I have a slight addiction to all things sugary. Gummy bears, sour straws, and Twizzlers are almost always within my reach. But when I’m feeling particularly self-conscious about my sugar intake, my favorite (guilt-free) way to satisfy my sweet tooth is to whip up some homemade Popsicles — which you definitely do not need to be a chef (or even an amateur cook) to prepare. My love for making my own Popsicles started as a kid, when my mom and I would make dupes of my favorite kind — the classic red-white-and-blue firecracker — using real fruit juice. Eventually, I graduated to trying my hand at making other ice pops — including pureed vegetable, ice cream, and smoothie-based pops, and then boozy ones (when the law allowed). Many think of them as a strictly warm-weather treat, but I snack on them year-round (including on weekend mornings, when my favorite post-wake-up ritual is grabbing a pop from my freezer and getting back into bed to eat it).
In my years of Popsicle making, I’ve learned the one thing more important than the ingredients is the type of mold you freeze the stuff in — not only because certain materials can be easier to use than others, but because the style of a Popsicle mold can instantly set the mood when you pull them out of the freezer. My growing collection includes silicone, stainless steel, and plastic molds (I always look for ones that come with sticks, so there’s one less thing to buy). But I’ve got my eye on a lot more, especially now that peak Popsicle season is about to kick off. Below, a list of molds I own — and more I want to own — to make Popsicles for practically any occasion (including lounging in bed on weekend mornings).
Popsicle molds I’ve bought
This silicone mold is perfect for a first-time maker — it’s easy to use, clean, and works well with a variety of ingredients. I love it because frozen pops slide out smoothly and in one piece without having to run the mold under warm water. I’ve used it for freezing everything from fruit juice–based pops, to ones I make with veggie purees (when I’m on a serious health kick).
When I really want to impress a crowd, I use this stainless steel model. The Bentley of my collection, it always draws “oohs” and “aahs.” Each of the six vessels holds a good amount of liquid, and they’re very easy to remove individually when I’m just craving a single pop.
I like to use these molds to make “adult” ice pops because of their size. Each pop is a bit larger than normal (which means a bit more booze for everyone). Each stick also has a drip guard, to ensure no drop of whatever concoction you freeze is wasted.
These are my go-to molds for making Popsicles with hard-to-pour ingredients like yogurt and ice cream (the wider tray means more stuff ends up in the mold, and not on my kitchen counter). They’re also great for making ice pops with real pieces of fruit because the trays are oriented horizontally, not vertically, so the fruit doesn’t sink to the bottom or top of a pop. And their stackability is ideal for tiny freezers (the molds lay beautifully on top of my year-old bag of frozen peas).
Popsicle molds I want to buy
I want this set because it includes all the bells and whistles: a tray, funnel, brush for cleaning dirty molds, and an e-book of recipes (which I can test out in these and my other molds).
A fun novelty set of two molds that are just kitschy and interesting-looking enough to make for a unique summer hostess gift.
I want to fill these plastic pouches with a blended margarita, freeze them, and pack them in a cooler for my next trip to the beach (no stick means no sticky hands when things start to melt). They look like the Fla-vor-ices I craved as a kid — but unlike those pops’ packaging, these sleeves are reusable.
I’ll buy anything Hello Kitty–themed, and this cute mold that makes Popsicles shaped like her and her friends would be a great present for my (30-something) self, or any Kitty fan.
A mold ideal for making Popsicles to share with a special someone (these would be great for splitting a Sunday-morning pop in bed with my future husband).
This would be a great mold to have on hand now that many of my friends are parents to toddlers (it would also make a great gift for those parent/friends). The handles are the perfect size for tiny hands to grip, and I love how they make the pops look like pacifiers.