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How Long Does It Take for Water to Freeze?

How Long Does It Take for Water to Freeze?

Last Updated on 21st September 2022 by Pauline Loughlin

Have you ever needed ice fast and suddenly noticed that you’re out of it? Maybe you need some to keep food cold while you go picnicking or you want some ice cubes to put in a beverage. Whatever the case, you may be wondering how quickly you can make ice and how long does it take for water to freeze. Other fluids that have a more dense consistency than water, could actually freeze quicker. Such as how long does it take to freeze batter.

The answer is going to vary based on how much water you’re trying to freeze at once, where you are freezing it, and the temperature of the water when you try to freeze it.

Let’s look at all of that to give you an idea of what to expect when you’re trying to make ice from whatever water you have available.  Freezing food is different to freezing water, you can read our guide that takes a look at the science behind freezing food.

How Long Does It Take for Water to Freeze in a Freezer?

If you fill up a plastic ice cube tray with cold water from the tap and place it into a freezer that’s kept at zero degrees Fahrenheit, the water should freeze in three to four hours.

All of this seems you’re using a standard plastic ice tray with cold water and that the temperature the freezer is staying consistent. If you keep opening and closing your freezer to get things out of it or check on the ice, it can take a lot longer to freeze.

Frozen Ice Trays

Every time you open the freezer door, a lot of cold air escapes and room temperature air comes in, which slows down the freezing process.

How Long Does It Take for Hot Water to Freeze?

You may have heard people say that hot water freezes faster than cold water. I remember my father telling me not to put hot water in the dog’s water dish during the winter because it would freeze fast, though I was convinced it would take longer to freeze. Is there any truth to that notion?

Mpemba Effect (it works, try it)

In general, hot water freezes at about the same rate as cold water, or perhaps a little slower. Hot water will freeze faster than lukewarm water or room temperature, in most cases.

If you’re trying to speed up the freezing process by using hot water, you’re not really going to make a difference. You’ll probably just give yourself more work to do by trying to use hot water rather than the more readily available cold water.

How Long Does It Take for Water to Freeze Outside?

You might think that you could freeze water just by putting it outside when the weather is really cold. This can work in winter weather, but there are a lot of other things to consider.

You may notice that the water in pipes freezes when the weather is really cold. It usually takes pipes about 6 hours to freeze. Water left in the hose won’t take as long to freeze, since the hose is thinner than the pipes.

Outside Water Freezing

Even if the temperature outside is really cold, it will take water longer to freeze outside than it would in the freezer, in most cases.

The cold air in the freezer is more concentrated and able to freeze water more efficiently, but if your freezer isn’t working, you can always chill water outside to make ice cubes, if the weather is cold enough.

How Long Does It Take for a Cup of Water to Freeze?

If you put a cup of water into the freezer, how long before it becomes a solid block of ice? That depends partially on how much water you’re freezing, but it will take between two and three hours, similar to what a tray of ice cubes would require.

The most important factor that comes into play for this question is the thickness of the cup. A thin plastic cup will allow water to freeze a lot faster than a thick ceramic mug would.

How Long Does It Take for Water to Freeze at 0 Degrees Fahrenheit?

Most freezers are set to 0 degrees Fahrenheit, though you can set yours for colder or warmer, if you prefer. At this temperature, it usually takes an ice cube tray filled with water about two to three hours to freeze completely.

Don’t be fooled by the frozen surface of the water after that tray has been in the freezer for a little while. The surface will freeze faster than the water at the bottom of the tray. You can tell if the water is completely frozen by pushing your finger down through one of the ice cubes.

If the ice cube is solid, you won’t be able to push through, but if only the surface is frozen, your finger will break through into the cold water below.

How Long Does It Take for a Bottle of Water to Freeze?

Once again, I’m going to say that putting a container of water in the freezer will take around two to three hours for the water to become completely solid.

How long it takes your bottle of water to freeze will depend on how thick the bottle is and how full you filled it with water.

If you’re wanting cold water to enjoy all day, particularly if you’re going be out walking and need to cool down, storing your bottle of water in the freezer ahead of time is a great idea.

That way, as the water thaws out, it will do so slowly so that you always have cold water to drink. We have tested several other items and recorded their freezing times and affects. Such as how to freeze bananas.

How Long Does It Take for Cold Water to Freeze?

Some people will try to use either hot or cold water to speed up the freezing process. It makes sense to think that cold water would freeze faster, since it’s already part of the way to being frozen.

That sentiment is exactly right, because chilled water freezes much faster than room temperature or warm water.

In fact, water that’s already cold can freeze in as little as one to two hours once you put it into the freezer. Just keep the temperature consistent and use a thin container, like a plastic ice cube tray.

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I'm Pauline, a retired patisserie chef, mother of four and now a full time food blogger! When i'm not cooking i love long walks, reading thriller novels and spending time with my grandkids. Head to my about me page to learn more about the woman behind the food!  You can find my Facebook here

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