It’s likely you’ve only ever used them for plain old H2O, but ice cube trays can do a whole lot more for us — from portion control to saving time. The small wells of the tray even help easy-to-gobble-down treats stay out of site and out of mind. From frozen coffee cubes to no-bake energy bites, we’ve rounded up 15 super-easy ice cube tray recipes that will get you thinking outside-the-freezer-box.
1. Wine Cubes
White wine makes for a refreshing summer sipper, but a warm version? No thanks. Chill that wine with 100 percent wine cubes (it’s as easy as pouring and freezing). For an even fancier variety, freeze champagne for a lightly fizzed wine that’s perfect for sangria.
2. Seasoning Nuggets
Save fresh herbs and spices by chopping, then freezing them in water, oil or vegetable stock. Fill each well about two-thirds of the way with herbs, then cover with preferred liquid. When it comes time to sauté or stir fry, add a cube right into the pan, or drop a couple cubes into a pot of rice to beat the bland.
3. Coffee Cubes
On a sweltering day, there’s nothing better than an iced coffee to cool off (and caffeinate). But it’s no fun when that chilled cup of Joe turns into sad, watery mess. For a non-diluted morning jolt, pop in two to three java cubes per cup. Simply brew two cups of coffee and let them cool to room temperature, then pour and freeze (you can also customize them with milk and sweetener before freezing).
4. Smoothie Squares
Turn that watery post-workout shake into a feel-good frosted treat. First, freeze plain or flavored yogurt, then blend with frozen fruit and your choice of milk. Pro tip: Try a silicone ice cube tray for more flexibility — the yogurt chunks will pop right out.
5. Grown-Up Jell-O Shots
Ditch the wasteful paper cups and make Jell-O cubes (with or without alcohol) in an ice cube tray. Jell-O on it’s own is a low-cal and refreshing snack when it’s toasty out. Plus the fun factor is hard to beat.
6. Healthy Peanut Butter Cups
What’s better than peanut butter? Peanut butter and chocolate, of course! For a healthier — and mess-free — alternative to conventional peanut butter cups, try these organic peanut butter cubes made with dark chocolate and honey. The only challenge: eating just one.
7. Chocolate Milk Cubes
Pour and freeze chocolate milk into cubes to cool off (and jazz up!) a plain glass of milk. Feeling fancy? Toss the frozen chocolate milk cubes into a food processor or blender, and pulse for a single-ingredient chocolate milk slushie.
8. After-Dinner Treat
Create perfectly portioned sweets by combining melted dark chocolate, chopped nuts and dried fruit. Pour the mixture into an ice cube tray and freeze. Prepping for date night? Chocolate-covered strawberries are a cinch to make in an ice cube tray. Rest a strawberry in each well then pour melted chocolate up to the edge and freeze!
9. Cocktail Cubes
Turn a basic homemade drink into an Instagram-worthy cocktail in just seconds. Simply pour water over chopped or whole herbs, like mint (or even edible flowers!), then freeze.
10. Egg Savers
Take advantage of on-sale eggs and freeze an extra dozen. Scramble eggs (or just whites) before pouring them into an ice cube tray. Use the egg cubes as needed for a breakfast omelet or any other egg-filled recipes.
11. Berry Fizzers
Ready to make a splash? Pop a couple blueberries or blackberries into each ice cube tray slot and fill the remainder with plain or flavored seltzer. Once frozen, add the fizzy chillers to seltzer or juice for a fancy, but budget-friendly, mocktail.
12. No-Bake Bites
These energy bites have only six ingredients, most importantly: chocolate chips. A tray of these little snacks will cost less than most store-bought energy bars, plus all it takes is a quick whirl in the food processor and your freezer does the rest of the work. Pop a few bites before a workout, or snack on a couple for a sweet and savory dessert.
13. Cookie For One
Instead of noshing on an entire batch of cookies in one sitting, whip up your favorite healthy recipe and freeze them into individual portions. Oil the tray with non-stick spray or use a paper towel to dab oil into each well — it’ll help remove the cookie dough more cleanly.
14. Seedless Lemon Water
Skip the seeds and freeze lemon or lime juice for a light and easy flavored drink. For extra oohs and aahs, dress the cubes up with herbs (think: dill or basil) for a boost of savory sophistication. Or, incorporate some citrus zest for an even more intense burst of flavor.
15. Portioned Pesto
Save extra homemade pesto by freezing into cubes, and adding to recipes as needed. For a mess-free process, transfer pesto like a pro by pouring it into a small plastic bag. Snip the corner then squeeze the sauce into each ice cube tray well.