Leftover Coffee Ice Cubes

These leftover coffee ice cubes make excellent use of extra coffee that might otherwise have gone to waste. Here’s how to make them.

A mason jar filled with iced coffee, a straw, and a leftover coffee ice cube sticking out the top.

Have leftover coffee in that pot? Don’t toss it in the sink. Instead, pour it into ice cube trays and freeze it overnight. Adding it to your iced coffee cubes to your coffee will keep it cold without diluting it, which is especially nice in the summer months.–Georgia Pellegrini

☞ Contents

Coffee Ice Cubes

A mason jar filled with iced coffee, a straw, and a leftover coffee ice cube sticking out the top.
These leftover coffee ice cubes make excellent use of extra coffee that might otherwise have gone to waste. Here’s how to make them.

Prep 1 min
Total 1 min
1 serving
0.1 kcal
5 / 2 votes
Print RecipeBuy the Modern Pioneering cookbook

Want it? Click it.


  • Leftover freshly brewed coffee at room temperature
  • Sugar if desired


  • Pour your leftover coffee in ice cube trays. Stash it in the freezer until frozen through or overnight.
  • Plunk some coffee cubes in your iced coffee. Turn any remaining coffee ice cubes in a resealable plastic bag, seal, and stash in the freezer.
Print RecipeBuy the Modern Pioneering cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1ice cubeCalories: 0.1kcalProtein: 0.02gSodium: 0.3mgPotassium: 7mgCalcium: 0.3mg

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This is too simple to even really call a recipe, but genius! I don’t know why I never thought of this before. If you’re like me, you usually have 1 to 2 cups coffee leftover in your pot by mid-morning (even after going back for a second cup). And if, like me, you also enjoy sipping your iced coffee slowly, you inevitably end up with a diluted beverage halfway through. This is a way to keep your iced coffee “perked” and also avoid wasting leftover coffee (the other great use I’ve found is for chocolate cake!).

I used room-temperature coffee and also did this over 3 days, as I just kept adding coffee to my still-empty ice cube trays. My only advice would be, depending on how many cubes you use (I used about 5 in a cup of iced coffee), add a bit more milk and sweetener if desired to make sure your iced coffee doesn’t lose the original flavor you created as the additional coffee melts.

I love having something to do with leftover coffee! These coffee ice cubes are perfect for the afternoon iced coffee pick-me-up. Just make sure to freeze the coffee before it sits out for hours and the flavor starts to change. I used 1 1/4 cups coffee to fill my ice cube tray with 14 ice cubes.

Total time was 8 hours and 30 seconds because I let it freeze overnight, but I think it probably freezes solid after just a few hours.

Why did we not think of this before?! This coffee ice cubes recipe is an easy way to eliminate today’s wasted coffee and improve tomorrow’s. No need to make extra-strength coffee or suffer through weak coffee that’s been over-diluted with the addition of ice cubes once you start freezing your leftovers, or plan ahead and make extra coffee just to put some aside to freeze.

I didn’t try the hot chocolate idea—at least not yet. But I am also planning to freeze leftover tea and use it in iced tea for a similarly un-diluted delicious cup. I also plan to use those iced tea cubes in lemonade, making a simple half-tea, half-lemonade. And how much effort will this genius idea require? Just a minute or two—however long it takes to fill an ice cube tray and walk it to the freezer.

Hooray! A simple yet ingenious use for the last of that pot of morning coffee. I hate to waste anything in the kitchen and some mornings, and sometimes after a dinner party, we just don’t finish all of the coffee in our French press. Simply freezing the leftover coffee into ice cube trays to add to a refreshing iced coffee is a perfect idea.

I allowed my coffee to come to room temperature before I poured it in my ice cube trays. If you’re a fan of iced coffee on a hot afternoon, this is a lovely idea to try out! (In terms of amounts and how many cubes it makes, it’s hard to say because it depends on how much coffee we have leftover that day and how much I add to the ice cube trays. I sort of keep adding the leftovers to the trays as it’s available.) In terms of time, hands-on time and total time are both minimal, seeing that the coffee was already made! The only real time is the freezing time, which is usually overnight.

Sure, these coffee ice cubes are more an idea than a recipe, but it’s an idea worth noting. If, in the heat of summer, the idea of hot coffee becomes unbearable, and you want to turn to the cold version, here’s a great way to keep your coffee undiluted while enjoying the iced beverage. It’s especially good if you’re the type that might like to spike such a beverage with bourbon and/or Kahlúa, with or without cream.

And if coffee’s not your thing, it would be fun to riff on this idea and make tea ice cubes for iced tea or lemonade ice cubes for lemonade—let your imagination run wild.

Great idea! It seems so obvious! This is a genius use for leftover morning coffee. I just used whatever was left in my coffee pot (roughly 1 1/2 to 2 cups.) It was probably a bit warmer than room temperature, and I was able to fill one full tray (15 cubes). I let them freeze overnight before using them. It takes about 2 minutes total and is so worth it on those hot days when hot coffee is just not going to happen. I love that I can let my coffee sit for a while without worrying about it diluting. I will say that some of the oils from the coffee seemed to leach out into the tray making the cubes a bit sticky. But the tray was easily cleaned, so it’s not really a big deal.

Let me start by saying leftover coffee at my house is a planned event. It starts by brewing a pot, allowing a cup or two to be taken out and posting a note on the remains with dire consequences to those who dare purloin what’s left. I was left with 2 1/2 cups of a rather nice Jamaican coffee that, when using a standard ice cube tray, made almost 22 cubes. (This of course depends on the size of the ice cubes. We have a few different sizes of ice cube trays for different uses, some large and others quite small.)

Uses include ice cubes for iced coffee, a glass of Baileys, and my vanilla and yogurt smoothie in the morning to give it a little latte flavor. I also make tea and fruit juice cubes for different drinks. Once the cubes are frozen, it’s quite easy to put them into a freezer bag for storage, leaving your cube trays free for other things. My only recommendation would be to use a strong brew to keep the coffee flavor true when frozen.

This is such an obvious and simple solution to the only problem with iced coffee. Anyone who drinks iced coffee knows that if you let the ice cubes melt, you’ll have a watered-down drink.

I made a full pot of coffee and poured it into 2 plastic ice cube trays. The hot coffee didn’t harm the trays, which I put in the freezer immediately. When I checked in about 3 hours, I had completely frozen coffee cubes. I noticed that my coffee got stronger as the cubes melted. This seems logical but never crossed my mind until it occurred. I fondly remember my mother’s tall, sweaty, shaker-sized tumbler of iced coffee. It was always kept at arm’s length from late May to September, her favorite weapon against the soupy, hot Cincinnati summers with no air conditioning and barely a breeze. I think this trick would’ve suited her perfectly.

These coffee ice cubes are fun to have in the freezer and use when you don’t want to water down your iced coffee with regular ice cubes. I’ve started to make these and put them into baggies in the freezer to use when I need them. Iced tea ice cubes are another good idea. I really dislike watered down iced tea. Just freeze some trays of iced tea and throw them in bags in the freezer.

Couldn’t be easier. I poured my leftover morning coffee into a madeleine pan since I don’t have ice cube trays and let it cool before putting it in the freezer. It was probably about 1 cup coffee total. Since the pan is shallow, it only took about an hour to freeze. I sprayed the bottom of the pan with warm water to get out the leftover coffee ice cubes, put them in a plastic bag, and stored it in the freezer. The cubes are great for iced coffee or just to perk up milk or almond milk.

Originally published July 08, 2020


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


  1. 5 stars
    I’ve been making coffee ice cubes for years. It’s not just for iced coffee. I like to pour cola over 1-2 cubes.Very tasty.

  2. 5 stars
    My Mom always did this and we made jokes about her dirty ice cubes. I loved them to cool down hot coffee that can sometimes be just too hot to take in!
    Hydrangeas like a cool cup of joe if you have a lion’s share of dirty ice cubes. And if you want to maybe go retro, Mom’s ice cube trays were metal with no absorbed aromas. Thank you, as always, for the relatable post!

  3. Wouldn’t the smell of coffee permeate those ice cube trays? Do you want the ice in your lemonade or whatever to taste like coffee? I would suggest dedicating a tray just for the coffee ice cubes.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Attach it below. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

Rate this recipe!

Have you tried this recipe? Let us know what you think.

Upload a picture of your dish