How to Make Ice Without a Freezer

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If you are looking to make some ice without the assistance of an electric freezer, then I have a few methods that may work for you. Maybe you’re looking to make ice off-grid, or just need some ice and don’t have a functioning freezer.

Ice is an essential method for preserving perishable food, at least it used to be before freezers came onto the scene. But ice isn’t just used for preserving food, it’s also great to keep our beverages cool and refreshing.

Related: How to Make Ice Without Ice Cube Trays

It is possible to make ice without the use of the freezer. Some of these methods depend on climate, another method depends on science, and then lastly we’ll look at using a freezer that isn’t electric or using an ice maker.

Depending on what you’ll be doing with the ice, one of these methods of making ice without a freezer may work well for you.

Use Mother Nature

We begin with the obvious.

In my research, I found several ways to make ice without using a freezer. The most practical way would be using mother nature and putting an ice tray outside during winter.

In the 1800s, people would build ice houses that would contain the cold air and keep the warm air out, and designed to drain the slowly melted ice water away. You don’t need an ice house if you live in places where there is a colder climate. All you need is some ice cube trays and some freezer bags.

Just take an ice cube tray and fill it with water, and then place it into a large freezer bag.

The large freezer bag will keep dirt from ending up in your ice. Put the freezer bag outside overnight when the temperature drops below freezing, and you’ll have ice in the morning. You can boil the water so that it freezes faster.

In the good old days, they would harvest ice from the rivers and lakes. These large chunks of ice would be removed from lakes and stored in large ice houses during the summer months which is how iceboxes were invented.

When I was a child, wI grew up beside a pond where we would do a lot of skating. I remember eating pieces of the ice that formed on the pond during the long days of skating.

This may not be a possible solution for you.

Some people will use freshly fallen snow to chill their beverages, but always be careful of yellow snow. That does without saying, I know.

Using a Bell Jar and Vacuum Pump

If you’re more into science, you can use a vacuum pump and a bell jar.

This method is easy to do if you have suitable materials. Fill a bell jar with 3/4 full of water. If you want the water to freeze faster, you can use 50% water and 50% acetone. Place a cup underneath the bell jar, and then attach your pump. All of these materials can be found at any science supply store.

Turn on the pump and watch the water start to boil and then begin to freeze.

This takes some effort, special materials, and a little experimenting, but at the end of the day, it isn’t terribly difficult.

A Small Propane Freezer

This is a great way to make ice without using an electric freezer, though it’s technically a freezer, it’s a freezer that works well off-grid.

SMETA Propane Freezer is a great choice. This freezer is both propane and 110v and will work perfectly in an RV or even a cabin. This freezer uses ammonia as a coolant and makes use of heat to provide the energy needed for the cooling system to work. You’ll probably burn around 1.5 pounds of propane each day, which will cost you around $1.50 each day.

If you’re looking for a way to make ice without a traditional freezer; using a gas or propane freezer is a really good substitute.

A Portable Ice Maker

Portable ice makers are inexpensive ways to make ice without using a freezer. Portable ice makers recycle water by pulling water from a reservoir and returning that water back into the reservoir as the ice melts.

These small ice-making machines produce pieces of ice called hats or bullet ice because the ice is shaped like small bullets or hats. Portable ice makers only cost around $150 to about $250, and produce an estimated 28 to 50 pounds of ice each day.

Related: Our Top Portable Ice Makers

If you want your portable ice maker to be off-grid, you can use a power station like this one on Amazon. The link takes you to the ALLWEI Portable Power Station that gives you 500 watts of power. The Frigidaire EFIC189 is a small portable ice maker that runs at 200 watts, it produces 26 pounds of ice every 24 hours and stores 2.6 pounds of ice at one time.


If you’re producing ice without a freezer, then you’ll probably want to keep your ice from melting quickly. This can be achieved by simply keeping your ice out of the direct sunlight, and you’ll want to make sure that you keep ice covered so that all of the cold air stays contained.

You can also wrap the ice in newspaper or foil which will slow down the melting process.

If you’re looking to make ice without a freezer, one of the suggestions should work for you. Did we miss a way to make ice without a freezer? You can add your comments or suggestions below.


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