15 Foods You Should Freeze in an Ice Cube Tray

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Faith Durand)

If your freezer makes ice, then your ice cube tray is probably sitting empty, frozen and alone, in the freezer door, or abandoned in the back of a cabinet somewhere.

Go and get it right this instant, because the ice cube tray is a brilliant cook’s tool, and can — nay, should! — be used for freezing many other things besides ice. Individual storage areas? Check. Small portions? Check. Totally freezer-friendly? Obviously. Here are 15 foods perfectly suited for freezing in an ice cube tray.

1. Homemade stock

The perfect way to store a small amount of stock (about two tablespoons per well) to use for reheating leftovers or making a sauce.

2. Smoothie ingredients

Rushing out the door in the morning? Throw a few frozen smoothie cubes into a to-go cup and they’ll be defrosted (but still chilly!) by the time you reach work.

3. Coffee

No more coffee-flavored water! This trick keeps that iced coffee strong and satisfying.

4. Milk and buttermilk

Don’t let that leftover milk or buttermilk spoil; just keep it in the freezer and you’ll always have a little on hand when you need it.

5. Pesto

Pesto freezes beautifully, especially when frozen in individual portions — perfect for a solo pasta dinner.

One of our favorite pesto recipes: Winter Greens Pesto

6. Roasted garlic

It takes an hour to roast garlic, but only a few seconds to pop out a frozen cube of mashed roasted garlic to add to your soup or sauce.

See our post: Quick Tip: Freeze Roasted Garlic

7. Lemon juice

Most recipes only call for a small bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice, so why not have that portion all ready to go? A frozen lemon juice cube is also a great quick way to flavor water and iced tea.

8. Fresh herbs in olive oil

My very favorite way to use an ice cube tray! With summer right around the corner, this is the best way to stash herbs at the height of their flavor and use them all year round.

9. Wine

If you have a bit of leftover red or white wine (that you don’t plan to drink), freeze it for use in sangria later, or for recipes that call for a bit of cooking wine.

See our post: How To Freeze Wine

10. Caramelized onions

The sweet flavor of caramelized onions enhances almost any dish, but you don’t always have the time (usually way more than five minutes!) to make it in the moment. Instead, make a batch when you have time, freeze it in an ice cube tray, and problem solved! The smaller portion size also means you can be exact about how much you need at any given time.

See our post: Why You Should Freeze Caramelized Onions, and 3 Ways to Do It

11. Egg whites and yolks

You know when a recipe just calls for the yolk or the egg white? Well, now you know what to do with the other half!

12. Fruit juice

A stellar way to dress up water with a little light fruit flavor.

See our post: Fruit Juice Ice Cubes

13. Cookie dough

Craving a cookie but don’t want the temptation of a whole batch? Grab a frozen cookie dough cube and bake just one or two.

See our posts: Freeze Orphaned Cookie Dough for Later and How To Freeze Cookie Dough

14. Citrus zest

Don’t throw out or compost any lemon or lime before you zest it. Even if the recipe doesn’t call for the zest, you can freeze it for later.

See our post: Freeze Citrus Zest

15. Grated ginger

Here’s a habit to pick up: Every time you have fresh ginger around, peel it, grate it, and then freeze part (or all) of it. This makes it super easy to punch up a dish with ginger’s spicy goodness whenever you want.

Quick Tip: Freeze Roasted Garlic (Image credit: Emma Christensen)

What do you freeze in ice cube trays? Anything we’ve left out?