Best-Ice-Cube-Trays

The 10 Best Ice Cube Trays in 2019

The ice cube tray is a versatile addition to any freezer; not just for cold drinks, ice cube trays are ideal for freezing baby food puree, making peanut butter cups, frozen desserts, stock cubes, popsicles and so much more. The ice cube tray has evolved from its humble metal beginnings to availability in a range of sizes, shapes and materials.

Silicone or plastic are the most popular types of ice cube trays today, and depending on what you use your trays for, both types do have some key disadvantages. In this article we review some of the best ice cube trays on the market and take an in-depth look at what makes one type of ice cube tray more suitable than another.

​Best Pick

Tovolo Perfect Cube Ice Tray

For perfectly formed one ounce cubes, the Tovolo Perfect Cube ice tray (candy apple red) is our best pick for impressing your friends when you serve their drinks.

​Budget Pick

OMorc Ice Cube Trays

The OMorc ice cube trays (4 pack) is our budget pick for having lids and being made of BPA free plastic.


1. ​Tovolo Perfect Cube Ice Tray  

Highlighted Features

  • Candy apple red colored twin pack of ice cube trays
  • Made from food grade silicone which is free from phthalates, PVC and BPA
  • Each tray makes 15 one-ounce cubes which are a precise cube rather than a rounded cube
  • Suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher

The Tovolo Perfect Cube ice tray (candy apple red) is designed to produce fifteen 1 oz cubes that are perfectly cubed shaped – not rounded or bulging. This tray is also suitable for freezing baby food purees and other items. Coming as a twin pack, these food grade silicone trays are free from BPA, PVC and phthalate. They are also durable and dishwasher safe.

Some owners find it difficult to remove ice cubes from the tray, and others have commented that cubes made in this can take on odor; although the manufacturer recommends removing frozen cubes from the tray and storing them in an airtight container to help prevent this from happening.

​Pros

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    Perfect cubed ice cubes
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    Twin pack of trays
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    Candy apple red color
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    PVC, BPA and phthalate free
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    Food grade silicone
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    Dishwasher safe

​Cons

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    The silicone can take on freezer odor
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    May struggle to release the cubes from the tray

2. OMorc Ice Cube Trays 

Highlighted Features

  • Four pack of polypropylene and TPE ice cube trays with lids
  • Each tray makes 14 cubes that are approximately ¾ oz
  • These green and white colored trays are also stackable
  • Are BPA-free and LFGB certified which means they have been tested for being safe for food contact
  • Suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher

Made of TPE and polypropylene, the OMorc ice cube trays (4 pack) come with removeable lids and are suitable for stacking. Each green and white tray makes 14 ice cubes that are approximately ¾ oz. The bottom of the tray is made from TPE (thermoplastic rubber) for easy release, although there is some risk of TPE breakage when pushing out ice from the bottom. The manufacturer does advise that that warm water is run over the base of the tray before you release the cubes. These trays are free from BPA, are dishwasher safe and food contact safe as certified by LFGB.

​Pros

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    Four pack of ice cube trays and lids
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    Each tray makes 14 cubes
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    Made of polypropylene and TPE
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    Stackable
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    BPA free
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    LFGB certified

​Cons

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    May be at more risk of breakage when pushing on the TPE base to release cubes
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    It may be easier to release cubes if the tray is only part filled
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    Lids only fit loosely

3. Glacio Ice Cube and Sphere Trays

Highlighted Features

  • Set contains an ice cube tray that makes six 2" cubes and a tray to make six ice spheres
  • Also suitable for other uses such as baby food puree or popsicles
  • Made from food grade silicone that is free from BPA
  • Can be cleaned in the dishwasher
  • Come with a satisfaction guarantee from the manufacturer

The Glacio ice cube and sphere trays makes six 2" cubes and six ice spheres/balls. Made from BPA-free food grade silicone they are also ideal for making larger popsicles or freezing baby puree. It may take some practice to fill the ice sphere tray properly, and you will always need to do it over a sink as there will be some overspill. These trays are suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher and come with a satisfaction guarantee.

​Pros

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    Set of ice cube and ice sphere trays
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    Larger 2" ice cubes
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    BPA free
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    Food grade silicone
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    Dishwasher safe

​Cons

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    ​Will take up more room in the freezer than traditional ice cube trays
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    ​You will find it more difficult to fill the ice sphere tray
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    ​The ice sphere tray may not ‘lock’ together as well as it could do

4. Vremi Large Ice Cube Trays 

Highlighted Features

  • Larger 1¾" cubes that melt slower than typical smaller cubes
  • Set of two silicone trays that each make eight large cubes
  • Each tray has a hard-plastic lid to minimize odor, spill risk and allow easier stacking
  • Trays and lids are suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher after a hand wash before first use
  • These ice cube trays are free from BPA

With each tray making eight cubes that are 1¾" square, the Vremi large ice cube trays (2 pack) are able to cool drinks without watering them down as quickly as smaller cubes. These BPA-free trays are made from silicone and come with hard plastic lids for minimal spill, odor control and ease of stacking.

After thorough hand washing before first use, these trays and their lids can be cleaned in the dishwasher. Some users have experienced significant residue/film in the ice cubes from these trays, even when filtered water has been used.

​Pros

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    Large 1¾" ice cubes
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    Slower melting
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    Two trays of 8 cubes with lids
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    BPA-free trays
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    ​Dishwasher safe

​Cons

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    Ice cubes may have a residue/film on them
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    Although the trays are BPA free, there is no confirmation that lids are free from BPA
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    The cubes can be difficult to remove
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    The lid is not as tight fitting as may be expected

5. Mumi&Bubi Solids Starter Kit Freezer Trays 

Highlighted Features

  • Two stackable freezer trays with a 21 ounce capacity in each (21 x one ounce cubes)
  • Multipurpose trays with lids ideal for baby purees, breast milk or ice cubes
  • BPA and PVC-free, these trays are made in New Zealand
  • They are dishwasher safe and come with a baby food recipe e-guide

The Mumi&Bubi solids starter kit freezer trays are two compact and stackable baby food freezer trays with lids. Each tray offers 21 one ounce cubes and made in New Zealand, they are free from BPA and PVC and are also suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher. These are multipurpose, ideal for breast milk storage, as ice cube trays or other uses.

The cubes are easy to release by just pressing on the end, although some users have encountered problems when trying to release some of the food cubes. These trays also come with a baby food recipe e-guide.

​Pros

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    Starter food kit and multipurpose freezer tray
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    One ounce cube slots
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    21 slots per tray
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    Dishwasher safe
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    Comes with baby food recipe e-guide

​Cons

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    Some users struggle to remove the cubes
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    You may struggle to fit the lid if the tray is overfilled
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    The lid does not make a tight seal on the tray

6. Samuelworld Large Ice Cube Tray 

Highlighted Features

  • This two pack of trays makes 16 ice cubes that measure just under 2" each
  • The trays and lids are made of BPA-free silicone and meet US FDA standards
  • Made from a tougher and less flexible silicone that is also dishwasher safe

Making eight large cubes at just under 2" each, the Samuelworld large ice cube tray (2 pack) is made from premium food-grade silicone that is free from BPA and meets US FDA standards. These trays are also dishwasher safe. As a tougher grade silicone, the trays are not quite as flexible as other types of silicone tray, so you may find it harder to extract the cubes.

Like any type of silicone, these trays can also absorb odor, so you may need to spend more time on cleaning before re-using them, and some users have reported that there is some pre-existing odor in the silicone on first use.

​Pros

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    Twin pack of trays
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    Makes eight cubes just under 2" each
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    BPA free
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    Tougher grade silicone
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    Safe for cleaning in the dishwasher

​Cons

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    The silicone may have some odor on first use
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    Liable to take on odors from the freezer
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    Silicone cover may not fit as well as you would expect

7. OXO Good Grips Covered Ice Cube Tray

Highlighted Features

  • Twin pack of covered ice cube trays that are free from BPA, phthalate and PFOA
  • Designed ergonomically, these have sliding lids and can be stacked in the freezer
  • The lids minimize odor taint on ice cubes and both the lids and trays can be cleaned in the dishwasher
  • The cubes are ¾ oz and the trays are rounded for easier cube release
  • These trays come with a manufacturer guarantee to repair or replace

The OXO Good Grips covered ice cube tray (pack of 2) are ergonomically designed and stackable. The lids on these trays also reduce the risk of ice cubes absorbing odor from the freezer. The ¾ oz cubes are rounded to allow easier release, and both the trays and lids are dishwasher safe. They are free from PFOA, phthalate and PVC.

The lid can be awkward to slide off at times, especially if frozen to the cubes. You can reduce the risk of this happening by slightly underfilling, and although a ‘no spill’ design, you will still need to take care when moving the trays into the freezer. These come with an OXO Better guarantee for either repair or replacement.

​Pros

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    Twin pack of ice cube trays with sliding lids
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    Stackable
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    Reduces odor contamination
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    PFOA, phthalate and PVC free
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    Easy release design
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    Dishwasher safe

​Cons

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    The lid can stick to the tray and be difficult to slide off
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    Water can still spill as the lid is not tight fitting
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    You cannot stack these until fully frozen

8. Onyx Stainless Steel #ICE001 Ice Cube Tray 

Highlighted Features

  • Ice cube tray made from 18/8 food grade stainless steel
  • A traditional style 18 cube tray with an easy release handle
  • Suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher

The 18 cube Onyx stainless steel is made from 18/8 food grade stainless steel. As a traditional style ice cube tray, it makes 18 ice cubes with an easy release handle. This tray is also dishwasher safe. This style of tray can be more liable to mechanical failure and it may be difficult to remove the cubes, especially if they have not separated into compartments fully due to a gap between the dividers and the base of the tray.

​Pros

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    Stainless steel ice cube tray
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    Makes 18 cubes
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    Traditional style lever
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    Food grade 18/8
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    Dishwasher safe

​Cons

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    Higher risk of mechanical failure
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    Ice may form in gaps between cube dividers and base of tray
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    Stainless steel may be thinner and more flexible than expected

9. W&P Peak Ice Works WP-ICE-ED-BL1 Silicone Ice Cube Tray 

  • Peak blue colored food grade silicone tray and lid that is BPA free
  • Tray has a steel frame for stability and easy release of cubes
  • Making twelve 1¼" cubes, this tray is suitable for stacking and may take up less room in your freezer
  • Suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher

The W&P Peak Ice Works WP-ICE-ED-BL1 silicone ice cube tray (peak blue) is a more compact tray with a capacity of 12 cubes that are 1¼" square. They are made from BPA free and food grade silicone from a supplier with a zero-emissions factory.

This tray contains an inner steel frame to stabilize it and the lid allows stacking of multiple trays as well as eliminating food odors. The lid on this tray does not fit tightly, and some users have also found that the lid does not sit correctly on the tray. You may also want to check this item on arrival, as a small number of customers have received trays that have been used and returned by others.

​Pros

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    Silicone tray and lid
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    12 cube capacity
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    Steel reinforced frame
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    Stackable
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    Lid to minimize odor
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    Dishwasher safe

​Cons

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    Lid does not fit as well on the tray as may be expected
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    This item needs checking on arrival to ensure it is as new
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    Cubes will come out slightly rounded rather than square as the tray bulges when full

​10. Joseph Joseph QuickSnap Ice Tray  

  • Blue colored 12 cube tray with lever mechanism
  • Allows release of single cubes
  • You can add cubes to drinks without having to touch them
  • Can be cleaned in the dishwasher

The Joseph Joseph QuickSnap ice tray (blue) has a lever mechanism on its reverse to hold cubes in place. This 12 cube ice tray is suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher. When you want cubes, you just twist the tray once and then push each lever to release the cubes one at a time.

This means you can dispense cubes straight into drinks without having to touch them. This mechanism does however mean that cubes are smaller than typical ice cubes and although this tray may be more convenient when wanting smaller quantities of ice, it does take more time to release if you need a full tray of ice.

​Pros

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    Blue 12 cube ice tray
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    Lever mechanism for release
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    Dispense single cubes
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    Dishwasher safe

​Cons

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    The lever mechanism means smaller ice cubes
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    Can be time consuming to release a full tray of cubes
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    May not be as robust as expected
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    Need to fill correctly to the line otherwise cubes may not release as well or mechanism may break

Things to Consider Before Buying an Ice Cube Tray

When considering which ice cube tray to buy, probably the main two questions are around how easy it will be to remove the cubes and how low is the risk of the cubes and tray absorbing odors from your freezer.

Larger ice cubes are often preferred for drinks as they melt slower; which means drinks dilute at a slower rate. If you want to use trays for other purposes, such as making mini desserts, stock cubes or popsicles, then the size/capacity and shape of the trays will also be a deciding factor

Depending on the hardness of your water, you may find white residue left in the tray when your cubes are decanted. This is not harmful; it is just mineral deposits from the water. You can stop this by using filtered water rather than water from the tap.

Evolution of the Ice Cube Tray

Ice was used to keep icehouses cold, and some of the ice would be chipped off the blocks to use in drinks and cold desserts. Although it is uncertain as to when the first ice cube tray was invented, in 1844, John Gorrie, the American physicist built a refrigerator to make ice to cool the air for his patients who were suffering with Yellow Fever. As his patients also received ice drinks, the suggestion is that it was Gorrie who developed the first ice cube tray.

In 1914, a refrigerator called DOMELRE was produced. Although this was commercially unsuccessful, it did include an ice cube tray, and later refrigerator manufacturers followed suit. From the 1920s onwards, electric refrigerators started to be made with a freezer section which included ice cube trays.

A metal ice cube tray called the McCord ice tray was invented in 1933. This flexed to allow ice cubes to be released.

The composition of trays shifted to plastics during the 1960s, and in the 1980s, lids began to appear on ice trays, making them easy to stack. In recent times, the biggest shift in ice cube tray production has been to silicone trays that are available in wide range of colors and ice cube shapes.

Safety of Plastic Ice Cube Trays

If you do have some older plastic trays, then they may contain bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is used to make polycarbonate – hard clear plastic – as well as some resins used as linings in metal food cans. Most of us have traces of BPA in our bodies.

In rodent studies, BPA can be passed from pregnant mothers to their offspring, although other research showed that primates and humans metabolize and excrete BPA much better than rodents can. In 2012, the FDA stopped the use of BPA-based chemicals in baby bottles and sippy cups, and in 2013 it stopped the use of BPA epoxy resins in infant formula packaging.

The FDA continues to research BPA and still supports BPA as being safe in the applications that it is currently approved for. This includes food packaging.

If your plastic ice cube tray has numbers on the bottom to tell you what type of plastic it is and whether it is recyclable, if you want to stay away from BPA then do avoid trays with a number 3 or 7 in them as these might contain BPA. If your tray is older and does not contain any information on it, there is a good chance that it may have been made with BPA.

Pros and Cons of Stainless Steel Ice Cube Trays

The traditional stainless steel trays allow you to extract cubes easily as the built-in grid pushes the cubes out when the lever is triggered. The stainless steel in these trays is usually food grade and it does contain any BPA, or indeed any PTFEs, PFOAs or phthalates.

As well as costing more than other types of ice cube trays, another disadvantage of using a steel tray is that your fingers will temporarily stick to it as it is so cold straight out of the freezer.

If you use a stainless steel tray, then avoid overfilling – keep the water level below the rivets on the lever and when you take it out of the freezer leave it on the countertop for a few minutes before releasing the cubes.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Silicone Ice Cube Trays

Because silicone is quite flexible, it can cause minor difficulties when moving the tray of water into the freezer. This is where silicone trays with lids have an advantage as they can help to reduce the risk of spills. The flexibility of silicone also allows you to make a range of different shaped ice cubes from the many novelty shaped types of tray available.

It can sometimes be more difficult to extract cubes from a silicone tray than a plastic tray. With silicone, you may need to push and twist, or even turn it upside down to release the cube. You can also try leaving the tray on the countertop for a few minutes before releasing the cubes.

Silicone is better if you want to use your tray for freezing other items such as baby puree as its flexibility does make it easier to release food from the tray and it is free from BPA. If you place warm puree into an older plastic tray, or a new plastic tray that contains BPA, there is more risk of BPA leaching into the baby food.

All about Silicone

Silicone is a flexible resin or synthetic rubber made from bonded silicon, a natural element found in sand and rock, and oxygen. It is a chemically inert and stable material.

This colorful cookware can move from freezer to oven (up to 428°F), is resistant to staining, non-stick and does not contain BPA, BPS, phthalates, lead and other potentially damaging toxins or chemicals.

Silicone dioxides were generally recognized as being safe in 1979, and as of yet, no substantial follow-up studies have been carried out by the FDA to confirm whether or not silicone does react with food. Health Canada states that food-grade silicone is safe up to recommended temperatures, and that it does not react with food or drinks or produce any hazardous fumes.

Bad Smelling and Tasting Ice Cubes

The majority of bad odor and taste in your ice cubes does come from food stored in your freezer, especially from spilled food or open packaging. If you take some time to clean up spills and decant open foods into airtight containers this will help reduce odor across the freezer - there’s nothing worse than unintentional garlic-flavored ice cream!

Small open boxes of baking soda in the freezer can also help eliminate some odors.

You may also want to taste-test your water source. If you are using tap water which does not taste great, then neither will your ice cubes. Using filtered water can help resolve this.

As well as the ice itself smelling and tasting less than ideal, if you use a silicone ice cube tray, then the silicone is also capable of absorbing odors from your freezer.

Reducing Poor Odor and Taste from Silicone Tray Ice Cubes

You may find that the risk of odor reduces if you only fill silicone trays when needed and avoid using ice cubes that have been in the freezer longer than a week. When you have finished with the tray, wash and dry it, then store it in a cupboard until needed again.

You can also pop all your cubes out of the tray and store them in an airtight container in the freezer to reduce odor risks.

Defrosting and cleaning the freezer regularly can also help minimize odor.

Otherwise, try soaking your silicone tray in a mix of vinegar or lemon juice with water, or a baking soda solution. If these are unsuccessful, next time your oven is on, put the trays in for an hour at 350°F. If you are unable to remove the odor, then the final solution is to replace the silicone tray with a new one.

Conclusion

In this article we have looked in detail at three main types of ice cube trays; silicone, plastic and stainless steel. There are pros and cons for all of these, and particularly for plastic, there are also some safety concerns around the use of BPA.

We hope that the information we have provided, along with our review of some of the best ice cube trays available has been helpful to you, whether considering a new tray just for ice cubes, to store baby food puree, make popsicles or indeed anything else that a versatile ice cube tray will allow you to do.
The 10 Best Ice Cube Trays in 2019
5 (100%) 2 vote[s]

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