There are lots of things you can do with an ice cube tray other than usual ice cubes! From chocolate-covered bites, flavored ice cubes, to storage for leftover sauces, this kitchen tool is more useful than you think!
During summer, ice cubes are both a necessity and a pleasure. If you have a big family, you probably use an ice cube maker, because it’s more efficient. If not, you may be using ice cube plastic bags, because they take up little space in your drawer. But what about that oldie but goldie ice cube tray? Do you remember it? If you are wistful – like me – I bet you haven’t abandoned it. But if you have, I suggest you reconsider your choice. I’m sure you’ll buy multiple ice cube trays because you’ll want to try all of our ideas!
What you can do with an ice cube tray
1. Fresh herbs in olive oil
The best thing you can do with an ice cube tray is – by far – to freeze fresh herbs in olive oil. That way, anytime you want to cook, any hour or time of the year - you’ll have some small cubes of perfect fresh flavors. Hard herbs like oregano, sage, thyme, and rosemary work best for this. Just fill each cube slot with 2/3 herbs and 1/3 olive oil and freeze them. You can add them to soups, stews or other dishes.
2. Wine for cooking
If it miraculously happens – I’m just saying! – to have a bit of leftover red or white wine, freeze it for the recipes that you want to cook in the future. Just pour the wine into the cube slots and freeze it. You can keep wine cubes for a year or longer! There are plenty of recipes for stews, steaks, or sauces that call for wine!
3. Save lemon and lime juice
If you have leftover lemons or limes, you can squeeze the juice from them and freeze it in your ice cube tray. Use it for tea, lemonade, or water.
4. Chocolate-covered bites
Who doesn’t need some chocolate once in a while? But how about some chocolate-covered cheesecake or chocolate-covered fruit bites made in an ice cube tray? Can you imagine something easier in terms of dessert? Melt some chocolate and mix it with some milk. Then, you have two directions to go:
- Mix some cream cheese with powdered sugar and your favorite flavoring - vanilla, almond, orange, or lemon.
- Prepare your fruit. If you use whole fruit – like strawberries – all you have to do is rinse them and set them aside to dry. If you use big fruits – like bananas - chop them.
After you choose between these two desserts, pour some melted chocolate in the ice cube tray, and coat each hole with chocolate. Put some cream cheese or fruit into each cube and complete with chocolate.
Freeze the bites for a couple of hours and then leave them out on the counter for a couple of minutes prior to serving. To remove them from the tray, simply grab both ends of the tray and turn it slowly face down. Ready to serve!
5. Chocolate cubes for hot drinks
When it’s cold outside, a warm drink goes straight to your heart. Do you want to warm up with a hot drink, but not spend much time preparing it? Chocolate cubes are the perfect solution if you make them ahead! How? Just fill an ice cube tray with melted chocolate, let it cool and then refrigerate it! When you crave a hot sweet drink, boil some milk after you've dropped a vanilla pod in the pot. Pour the vanilla milk into a cup, then add 2-3 chocolate cubes and some marshmallows. Done!
6. Coffee ice cubes
How many times did you regret putting ice cubes in your coffee, expecting espresso freddo, but getting only a cold disappointment instead? If the answer is “every time”, then you have to make a change! Ice cubes dilute your cold coffee, so it’s better to freeze some real coffee in your ice cube tray!
7. Flavored ice cubes
Fruit infused water looks amazing. We suggest you don’t make it just for parties, but also for your everyday pleasure! If it’s hot outside and you want to freshen up, make some flavored ice cubes. It’s simple: put some berries (blackberries, raspberries, strawberries) and some water in an ice cube tray and freeze them. But the possibilities are endless: green tea with lemon bites; pineapple juice and chunks; lime juice, brown sugar, and fresh mint leaves. Use the cubes to flavor your water or other drinks.
8. Leftover ingredients
Maybe you thought you need more lemon or lime zest or grated ginger root for your meal. It happens to all of us! Don’t throw the leftovers away, because they are great frozen in an ice cube tray and saved for your future recipes!
9. Stock up on sauces
Did you just make pesto or tomato sauce and you didn’t use the entire quantity? Pour the remaining sauces into the cube slots and then freeze. Pesto is great for dips and salad dressings, and tomato homemade sauce makes any soup, stew, or pasta better. You can store them for several months.
10. Herb and garlic butter
Toast some bread and spread some herb and garlic butter on it. Sound nice? Leave the butter at room temperature for one hour and mix it with chopped herbs and crushed garlic. Then put the butter mixture into an ice cube tray and freeze it. If you want to always have some on hand, make a large batch and you can enjoy it for months with little to no effort! Simply take a few cubes on a plate and enjoy!