Why Does a Refrigerator Give Crushed Ice & Not Cubes?

Many refrigerator models come equipped with a built-in ice maker, and many of these ice makers offer both cubed and crushed options for ice.

Reset Ice Settings

Refrigerators equiped with ice makers often offer both crushed and cubed ice.Refrigerators equiped with ice makers often offer both crushed and cubed ice.
With a simple press of a button, ice is available in a standard ice cube or the cube is crushed into small pieces. If you are attempting to fill your cup with cubed ice but crushed ice is being disbursed, there are several factors that may have triggered this malfunction.

If your refrigerator's ice maker is only dispersing crushed ice, verify that the "cube" ice button is pressed. Usually a red or green light is displayed on the button itself to show which type of ice is set to disburse from the ice maker. If the "cube" ice button is selected, reset the ice maker's settings. Many models are equipped with a reset button located usually near the ice selection buttons. Press and hold the reset button to reset the ice maker's settings, and press the "cube" ice selection button once more. If your model does not have a visible reset button, unplug the refrigerator from the wall outlet and leave it unplugged for a minimum of one minute. Plug it back in, and press the "cube" selection button.


Each refrigerator's ice maker has an internal filter to prevent dirt and debris from entering the ice maker or getting into the ice itself. The filter may be replaceable or reusable, depending upon the make and model of the refrigerator. Reusable filters should be cleaned every six to eight weeks while disposable filters should be replaced every three months. If the filter becomes clogged or damaged, the ice maker may malfunction, including delivering only crushed ice despite using the cubed setting. Refer to your refrigerator's user guide (see Resources) for instructions on checking, changing and cleaning this filter.

Ice Box

Each refrigerator contains a box that holds the unused ice produced from the internal ice maker. From this box, ice is pushed into a shoot which either leaves the ice cubed or crushes the ice, depending upon its settings, before dispersing the ice. An ice box doesn't seem like it would have an impact on the type of ice that is being dispersed but, because it is an essential part of the ice maker, it actually can halt the process. If the ice box becomes damaged, overfilled or under filled, the ice maker may not disperse ice correctly. See that the ice box is clean and that there are no cracks or breaks in its structure. Verify that there isn't too much or too little ice currently in the ice box.

Professional Troubleshooting and Repairs

If these simple troubleshooting steps do not correct the problem, a more in-depth problem may have occurred, such as a control board malfunction or problems with the blades. The refrigerator's control board instructs the ice maker on which type of ice to disperse as well as controlling most of its electrical functions. Corkscrew-type blades are located at the bottom of the ice maker's shoot and turn quickly to crush cubed ice into smaller chips. At times these blades may not work properly and may constantly churn, even when the "cube" ice option is selected. For these problems or any other repairs, contact a professional immediately to avoid further damaging your refrigerator or causing harm to yourself and others around you.

About the Author

Melissa Lowery began her writing career in 1999 as a field reporter for the "Six Mile Post." Since 2000 Lowery has contributed to many different websites and print publications. She holds both a mastery makeup artistry and a cosmetology diploma, with more than six years experience in these fields.