Types of Ice Cubes — Best Uses, Features, and more

Jun 20th 2022 - Monica Cunanan

Types of Ice Cubes — Best Uses, Features, and more

Ice plays a vital role in making any party fun. Learn about the different kinds of ice and how to use them.

Ice should keep without watering it down. Who doesn't love an ice-cold glass of green tea or sparkling water mixed with a wedge of lemon? Whether you are enjoying a glass of mojito or a glass of whisky on the rocks, ice is essential. Have you ever wondered why the ice in your mojito drink is smaller than the ice that whiskey on the rocks has? Each ice type and each cube serves a purpose in the kitchen or cocktail bars.

Here’s a quick guide to seven different kinds of ice and when to best use them.

Different Types of Ice Cubes

Regular Ice Cubes

Large Cube

These regular cubes are the most common types of ice cubes. You've probably enjoyed them in everything from tea to sodas. These are mostly used in a commercial setting, in a commercial kitchen, or in most food establishments. 

Great for: Commercial setting. If you own a food establishment, the larger cubes have a solid build, 100% Ice-to-water ratio is great for efficient cooling. 


  • Size is about 1 1/8” x 1 1/8” x 7/8”
  • Slow Melt Rate

Ice Machine for Regular Ice Cube

Hoshizaki IM-500SAB 44"W Stainless Steel Air-Cooled Cube-Style Ice Maker

Models such as Hoshizaki IM-500SAB produce these classic cubes for large-volume applications.

Half Cube

Small Cube/ Half Dice

This type of ice has a convenient size which makes it versatile for any setting.

Great For: (Versatile) Commercial kitchen, restaurant, bars


  • Its solid build contains nearly a 100% ice-to-water ratio.
  • With an ice cube size of 7/8” x 7/8” x 3/8”
  • Moderate Melt Rate

Ice Machine for Half Cube

Models such as Manitowoc UYF0140A produce these full cubes for efficient cooling of your drinks

Full Cube

Dice Ice or Square Cube

These large cubes melt at a slower rate and give a cleaner look to your drink because they're shaped and sized correctly. Because they're bigger and melt at a slower rate, full cube ice offer the most cooling and less dilution, so you get a thicker, less diluted drink.

Great For: The Bar Setting

  • Whiskey Drinks where a slow melt is needed to cool the drink without diluting it.
  • Cocktail Ice for shaking. 


  • The size is usually 7/8” x 7/8” x 7/8”
  • It has a Slower Melt Rate
  • Sizes are uniform, making it more sleek-looking.

Ice Machine for Full Cube

Models such as Manitowoc  UDF0190A produce these full cube ice for efficient cooling of your cold drinks


Crushed Ice

Flake Ice has many uses in the food industry. You mostly see this in the market display or even in hospital settings.

Great for: Food Display Setting, Healthcare Settings 

  • Presenting food produce in groceries such as seafood, shellfish, etc.
  • For displaying cooked food in a buffet setting
  • Used in hospitals as non-pharmacological intervention i.e ice compress


  • Size is not uniform due to its crushed nature
  • Has a Fast Melt Rate

Ice Machine for flake Ice

Models such as Manitowoc RFP0620A produce these ice flakes for your food-display needs.

Nugget Ice

Pebble Ice, Pellet Ice, Tubular Nugget Ice, or “Sonic” Ice

These are one of the most popular types of ice because of their soft and chewy texture. These little chunks are able to cling to the flavor of the beverage. They are also drier than other types of ice which makes them gentler on dispensers and less likely to jam.

Great for: Bar Setting/ Hospitals/ Convenience Stores 

  • Perfect for blended drinks, frozen drinks and smoothies
  • Cooling slushy beverages


  • Bite-sized ice with a size of 3/8"-1/2" in length and width
  • Has a Quick Melt Rate

Ice Machine for Nugget Ice

Models such as Manitowoc UNP0200A produce these flake ice for your food-display needs.

Crescent Ice

Half-moon shaped Ice

It is shaped differently than standard cubed and half-cubed ice, so this type doesn't fit into the same category. This shape allows it fill a glass better and create exceptional liquid displacement and easy fluidity as you enjoy your beverage Crescent ice is a bit harder to crush because of its rounded edges.

Great For: Commercial Setting 

  • Ice Bagging/ Dispensing
  • For amazing liquid displacement and easy flow for customers to enjoy their drinks.


  • Crescent/ Half-moon shape
  • Size is 1 1/2" x 1 1/8" x 1/2"
  • Slow Melt Rate

Ice Machine for Crescent Cube

Models such as  Hoshizaki KM-420MAJ produce these crescent-shaped ice for easy flow of the ice in drinks.

Gourmet Ice

Top Hat Ice or Octagon-Shaped Ice

Gourmet Ice cubes fall into similar roles as full cubes, in which they are often used with spirits for slow dilution or stirred (not shaken) into frozen cocktails. The gourmet ice cubes also serve as a garnish. Ice cubes melt faster than ice spheres, and they often fill a good portion of a glass. They make any regular drink look elegant.

Great For: Bars, Upscale Catering/ Restaurant 

  • Gourmet ice spheres are an amazing gourmet ice choice that will really impress a crowd.


  • Has a unique octagonal or cylindrical shape
  • With a solid build for efficient cooling and has a 100% ice-to-water ratio.
  • It has a size of 1 3/8" x 1 3/8" or 1 1/4” x 1 1/8” x 7/8” depending on the shape
  • Has a slow Melt Rate

Ice Machine for Gourmet Ice

Models such as Scotsman CU50GA-1 produce these uniquely shaped ice for your beverages.

Looking for an Ice Machine?

Now that you have discovered different types of ice, maybe found a new preference for your business or for your next gathering. Culinary Depot carries different types of ice machines that can cater to any of your needs. May it be: 

 Visit our online store or contact us and find the right machine that aligns with your newfound ice appreciation.