Herb Ice Cubes

Herb ice cubes bring subtle flavor and lots of wow-factor to a drink. Freeze your favorite fresh herbs ahead of time to make your guests’ jaws drop.

a stack of frozen herb ice cubes

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Herb Ice Cubes recipe

If you’ve been around here a while, you’ll know I never relinquish a reason to garnish my cocktails well.

Summer cocktail garnishes have some of the most fun of all the drinks in the calendar year.

But why stop at putting things in the drink as an afterthought? Planning ahead to make pretty ice cubes is a great way to wow guests at a party.

And it doesn’t have to be just for cocktails. You can add pretty ice cubes with frozen herbs inside to glasses of water, lemonade or iced tea for an extra special touch.

Let’s get started with making these gorgeous herbal ice cubes:

For more fancy ice recipes, check out these flower ice cubes.

Why you’ll love this recipe

Herb ice cubes are so fun and fancy!

  • Though they take a while to freeze, these ice cubes only take a few minutes of hands-on time.
  • Herb ice cubes in a cocktail or even a simple glass of water will wow your friends and family!
  • They add fresh herb flavor to the drink as they melt.
fresh herbs on a white background

Fresh herbs

Whether you grow fresh herbs in your herb garden or buy them at the grocery store, you can use either in these pretty herb cubes. These ice cubes are an excellent way to use up extra herbs and cut down on food waste.

Try any combination of different herbs for these ice cubes. Here are a few you’re likely to find:

  • thyme
  • basil
  • mint
  • sage
  • rosemary
  • oregano
  • tarragon
  • lemon balm
  • lavender
  • parsley
  • cilantro

Once you’ve decided which type of herb (or types!) you will use, then you can decide how you will trim them down.

You can have fun with different parts of the herbs. Use either whole leaves or a piece of the herb with stem in the frozen cubes. You can even use the edible flowers from the tops of your herbs if you like!

Note: Keep in mind that you should never eat herbs that have been treated with pesticides.

For a fun twist, you can add a piece of lemon zest for some extra color. (Lime and orange work too!)

herb ice cubes on a silver baking sheet

Best ice molds

You can use any kind of ice mold or tray. Keep in mind that your herbs should be able to fit neatly in the cavities, but it’s easy to trim them down with kitchen shears.

Sphere ice molds and large cube ice molds are great for spirit-heavy drinks like an old-fashioned because they melt more slowly.

A regular ice cube tray will work just as well, but probably will work best for smaller herbs.

You can get creative too! Sometimes I will use a muffin tin to make big, round, flat ice.

You could also freeze herb ice in a bundt pan, then serve the resulting ring in a big punch bowl.

Here are a few of my favorite ice molds:

a stack of herb ice cubes with fresh herbs

How to make herb ice cubes

Herb ice cubes might seem like a lot of steps, but I promise they are easy to make! They are simple steps, indeed.

You may have heard of people freezing herbs in olive oil ice cubes for easy cooking? Well this is similar, only you don’t need a food processor!

However, it is a multi-step process so you do need to plan ahead and make them 1-2 days before you plan to serve them.

First, I recommend using freshly boiled water that has cooled to a warm temperature. You can also use warm tap water. Warm water that has been boiled of impurities will result in clearer ice. Plain water from the tap won’t be as clear.

However, if you use boiling hot water, you risk cooking the herbs to the point that the pigment is released into the water, and they will wilt. It can result in green ice!

Then, fill the ice cube trays about ⅓ of the way. Freeze until solid, about 3-4 hours. We do this so the herbs aren’t right at the top or bottom of the cube, and they can have more of a suspended look — the herbs will appear to float when in water.

If you need to save time, you can skip this step and add the herbs and leaves, filling them about ⅔ of the way. And, truth be told? That’s what I did for these photos:

herbs in water in an ice tray, unfrozen

Next, add your herbs and leaves. Trim off the stems right to the leaves with kitchen shears or with a sharp knife and cutting board. You can also use small pieces of the stem with the leaves on — this works well for herbs like rosemary.

Place some facing up and some facing down, because it’s a bit of a gamble how they will turn out. That’s what makes this so fun!

Then, top with more warm water until two-thirds full. Freeze the filled ice cube tray again, about 3-4 hours. (Sometimes I skip this step and fill right to the top. It depends on how much time I have.)

Once frozen, fill the remaining third and freeze until frozen, another 3-4 hours.

a blue ice tray containing frozen herb ice cubes

How to store herb ice cubes

Remove from ice trays and store in plastic freezer bags or another airtight container.

Freezer-safe containers are the best bet against freezer burn. Keep in mind that some striations and ice crystals within the ice are normal.

Repeat until you have the number of ice cubes you desire!

a glass of bourbon with a large herb ice cube

Herb cocktail recipes

Love that fresh herb flavor? Try these ice cubes in one of these herbaceous cocktails:

They’d also work well in a fruity drink like an Arnold Palmer or strawberry lemonade, especially mint ice cubes.

Or you can dream up your own creation with your favorite spirit and an herbal simple syrup. Try mint, rosemary or basil!

a top-down view of a glass of whiskey with an ice cube with herbs frozen inside

More ice recipes

If you like fancy ice, try one of these other ideas:

a stack of herb ice cubes with fresh herbs

Herb Ice Cubes

Yield: 12 small or 6 large ice cubes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Freeze Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 15 minutes

Herb ice cubes make a pretty addition to cocktails and drinks, yet they're so easy to make!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup fresh herbs, cut into small pieces

Instructions

  1. Boil the water and allow it to cool. Fill ice cube cavities ⅔ full with water. Don’t toss any unused water (you’ll use more later).
  2. Place small pieces of herbs in each cavity. Freeze for 3 hours.
  3. Top with more water. Freeze for another 3 hours.
  4. Remove from ice trays and place in cocktails for a beautiful garnish.

Notes

For a more suspended look in the ice cubes, freeze ⅓ of each cavity with water for 3-4 hours. Then add herb cuttings and water, filling ⅔ of the way. Freeze again for 3-4 hours. Then add more water and freeze once more for 3-4 hours.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 3mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g

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