Clear Ice Vs. White Ice: What’s The Difference?

Ever been to a bar and had a drink or cocktail with perfectly clear ice only to try and make ice and home and you ice is always cloudy and white?

What exactly is the difference between clear ice and white ice and why is the ice you're making white while the ice at bars is completely see through.

White ice is ice with air bubbles trapped inside giving it its white cloudy look whereas clear ice is made by pushing the air bubbles out so it's completely transparent. Clear ice is usually made with distilled or filtered water to further remove impurities making it even clearer.

Really the composition of white ice and clear ice is the same (it's just frozen water) but it's whether or not the ice contains air bubbles that determine whether it's opaque and white or has that amazing clear look.

Are you wondering what makes clear ice and white ice so different from each other, and which one is the best to use? You have come to the right place! Continue reading with us as we discuss everything you need to know!

What Is Clear Ice?

Gourmet ice, more commonly known as clear ice, looks exactly like the same suggests. This type of ice is crystal clear without a shade or even a hint of cloudiness to it. 

Many people tend to think that the only reason clear ice is so popular is how good it looks to the eye. However, clear ice actually has a variety of benefits over white ice making it the better choice in a variety of situations.

Clear ice is made by freezing the water omni-directionally (or in one direction) – usually from the top down. This pushes the bubble out of the ice as it freezes.

This is usually done by filling up a cooler with water and leaving the lid off so the ice freezes from the top down. I've done a full guide on how to make clear ice for beginners if you want to make some clear ice yourself.

What Is White Ice?

White ice, also known as cloudy ice, is the regular ice that you make in your freezer or you get from an ice machine or you buy at your local supermarket or service center.

The ice comes out the cloudy white color because when the water got frozen from the outside in. This freezing process pushes the air bubbles into the center of the ice cube where they eventually get trapped and frozen in.

Clear Ice Vs. White Ice: The Key Differences

Let's take a look at some of the critical differences between clear ice and white ice:

Clear Ice Melts Much Slower Than White Ice

Clear ice is denser than white ice because it doesn't have any air bubbles and this means it also melts slower. White ice commonly melts faster due to the air trapped inside of it meaning there is overall less water content as well as the increase surface area for the ice to warm up.

The slower melting properties of clear ice will let you have fun and enjoy your chilled drinks to their fullest potential for a more extended period.

This is why clear ice is commonly used in the shape or larger spheres or cubes in whiskey glasses. The ice melts slower so it doesn't dilute the drink as much.

Clear Ice Tastes Better Than White Ice

Clear ice is often made from distilled or filtered water, which many people feel gives it a much better taste.

The smooth texture of the clear ice also makes it more pleasant to eat for many people.

It also seems like white ice collects the air from your freezer which means it can trap in flavors that are in the air leaving your ice tasting weird in some circumstances.

Clear Ice Is Better Than White Ice For Making Drinks 

When it comes to the fine art of making chilled beverages, such as cocktails, clear ice is your best friend. It doesn't matter whether you are a party planner or a barman. Clear ice looks better than white ice in pretty much every circumstance and it melts slower, diluting your drink less.

This is where white or cloudy ice falls short, as it isn't seen as the best for party or professional drinks due to its fast melting properties and taste.

Unlike White Ice, There Are No Foul Odors In Clear Ice 

Because there are usually lots of impurities present in tap water, white ice can also contain some unwanted bad smells. 

This can be not only irritating but can compromise the overall taste of your drink. Luckily, this is not the same in the case of clear ice. 

Clear ice is usually free from any smells and odors because it is made up of pure distilled water and it pushes out the air bubbles from the freezer it is made in so it's less likely to adopt smells or flavors present in the air.

White Ice Is Softer and Easier To Chew

Everybody knows that you can bite right through white ice. Many people love soft white ice for this particular reason

This is not the same with clear ice, as there are no air bubbles or impurities, which will ultimately make it nearly impossible to chew it!

Clear Ice Contains Less Impurities

Many people choose to drink filtered or distilled water to remove minerals or impurities from the water that they don't want to consume. Distilled water is a key ingredient to making clear ice as impurities can cause the ice to look white or cloudy.

Some people say this has health benefits and because clear ice uses distilled water it make be preferred by some people.

Clear Ice Is Much Harder and Time Consuming To Make

Once of the benefits of white ice is that it's quick and easy to make. Just put water in your ice cube trays and throw them in the freezer.

However, clear ice is a lot harder to make.

You need to use a cooler in your freezer in order to make the ice freeze omni-directionally or you need to use an insulated ice mold – both of which take up a lot of space and slow down the freezing process.

Creating clear ice pushes all the air bubbles to the bottom of your ice block. This then needs to be removed by hand so you are just left with clear ice.

Or you need to physically cut up a large clear block of ice into more manageable chunks which can be difficult and time consuming.

Yes clear ice is better, but it often comes down to whether or not it's worth the time and effort for the return you get.

How Do You Make Clear Ice?

You should always keep in mind three main things when making clear ice. 

The water should be as clean as possible, and pure, filtered water would be best. The water should always freeze in a single direction, and it should freeze at its freezing point slowly in order to avoid getting any air trapped in the ice cubes. 

The best way to make clear ice is to use the cooler method. The cooler method depends on top-down freezing and requires a cooler that is small enough to fit in your freezer. The cooler will insulate the water and force it to freeze from the top downwards.

Let's go through all the steps you should follow to make clear ice using the cooler method:

Step 1:  Fill up a small cooler and place in your freezer, leaving the lid off so the ice can freeze from the top down. Choose a cooler that is small enough to fit in your freezer. I personally like to use the Coleman 5-Quart Flip Lid cooler as it's cheap, small and does the trick.

Step 2: Next, place the open cooler in your freezer and leave it for approximately 24 hours. Try to refrain from opening your freezer during this period. 

Step 3: After 24 hours, take out your cooler, remove the ice block and cut away and cloudy ice. Then cut apart the ice block into more manageable pieces.


Now that you know all the differences between clear and white ice, there is a clear indication that clear ice is the best ice for your preferred drinks. Next time you notice a beautiful piece of clear ice in your drink or cooler, you'll know exactly how it's made!