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Popsicle Playbook: 5 Fun Ideas

Elle Penner, MPH, RD
by Elle Penner, MPH, RD
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Popsicle Playbook: 5 Fun Ideas

A cool summer treat, popsicles have been especially hot the past few seasons—and with good reason! Homemade pops are fast, easy, and fun to make. With countless flavor combinations, you can create a new refreshing treat with just about anything in the fridge and it’s a great opportunity to sneak a serving of fruit into a tasty, low-calorie dessert.  Here are a few tips for making your own. Plus, 5 fun ideas that put a twist on the frozen treats.

First, pick up a few essentials.

  • Popsicle Molds  If you plan on making popsicles all summer long, spending a few dollars on a mold is an investment that will pay for itself in no time. Drinking cups, empty yogurt containers and ice cube trays will also work in a pinch. If using a mold without a lid, insert sticks when pops are partially frozen, about 1 hour after they go into the freezer, and then freeze until solid.
  • Wooden Sticks If your mold doesn’t have built-in sticks, definitely purchase some up. It wouldn’t be a popsicle without a stick, right?
  • Blender: If you want to make popsicles with fruit purees, make sure you have either a standard or an immersion blender on hand.

Then, get creative! 

1. Break the mold You technically don’t need a recipe. Playing with different flavor combinations is part of the fun, and it’s perfectly okay to just go by taste. Pick your favorite fresh pureed fruit and add water, coconut water, fruit juice, or yogurt (for an extra “pop” of protein). Here are 5 great combos to try:
  • Blueberries + Fresh Lemon Juice + Vanilla Yogurt (picture above)
  • Banana + Mango + Coconut Water
  • Strawberry + Blood Orange Juice
  • Avocado + Lime + Banana + Water
  • Pineapple + Mint + Water

Need a little more pop-spiration? Search Pinterest for popsicle recipes, or pick up one of these lick-worthy cookbooks: People’s Pops: 55 Recipes for Ice Pops, Shave Ice, and Boozy Pops from Brooklyn’s Coolest Pop Shop by Nathalie Jordi, Perfect Pops: Perfect Pops: The 50 Best Classic & Cool Treats by Charity Ferreira, or Paletas: Authentic Recipes for Mexican Ice Pops, Shaved Ice & Aguas Frescas by Fany Gerson.

2. Take a bite For a pop with a bit more bite, slice up fresh fruit and top with a refreshing liquid, like white grape juice, lemonade, or coconut water. (Dilute fruit juice with water for a lower calorie pop.) Pretty much any fruit will do: grapes, kiwi, strawberries, pineapple, peaches, or simply toss in a 5 to 6 whole berries—blackberries, blueberries and strawberries all taste great with lightened up lemonade.

3. Play with layers Not only are they beautiful, layered popsicles bring out the best of every flavor when you’re combining more than one. To layer, simply freeze in stages!

4. Let the cookie crumble Sometimes cookies just make things better. I’ve found this to be especially true with popsicles, not only because they add texture and sweetness, but for the built-in portion control. For a true dessert pop, crumble one cookie directly into the mold, then add yogurt and fruit. Or roll an ever-so-slightly melted pop onto a plate of cookie crumbs for a delicious, crunch coating.

5. No mold? No problem! Try frozen fruit pops instead.Put half of a banana on a stick, or create a fruit “shish kabob” with slices of a few different fruits (think: kiwi, strawberries, banana), dip in chocolate and chopped nuts, freeze, and enjoy!

What are your favorite homemade popsicle combos? Share them in the comments!

Photo: Elle Penner

About the Author

Elle Penner, MPH, RD
Elle Penner, MPH, RD

Elle is a nutrition and wellness writer, recipe developer, blogger and nutrition consultant whose favorite things include her camera, carbs and quality time with her toddler. For more from this busy mama, check out Elle’s lifestyle blog or connect with her on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.


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