10 Cooking Tricks Using This One Kitchen Staple

Unless your refrigerator is top-of-the-line — complete with an ice dispenser — chances are you're using an ice cube tray to keep your drinks cool. They may seem like a major waste of freezer space, but it turns out that ice cube trays are the Swiss Army Knives of kitchen tools.

You can use them to make chocolate treats. You can use them to make sushi. Or you can use them to upgrade your cocktails. Basically, you can use them to take your summer get-togethers to the next level.

We've rounded up some of the most innovative, clever, and straight up tasty ways to use those plastic trays. Click through and chill.
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ILLUSTRATED BY ELLIOT SALAZAR.
Make Old School DIY Popsicles
This is probably the easiest ice cube tray hack ever. Simply choose your popsicle flavor — it can be anything from lemonade to melted chocolate. Then pour it into the tray. Cover your tray with cling wrap, then insert a toothpick in each slot. Freeze overnight and you've got summer popsicles!
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Photographed by Alice Gao.
Make Vanilla Milk Ice Cubes
Make your iced coffee a little more interesting with vanilla milk cubes. You only need vanilla almond milk or — if you're really fancy — you can mix milk with the delicious insides of a vanilla bean. Your coffee will become subtly sweet au lait as the cubes melt away.
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ILLUSTRATED BY ELLIOT SALAZAR.
Make Champagne Ice Cubes For Perfect Mimosas
If you're always screwing up the bubbly-to-OJ ratio in mimosas, consider your problem solved. Pour some Champagne into an ice cube tray and let it freeze overnight. When it's time for brunch, just pop a few cubes into orange juice. If you're more of the Bloody Mary type, you could also consider freezing some pickle juice.
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Photographed by Danny Kim.
Make Herb-Infused Olive Oil Cubes
If you like to use fresh ingredients while cooking, but never use the whole bundle at once, this is the hack for you. Grab some of your favorite herbs — we used rosemary, thyme, sage, and oregano here — chop them into medium-sized pieces and fill each cube in the tray with herbs. Then pour some olive oil in each compartment and freeze the whole thing. After that, you simply pop out a cube and place it in your saucepan while cooking. It's that easy!
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Make Fruit-Infused Ice Cubes
Want to make a drink more exciting? Try boosting it with some fruit-filled ice cubes. You can make cubes with chunks of fruit (like in this Jelly Jan video). You can also blend a favorite fruit, like watermelon, and freeze it that way. The possibilities — and beverage combinations — are endless.
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ILLUSTRATED BY ELLIOT SALAZAR.
Use Your Tray As An Easy Sushi Mold
If you've always wanted to make your own sushi, but the thought of making perfect pieces is too daunting — there's good news: You can just use an ice cube tray. Simply sprinkle the tray with some water, press rice into the tiny squares, and use your finger to make a hole in each for the filling. When you're finished, just flip the tray over onto wax paper or a plate.
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Make Smoothie Boosters
Looking for an extra green kick to your morning or post-workout smoothie? This is a great way to make use of that kale, spinach, or lettuce that's starting to wilt and look a little questionable.
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Easy Hot Chocolate On A Stick
These aren't just a nicer way to have instant hot chocolate stockpiled in your home, they're also a great DIY food gift for friends and family. Just how easy is it? According to 30 Pounds of Apples, you only need a few ingredients and you'll have hot chocolate pops in no time.
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ILLUSTRATED BY ELLIOT SALAZAR.
Make No-Mess Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
If you want to look like the best host, ever, at the next brunch/baby shower/bachelorette party/couch date you throw, consider making cute cubed chocolate-covered strawberries, like the ones on Cheap Recipe Blog.
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Make No-Bake Chocolate Treats
If you're feeling ambitious, try making some frozen chocolate cheesecake bites. If you're more of a peanut butter kind of person, go for this recipe for making ice cube tray peanut butter cups. Either way, you've got a very cool dessert.
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