Sometimes you either need to make a lot of ice cubes quickly or you need ice in a rush and don't want to wait hours for the ice to freeze. Luckily there are a variety of ways to make ice cubes quickly when you need them.
This article will explore many different techniques for making ice extremely quickly. So read on to learn everything you need to know about making ice cubes as fast as possible.
1. Create Smaller Ice Cubes
If you need ice cubes quickly then it's important to know that smaller cubes of ice will freeze A LOT faster than large ice cubes.
While large ice cube trays can be great for creating premium ice cubes the downside is they take a long time to freeze (up to or more than 24 hours in some cases). However, smaller ice cube trays can freeze in the ice cubes in 1-2 hours.
This is because there is more surface area of the ice overall exposed to the cold freezer. Also, with large ice cubes once the outside freezes it can be very time consuming for the cold to permeate through to the frozen water to freeze the middle of the cube.
However, with small ice cubes the middle of the cube freezes very quickly as it isn't far from the outside of the cube.
Below is my favorite small ice cube tray. It's an easy release ice cube tray and it makes 60 ice cubes at a time. Plus it's stackable so you can fit multiple trays in your freezer at once:
2. Increase the Surface Area of the Ice
The more surface area of ice that is exposed to the freezer the faster the ice will freeze. For this reason spherical ice cube trays will actually be slower to make ice than rectangular ice cube trays.
The wider and thinner the ice cubes the faster they will freeze. This is because the more surface area that is exposed to the cold air of the freezer the faster the water will cool down and turn into ice.
The OXO Good Grips No-Spill Ice Cube Tray makes thin and wide ice cubes that freeze fairly quickly and can even be stacked at a 45º angle to increase air flow and speed up freezing.
3. Turn Your Freezer All the Way Down
Another method you can quickly try at home is reducing the temperature in your freezer to its lowest option. This is a logical step to try if you think about it because you’re making your freezer colder. Thus, it should freeze items faster.
However, if you do this, I recommend adjusting the temperature again after making the ice quickly. If you leave it on the coldest setting you may find the items in your freezer get TOO frozen.
Have you ever tried to serve out rock hard ice cream? It's not a good time.
4. Use Refrigerated Water
Water kept in your fridge is going to be around 4ºC/39ºF which is much less than room temperature. This means the water only has a few degrees lower to go before it turns into ice.
Using water directly from your fridge into your ice cube trays is one of the best ice cube tray hacks for making ice faster.
The colder the water is when you start the faster the ice is going to freeze and turn into ice cubes. This is with the weird exception we talk about in point #9.
5. Put Your Ice Tray Near the Cooling Outlet
Another quick and easy ice-making method is to put your ice tray at the very back of your freezer or as close to the freezer's cooling outlet as possible.
The closer the ice tray is to where the cold is coming from, the quicker it will freeze, and the sooner you can enjoy your ice cubes!
6. Use Metal Ice Cube Trays
If you’re in a hurry to enjoy some ice cubes, a stainless steel ice cube tray is another trick you can use. The plastic and silicone ice cubes are great, but they are better insulators than metal so the cold from the freezer can take longer to reach the ice.
This is why ice melts faster on metals like aluminum compared to plastic or wood. But it also means that means ice in either the plastic or silicone trays will take longer to freeze in your freezer.
Couple a metal ice cube tray with lowered temperatures in your freezer, right next to the cooling outlet, and you could have ice in less than an hour, depending on your freezer.
There aren't many stainless steel ice cube trays out there but the EcoZoi is a great option. It's more expensive than plastic ice cube trays but it's a great product.
7. Put a Fan Inside Your Freezer
Another option for speeding up ice production is to put a fan inside your freezer. The hard part about this is finding a fan small enough to fit inside your freezer, especially if you’re like me and your freezer is packed with food!
If you have a fan, though, that can fit into your freezer, place it near the cooling outlet, and it should push out the cold air faster, thus reducing the time it takes for the ice to freeze.
8. Use Aluminum Foil Cupcake Holders or Muffin Trays
Next up on the list is using aluminum foil cupcake holders to make ice quickly. Aluminum is a fragile, soft, and malleable metal.
Remember when I told you that using a metal ice cube tray can freeze water faster? Well, it’s the same principle for aluminum foil cupcake holders and muffin trays. These are one of the clever ways you can make ice cubes quickly without a tray.
If you don’t have a metal ice cube tray, you may have aluminum foil cupcake holders that will do the trick. Aluminum, like other metals, is not well-insulated, which means the contents it’s holding will freeze faster.
9. Use Hot Water
I know what you’re thinking: using hot water to make ice cubes will not speed up the process. But the crazy thing is, this method can work exceptionally well!
Scientists call it the Mpemba Effect, referring to the process of hot water freezing faster than cold water. Many theories attempt to explain the Mpemba Effect, including faster evaporation of hot water leading to the reduced volume available to freeze. However, the jury is still out on why exactly this works.
It also doesn't always work and isn't guaranteed. Sometimes hot water freezes faster than cold water, sometimes it doesn't. Still it worth a try and it can be a cool experiment to do with the kids to see which ice cubes freeze the fastest.
10. Use an Ice Machine
At home or commercial ice machines use cold metal plates to freeze water nearly instantly and make ice extremely quickly.
For example, the Opal Nugget Ice Maker can begin producing ice in as little as 15 minutes and it produces as entire pound of ice in 1 hour. That's 24 pounds an hour! Compare that to your regular ice cube trays which might take 3-4 hours just to make 1/2 pound of ice.
How to Opal Nugget Ice Maker works is extremely interesting. It works by making a metal cylinder extremely cold. When water touches it it freezes instantly and a spinner auger scrapes off the ice and compresses it into little nuggets.
Other at home ice makers use similar but different techniques to make ice extremely quickly and in larger quantities than you could make in your freezer at home.
11. Use Dry Ice
Dry ice is MUCH MUCH colder than your freezer at home and thus it can be used to make ice more quickly.
Dry ice is −78.5°C/−109.2 °F. Compare that to the temperature of a regular household freezer at -18ºC/0ºF and you can see the huge difference in temperature.
The bigger the temperature difference the fast the water is going to cool down and turn into ice.
To make ice cubes extremely quickly place your block of dry ice directly above the ice cube tray (cold air sinks) and if you have enough dry ice place it underneath the ice cube tray as well to maximize it's exposure to the cold dry ice.
Dry ice isn't that expensive so it can be an affordable way to make ice quickly. But I guess if you're going to be spending money on dry ice you could just go out there and buy regular ice.
This can turn water into ice in a matter of minutes. I recommend using a cooler to do this as sometimes it's not good to put dry ice in your freezer.