove the aluminum foil with the ice. Divide into cubes using a mallard or serrated knife.
Alternative method using muffin pans
Clean the pans thoroughly before use.
Pour water directly inside the molds and cover with aluminum foil before pouring water.
Freeze till completely frozen.
It will take ice longer to freeze in baking /muffin trays because of their increased size. Allow them at least 8-9 hours for adequate freezing before use.
Method 6 – Measuring Spoons
Measuring spoons are a cool way of making ice for single use in a short period. Measuring spoons come in various materials like stainless steel, aluminum, plastic, polymer, and even copper, all of which can be used for freezing methods.
Clean the spoons of all residue or dust before use.
Cover them with aluminum foil. It may sound cumbersome, but the small size of these spoons will make it difficult for the ice to be removed without using foil.
Pour water and freeze. It will take less than 2-2.5 hours to complete the ice-making process. Please remove them and directly use them instead of modifying their shape.
Method 7 -Popsicle Mold
Popsicle molds/kulfi molds are a great way to make ice easily. They are designed for making ice creams/ frozen treats and are predesigned with a lid making it more convenient to make ice using them.
Pour water into the molds
Seal the lids and freeze for 4-5 hours.
Remove and cut them into the required size before use.
How do you make ice quickly?
The most effective methods using which you can make ice quickly are
– Use hot water
The Mpemba effect describes that hot water freezes faster than normal temperature/ cold water frozen under similar conditions. Using hot water will result in the effective freezing of ice in a shorter time.
– Use small freezing units
The larger volume of water will take a longer time to freeze. Use small freezing molds if you are short on time.
– decrease the volume of water when using trays
Use a thin layer of water using the tray method for quick freezing. You will get smaller cubes but in relatively shorter time duration.
Let them freeze undisturbed.
Checking them too often or frequently opening the freezer during the freezing process will affect it. Let them freeze undisturbed for efficient and timely freezing.
Does boiled water make clear ice?
Yes, boiled water does clear the ice to some extent and improves its otherwise cloudy appearance. The presence of gases like nitrogen and oxygen in the water gives the resultant ice its cloudy appearance. Boiling water removes these gases resulting in clearer ice. Additionally, using distilled water for freezing can increase the clarity of the ice.
Getting the ice out at the right time before bubbles start to form can further help you get clear ice. You must freeze your water in transparent trays and monitor them for clarity. Usually, the bottom of the ice cube starts clouding first. On removal, scrap off the cloudy ends as another option for obtaining a clear ice cube.
How do you make ice without a freezer?
Two important ways with which you can make ice without a freezer are:
– Portable ice makers
Portable ice makers are appliances designed to make ice that does not require a built-in system for installation. They are easy to handle, portable, and require only an electric connection for making ice. These machines operate quickly and make small batches of ice in a very short period. It usually takes a portable ice maker 7-15 minutes to make ice, but the time depends on:
– minerals present in the supplied water
– maintenance of the appliance
– frequency of use
– age of the appliance
– Under counter ice makers
Under-Counter Ice Makers are built-in appliances developed for producing and storing ice in large quantities. Used as a substitute for freezers, under-counter ice makers need to be permanently installed in your home, office, or place of work to enable you to get ice out of them. Despite their advantages in ice production, they may not be the best fit for a home since:
– they are expensive
– they are heavy to move
– they require water line and drain with permanent fixing spot
– they take up a lot of space