The 6 Best Ice Cube Trays

An ice cube tray is a simple device, which means the best ice cube trays are the ones you don’t have to think about — at all — because you're not worrying about whether they’re easy to fill, if they might get knocked over, or how to pop out the cubes without feeling like a wrestler. Essentially, a good ice cube tray lets you chill and get on with your fine life.

Most ice cube trays are made out of silicone or plastic, yet stainless steel is making a comeback as an option as well. Each material is popular for its own reason, and there are drawbacks to consider as well:

Silicone

  • Pros: The rubbery material is flexible, and once the cubes have formed, it's super easy to pop the ice out.
  • Cons: Silicone ice cube trays can absorb odors, although there are pretty easy solutions to banish unwanted smells. Silicone's inherently "sticky" nature can hold onto residue, which might require more regular cleaning. That said, it is dishwasher safe.

Plastic

  • Pros: The lightweight, budget-friendly material is simple to care for since it's generally dishwasher safe.
  • Cons: It's another material that can absorb unwanted smells, and it's probably the worst offender when it comes to being hard to get ice out of. Plus, you want to shop carefully to make sure your plastic ice tray is BPA-free.

Stainless Steel

  • Pros: Stainless steel doesn’t absorb scents (and therefor flavors) like silicone or plastic, plus it's naturally BPA-free.
  • Cons: It's more expensive, heavier, and the ice can be hard to remove if the tray doesn't come with a lever.

Once you settle on a material, it comes down to how many bells and whistles you need to make your ice. From lids for stacking, to narrow molds to accommodate water bottles, to novelty shapes, there's an ice cube tray here for you.

1. The Overall Best Ice Cube Tray

With more than 5,000 Amazon reviews, this easy-release ice tray is a fan favorite for a reason. It combines both the benefits of silicone and plastic trays into one handy little design. There's a lid, for starters, and a BPA-free polypropylene plastic (PP) frame to help them stack nicely. Each cell has its own flexible, food-grade silicone bottom for easy removal: Just press one at a time from underneath. "I never thought I’d love a set of ice cube trays, yet here we are. These are fabulous for several reasons," one reviewer gushed.

One tray makes 14 cubes, so this set of four can freeze 56 ice cubes at a time. There are also different color and size options available.

2. An Ice Stick Tray For Water Bottles

This BPA-free plastic ice cube tray for water bottles will freeze up to 12 sticks at a time that can fit through smaller openings. The flexible silicone lid peels back for easy refills, then lies flat for stackable storage (that can handle a tilt) and provides protection against freezer odors. There's even a handle for spill-free loading and carrying. "I didn't fully appreciate the top flap until I used it," one shopper admitted. Another fan noted the cubes are great for S'well water bottles.

There's also a regular ice tray available if you find yourself wanting more traditional-shaped cubes.

3. The Best For Making A Lot Of Ice

This food-grade, silicone ice cube tray with a lid gives you the benefit of silicone’s flexibility but still allows you to stack several in your freezer. Fans love using it for sauces, baby food, and meal prep, in addition to just ice. The silicone is BPA-free and each tray has 37 cells, so you can make 74 cubes at one time with the two-pack. Multiple shoppers raved about how easy it was to remove cubes, and one summed it up: "Love the size of this tray and the cubes! Fits so much better in my freezer versus our standard cube tray and I love the cover and ease of use of this tray. Nice to stack easily and the material makes it super easy to pop cubes out!"

4. The Best For Really Clean-Tasting Ice

For people who are looking to cut down on plastic, a stainless steel ice cube tray hearkens back to sturdy 1950s design. The food-grade 18/8 stainless steel doesn't absorb freezer smells or leach chemicals, for clean-tasting ice. This tray makes 18 cubes.

Several shoppers noted that you might want to let this sit out on the counter for a few minutes before cracking the ice with the included easy-release lever to avoid the risk of breaking the handle. But the results are more than worth the wait. "Best $30 ever spent. The cubes seem to be fresher and tastier than from the plastic trays...I’m very happy with this product," wrote one reviewer.

5. The Best On A Budget

This set of two no-frills BPA-free plastic ice cube trays are an all-purpose kitchen workhorse. For just $7, you get two lightweight but sturdy trays that make a total of 32 cubes (there's also a larger four pack available that makes 64 cubes). Shoppers were surprised to be so seriously impressed with the value and quality. "Look at what I’ve become. Here I am, reviewing an ice cube tray on Amazon," one five-star review began. "Great trays," another noted. "I fill these twice per day since we go through a lot of ice cubes per day. Have had these for months and no signs of wear. Never has left a strange taste in the ice. Easy to remove cubes and to clean."

6. The Best Novelty Ice Cube Set

Up your at-home mixology game with some statement-making novelty ice molds. The long-lasting platinum silicone trays are leak-proof and flexible, which makes the larger shapes easier to remove. And, unlike similar models, this set scores you three oversize shapes: six cubes, six balls, and — best yet— four faceted diamonds. The set even comes with a funnel and syringe for easy, flawless filling. "I like how flexible the mold is, and how the final product turns out," one reviewer commented, later adding: "It works best to run a little warm water over the ice mold, it helps to get them out easier. Would definitely recommend this product!"

Also Nice: A Tray Of Reusable Gold Stainless Steel Drink Chillers

Reusable drink chilling stones, with a gold mirror finish, are a luxe take on traditional whiskey stones that chills drinks without diluting them. These eight food-grade, stainless steel geo-shaped cubes are filled with a freezer-safe gel for a faster chill, and come packaged in a tray that stores easily in the freezer so they’re always ready to party. Plus, they come with their own pair of tiny silicone-tipped tongs for grip. "These are awesome!" one shopper gushed. "I absolutely love these gold whiskey stones! I don't just use them for whiskey but for other drinks too! I love not having to use ice and eventually having watered down drinks. I get tons of compliments on them too!"

Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently of Bustle's editorial and sales departments.