How Long Exactly Does Ice Cubes Take to Freeze ?

Anxious about your ice cubes that have been freezing? You need ice cubes urgently because either you have hosted a summer party or you want to chill after a sweat workout, right? You’re probably tired of waiting for ice cubes to freeze and want to know how long does ice cube take to freeze. Now, no need to fret! This article will help you. 

To put your confusion at bay, we have rounded up some hard facts of science behind the temperature of ice cubes and how fast ice cubes freeze. Furthermore, you will also come to know how to speed up the process. So, read on!!

Factors Behind How it Takes to Freeze Ice Cubes

Water freezes when it reaches the temperature of 0 degrees Celsius (32 Fahrenheit). Normally, ice cubes take around 3-4 hours to freeze in your standard home freezer. But, this is not the only answer to this question ‘how long does it take for ice to freeze.’The answer varies depending on the size of the ice cubes, ambient temperature, and the nature of the water (distilled water or tap water). 

These factors affect the timing of freezing ice cubes. Take a look at the following pointers to know how these factors can slow or speed up water freezing into ice cubes:

Small-Size Ice Cubes Freeze Faster

Do you have an ice tray that has been designed to freeze small cubes? If yes, your ice cubes will freeze within time. Ice cubes always freeze from the outside in. So, the smaller ice cubes with low volumes will freeze faster than the larger ice cubes with high volumes. In this way, you can say that the surface area of the ice matters the most in the context of freezing. So, buy an ice tray that has proper air space between ice cubes. This is because it will help your ice cubes freeze faster than the tray that has only the dividers. 

Warm Temperatures Delay Ice Cubes’ Freezing

The cooler the outside temperature, the faster the ice cubes will freeze. Conversely, the warmer the outside temperature, the slower the water will reach its freezing point. Consequently, ice cubes will not freeze in time. Hence, do not leave your freezer open or do not set the temperature of your refrigerator/freezer similar to the room temperature. If you do it, you will raise the freezer temperature. As a result, its cooling will be slow and your ice cubes will take longer than usual to freeze.

Stainless Steel or Metal Trays Freeze Ice Cubes Early

The type of metal by which your ice cube tray has been made impacts the freezing time of the ice cubes to a large extent. If the metal of the ice tray is of high thermal conductivity, it will allow ice cubes to freeze early. Similarly, stainless steel ice cube trays are also known for their high thermal conductivity. Since they conduct the heat very well, they increase the cold heat transfer rate. Finally, they cause the ice cubes to freeze earlier than before. In contrast to this, ice cube trays made up of materials like plastics decrease cold heat transfer and extend the freezing time of ice cubes. This is because of their low thermal conductivity properties. 

Insulation Impacts the Freezing Time of Ice Cubes a Lot

High insulation slows down the freezing capacity of ice cubes to a great extent. Suppose you have placed an ice cube inside a foam cooler, it will take longer to cool down the water in the tray to the freezing stage. Ice cubes will not freeze within time due to high insulation in the foam cooler. The insulation slows down the cold heat transfer and makes the  process of ice freezing longer than usual. 

how long does ice cube take to freeze

Ice Cube with More Water Content Takes Longer Time Than Usual

Are you still wondering how long does ice cube take to freeze? You should consider the water quantity that you have filled in the ice tray. Have you filled it with a lot of water? If yes, you are encountering this difficulty due to it only. Its scientific reason is that water is the element of a high heat capacity. When you fill an ice cube with more water, it absorbs the freezer’s heat. In this way, ice cube freezing takes a longer time than usual. Hence, whenever you fill the ice tray with water, try to fill the ice cubes with a balanced quantity of water. 

Distilled Water Is Good for the Purpose of Ice Cubes Freezing Time

If you have been using tap water instead of distilled water, you should avoid its usage. Otherwise, you will complain that your water does not freeze. It typically happens because of the impurities present in the tap water. Use distilled water to freeze ice cubes as nothing will interfere with the regular lattice during the ice formation procedure.

Does Hot Water Freeze Faster?

Yes, hot water freezes faster than cold water. This is a special phenomenon of science known as the Mpemba Effect. Erasto Mpemba, a Tanzanian student first discovered it in the year 1960. However, this is still a puzzle as to why hot water freezes faster than cold water. Nobody has come to know why this actually happens. But, many scientists have been researching this effect for decades.

 Some theories interpret that it may happen due to the evaporation rate or due to the presence of dissolved gases. As per the opinion of Erasto Mpemba, when you freeze the water that is at the initial temperature (slightly warm), the freezing time of ice cubes reduces automatically.  So, if you want to chill out with ice cubes, you should freeze slightly warm water in the freezer. 

how long does ice take to freeze

Can Water at Zero Degree Celsius Freeze Early?

The timing at which water freezes varies according to temperature. As per research studies, it has been observed that water at 0 degrees Celsius freezes faster. Very cold water usually takes the time of around 10-30 minutes to start freezing. So, if you want frozen ice cubes within a short time, go with the option of very cold water. 

Tips on How Long Does Ice Cube Take To Freeze?

In the above paragraphs, you read how long does ice cube take to freeze Here, you will learn how you can speed up the freezing time of ice cubes. Isn’t that interesting for you? If yes, check out the following simple and quick tips to reduce the freezing time to a great extent:

  • Fill your ice cube tray with cold water to speed up the ice formation
  • Try to keep the volume of water in a balanced proportion. If you cut the volume of water in the ice cube tray to half, you will see that freezing takes place faster than before.
  • Don’t leave the door of the freezer open. Otherwise, the warm air of the room enters the freezer and its cold air goes out. This will make the freezing of ice cubes longer than usual.
  • Place the ice cube tray in the bottom of the freezer.
  • Use smaller containers or ice cube trays to let your ice cubes freeze faster than before.
  • Reduce the temperature of your freezer to make it a chilled one. This will help the chilled water molecules work faster to freeze ice cubes. 


So you know now how long does ice take to freeze. Ice formation time varies due to several factors such as the size of ice cubes, ice tray metal, distilled or tap water, ambient temperature, hot or cold water, high or no insulation, and quantity of water. Now, it’s time to go ahead and implement these theoretical concepts in practical ice formation. By experimenting with different techniques, you will come to know which suits your needs and capabilities more. 


1. Is it possible to freeze ice cubes within 30 minutes?

Yes, it is possible to freeze ice cubes within 30 minutes if you follow the following tips

  • Hot or cold water for freezing
  • Low volume of water in ice cubes
  • Distilled water
  • Small size ice cubes tray
  • Metal tray or stainless steel tray

2. How to make the freezer freeze faster?

Adjust the temperature settings of your freezer. Increase the cooling capacity of your freezer.

3. Does warm ice freeze faster?

Yes, warm water speeds up the ice formation. This is called the Mpemba effect. This happens because of the evaporation rate and initial temperature of water. However, various controversial theories are popular about the Mpemba effect.

4. Can I freeze ice for 2 minutes?

Freezing ice in 2 minutes is known as a supercooling method. To freeze water instantly, you should fill a bucket with water and ice. Add rock salt to the water. Then, add a water bool that should be cool to the level of -8 degree Celsius and more. Then, hit it against the bottom surface of the bucket to quickly freeze water.