How Long Does It Take For Ice Cubes To Freeze

It’s hard to imagine life without ice cubes, we use them every day! It’s an essential part of keeping your drinks chilled. But just how long does it take for the ice to freeze on average? And is there any way we can speed up that process? 

How Quickly Does Water Turn Into Ice On Average?

A standard freezer at typical temperatures will freeze water into cubes of ice in about 3 to 4 hours. This timing can depend on a couple of variables, but that’s the rough estimate in most circumstances. 

As for what those variables are, we’ll break that down in the rest of this article. Humans have been turning water into ice for about as far back as our history goes. And as such, there’s a lot to learn about the process.

How Long Does It Take for Juice to Freeze?

There’s a bit more variance here, depending on the kind of juice you’re talking about. Other liquids might freeze faster or slower than water. The freezing range is thusly wider for juice, it can take about 2 to 4 hours instead.

What Are Ways You Can Freeze Water Faster?

In this section, we’ll be going over the process of freezing water into usable ice. The time it takes depends on the following factors:

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Ice Cube Size

As a rule of thumb, small cubes freeze a lot faster than larger ones. That’s because the surface area to volume ratio is much higher in smaller cubes. As a result, the smaller a cube is the more heat that’s able to escape into the environment.

Freezer Temperature

Naturally, the temperature of the freezer is at play here as well. It’s said that the ideal temperature for turning water into ice is -18 degrees Celsius or -0.4 degrees Fahrenheit. It stands to reason that if the temperature is lower or higher, that will affect the freeze time.

However, dialing the temperature all the way down isn’t necessarily the best route to take in all circumstances. I know, sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s true! If you’re making use of an ice maker, make sure that it isn’t so cold that the pipes freeze up. That will cause the machine to lose its air circulation, wholly preventing it from producing ice. 

Receptacle Material

It’s known that some materials are better than others when it comes to the transfer of heat. Metals such as aluminum or copper can transfer heat away from the water. Meanwhile, plastic, glass, or silicone are much better insulators, which means they can preserve the water’s heat. 

That means that metal ice cube trays will be more effective when it comes to freezing water. Plastic is also relatively faster than silicone or glass. The tray you use matters turns out!

Minerals And Ions

The minerals and ions in the water can play a role as well. Most water used to make ice cubes will be free of things like salt and the like. But it’s worth keeping in mind all the same. If minerals or solutes are dissolved into the water, that makes it harder for it to freeze.

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If you’ve ever seen frozen sidewalks being salted down, you might have an idea of what we mean. It’s the same principle. Just keep salt out of any water you hope to freeze, easy!

Freezer Altitude

Ever wonder why dual fridge/freezer units usually keep the freezer at the top? That’s because higher altitudes make for a quicker chill. Air pressure is a little lower, the higher you go. 

That ever so slightly increases the freezing point and lowers the boiling point. This one isn’t a huge change by any means, but it does have a small impact on freeze time. 

Accompanying Food In The Freezer

You might not guess this, but the ice cube’s bunkmates can have an impact on things as well. Warmed or partly frozen food can cause the ambient air temperature to drop. That sounds fine, but it actually slows down the transfer of heat from the water. 

This too won’t be that noticeable on its own, but these things all add up. So that means the absolute fastest way to freeze water into ice cubes, put it in there by itself.

Keep The Freezer Closed

If you need ice for something urgent, it might be tempting to frequently check on it. But it will freeze much faster if you keep the door closed the whole time. Every time you open the freezer door, you let some warm air in! Just be patient.

Lastly, There’s The Mpemba Effect

You may not have heard that name before, but you might be familiar with the phenomenon. It’s the theory that hot water actually freezes faster than cold. Counter-intuitive though it might be, it’s been espoused and replicated many times.

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The conventional wisdom is that the water shouldn’t be boiling hot, but still quite up there in temperature. Around 113°F is the target point. Water at this temperature freezes up to 15% faster than normal! Isn’t that wild?


Freezing water under normal circumstances, without any extra steps, takes about an afternoon’s worth to accomplish. Three to four hours is the standard, convenient time. 

But if you need it done faster, there are definitely ways to make it happen. Water and its transition to ice is a unique and fascinating subject.

Humans have been making ice for thousands of years and so there’s no shortage of methods and tips to explore. Experiment and figure out what method best suits you!