How to make Mexican-style popsicles, a.k.a. paletas! This fresh fruit paletas recipe comes in 4 delicious flavors and requires just a handful of simple ingredients.
This post is in partnership with our friends at PopsicleLab! Thoughts and opinions, as always, are my own.
This recipe throws together my two favorite food groups – Mexican food and popsicles – and I am here for it. (And yes. Those are food groups. The food pyramid is dead.)
And so, friends, PALETAS are happening! Having seen a freezer of these tucked into virtually every Mexican restaurant in San Antonio (and tasted many, in the name of research), I figured it was time we learned to make these at home.
Because when life gives you fresh seasonal fruit, we popsicle. Let’s freeze!
What are paletas?
For the uninitiated, paletas (pronounced puh-LEH-tuhs) are Mexican-style popsicles. Where conventional popsicles typically contain juices and flavorings, paletas boast fresh, local fruit!
Paletas can be either water-based (paletas de aqua) or milk-based (paletas de leche). Today we’re making water-based fruity paletas, choose-your-adventure style! What’ll it be: strawberry, mango, pineapple, or kiwi?
The ingredients list for this paletas recipe is short – we’re letting the seasonal fruit shine!
- Fruit: The star of the show, the fruit! You’ll need 6 cups of chopped fruit. We’ll blend half of it and leave the other half in chunks to add fun texture to our paletas.
- Sweetener: Sugar or honey make great sweeteners for ice pops. Not only do they add sweetness, but their molecular structure helps to improve the texture of the popsicles. For this reason, we don’t recommend artificial sweeteners.
- Citrus: Lime juice helps to cut through the sweetness (while keeping the color of your fruits bright!) You could replace the lime with lemon or even orange juice.
- Water (as needed): Depending on the juiciness of your fruit, you may need a splash of water (or juice) to help blend the mixture into a smooth puree.
The Mold Matters!
It wouldn’t be a proper paleta with the mold, which is why we’ve partnered with PopsicleLab, the makers of our favorite popsicle mold!
The PopsicleLab Mold Set is made of pliable BPA-free silicone, meaning it’s easy to unmold the popsicles after freezing. And the best part? The silicone lid keeps the popsicle sticks upright during freezing (because there is seriously nothing more frustrating than crooked popsicle sticks that prevent you from being able to take the conventionally metal lid off…if you know, you know).
The set comes with wooden popsicle sticks, storage bags, and a funnel (+ it’s eco-friendly and dishwasher safe). Grab your mold just in time for popsicle season!
Let’s get this paletas party going with a simple strawberry flavor! You can use fresh or frozen (and thawed) strawberries here. For a fun twist, throw in: vanilla extract, basil, banana, orange (juice), or lemon zest!
The only thing better than a juicy ripe mango are mango paletas! Use any ripe variety of mango (though Ataulfo mangoes will be the sweetest). To change things up, feel free to add: pineapple, orange (juice), chamoy, chili powder, or strawberries.
Paletas de Piña are a classic (and my personal favorite)! You can use fresh, canned, or frozen (and thawed) pineapple. For variety, you could add: passion fruit (juice), guava, basil, or mango.
I just love the color of these kiwi paletas! Aim for the ripest kiwis you can find, which will be the sweetest and the easiest to scoop out (because you’ll need a lot of them)! Some fun varieties on the kiwi flavor would be to add: spinach (they’re already green, why not amp up the nutrition with hidden spinach?), apple, mango, or strawberry.
Removing the paletas from the molds is often the trickiest part, but not today! Simply run each side of the popsicle molds under warm water for a few seconds. Then, with the help of the flexible PopsicleLab silicone, the paletas should come right out!
Bring the Tajin!
Tajin is a Mexican seasoning with mild chili peppers, lime, and salt. It’s great on fruit, veggies, the rim of drinks, and…paletas of course! If you want to supercharge your paletas with flavor, dip each paleta in a glass of water then sprinkle with a dash of tajin (a little goes a long way!)
Pop it like it’s hot
Hungry for more popsicle inspiration? I wrote the book on it (no like, really!). Here are some of my favorite ice pop flavors:
- Lemon Buttermilk Popsicles
- Mint Chocolate Popsicles
- Loaf Pan Popsicles
- Banana Popsicles
- Or pave your own path with our Ultimate Guide to Homemade Popsicles
Fruit (Pick One)
- 6 cups roughly chopped strawberries fresh or frozen and thawed
- 6 cups roughly chopped mango fresh or frozen and thawed
- 6 cups pineapple chunks fresh, canned, or frozen and thawed
- 6 cups roughly chopped kiwi about 12 kiwis
- ¼ cup sugar or honey
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- Water as needed
- Blend: Choose the fruit you want to use, then divide it in half. Finely chop half of the fruit and set it aside. Put the remaining fruit in a blender, along with the sugar and lime juice. Blender until smooth, adding a splash of water as needed to get things moving.
- Mold: Stir chopped fruit into blended mixture. Pour into molds, leaving a little space at the top for them to expand. Firmly tap the mold on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Insert sticks and freeze until hard (at least 4 hours).
- Serve: Run the mold under warm water for a few seconds to loosen them up, then remove from the mold.