Informational Guide

How Long For Ice Cubes To Freeze

This review details how long it takes for ice cubes to freeze depending on their size, shape & various freezing methods.

by Ian Haynes

There are countless ice cube trays and fun ice molds that you can choose from, and each will freeze ice at different times. You can also invest in an ice maker for larger quantities at a time. This review will detail how long it takes to make ice cubes depending on their size and shape and include various freezing methods!


When making ice cubes, you will want the temperature in whatever you are using to be set to zero degrees Fahrenheit. However, 32 degrees Fahrenheit is the freezing temperature at which water slowly will turn into ice. Keep in mind; if your ice isn’t freezing within three hours, you may need to have your freezer looked at by a professional. Most freezers can remain between zero and five degrees Fahrenheit daily. However, if you make your freezer's temperature lower, your energy costs will go up quite a bit.  

Size of Ice Cubes

The smaller the ice cube, the faster it will freeze. Most household ice cube trays come with 12 identical tapered cubes. These traditional trays can be used to freeze ice in your freezer within three to four hours. You can also use specialty molds and trays to freeze ice. Keep in mind that the more water you use in these individual cubes and molds, the longer it will need to stay in your freezer.

Ice surface area (why use ice cube trays?)

Ice cube trays control the size and shape of your ice. It’s a convenient way to create a frozen cube that will chill your beverages as well as add a flair to your cocktail! There are many different types of ice cube trays; the standard size tray will hold cubes that are 2.5 inches in length, width, and height. In more recent years, rubber ice cube trays were created so that the consumer could remove the cubes more easily.

Making an Ice Cube In a Home Freezer

For water to turn into ice, it must first be cooled to the point of freezing. Most people use plastic trays with individual cube-shaped holes that they will fill with water and place in their freezer (at zero degrees). You can also use molds to create fun shapes. Round ice balls will actually melt at a slower rate than cubes!

It takes about three to four hours for ice in a standard-sized ice cube tray to completely freeze. A general rule of thumb is to remind yourself that you will need more time for it to freeze with a higher volume of water. Consider doubling this time or even letting them freeze overnight.

home freezer

Making an Ice Cube In an Ice Maker

An ice maker has a hollow pit where water rests. The water pump will draw the water from this area and pour it carefully over chilled ice trays. When you first use the ice maker, it will take a good 24 hours to produce ice because the ice mold must reach at least 15 to 16 degrees first. There are many pros and cons to ice makers.

The pros include: ice is always available, convenient and easy to use, and the ice is very fresh. The cons include: higher cost, you may have too much ice, it only comes in the size of the built-in mold, and these machines require regular maintenance. Ice makers generally produce eight cubes every two to three hours.

How to Make Ice Cubes Faster in a Home Freezer

When you’re in a rush to make ice, it can be frustrating waiting for your ice trays to freeze. Some helpful tips to consider include making sure everything in your freezer is already frozen, making sure the temperature is as low as it can be, and considering using smaller ice trays.

Some people rely on the Mpemba effect (although it is not proven in the scientific community), using hot water to freeze faster. The thought was that if impurities dissolved first, freezing would happen faster. Most studies found this false information, and we highly recommend using cold water in your ice trays before placing them in the freezer.

What to Do When An Ice Maker Freezes Slowly

Make sure the door is completely closed

First off, an overly loaded freezer might be your problem if you’re having trouble keeping the door closed. Check your door gaskets and make sure they are dry. If not, wipe them down thoroughly with a cloth.

Make sure the power is turned on

When troubleshooting a freezer that is not turning on, you want to start by unplugging it for 20 seconds. Always check your power first. Another reason it isn’t turning on could be that your circuit breaker is tripped or a fuse blew in your fuse box. Most likely, the power is a simple fix. There are plenty of videos online that can walk you through troubleshooting steps as well.

See if the water filter needs to be changed

If water isn’t freezing at the appropriate speed, it may also be because your water filter needs to be changed. Water filters are generally inside the freezer (or refrigerator) on the upper right-hand side or sometimes on the base of the machine. You will want to lift up the filter door, remove the filter and throw it away, remove any protective coverings that you will find on the O-rings, and depending on the type of filter you are using, you may be following more specific directions that the individual filter will explain to you step by step.

As soon as this filter is replaced, you will want to run at least four gallons of water through it. It is imperative to flush this new filter before making or consuming any ice.

ice cubes

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How long does it take for ice cubes to freeze in silicone molds?

It takes between 18 and 24 hours for water to completely freeze in silicone molds.

Is a refrigerator ice maker faster than ice cube trays?

Yes. Refrigerator ice makers are built to freeze a lot of ice quickly. They are commercial grade and come with metal trays and coils designed to push refrigerant right onto the ice tray.

How can you keep ice cubes frozen longer?

Using distilled water is one great solution to making your frozen ice cubes last longer!

Does hot water freeze clearer than cold water?

No. There are much better ways to create clear ice than attempting this experiment with hot water. Try using a cooler or distilled water!


Whether you are making ice in trays or an ice maker, both options have their benefits! If you make ice in trays or molds, then you can experiment with fun shapes and sizes. And if you go with the ice maker, you will have ice available at all times for your convenience.

Ian Haynes is an expert writer who has successfully deployed over 500 plumbing pages and other related content. He has an excellent understanding of home plumbing issues and translates his experiences via Plumbing Lab so readers can have a better understanding of common household problems. Outside of his work, Ian likes exploring Brooklyn with his Labrador.