For the Best Crushed Ice, Grab a Skillet

In minutes, you'll have the perfect foundation for a Moscow mule or frosty bed for raw oysters.

Published Sept. 28, 2021.

Refrigerators with crushed ice makers often have limited capacities, so we sought out other ways to break up cubes. We started off with a blender and a food processor, but both produced overly fine shards that melted too quickly. The best approach was the old-fashioned way: by hand.

Here's how:

  • Fill a heavy-duty 1-gallon zipper-lock freezer bag about three-quarters full with ice cubes and press out as much air as possible before sealing.
  • Wrap the bag tightly with a large dish towel. Then simply strike the wrapped bag with a mallet, skillet, or rolling pin to break the ice to the desired size. (Note: Don't use a pin made of softwood or one with ball bearings, as it could be damaged by the ice.)


How much ice and how to store it:

  • If you are crushing ice for serving oysters on the half shell, you will need about 5 pounds to create a 1½-inch-thick layer of ice in a rimmed baking sheet. This will keep about twenty-four 2½- to 3-inch oysters cold for about 30 minutes. If you're using a smaller platter, store extra ice in a colander set in a bowl in the fridge. Use this stash to refresh your oyster platter as needed.
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