"Break the Ice" is an uptempo-oriented electro track with heavily synthesized, breathy vocals. The song runs for three minutes and sixteen seconds. It is composed in the key of A♭major, and is set in common time. It is constructed in the common verse-chorus form. The spoken intro contains a dual meaning. She whispers "It's been a while. I know I shouldn't have kept you waiting. But I'm here now," which serves as an apology for being gone so long in the music industry, as well as away from her love interest in the song. The song speaks about a girl and a boy, with the former saying: "You're a little cold. Let me warm things up and break the ice." Spears' breathy vocals are layered when she sings "Hot Hot Hot Hot" in the choruses and sound similar to that of her 2001 single "I'm a Slave 4 U." She sings of the intensity of "breaking the ice", lyrically stating "You've got my heart beating like an 808". Midway through the song, she halts, "I like this part...", mimicking Janet Jackson's style in "Nasty". The heavy drum line drops and the song finalizes in a repeated chorus, with ad-libs included by Spears.