Do New Refrigerators Come With Ice Cube Trays?

A lot of people think that refrigerator ice cube trays have gone the way of the dodo. They haven’t. Sure, they aren’t as common as they were a few decades ago, but many new fridges still come with them, and they are surprisingly convenient.

So, have you ever wondered why so many new fridges come with ice cube trays, even though ice cube makers have been kicking around for a while? Read on! We’ll explain.

Why Do Some Fridges Still Need an Ice Cube Tray?

Truth be told, a fridge rarely needs an ice cube tray. Sure, they are convenient and have a ton of different uses, but all fridges will work whether there is an ice cube tray in them or not. As far as we know, there has never been a fridge that will break down as soon as you remove the ice cube tray. However, they are still included.

refrigerator tray
refrigerator tray

Firstly, it’s a bit of ‘value added’ for the fridge. You will be surprised at how many people love the idea of getting an ice cube tray with their fridge, even when there is a massive ice cube maker there.

The manufacturers know that spending a few extra dollars on that cheap bit of plastic can help to drive sales.

A lot of people expect there to be ice cube trays there too. There are some people that would rather use ice cube trays than an automatic ice maker.

We’ll look at a few of those reasons later. In addition to this, ice cube trays come in incredibly handy for doing things other than making ice. Again, something we’ll discuss shortly.

If you are opting for a smaller or cheaper fridge, then it may not even have an automatic ice maker in it. Sure, most fridges come with some sort of automatic ice-making system, but not all of them do.

So, the ice cube tray is going to be handy here. Some people even avoid fridges with automatic ice makers because of the sheer amount of space they take up.

Finally, ice cube trays can help to make a fridge a bit more energy efficient. Only slightly so, but since fridges tend to be electricity-hungry machines, even small savings can work wonders.

There are a few more reasons, but we’ll come to those in the following sections.

Various Uses for Ice Cube Trays

man doing diet
man doing diet

Obviously, you can make ice with them. It is the main job of an ice cube tray. However, they have a ton of other uses. We’re going to focus purely on the uses where they can be used again as an ice cube tray i.e., we aren’t going to talk about using them as a paint palette (as some people do), as you probably won’t want to be making an ice cube from that tray after.

One of our favorite uses of ice cube trays is for portioning out herbs and then freezing them. Ideal if you have managed to score a great deal on some fresh herbs. Chop them up, put them in the ice cube tray, and freeze.

You can even use your ice cube trays to portion out frozen pasta sauces, etc. Some will even create fantastic, flavored butter, put them in the ice cube tray, and freeze.

Sticking along the ‘frozen’ theme, many freeze liquids that aren’t water. For example, iced coffee, iced fruit juices, etc.

All can be used to spice up other drinks. Get some popsicle sticks, and you can even make frozen popsicles with the ice cube trays.

The possibilities are limitless! Well, close to limitless. Ice cubes aren’t good for much else other than storing or freezing objects in small cubes. But, if you can do that, then the possibilities are limitless.

Moreover, you can use some ice cube trays to save some money on your power bills. As you know, fridges spend a lot of power trying to ensure that the temperature inside remains consistent.

Keeping ice in the fridge means that the temperature remains much more consistent, especially if you are constantly opening and closing the door. The fridge doesn’t need to work quite so hard to get everything ‘normal’ again.

The Benefits of Having Ice Trays Instead of Relying on Automatic Refrigerator Ice Makers


Automatic refrigerator ice makers are convenient, but they are not always the best option.


For starters, your automatic refrigerator ice maker is only going to work when your home has power. No power? No ice. While you probably won’t be reaching for the ice to put into your drink when the power is down, having some ice to hand in an ice tray can help to ‘preserve’ the food in your fridge. It may help to keep the temperature in the fridge for a few hours, and this means a lower chance of your food spoiling.

Automatic ice makers also need to be cleaned regularly. They are a breeding ground for bacteria. You will be surprised at how many people don’t bother. Over time, there is a chance that your ice cubes will start to look a little cloudy. Some could make you sick. Although, thankfully, the ice should kill most of those bacteria.

Having a few ice cube trays loaded with ice can really help if you need a ton of ice cubes too. Your ice cube ice maker doesn’t make ice by magic. It takes a while to put together a few ice cubes, and it can only do a few at a time. Not ideal for a party.

Loading up some ice cube trays with ice will ensure that you always have ice handy on those hot days, even if your automatic ice cube maker is doing its thing.

Ice cube trays are a lot more reliable than ice cube makers. We have seen plenty of people love the idea of their automatic ice cube makers, only to stop using them. There are a lot of working parts in an ice cube maker.

It isn’t uncommon for them to ‘break’ when used regularly for a few years. The parts can be insanely costly to repair too. So, why not have a few trays as backup?

Remember, on top of all this, your ice trays are much more versatile than an automatic ice cube maker. You won’t be able to freeze pasta sauces or herbs with an automatic ice cube maker!

What Happens if the Power Goes Out or the Refrigerator Breaks Down?

If your fridge breaks down, your automatic ice cube maker will stop working. Your ice cube trays will keep water frozen for a few hours, at least. The food, providing the door of the fridge is kept shut, should last around 4 hours.

If your fridge is broken for longer than 4 hours, then throw away all perishable food. Bacteria will have started to grow on it. The ice cube trays will come in handy, assuming they have been filled with ice, as they can help to keep the fridge cool for an extra couple of hours.

Unfortunately, beyond this, there isn’t much more that you can do. You should just keep the fridge door closed and not touch the food for 3-4 hours. Hopefully, the power will back up by then (or you manage to fix the fridge somehow).

You may be able to store some food in a bowl or sink with some ice surrounding it. This can keep it ‘protected’ for longer. So, another benefit to your ice cube trays!

Final Thoughts

Even though automatic ice makers are now installed by default in many new fridges, ice cube trays haven’t been rendered useless. They are still fantastic for making some extra ice cubes, helping to keep your fridge cool, or freezing things other than water. So, even if you have an automatic ice cube maker, it still may be worth stocking up with some ice cube trays. If your fridge didn’t include them, they aren’t that expensive to buy.

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Hi there! My name is Zitang, and I’m a retired chef who has a passion for all things related to the kitchen. That’s why I founded my website, Kitchen Joker, to share my love of cooking with others.

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