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How Long Does It Take To Freeze Ice Cubes?

a hand grabbing ice cubes from an ice tray
a hand grabbing ice cubes from an ice tray - Dovzhykov Andriy/Shutterstock

Picture this: You're hosting a big gathering like Thanksgiving or Christmas, and you open your freezer and realize there's a strange smell coming from the ice maker tray. It's likely you didn't know that you should often be cleaning your ice trays, and now you need to dump your stock of ice on the morning of the big day. But don't worry — it's not time to hit the panic button yet. Ice can be remade. Whether it's from your freezer's automatic ice maker, or in individual ice trays for cocktails, it won't take too long. So, how long does it take to freeze ice cubes?

There are many variables to consider when answering this question, such as desired size, water type, and temperatures involved. If you only have your built-in ice maker, all you can do is sit back and wait for it to produce, which could be as quick as 90 minutes depending on the machine's quality. That is pretty fast, but keep in mind it will only be produced in batches of eight to 10 cubes. If you have separate ice trays you want to use as well to make more ice, typical 12-cube trays can take up to four hours to completely freeze. When you need craft ice for cocktails, like the kind shaped in perfect cubes or spheres, you'll need to account for a couple of extra hours of freezing compared to basic trays due to the inherently larger size of these cubes.

Read more: 12 Little-Known Facts About Salt

Ways To Speed Up The Ice-Making Process

a hot water kettle
a hot water kettle - Korawat photo shoot/Shutterstock

Now that you know the general time frame required for freezing ice cubes, you can account for it when facing a late-game ice emergency. There are ways, though, to either sabotage or speed up the freezing process that you also need to be aware of. For example, when you have several ice trays working in the freezer, the last thing you want to do is inadvertently cause the temperature in there to rise past the recommended 32 degrees Fahrenheit (or freezing temperature).

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This commonly happens in one of two ways: Either you don't close the freezer door properly, which lets cold air escape, or you add too many warm items, which raises the overall ambient temperature of the freezer. Especially on days when you're cooking lots of dishes or baking, it can be tempting to use the freezer as a quick-cooling device for hot food. Don't do that!

On the flip side, if you want to freeze ice cubes faster, you can make use of the hot temperature phenomenon known as the Mpemba Effect. This involves filling your ice cube tray with hot water rather than cold, which is apparently able to freeze more quickly in the freezer thanks to the Mpemba Effect. While this scientifically debated ice cube hack seems to work, don't forget about the pitfall of raising your freezer temperature too much causing all ice to freeze more slowly. Use the hot water method very sparingly in a pinch.

Read the original article on Mashed.