Oh my gosh, this heat, right?
When it’s so hot that taking a shower three times a day seems completely reasonable, the temperature is all anyone can talk about.
“It’s hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk!”
Why would you leave the safety of the air conditioning to make breakfast on the sidewalk?
Who wants to eat anything cooked when it’s this hot?
When the dog days of summer hit hard, I rarely have an appetite, but I find myself diving headfirst into the freezer more often.
For most of the year, my popsicle mold sits on the top shelf of my pantry, gathering dust, but for a few weeks each summer, it earns its keep with a semi-permanent location in the freezer. It’s only around late September that it gets relegated back to its spot in the pantry.
What’s so great about making your own popsicles?
For starters, making your own popsicles is better for the environment. You cut down on the single-use packaging considerably. No more individually wrapped popsicles in plastic that won’t break down. No more paperboard boxes holding a scant 6 to 8 bars.
And those wooden sticks? Wash ‘em and reuse ‘em.
When you make your popsicles, you can store them right in the mold and pop them out as you eat them.
And there’s no running to the store when you’re out.
Once someone nabs that last popsicle, you can easily refill your mold with a tasty new batch. There are so many flavor combinations and recipes out there that it’s quite probable you have the ingredients on hand to make something sweet and icy.
You get to control what goes into your popsicles. There’s no worrying about additives or dyes or how much sugar is in those pops – it’s all entirely up to you. It’s easy to make simple, healthy popsicles when you make them at home.
Did I mention the flavor possibilities?
If you love to tinker in the kitchen, this age-old summertime treat is a great way to whip up something different. You can keep the classic flavors or get creative in the kitchen combining sweet and savory elements to make a popsicle that’ll knock your socks off.
Popsicles are not just for kids.
Oh no, folks, these days, this humble kid’s treat is all grown up. There are so many great flavors that lean more toward the adult palette. And you can really make them grown up with the addition of your favorite spirit.
For my 40th birthday party, I decided to serve adult-beverage popsicles as the dessert. Rum horchata popsicles (heavy on the cinnamon), ginger peach bourbon popsicles, and vodka gummi bear popsicles filled my freezer. They were a huge hit! And the best part about spirited popsicles is you get all of the flavor without a lot of alcohol.
And popsicle molds these days are so much nicer than those terrible plastic ones those of us of a certain age remember. You know the ones. You could sip the melted popsicle out of the little spout at the bottom but good luck getting the popsicle to come out of the mold still attached to the plastic stick.
For popsicle molds, you’ve got options beyond plastic.
I personally love my silicone popsicle mold. It’s super flexible, which means I can pop my popsicles right out without having to worry about getting them to melt a little first. It’s easy to wash, and I rarely have issues with popsicles sticking or coming apart.
I bought this silicone popsicle mold several years ago, and I still love it. It comes with 50 wooden sticks, and I have yet to have to buy more because we keep washing and reusing ours.
You can also opt for a sleek stainless steel popsicle mold. Metal molds will require a little extra care, and you’ll need to run them under hot water for a few seconds to get the popsicles to release, but these are built to last. This may be the last popsicle mold you’ll ever buy.
Beyond the mold you choose, the sky is the limit.
For the best popsicles, turn your freezer to the coldest setting. When your popsicles freeze, the ice crystal formations will be smaller, making your popsicles creamier and less icy. This step is especially important for yogurt-based pops and pudding pops.
I’ve put together a list of a few personal favorites. Here are a dozen different popsicle recipes to cool you off. Make a batch of each one, and before you know it, cooler weather will have arrived.
1. Three Ingredient Strawberry Popsicles
Let’s kick things off with super easy, three-ingredient strawberry popsicles. These delicious pops are mostly all fruit for the sweet taste of summer without a ton of sugar. Not to mention you get the fiber that comes along with eating whole fruit.
they taste even better when they’re made with strawberries from your own garden. Learn how to grow buckets of strawberries.
Just don’t tell the kids they are healthy!
2. Honey Lemonade Popsicles
Another recipe that requires only a few ingredients are these delightful honey lemonade popsicles. There’s nothing as refreshing as a tall glass of lemonade on a hot day. Well, except maybe these lemonade popsicles.
If you’ve got edible flowers growing nearby, pick a few and add them to the popsicles to give them a little extra pop.
If you want fancy pink popsicles like mine, do this:
Instead of adding 1 ½ cups of cold water at the end of the recipe, boil the water and then add a tablespoon of butterfly pea flowers to the water. Let the flowers steep in the water for ten minutes. Remove the flowers and then mix all of the liquids. The acid from the lemon turns the blue butterfly pea liquid into a gorgeous pink.
3. Blueberry Basil Popsicles
Herbs and fruit pair so well. Strawberries and thyme, peaches and sage, and the classic flavor of blueberries and basil. This popsicle recipe makes for a more adult flavored pop; it’s a perfect after-dinner dessert for a dinner party when it’s just too hot to serve something heavy.
4. Parfait Popsicle
Popsicles for breakfast?
Sure, why not? When you mix protein-packed, good for your gut greek yogurt with swirls of luscious jam and add a touch of granola, you’ve got yourself the perfect breakfast parfait. On a stick!
This portable pop makes for a tasty grab-and-go breakfast when you’re in a hurry too.
- Thin two cups of plain Greek yogurt with one cup of heavy cream.
- Fill mold 2/3 of the way with the yogurt.
- Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of your favorite jam. (Cheryl’s No-Pectin Raspberry Jam is a great choice!)
- Using a chopstick, gently swish and poke the jam around to incorporate it into the yogurt.
- Now top off with a sprinkle of granola. Be sure you smoosh the granola down into the yogurt a bit. Otherwise, when you remove the popsicle, the granola will just fall out.
If you’ve got picky eaters, swap out the plain yogurt for vanilla.
5. Creamy Iced Coffee Pops
This is another popsicle that’s perfect for the breakfast table!
When it’s just too darn hot out, but you still want that caffeine fix, grab yourself an iced coffee pop. This recipe is pretty simple; you’re basically making coffee the way you like it and then freezing it. But it’s also a great template to try something new. Instead of heavy cream, try mixing in a little sweetened condensed milk and cinnamon for a frozen Viennese-style coffee. Or use coffee made from your own home-roasted coffee.
6. Cinnamon Horchata Popsicles
Make up a batch of cinnamon horchata popsicles for a frozen pop that’s not only refreshing but comforting. The cinnamon-laced rice milk gives a warming flavor to the popsicle. For a more grown-up popsicle, stir in 3 oz. of your favorite rum to the horchata before you pour it into the molds and freeze.
7. Chocolate Pudding Pops
Fruit popsicles are great, but sometimes what you’re craving is something smooth and creamy. And chocolatey. These popsicles fit the bill. Skip the store-bought frozen pudding pops from your childhood. Those were filled with preservatives and other additives. For the creamiest possible popsicles, don’t forget to turn your freezer to the coldest setting.
For an extra decadent chocolate pudding pop, use a chopstick to stir in two teaspoons of crushed almonds into each popsicle mold. Mmmm!
8. Gummy Bear Ice Pops
These are probably the easiest popsicles on this list to make. And they also might be the most fun. All you need is your favorite clear soda and gummy bears.
I know lots of folks love Haribo brand gummy bears, but I highly suggest picking up a bag of Albanese gummy bears. They are larger and have quite a few more colors and flavors. My kiddos love these, and a few full-grown adults in my life get excited whenever I make these popsicles too. (Identities protected so my friends can save face.)
9. Lavender Lemon Balm
I love these beautiful and simple popsicles. The flavor is so light and refreshing. Plus, in my experience, the kids won’t eat them all before you can get one.
They’re great to make when you have lavender and lemon balm going crazy in your garden. But you can also enjoy this lovely herbal pop with dried lavender and lemon balm. Simply substitute the fresh lavender for two tablespoons of dried lavender and two tablespoons of dried lemon balm leaves.
10. Gin and Tonic Popsicles
When it comes to cocktails, nothing says summer like a classic G&T, and it’s definitely gin and tonic weather lately.
Mix up these easy popsicles for a truly icy cocktail experience that isn’t too heavy-handed on the booze. You’ll want to eat them up quickly as the citrus loses its color and looks less than appealing if you leave them in the freezer for too long. (Ask me how I know.)
11. Spicy Peach Popsicles with Tequila (or without)
I had half of a jalapeno and a handful of peaches left after making salsa and peach jam last week. And so, these delightful little popsicles were born.
This pop will make you sit up and pay attention with the extra zing from the jalapeno. But it’s such a fun flavor combination that I couldn’t resist. I think this would be a great popsicle to serve at a barbecue.
- In a small saucepan, add ½ cup of water and ½ cup of honey.
- Bring to a boil, stirring until the honey is completely dissolved.
- Remove from the heat and add four fresh jalapeno slices to the honey syrup, cover and let steep for ten minutes.
- Remove the jalapeno slices.
- Add four peaches, sliced and stone removed, or four cups of frozen sliced peaches in a blender.
- Add the spicy honey-jalapeno syrup and blend until the mixture is smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.
- Optional, add 3 oz of tequila to the blender with the honey syrup.
12. Mimosa Popsicles
When it’s too hot for brunch, make these mimosa popsicles and enjoy them without getting all steamy at the omelet station. You can still dress up if you want to, though.
The fun part about these popsicles is that there is still a bit of the fizz from the champagne when you eat them.
You can easily sub prosecco for champagne here too.
As you make a few of these popsicle recipes, you’ll probably come up with some new popsicles ideas of your own to try. Stay cool with your icy creations, and hang in there – fall is just around the corner.