Clear Ice Cubes – Easy Trick To Make Perfect Ice

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Quick Step-by-Step Video On How To Make Clear Ice Cubes

Clear Ice Cubes

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Course: DrinksCuisine: American




Total time



Learn the easy way to make perfectly crystal clear ice cubes


  • 2 Gallon 2 Water

  • 1-3 Silicon 1-3 Ice Molds

  • 1 9 qt. 1 Insulated Cooler


  • Punch 2-3 small holes in the bottom of the ice molds for dissolved air to move through.
  • Position molds at the top of a small insulated cooler.
  • Fill the cooler with water to the top of the ice molds and place in the freezer.
  • Let the water slowly freeze for 24 – 48 hours till the molds are completely frozen.
  • Remove the Ice molds and remove the crystal clear ice cubes.

Recipe Video

How To Make Clear Ice.

The only way to make clear ice is to freeze water in one direction so that the dissolved oxygen is pushed back. Water put in an ice tray will freeze from the outside in. This traps the dissolved air in the cube’s center, which gives it a cloudy look. By freezing in one direction, air never gets stuck in the ice.

The easiest way to freeze in one direction is to freeze the water slowly from the top down in an insulated cooler. An insulated cooler prevents the sides and bottom from freezing and forces the water to freeze from the top down. It can take a day or two to freeze the top layer, but the result will be a nice transparent thick layer of ice on the top. It’s just that simple.

The reason water freezes from the top-down have to do with its density at different temperatures. Water, like anything else, gets denser as it gets colder, but once it freezes, it crystallizes and expands, becoming less dense. This is why icebergs and ice cubes float. At 15°C, water has a density of 999.1 kg/m3. At 1°C, it gets heavier at 999.9 kg/m3, but once it freezes at -1°C, it expands to a weight of 998.12 kg/m3. As a result, cooler water will always drop, and warmer water will always rise to the top. The top layer of water will cool and fall, and the next layer will rise to the top to cool till it drops. This cycle continues until all the water in the cooler drops to 1°C. At this point, there is no more warm water to replace the dropping cold water, and the top layer will crystalize and freeze. Each new layer of ice will expand and freeze to the topmost layer of ice. The water’s expanding and freezing cycle continues from the top-down, forming a crystal transparent top layer of ice. Air will not crystalize or bond to the other ice, so it is pushed down. Air Will continue to get pushed down till it has nowhere else to go, thus forming cloudy-looking air bubbles.

What Type Of Mold Makes Clear Ice?

No ice mold makes clear ice. The only way to get clear ice is to freeze it from the top down. Any mold can be placed at the top of an insulated cooler filled with water to make clear ice. The mold needs a hole in the bottom for the dissolved air to be pushed through.

What Are The Benefits Of Clear Ice?

The two main benefits of clear ice is it melts slower and is visually more appealing. The truth is that clear ice melts at the same rate regardless of whether it is clear. It seems to melt slower because clear ice is all frozen water, while cloudy ice is a mix of frozen water and cold air. For this reason, a clear cube will weigh more than a cloudy cube, and extra water keeps its temperature longer. The trapped cold air will not hold at all, and once it is freed from the ice, it releases into the atmosphere. To provide numbers, water requires 4,200 joules of energy to change a kilogram of water by 1°C. Air-only requires 1,006 joules of energy to change the same air mass by 1°C. It’s not that the ice is melting slower. There is more of it to slow down the melting process.

Does Distilled Water Makes Clear Ice?

The mineral content has nothing to do with the clarity of the ice. Again the main cloudiness comes from the trapped air bubbles. If the water is frozen slowly in a large insulated container, the dissolved minerals are pushed down as the water freezes, similar to the dissolved gas. Using distilled water would only make and if the ice cubes were made the usual way by placing an ice tray in the freezer with the whole cube freezing. Technically there should be a difference, but I have personally never noticed a difference between using distilled and regular water, even when making regular cubes.

I have noticed a big difference between ice cubes made from the water straight from the tap and water that rested on the counter for an hour. This is because while in the pipe, water is under 4x the pressure it would be under in a typical atmospheric environment. This increased pressure results in more dissolved gas in the water. Similar to how carbonated beverages are bottled under pressure to maintain their carbonation, most of that carbonation escapes once they are opened. Water that has rested on the counter for an hour is more effective than distilled water. You’ll even see the dissolved bubbles reforming and concentrating inside the glass.

Should I Boil Water To Make Clear Ice?

If you are freezing the water slowly, then hot water does not matter. Although if you are freezing the water rapidly, like in a typical ice tray, starting with hot water will result in a clearer cube. This has to do with internal and atmospheric pressures: the more significant the relative atmospheric pressure, the more dissolved gas in the water. Typical water pipes are around 60PSI (41kPa), 4x atmospheric pressure at sea level. For this reason, there will be 4x the amount of dissolved air in water from the tap than in the water left on the counter for a few hours. This can be observed by filling a glass of water from the tap and then leaving it on the counter to decompress. After an hour, air bubbles will form inside the glass due to atmospheric pressure.

Boiling is loosely related to temperature and results from when the vapor phase pressure equals atmospheric pressure. This is why 100°C and 212°F are measured at sea level. Water boils at lower temperatures at higher elevations and higher temperatures when under increased pressure. More dissolved gas is dispersed by increasing the internal pressure relative to the atmospheric pressure. If the hot water is quickly added to an ice tray and placed in the freezer, the outside of the cube quickly freezes, sealing out the atmospheric gas. It’s not perfect, but it will result in a more transparent cube than a cube made from room temperature water. Then again, if frozen slowly in a large insulated container, the temperature makes no difference.

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