7 Ways To Get Ice Cubes Out Of The Tray Easily

During the summer I feel like I'm constantly making ice cubes for myself and my kids and I hate it when they get stuck in the tray and are hard to get out.

The standard method of getting ice cubes out of trays is to twist them around or bang them until loosen up and fall out (often with ice cubes getting all over the floor). But sometimes this isn't enough.

But there are a few other techniques you can use to easily get your ice cubes out of the trays.

There are several methods you can use to get ice cubes out of the tray – you can try pouring water on the bottom of the tray, you can tap the bottom of the tray, or you can wait until the ice cubes melt slightly, and dump them into a bowl. 

There are all kinds of reasons why ice cubes don’t always easily come out of trays – from leftover ice crystals to the type of tray you’re using. But regardless of why the ice cubes are stuck these techniques should work with any ice cube tray.

1. Pouring Water On The Tray Bottom (Or Sit The Tray In A Thin Layer of Water)

You can turn the tray upside down and pour cool or warm water over the base of the tray to loosen up the ice cubes.

This method can work but it can often end up with your ice cubes in the sink with the warm water (which you then need to fish out).

I find a better method is to fill up your sink with a thin layer of warm water. Then place your ice cube tray in the water for a minute or so.

You don't want to water to go above the sides of the ice cube tray, you aren't trying to wet the ice cubes.

Now the bottoms should be melted enough that the ice cubes will slide right out.

2. Flex The Ends

Gently twisting the tray (not too much or it’ll break) in opposite directions with each hand will create some friction that loosens the ice cubes.

Depending on how long the ice cubes have been frozen you might need to twist and flex the ends of the tray a few times. Go back and forth twisting in both directions.

  • Flexing works because it allows air to enter any spaces in the tray and warps the ice cube tray gently push the ice cubes out. 

3. Push The Bottom With Your Thumb

This is great for removing just a few individual ice cubes at a time. It only works if you have a silicone ice cube tray – this won't work for hard plastic trays or metal ice cube trays.

Start by turning the ice cube tray upside down and then use your thumb to gently push the rear side of one of the tray’s pockets.

Place a bowl below the ice cube tray to catch any stragglers that fall out. 

One of the downsides of this method is that you might find your ice tasting a bit funny – constantly refilling half-used ice cube trays without cleaning them can lead to the tray absorbing flavors. 

There are things you can do if your ice tastes a bit funny though. 

4. Easy Release Ice Cube Trays

There are all kinds of ice cube trays on the market – easy release, soft silicone, lots of people (including myself) prefer metal ice cube trays as well (metal ones can come with levers that make releasing the ice a bit easier to boot). 

You don’t necessarily have to fork out cash for expensive trays and plastic ones are fine – in fact the cheap Rubbermaid easy release ice cube trays work great and are one of the best easy-release ice cube trays out there.

A higher quality ice cube tray will cost more than the cheap trays but it will last a very long time. Ice cubes literally fall out of the the OXO Good Grips easy release ice cube tray and it's also spill proof.

OXO Good Grips No-Spill Ice Cube Tray
$10.95

This easy release ice cube tray makes 14 ice cubes and features a silicone spill-proof lid that allows you to place your tray at up to a 45º angel without any water spilling out in your freezer.

This is one of my favorite ice cubes trays and it's extremely easy to use. It's worth the slightly extra cost compared to cheaper alternatives.

See Latest Price at Amazon
11/28/2022 10:08 pm GMT

5. Don’t Overfill The Tray

Getting ice cubes out of the tray isn’t just about pulling them out gently – it’s also about what you do beforehand. 

Overfilling your ice cube tray is something many people do – sometimes you're in a rush and just want to get the ice cubes ready.

The problem is that any water that spills around the edges of the tray pockets will freeze – this causes your ice cubes to turn into one interconnected block and they can become stuck and be difficult to get out.

Here are some hacks to stop water from spilling out of your ice cube tray as you fill it up. These hacks are pretty clever and work great for me.

6. Clean Trays Before Refilling

Finally, getting into the habit of cleaning your trays regularly is a great idea. Ice cubes don’t always come out perfectly – partially froze ice cubes leave bits behind, and this residue can prevent your ice cubes from coming out easily. 

Cleaning your ice trays regularly is also a good way to stop your ice from tasting funny as well!

7. Wait For The Ice Cubes To Melt Slightly

If you're lazy like me and have time to spare then get your ice cubes out and just leave them on the bench for 5-10 minutes before trying to remove them from the trays.

This is usually enough time for the outside of the ice cubes to melt slightly making them smaller but also providing a thin layer of water that helps the ice cubes to quickly and easily slide out of the tray.

In warmer weather a couple of minutes might be enough and in colder weather it might take a bit longer.

Just don't forget about the ice cubes and wait too long otherwise you'll be tipping out water instead of ice cubes.