Forget plain old water! Use ice cube trays for everything from yogurt smoothies and ready-in-a-pinch dinner sauces to summery sangria cubes.
Ice cube trays aren’t just for water anymore! We love using the humble kitchen gadget for everything from storing leftover herbs and sauces to making a cool treat for a hot summer’s day. Here are our favorite test-kitchen uses for an ice cube tray.
1. Fruity Yogurt Smoothie Cubes
We think this one is downright magical! Whip up your favorite yogurt smoothie and pour it immediately into an ice cube tray. Freeze for about 3 hours or until firm and transfer cubes into gallon bags for storage. When the craving for a smoothie strikes, simply take a couple cubes out of the bag and let them soften (or re-blend in a blender when you’re in a time crunch). We made our smoothie cubes with thisTropical Papaya Smoothies recipe made extra creamy with Yoplait yogurt.
2. Veggie Smoothie Cubes
Trick yourself into loving your veggies by blending them into a smoothie and freezing for later to have power breakfasts and snacks on hand. Prep your green smoothie just like the fruit yogurt smoothies above and store in gallon bags. We love this recipe for Everything-But-the-Kitchen-Sink Smoothies, loaded with fresh spinach.
3. Flavored Ice Cubes
These cubes are so pretty, we almost didn’t want to use them. But that would have been a shame because simple additions of fruit and mint can seriously upgrade your glass of water or summer cocktail. We experimented with all kinds of flavors: orange and lemon slices, berries, mint and even edible flowers, and the results were both beautiful and delicious. This summer we’re using mint cubes in mojitos and making hydrating fun with a couple citrus cubes in glasses of water.
4. Olive Oil and Herb Cubes
We’ve all been there: you buy too much oregano and have a sage surplus in the garden, so you end up tossing unused herbs. But no more! Preserve them in olive oil, freeze and save for later by simply chopping fresh herbs, throwing a pinch into each ice cube mold, filling it up with olive oil and popping the tray in the freezer for a future dinner jumpstart. We tried both sage and oregano and they saved beautifully.
5. Pesto and Tomato Sauce Cubes
Whether homemade or jarred, chances are you’ve had leftover sauce that you ended up throwing out. That ends now with this genius hack! Pesto and tomato sauces freeze well in ice cube trays, and are also a good way to portion out individual servings for your next meal. Perfect for when you need to get dinner on the table fast but still want it to be fresh.
6. Summer Sangria Cubes
Leftover wine? Waste not. Easily freeze wine to save for cooking, or do what we did and make sangria cubes. Simply fill each ice cube mold about halfway with wine, add a splash of orange juice and finish by dropping in a slice of your favorite fruit to drink with sangria—we used lemon and orange slices. There you have it: Cubes for your next happy hour that won’t water down your sangria. Cheers!
7. Coffee Creamer Cubes
We’re all about iced coffee in the summer, and we know all too well how a hot sun can water down a great cold press in no time. Our solution? Making coffee creamer cubes with milk (regular, almond, soy—whichever you prefer)! In a bowl, mix together milk, a bit of sugar and vanilla extract to taste. Pour the liquid into the molds until they’re about 2/3 of the way full and freeze overnight to wake up to an incredible iced coffee upgrade. If you’re looking for a nuttier taste, use almond extract instead of vanilla.
8. Quick Dark Chocolate Candies
Got a serious sweet tooth? Have chocolate candies at the ready in your freezer for a bite-sized treat whenever the craving strikes. All you need are some chocolate chips and toppings of your choosing. We melted a bag of dark chocolate chips, separated into individual ice cube molds and finished with a variety of tasty toppers like sliced strawberries, raspberries, almonds, peanuts, Cheerios and pretzels. These freeze quick—just a couple hours of and they’re ready to eat!