I made some bone broth soup and froze it in ice-cube trays.

When I melt these huge ice cubes (via microwaving), they melt down to a tiny puddle of bone broth.

What gives?


We (humans) can be pretty bad at estimating volume by eye, especially if you're putting a bunch of cubes in one bowl - they don't pack efficiently (there's a lot of air in there). You might not actually be losing that much volume.

For example, I just dumped out an ice cube tray full of cubes, and they looked like a bit over 2 cups, but once melted (and I checked by weight, I didn't lose any!), they're about one cup:

ice cubes melted ice cubes

The ice is a bit (~7%) less dense than water, but the rest of that apparent 2x reduction in volume is just the packing inefficiency. Depending on the size/shape of your cubes and the size of the vessel you're melting in, it could get exaggerated even more.

  • That's a nice demonstration for kosher vs table salt too. Same thing just different :)
    – Jolenealaska
    Dec 2 '14 at 4:09
  • Except salt doesn't melt, but... yeah.
    – Aaronut
    Dec 2 '14 at 4:27
  • 1
    Note if you freeze clean water, you get solid ice cubes. If you freeze various solutions, you often get snowy sludge on the surface, with a lot of air in it, before the remainder freezes solid and the sludge hardens to rock.
    – SF.
    Dec 2 '14 at 11:07

Not sure if this is much of a culinary question, but I'll take a stab at it.

One of two things are happening here... 1. You're overheating it. Some of the liquid has evaporated off. 2. A cube takes up more volume than it's liquid version.

I suspect a bit of both. Try reducing the power, and increasing the time. Or melt it a little bit, stir it around, melt it some more, repeat.... That'll reduce the effect of 1.

  • 1
    A simple way to see if (1) is really a problem is to simply let a cube melt in the fridge.
    – Batman
    Dec 2 '14 at 4:48
  • @Batman I wouldn't trust such an experiment. The fridge has a very dry air and the ice cube will melt very slowly there. You'll get extra evaporation in the fridge even though there is not much heat. Fridges dry stuff out.
    – rumtscho
    Dec 2 '14 at 7:13
  • Good point. you could just put the cube in a plastic bag o rsomething to avoid this.
    – Batman
    Dec 2 '14 at 11:08

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