What Is an Ice Paddle? (Explained for Beginners)

If you need to quickly cool down hot soup or food, what you need is an ice paddle.

What is an ice paddle?

An ice paddle is a kitchen tool used to cool down hot soup or food. Submerge the frozen ice paddle in the center of the food for rapid cooling. Ice paddles can be long and thin to fit into any size pot. Other ice paddles have a wider, flat base for cooling larger quantities of food.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about ice paddles.

What Is an Ice Paddle? (Detailed Ice Paddle Definition)

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ice paddle full of ice cubes in a realistic kitchen setting next to a large pot - What is an ice paddle
I made this image with AI – What is an ice paddle?

An ice paddle is typically a long and narrow or long and wide tool, usually made of plastic or metal.

Many homeowners and professional chefs use ice paddles to quickly cool down hot food or soup.

Ice paddles come in all shapes and sizes.

The two most common shapes:

  • Long and slender (tube-like)
  • Wider with a cylindrical bottom

Ice paddles can possess a cylindrical-shaped lower half and a flat bottom.

It looks something like these examples:

Images of ice paddles in a modern kitchen
I made this with AI — Images of ice paddles in a modern kitchen

When shopping for an ice paddle, pay attention to the size and shape.

You want one that’s long enough to reach the bottom of your pot or pan, but not so long that it’s difficult to maneuver. And look for a paddle with a deep “bowl” so it can hold more liquid and cool food more quickly.

As for shape, some people prefer a traditional paddle shape for smaller pots while others prefer an offset design when working with larger pots.

Types of Ice Paddles

There are several different types of ice paddles.

Common ice paddles include:

  • Small ice paddle
  • Plastic ice paddle
  • Metal ice paddle
  • Stand up ice paddle
  • DIY cooling paddle

What Is a Small Ice Paddle?

A short ice paddle is a great tool to have in the kitchen, especially if you are working with smaller pots or quantities of food.

Short ice paddles are sometimes called “ice wands.”

Unlike a standard ice paddle, a short ice paddle is shorter in length, making it easier to maneuver in tight spaces. Some ice paddles can be as tall as 19 inches.

When using a short ice paddle, it is important to be mindful of the size of the pot or pan to ensure that the paddle is not too short.

Otherwise, you may find yourself with a burnt hand.

Nevertheless, a short ice paddle can be a great addition to any kitchen and can help make cooking and serving meals a breeze.

Plastic Ice Paddle

Plastic ice paddles are usually made of polycarbonate.

Polycarbonate is a type of strong, lightweight plastic. Because it’s non-reactive, polycarbonate won’t give your food a “plastic” flavor.

It’s often used in food storage containers because it’s shatter-resistant and can withstand high temperatures. Polycarbonate is also clear, so it’s ideal for products that need to be visible, like water bottles and food containers.

When it comes to cooling food, polycarbonate is an excellent choice because it’s a good conductor of heat.

That means it transfers the cold from the ice to the food quickly and efficiently. And because polycarbonate is strong and durable, it won’t crack or break if you accidentally drop your ice paddle on the floor.

Just make sure you wash it before plopping it back in your soup.

Metal Ice Paddle

Metal cooling ice paddles are usually made of steel.

They usually look more like regular paddles or wands than tubular plastic ice paddles. The metal paddle is heavier than the plastic paddle, and it has a smooth finish.

The metal paddle is also less likely to break than the plastic paddle.

The metal paddle can be used to cool down your drink or your food.

Stand Up Ice Paddle

If you’ve never used a stand-up cooling ice paddle, you’re in for a treat.

These handy devices are made with a flat bottom so that they can stand up on a counter, freezer, or in a pot of food.

Most also come with a hook at the top of the handle so that you can hang them in the pot instead of the bottom of the ice paddle touching the bottom of the hot pot.

Stand-up cooling ice paddles are great for keeping food cool during summer picnics or barbecues.

They can also be used to quickly cool down hot soups or stews.

DIY Cooling Paddle

You can easily make a DIY cooling ice paddle with just a water bottle.

Simply put the water bottle in the freezer for a few hours (or overnight) and it’ll be ready for use. Just be sure to let the food cool down a bit before using your DIY paddle—you don’t want to end up with a bunch of plastic particles in your food.

Water bottles are typically not made with leak-resistant plastic, so it’s best to err on the side of caution.

All in all, this is a cheap and easy way to keep your food cool.

What Is an Ice Paddle Used For?

A cooling ice paddle is a kitchen tool that has a variety of uses.

The most common use is to cool food and soups from the inside out. This is done by simply placing the ice paddle in the food or soup and allowing it to sit for a few minutes.

By doing so, you help bring the temperature of the food down so that people can eat it without burning their mouths.

Another common use for a cooling ice paddle is to cool down food before storing it in a refrigerator.

This is important because it helps to prevent bacteria from growing in the food. When storing food in a refrigerator, it is important to follow food safety guidelines and make sure that the food is cooled down properly before putting it in the fridge.

Here is a short video showing how to use a cooling ice paddle (although I’d for sure replace the missing cap):

YouTube video by Pho Destiny—What Is an Ice Paddle?

How Do Ice Paddles Work?

How do cooling ice paddles work?

It’s all about the science of heat transfer. When a hot object encounters a cold object, the heat will flow from the hot object to the cold object.

The more surface area that the two objects have in contact, the more heat that can be transferred.

That’s why a big cooling ice paddle is so effective at cooling down food. The large surface area of the ice paddle means that it can transfer a lot of heat very quickly.

But there’s another factor at play here, too.

The difference in temperature between the two objects also affects how much heat is transferred. The bigger the difference in temperature, the greater the amount of heat that will be transferred.

So, if you want to cool something down quickly, you need to use a very cold object.

That’s why some cooling ice paddles are made from materials like stainless steel, which have good thermal conductivity and can rapidly reach extremely low temperatures.

It’s also why you place plastic ice paddles in the freezer so long before using them to cool down food.

Do Ice Paddles Work? (Personally Tested and Reviewed)

Yes, ice paddles work wonderfully.

I love entertaining, and I often find myself cooking for large groups. During the summer months, when temperatures are soaring, I use cooling ice paddles to keep my food safe and comfortable to eat.

The paddles are filled with ice and water, and they help cool down cooked food before I serve my guests.

One thing I love is that the paddles are reusable, so I don’t have to worry about generating a lot of waste.

They really do work (especially the quality ones).

Thanks to the cooling power of the ice paddles, I can enjoy stress-free entertaining, even during the dog days of summer.

The Best Cooling Ice Paddles

Here are my recommendations for the best cooling ice paddles for soup and other food.

Best Cooling Ice PaddlesPrice
San Jamar 128 ounceCheck the latest price
San Jamar 64 ounceCheck the latest price
Cooling SticksCheck the latest price
Chart: Best Cooling Ice Paddles—What are Cooling Ice Paddles?

Is An Ice Paddle the Same as an Ice Machine Paddle?

No, an ice machine paddle is different than a cooling ice paddle.

An ice machine paddle is a tool used to scoop and move the ice around inside of an ice machine. A cooling ice paddle, on the other hand, is a tool used to cool down hot food, such as soup.

Both paddles are made of durable materials that can withstand constant contact with ice, but the similarities end there.

An ice machine paddle is typically shorter and has a more rounded edge, helpful for scooping ice.

Cooling ice paddles can basically be modified water jugs with no discernable “paddle” shape. Even the ice “wands” come with a flat, sharper edge designed for stirring, not scooping.

So, while an ice machine paddle and a cooling ice paddle may possess similar names, they are actually quite different tools designed for completely different purposes.

Is An Ice Paddle the Same as an Ice Cream Paddle?

The short answer is no, they are not the same thing.

An ice cream paddle is for scooping ice cream. It is usually made of metal or plastic and has a handle that is used to grip the scoop.

The scoop itself is usually rounded or oval-shaped and has a shallow indentation in the center.

This allows the scoop to hold onto the ice cream while it is being lifted out of the container.

Ice cream scoops come in different sizes, depending on the size of the container that they will be used in. They can also be found in different colors, although many are white or silver.

They are sometimes run under hot water to make scooping cold or frozen ice cream easier.

A cooling ice paddle is designed for the opposite purpose: to cool down hot food.

Ice paddles do not usually come with scoops. Rather, they come with flat surfaces for stirring or rounded surfaces filled with frozen water.

Final Thoughts: What Is an Ice Paddle?

If you’re going to get an ice paddle, the most important thing to look at is size. Many ice paddles are made for industrial or restaurant purposes.

Meaning, they will be too large for you to use in your home.

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