Often, the best uses for kitchen equipment is anything but its original intended use. That especially holds true for ice cube trays. They're perfect for making frozen treats, sprucing up cocktails or tea with fancy ice and even preserving leftovers in perfect portions.
Stop making the same boring ice over an over, and put your ice cube trays to good use. Try these 9 unusual things you can make with any ol' ice cube tray.
Summer may be over, but that doesn't mean you have to leave your love for Popsicles behind. There are countless ways to make homemade Popsicles at home. Shrink down the portions and divide them between all the molds in an ice cube tray. Then cut wooden skewers into thirds (or Popsicle sticks in half), remove any splinters and place one in each mold.
After a few hours, you will have a dozen or so bite-size Popsicles, perfect for satiating the need for something sweet and cold without blowing your diet.
Frozen yogurt pops
You can apply that same concept to frozen yogurt. Add a dollop of frozen yogurt in each ice cube mold, followed by berries or your favorite fruit. Place the tray in the freezer and, once frozen, you will have a dozen or more single servings of a sweet frozen yogurt treat.
Leftover herbs and spices
You can prolong the life of your herbs by knowing how to store them. Some last longer in a cup or jar with a little water in it. Others last longer laid out in a single layer on a damp paper towel in the refrigerator.
But the more likely scenario is that those herbs will go bad before you get around to cooking with them anyway. Save yourself the trouble and chop them up, divide them into single portions and place those portions in ice cube molds. Top each portion off with some olive oil and place in the freezer. Once they're frozen, move them to a zip-top bag, label it and use them as needed.
For fresh herbs like mint, lemongrass, lavender or basil, you can freeze them in water and toss the cubes in your iced tea.
Leftover sauces and juices
If you squeeze too much fresh lemon or lime juice, you can freeze the leftovers for cooking or adding to your ice water in single-serve portions. For the latter, an entire ice cube mold of frozen lemon or lime juice may be intense. So you can either fill the molds up with what you would use for a portion or cut the juice with water.
Not everything you make in an ice cube mold has to be edible. In fact, large ice cube trays make perfect molds for small bath bombs.
Thoroughly mix 1 cup (236.6) of baking soda, 1/2 cup (118.3 milliliters) of epsom salt, 1/2 cup (118.3 milliliters) of citric acid and 1/2 cup (118.3 milliliters) of corn starch into a large bowl. Next, add 1 tbsp (15 milliliters) of a carrier oil, such as canola or coconut oil, and a few drops of food coloring, if desired. Add your choice of essential oils and mix everything thoroughly. Spray the mixture with a small amount of water to help it keep its shape, then pack it up into the molds of the ice cube tray.
Let the bombs dry for around 24 hours. Then pop one of these bath bombs in the water when you're preparing the water for your next bath. They will release the salts and oils into your bath water and fill the air with the aroma from the essential oils for a truly relaxing and rejuvenating bath.
Coffee ice cubes
Tired of watered-down iced coffee? Brew some coffee, hot or cold, pour it into an ice cube tray and place it in the freezer.
These coffee ice cubes have a ton of uses. They're perfect for chilling your coffee, making coffee smoothies and for pouring some milk or cream over.
If you don't want to add coffee to your coffee, you can freeze chocolate in ice cube trays. This recipe comes from The Kitchn and calls for mixing and freezing milk, water, cocoa powder, sugar, instant coffee and dark chocolate.
You can drop these cubes into a glass of milk or a cup of chilled coffee for a chocolatey twist.
Chocolate peanut butter cubes
An even more tasty treat you can make right in an ice cube tray are homemade peanut butter cups.
Start by melting milk chocolate chips in the microwave. Add a teaspoon of the melted chocolate to each mold and spread it around the bottom and inside walls of the mold. Place the tray in the refrigerator until the chocolate solidifies. Mix peanut butter, powered sugar and salt in a box and melt the mixture in the microwave. Add a portion of peanut butter mix to the top of the chocolate in each cube mold. Make sure to level the top of the peanut butter. Place back in the refrigerator until the peanut butter mix has solidified. Melt more chocolate chips and add to the top of the peanut butter in each mold. Place the ice cube tray back in the refrigerator or, optionally, the freezer until the peanut butter cups have hardened.
Dogs love peanut butter, too. As long as you're using an unsalted, raw peanut butter, you can melt it down and divide it between all the molds in an ice cube tray and freeze the peanut butter.
The next time your dog deserves a treat, give them one of the frozen cubes of peanut butter. Just know that these can create a bit of a mess indoors, so you may want to let your pup enjoy their peanut butter treat outside.