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While the concept of ice is simple, a decent ice cube tray can do wonders for your cocktail game. The first step towards better ice? Ditch the chunky plastic ice trays that come with your fridge. “Avoid using those foggy ‘half-moon’-shaped ice that comes out of your freezer door,” explains Jordan Hughes, the cocktail expert behind High Proof Preacher. “Partly because of aesthetics, but mainly because they break down and melt easily, diluting your cocktail too quickly.”
Instead, opt for an ice cube tray that meets your drinking needs. There are crystal clear spheres for whiskey lovers and crushed ice trays for Tiki-style cocktails, as well as trays for everyday ice and ice molds for perfectly clear cubes. To help decipher the world of ice cubes, we've rounded up our favorite ice cube trays for all drinkers below.
Best Overall: W&P Everyday Ice Tray
If you’ve run into the common issue of cracking a vinyl ice cube tray when removing the ice, a bendable silicone tray offers a great solution—like this W&P option. The low-effort, flexible ice mold pops out 12 perfectly square cubes every time.
Measuring 1.25 inches, the tray’s ice cubes are small enough to pop into a cocktail on the rocks, yet large enough to shake without quickly diluting. “For shaker ice,” explains Hughes, “obviously the aesthetics of the ice does not matter as much but the quality still does—basically, you don’t want your shaker ice to break down too quickly in your shaker, which would over-dilute the cocktail before you even serve it.” He also points out that, “those bags of ice pellets you get from the grocery store make horrible shaker ice because they break and melt almost instantly.”
Choose from either a single ice cube tray or a set, each complete with a silicone lid to keep odors out. All stack nicely in a freezer and they’re dishwasher-safe. Plus, the ice cube trays come in neutral and fun colors like blue, charcoal, marble, confetti, and more.
Best for Ice Sticks: OXO Silicone Ice Stick Tray
While this slick, OXO ice stick tray is ideal for highballs, collins, and beyond, its narrow ice sticks also slip perfectly into water bottles for chilling down beverages on the go. The tray’s silicone lid makes sure the ice is sealed and safe from freezer odors. “A general thing to keep in mind is that ice can end up absorbing different flavors or aromas,” explains Hughes. “So if you’re making cocktail ice, you probably don’t want it sharing freezer space with food that isn’t properly sealed.” Its sealed lid also lets you stack the tray alongside everything else in your freezer.
This ice tray, which makes 12 ice sticks, is outfitted with silicone grips to make filling the tray and moving it to the freezer a mess-free endeavor. To pop out the cubes, pull the grips down and the ice will spring out. And, as a pro tip, run warm water on the underside of the tray before popping off the lid and releasing the ice cubes. It will prevent the tray from cracking and give it a longer life.
Best for Whiskey: Tovolo Sphere Ice Molds
Tovolo’s plastic-silicone molds pop out perfectly spherical circles of ice. Half the mold is sturdy plastic and the other is flexible silicone to make it easy to extract ice from the mold. Pop the mold together, fill with water, and 24 hours later you will have clear, 2.5-inch circular ice (for the clearest ice, use distilled or pre-boiled water). This set comes with two BPA-free, dishwasher-safe molds.
Hughes notes that larger cubes work best for drinks that don't need to be diluted, like whiskeys, Scotch, sipping rums, and the sort. The larger the ice, the slower it melts, preserving the taste and the strength of your favorite spirit. In addition to the sphere, the brand offers mustache, rose, and highball-shaped ice molds. And, for celebrations or summer gatherings, fill the mold with flowers or colorful juices and freeze to add visual appeal to cocktails or punch bowls.
Best with Storage: Lékué Ice Box
Lékué’s ice cube tray is one of the most adaptable. Along with creating ice, the tray’s built-in storage container stores up to 132 ice cubes—making it perfect for parties. In other words, this one tray can do the work of up to four ice cube trays.
This ice box also doubles as a portable cooler: simply pull the sleek container out of the fridge and pop in your drink to chill it down, or bring it outside for easy-access cocktail ice. An air chamber provides thermal insulation to keep ice chilled even in warmer weather, and a thick silicone lid and insulated construction protect ice from freezer odors. The container is constructed of BPA-free ABS plastic and it’s made with a hollow base to preserve coldness and reduce condensation.
Good to Know:
If you want crushed ice for tropical cocktails or DIY slushies, Hughes suggests getting a Lewis bag and wooden mallet. Slip ice in the bag, and use the hammer to crush it. “A Lewis bag is made from canvas and will absorb moisture as you crush the ice with the mallet, helping to prevent it from sticking together too much,” he says.
Best Stainless Steel: Onyx Stainless Steel Ice Cube Tray
The stainless steel construction of this Onyx ice tray not only means it's incredibly durable, but it also keeps the contents from absorbing freezer odors—making it a great mold for freezing broths, herb cubes, or fruit juices without the flavors lingering. While this tray isn’t as flexible as a silicone mold, the stainless steel handle and removable divider make it simple to extract ice: when your ice is frozen, flip the handle up, remove the dividers, and ice will pop out with ease. Note that the big handle makes it tough to stack the ice tray.
Each tray prepares 18 large cubes, each measuring 1.5 x 2 inches. The larger the cube, the slower the ice melts, so your drink will stay cool for longer without dilution. “Typically, large-format ice like big cubes or spheres are used for serving spirit-forward drinks, like an Old Fashioned,” explains Hughes.
Best for Variety: Glacio Ice Cube Trays
For large, spherical, and square ice for stronger sipping spirits, Glacio’s ice trays pop out six giant cubes, each measuring 2 inches. Made of food-grade silicone, the trays are designed with a simple, non-stick construction that lets cubes pop in and out of the mold with ease. The durable silicone can be twisted without the risk of breaking.
Best of all, the large size of the cube allows drinkers to get creative. Use the ice to chill down cold brews, make popsicles in the summer months, or add mint sprigs to Mojitos. Each set comes with two trays, one spherical- and one square-shaped. If you’re not pleased with the ice cube trays, the company even offers a 100 percent money-back guarantee.
Best for Clear Ice: W&P Peak Clear Ice Mold
For serious cocktail enthusiasts, invest in a mold that creates show-stopping cubes. W&P’s peak series ice mold makes one large, crystal-clear 2-inch ice cube. This mold is not your average ice tray—it’s made up of a series of steel-based silicone molds that come together to make an extra-large ice cube.
Fill the mold with water and slip the insulated sleeve on top—its top-down design freezes the ice without any bubbles or impurities, while gravity pushes bubbles to the bottom of the mold and a small section captures impurities. When you’re ready for a drink, simply break apart the mold.
Note that this ice mold makes one cube at a time and stands quite tall in your freezer (at 5.75 inches high). Additionally, as these ice cubes are larger than the average cube, they take up to 24 hours to freeze thoroughly.
Most Innovative: True Cubes Clear Ice Tray
Another of Hughes’ favorite ice cube trays, this True Cubes tray allows for directional freezing without the effort. “They are an easy and cost-effective option to make large clear cubes,” he explains. “It’s a great little three-piece mold that works really well and produces dense and beautiful ice.” Simply fill the mold with tap water (no need to purify or boil), wait 18 to 22 hours, and pop out the cubes. Note that this mold is not as malleable as some of the others on the market, so run warm water over the bottom of the tray to help remove the cubes.
Each tray turns out four large, 2 x 2 x 2-inch ice cubes. A unique feature is that the mold self-purifies water, removing 95 percent of TDS and metals with each freeze—the shape of the mold pushes impurities to the bottom.
Good to Know:
“To make really dense and clear ice, you’ll want to learn about 'directional freezing,'” advises Hughes. “Basically when you freeze ice in a mold, it freezes from all sides, pushing air bubbles and impurities to the center of the cube." He adds, "If you can insulate all sides of the ice except for the top, this will help the ice to freeze from the top down. This pushes impurities to the bottom which you can later cut off, leaving you with near crystal clear ice.”
Best for Small Cubes: Silicone Mini Ice Cube Trays
For tiny ice cubes with a multitude of uses, look no further. Hughes recommends this mini ice cube tray to make “minuscule ice cubes similar to pebble ice,” or for making cobblers and swizzles. Each tray makes over 160, 0.38-inch ice cubes with each freeze. As the cubes are small in size, they freeze far faster than the average ice cube. Smooth food-grade silicone quickly removes ice and is easy to clean.
Cocktail lovers can use the cubes to make Juleps, Mojitos, swizzles, and more, but outside of boozy drinks, the cubes are small enough to fit in water bottles, iced coffees, smoothies, and baby bottles. This option comes with two trays.