Make clear ice cubes

The Ultimate Guide to Making Clear Ice Cubes

Have you ever noticed that the ice cubes served in fancy restaurants are always clear, while the ice cubes that come out of the ice cube tray in your freezer always look cloudy and milky white? Become cloudy when gases dissolved in the water become trapped when it freezes and form small bubbles or when the water freezes so that large ice crystals cannot form. Because of these impurities, cloudy ice is weaker and melts faster than clear, pure ice. However, “ice cream geeks” have found several ways to get “premium” ice cream without going to a fancy restaurant. Try these methods to make clear ice cubes in your home.

With boiled water

This method aims to remove as much air and mineral impurities as possible from the water before it freezes – so it is best to start with distilled water. Filtered bottled water or water purified by reverse osmosis is also suitable.

Boiling removes air bubbles from the water, allowing the water molecules to bond even more tightly as it freezes. After the initial boil, let the water cool and then boil it again. Cover the water as it cools to prevent dust particles from collecting on the surface.

Pour the water into an ice cube tray or another ice mold, then cover it with cling film to protect the water from dust and other contaminants. Remember to let the water cool down before pouring it into the mold so the plastic doesn’t melt. If you want to impress, try making extra large ice cubes and ice balls. There’s nothing like sipping a cocktail with a large, clear chunk of ice. Place the ice cube tray in the freezer. Let the water freeze for a few hours.

Take the ice cube tray out of the freezer and carefully remove your clear ice cubes from the molds.

Freeze the ice from top to bottom

Get a small cooler. A normal cool box, in which you would also store food and drinks for a picnic, will do. However, it must be small enough to fit in your freezer. The cooler will insulate your ice cube tray and water so it slowly freezes from top to bottom.

Place the ice cube tray, molds or another freezer container on the bottom of the cool box and open the lid. Use molds that allow you to make larger ice cubes, or get a set of small, rectangular plastic or silicone containers.

Fill your bowl or ramekins with water. Proponents of this method claim that tap water works just as well as distilled or boiled water.

Pour enough water onto the bottom of the cooler so your ice cube tray or molds stand in the water. This water seals off your ice cubes, preventing cold air from getting to the sides or bottom.

Place the cool box open in your freezer. Make sure your freezer is not set too cold: -3°C to -8°C should be enough. Leave the cooler in the freezer for 24 hours.

Take the cool box out of the freezer and carefully lift out the block of ice using your ice cube tray or molds. The ice should have a thin, cloudy layer on top, but the rest should be consistently clear. Break away the ice around the ice cube tray or molds and remove the ice cubes. Leave for a minute to allow the cloudy layer on the surface to melt. You now have large, firm, crystal-clear ice cubes.

Freeze the ice at a higher temperature

Set the temperature of your freezer just below freezing, i.e. to around -1°C. This should be the warmest setting on your freezer. If you don’t want your whole freezer set that hot, set it as low as you’re comfortable with and place the ice tray on the top shelf.

Fill an ice cube tray or mold with water and place in the freezer. Let the water freeze for 24 hours. The slow freezing should push out all gases and impurities, leaving you with crystal-clear ice cubes.

Only freeze the ice from below

Fill a bowl with water and add plenty of salt, so it doesn’t freeze when you put it in the freezer. Be careful not to fill the tray with too little water. Otherwise, the water to be frozen gives off so much heat that the salt water warms up to 0°C before the water in the ice cube tray has frozen. The colder the freezer, the higher the salt concentration must be to keep the salt water from freezing. Over time, you will learn how much salt you need at your freezer’s usual temperature setting.

About the Author

sandy beck

Sandy Beck

Sandy Beck is CouponAnnie's consumer savings expert. Her work has been featured by Consumer Reports, The New York Times, Savings Hub, and MarketWatch. Sandy enjoys shopping and she is an extreme couponing expert.