The Super-Simple Secret That Keeps Ice Cubes from Sticking Together

Never chisel ice cubes apart again. Use this tool to keep those little guys loose. (Best of all, you probably already have it in your kitchen!)

ice cubes in a paper bagPhoto: Taste of Home

It’s almost party time! Guests will start arriving soon, and you’re dashing around, putting the final touches on everything. All that’s left to do is tidy up your home bar. You hit the freezer to fill the ice bucket and…ugh! The ice cubes are stuck together in one giant clump. You either need to take the time to bust those frosty suckers apart or find really huge cocktail glasses. If you want your cocktails to look perfect, then learn to make clear ice cubes.

Don’t put yourself in this situation again! While there are dozens of ways to break up ice cubes, it’s actually a cinch to keep them from sticking together in the first place. In fact, this secret has been around so long, your great-grandparents likely knew about it. What is this sub-zero strategy? It’s simple!

Store your ice cubes in a paper bag.

We’re talking about the sort of bag your mom used for school lunches or the type that grocery-store clerks suggest. (“Paper or plastic?” Choose paper next time just for this purpose.) Whether you rely on your ice dispenser, use an ice cube tray or buy it by the pound, quickly transfer the cubes to a clean paper bag. Fold it closed and store it in the freezer. Pull out the cubes as you need them. They shouldn’t stick together.

Why does this work? Who knows! (What are we? Physicists?) Some sources say the paper absorbs extra moisture, unlike plastic-bag counterparts. When excess moisture is minimized, there is less chance of it freezing the cubes together.

If you’re making a lot of ice for a party, start filling the bag a week or two early. If you’re using the ice for adult beverages and mocktails at home, fill a smaller bag, and refill as needed. So stop chiseling blocks of ice, and quit ticking off your downstairs neighbors by banging bags of ice on the floor. Just grab a paper bag, fill it with cubes and let the party commence!

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Mark Hagen
The former owner of his own catering business, Mark’s been part of the Taste of Home team for the past 20 years. His work has also appeared in Quick Cooking, Light & Tasty and Country Woman magazines as well as in various Pillsbury and Betty Crocker cookbooks. When he’s not spending time in the kitchen with his Westie, Rocco, he’s working in his yard, doing stand-up comedy or devouring a platter of nachos. (Most likely the latter.)