How to Make Popsicles WITHOUT Molds
Make popsicles without store bought molds - it's easy!
If you're like me and can't afford, find or have room for fancy popsicle molds, you'll be happy to find out that making frozen treats is easy using materials you already have at home.
I've been making my own popsicles for years without a popsicle mold, and they're just as good (well, actually they're much better) than anything you can buy from the store.
Since I try to recycle things as much as possible, I've made popsicles using empty food containers and cups as well as other common household items.
On this page I'll show you some of the techniques I use to make diy popsicles at home, without a mold or any expensive equipment. If you've got some nice ripe fruit ready to be blended up into a frozen dessert, you can make it straight away without having to go to the store or order a mold online.
My homemade icy pops, made without buying a popsicle mold
Find out how I made these delicious tropical flavoured treats further down the page.
Wooden popsicle sticks for your homemade pops
The only thing (yes, really) you'll need to buy to make your popsicles are some wooden sticks.
This brand seem to be the best value for money, and are reviewed as being strong, splinter resistant and good quality.
I use my wooden sticks again and again. Once washed in warm soapy water I leave them in the sun to dry and disinfect. They've lasted months like this without a problem.
Champagne flutes and shot glasses
You might not think of your fancy champagne flutes as being suitable for making popsicles. But they work really well in that role.
Being long and slender, they make an elegant popsicle that is good to serve to adults at a barbecue or house party. I especially like the fact that you can layer several different coloured mixtures in them to give a really special look.
If you're worried about damaging your glass flutes, don't. They only need to be frozen for a couple of hours, and then you can remove the pops and place them in a plastic bag in the freezer waiting to be served. You don't have to give the glasses to guests and stress about them breaking anything while trying to remove their dessert.
Of course, you can use plastic champagne flutes if you have them. And don't forgot those shot glasses or espresso cups. They're the perfect size for children or light eaters.
Sliceable popsicles in a loaf tin
A couple of years ago I stumbled upon the idea of making sliceable popsicles and since then I can't get the idea out of my head.
It goes like this: pour a popsicle mixture into a plastic wrap - lined loaf tin or one made of silicone. Put in the freezer until half frozen, and then insert wooden pop sticks along the middle length of the tray. Once frozen, slice in between the sticks and pull out your popsicles. Voila!
I haven't yet had the chance to try this out, but the pictures I've seen look really good.
You know those cute little juice boxes that you sometimes pack in your child's lunchbox?
The ones that make you feel guilty because after 3 sips the little box is thrown in the trash?
Well, you can save that box and make a healthy popsicle while reducing the amount of packaging sent to landfill.
All you need to do is save the juice boxes, cut off the top little rectangle and pour in your popsicle mixture. Freeze for about an hour, then insert a wooden stick before freezing for another hour or so.
For parents that are really short on time and energy (a.k.a most of us) you can freeze the juice that comes in the box rather than make your own mix. Just use a sharp knife to cut a slit in the top, then insert the wooden stick. Isn't that brilliant?
Use juice boxes as popsicle molds
I try not to buy juice boxes too often because they use a lot of packaging for a product that will be consumed so quickly. But now I don't worry as I can re-use the boxes several times for my homemade popsicles.
There are different shapes to choose from - I prefer the juice boxes that are taller and thinner as I think it's easier to hold than a short and stocky popsicle.
I grew up drinking Minute Maid. Their 100% juices are pretty good and I know from experience that the fruit punch flavour makes a nice refreshing popsicle for summer.
The flavour possibilities are endless!
Picture by Mattes [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
What can you make popsicles out of?
I love surfing the internet looking for the coolest icy pop recipes. But most of the time I don't use any recipe and simply use what I have in the fridge.
Popsicles are a great way of using up things that you have lying around and turning them into a delicious treat. Here are a few things that you can freeze in your DIY popsicle molds. Simply adjust the sweetness to your taste.
- Flavoured yogurt, or plain yogurt blended with fruit
- Chocolate pudding
- Kombucha, kefir or other fermented drinks
- Cooled herbal tea
- Ripe fruits, pureed
- Nutella blended with milk
- A milkshake that you didn't finish
- Fruit juice
- Lemonade or ginger beer that's gone flat
- Flavoured syrup or cordial mixed with water
- Pumpkin puree
- Jello (or jelly for my fellow British English speakers:)
- Lemon curd
- Leftover alcoholic drinks and cocktails
- Your morning smoothie
- Pureed avocado
- Fruit compote
- Coconut water or milk
One day, I had a small tub of fruit flavoured yogurt in the fridge that was fast approaching its best before date.
Not in the mood to eat it as is, I stuck a small plastic spoon in it and placed it in the freezer. A couple of hours later I had the easiest frozen yogurt dessert ever!
You can use store-bought yogurts as potential popsicles, or you can wash empty containers and use them as molds for your own mixtures.
I particularly like plain yogurt blended with honey and small cubes of mango. It's healthy, full of beneficial bacteria and so easy to make.
By the way, you can also reuse any small washable container for your popsicles. Those tiny tubs of ice-cream, or a small container of sour cream/ custard / tomato sauce all work well.
My latest batch of ice popsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Don't have any wooden popsicle sticks?
Use a small plastic spoon, chopstick, large paperclip or an unused key...anything that you have lying around and can be cleaned well before use.
One of the easiest DIY pop molds is the paper cup. You can find different sizes suitable for both kids and adults, and they make removing the popsicle easy.
If you want, you can wash the used cups and reuse them but I confess to peeling off the paper to make it quicker and easier.
In any case, there's no use buying the fancy coloured or patterned cups. Stick to the big packets of plain white ones and they'll do the job just fine.
Paper dixie cups as popsicle molds
These classic dixie cups are strong, well priced and will stand up to any popsicle mixture you put into them.
They can be washed again and again without being damaged...although I confess that I usually peel the paper off my popsicles and compost or recycle it.
Using household items as pop molds
This short and sweet video shows some ways to make popsicles without a mold.
I recommend putting the wooden stick in an hour after freezing, rather than 2 hours as shown here.
What type of popsicle do you like best?
Ice cube tray
Ice cube trays make great sized popsicles for young children.
I know that my 2 year old can easily hold on to my homemade ice cube tray pop, while store-bought versions are so big they melt before he's finished half of it.
The fun thing about using ice cube trays is you can make popsicles that double as ice cubes! Sometimes I make a water or juice based popsicle - coconut water and mint leaves, or cooled berry herbal tea are good. Any leftover pops get put into a big jug of water and they flavour the water subtly in a really nice way.
I cut my wooden sticks in half using a normal pair of kitchen scissors before putting them in the half frozen tray of ice pops. That way they're the perfect size.
Baking trays and silicone molds
Do you have a muffin tray, brownie squares mold, or perhaps a mold for candy (or even soap) making? All of these make great popsicle molds.
Simply pour in the pop mixture, freeze for a short time before inserting the wooden stick. Easy peasy!
I prefer silicone products because they make getting the popsicles out really easy. But of course if you have a metal or plastic mold lying around you can use that. You will probably need to pour hot water on the back of the mold for the pops to release.
For easy popsicle removal, I prefer silicone
I have a few silicone baking trays at home with different shapes. They are great for young children - the small size means less sugar consumption, reduced waste and a fun shape that kids look forward to.
This product is fabulous for making brownies that are crispy on each edge. But it's also a potential popsicle mold!
The perfect mold for Valentine's popsicles (cherries, strawberries and chocolate work well) or for fun all year round.
Great popsicle recipes for you to try
Once you start making your own icy pops, it becomes addictive! So far my favourite popsicles are avocado lime and berry yogurt.
Here are some more great recipes that you can easily make in any diy popsicle mold. Some are great for kids, while others - like the fantastic margarita pops - are great for an adult dinner party or barbecue.
- Easy peasy fruit and yogurt popsicles recipe
Here we share a great idea for fruit and yogurt popsicles which focuses on using fresh or frozen fruits and yogurt. Simply blend the ingredients and freeze for a fantastic snack that makes kids happy and keeps moms smiling.
- Margarita Popsicles Recipe
Get this all-star, easy-to-follow Food Network Margarita Popsicles recipe from Emeril Lagasse.
- Homemade Nutella Popsicles
There are dozens of nutella popsicle recipes around, but this one has only 2 ingredients.
- Kombucha Popsicles
I have to give credit to my boyfriend for coming up with the kombucha popsicle idea. I make kombucha at home, so we always have a lot in the house.
- Creamy Coconut Ice Pops
A pinch of cinnamon makes these vegan, gluten-free and super easy coconut pops perfect.
- Avocado Lime Popsicles
Creamy avocados are divine in desserts like ice cream or when paired with lime, these creamy, dreamy popsicles.
- Rainbow Popsicles
Colorful rainbow popsicles are a cheery summer treat.