How to Make Ice Cubes Without a Tray

This is one quintessential question that usually requires an immediate answer seeing that you probably need the ice cubes soon! 

Well, the good news is making ice is far from rocket science, and that you will likely find a way you can make some ice using this guide to suit your immediate needs. The reality is if you can find something to hold the water, and you have a freezer with room for the item holding the water, you have made ice. 

How do you make ice cubes when your ice tray is out of commission? Here are some ways from practical to whimsical and everything in between. 

The Almighty Plastic Ziplock Bag 

If you have a sealable bag such as a Ziplock, freezer or even sandwich bag you can make ice, just follow these steps; 

  1. Fill your bag 0.5-75% full of fresh water 
  2. Ensure you can lay your bag flat in the freezer. You can stack them if you want a lot of ice 
  3. Let freeze 
  4. Once frozen you will have a sheet of ice in each prepared bag and will be able to break it up to suit your needs 

This might not produce the prettiest of ice, but it is certified to be functional for cooling drinks, and other important icing functionalities. 

Use a Flat Dish 

If you have a flat glass, ceramic or even metal dish, you can fill this up with water and put in your freezer (provided that the dish is safe to freeze). 

You will have a flat sheet of ice, that you can coax out and break up. Put the dish in water to encourage the ice to pop out without damaging the dish. 

A disadvantage of this method if you don’t have a lid for the dish is that you can’t stack anything on top of it. 

Silicon Trays 

If you are a baker or a chocolate maker, chances are that you have silicon muffin trays, or some chocolate molds in various shapes. The good news is that these can simply substitute an ice cube tray with no risk to their future usage.  You might get some very fancy shaped ice, or largish chunks, but better than no ice on a hot day, right? 

Grapes and Other Fruit 

If you are using your Ice in a summer drink, grapes may solve your cooling needs. You can buy frozen grapes from the grocery store, or you can just pop some in a Ziplock bag or container and put in the freezer. 

Grapes have a high-water content meaning they will stay cold for a while, and the skin around them stops them diluting your drinks. Additionally, you can snack on them once you’ve thawed – so doubly beneficial!

You can use other berries or slices of fruit; however, they may change the flavor of the drink they’re being put in so beware! This might be desirable, as they can also enhance the taste of the beverage if it is a well-matched fruit.

Plastic Bottles 

While in our opinion not an ideal solution, you can if you have spare plastic bottles, cut them to give you the bottom and a couple of inches above to use as a ramakin to make ice in. This is certainly a needs-must hack though and only for extreme emergencies as the effort of cutting bottles alongside the shape of ice produced is simply too arduous in our opinion. 

A more sustainable and fun way, especially for children to use this trick; 

  1. Fill a bottle partway with water
  2. Place in the freezer
  3. Ensure the water does not cover the bottle’s opening as it freezes

 Once the ice is created you can fill the bottle with water or any other drink and use as a perfect picnic cooler! 

Shot Glasses

Having a party? Need Ice? Housewarming and no clue where anything is? We have all been there! Although our recommendation is just to buy a bag of ice, you might not have time, or your store might not sell ice, so you are left with this awesome hack! 

If you are hosting a party, you likely have a large collection of those little plastic shot glasses, and incidentally apart from being used for shots – you can use them to make Ice! Follow the steps below:

  1. Place as many as you can on a tray you can fit in your freezer
  2. Fill with water 
  3. Place tray in freezer and let freeze! 
  4. You can ease the ice out by placing the shot glass in water 
  5. You can also place the whole shot glass into a larger cup

You can recollect, wash and reuse these for your next party saving the environment in the process. 

Ice Makers 

Your ice needs may exceed ice trays or these hacks, maybe you’re hosting a very large event, have a large family or a small freezer and cannot keep up with the ice requirements of your household. 

This is when you may consider investing in a longer-term solution. Ice Makers are becoming increasingly popular and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can if you want to invest in a new freezer get one with a built in Ice Maker. 

Alternatively, you can find both under counter and countertop ice makers. 

If you are considering this option, we recommend you do thorough market research and read reviews before investing. 


We hope this article has helped you realize that you never need to go without ice as long as you have a functional freezer! 

Ideally, we hope you consider environmentally friendly options for your ice production and wish you all the best with all your drink cooling endeavors.