On a hot summer’s day, an ice-cold popsicle is a delicious and refreshing treat! And there is no better way to get some healthy fruit juice into your diet than by turning it into a frozen ice pop.
But if you’ve never made popsicles at home, you might be worried about how long it will take.
So, how long do popsicles take to freeze? Homemade popsicles will freeze solid anywhere between 4-8 hours. The length of time a popsicle takes to freeze will depend on the thickness and water content of the fruit pulp, as well as the size of the popsicle, type of fruit, and sugar content.
Fancy having a go at making popsicles for you and your family to enjoy? Here is our guide to the best way to freeze popsicles, including some top tips to freeze them quickly if you are in a hurry.
What Are Popsicles?
If you make any type of frozen ice pop from fruit juice at home, your family probably calls them popsicles.
People have long been making fruity frozen treats in their freezers, and popsicle is now a household name.
However, the word “Popsicle” is actually a brand name, but like many other brand names, it has become so famous that it has replaced the original generic term for the product.
Just like we now tend to refer to any plastic tub as Tupperware, Q-tips for things we shouldn’t put in our ears, and Google to describe researching anything online, “popsicle” is used to describe an ice pop made from fruit juice.
But in manufacturing circles, only iced treats made by the patent holder, Unilever, can use the name Popsicle. All other brands must use another term to describe their ice pops.
If you buy Popsicles or any other type of fruity ice pop from the store, it will come from the freezer section and already be frozen solid.
All you need to do is get it home safely without it defrosting, and you’ve got ready-to-eat frozen treats in the freezer!
Homemade popsicles are normally made from fruit puree mixed with sugar. This is poured into molds, and a stick is stood upright in the mold. These are placed in the freezer until frozen solid.
A good popsicle, or ice pop, should be smooth and creamy, and soft enough to gently sink your teeth into.
If your popsicles come out like solid lumps of ice, something has gone wrong! The texture should be smooth and creamy rather than a grainy, iced lump.
There are a myriad of flavor combinations you can use to make popsicles at home, from plain fruit ones to exotic blends. Some people like to add honey instead of sugar, and others enhance the creaminess by adding cornstarch or coconut milk!
How Long Do Popsicles Take To Freeze?
Homemade popsicles can take anywhere between 4-8 hours to freeze, but with some clever hacks, you might be able to reduce this time if you are in a rush.
The popsicles then need to be placed into the freezer until frozen solid — take them out too soon and you’ll have a mushy, dripping, fruity mess!
The aim is to be able to lift the popsicle cleanly from the mold in one piece, and for it to be frozen enough for you to finish eating it before it begins to thaw and drip.
What Affects How Long Popsicles Take To Freeze
The main factors that affect how long popsicles take to freeze are the temperature of your freezer and the sugar content of the fruit puree.
Your temperature should be set at 0°F or lower to freeze fruit popsicles to perfection. This is because the fruit puree has a higher sugar content than water, and requires lower temperatures to freeze.
This means that you may need to reduce the temperature of your freezer temporarily to set your popsicles. Just don’t forget to return it to its normal setting when your frozen treats are set solid!
The thickness and sugar content of the fruit puree will also affect how long it takes to freeze. A popsicle with a high sugar content will take longer to freeze, especially if you do not lower the temperature of your freezer.
And if you’re making “grown-up” popsicles that contain alcohol for a party, this will take even longer to freeze!
How To Tell When Popsicles Are Fully Frozen
The tricky part of making popsicles is figuring out when they are fully frozen! The last thing you want is to lift one from its mold only for it to fall apart or start dripping everywhere.
In truth, it is not always easy to tell when popsicles are frozen. The first test is to squeeze the mold — if it feels solid, it may well be frozen. This trick only works with flexible molds like silicone though, not hard plastic or metal molds.
The next thing you can try is to gently wiggle or lift the stick — does it feel fixed in place? If so, there is a good chance that the popsicles are frozen.
Any movement of the stick means that the center of the popsicle is still mushy and not frozen solid.
Finally, pull the stick a little harder, at which point one of two things may happen. The popsicle may lift cleanly from the mold, and you can look to see if it is frozen solid. If it seems slightly soft at any point, return it to the mold.
If the popsicle is stuck in the mold but you suspect it is frozen, run warm water over the outside of the mold for around 10 seconds. This should be sufficient to loosen the popsicle from the mold without it starting to thaw.
Top Tips For Freezing Popsicles
If you’re in a rush to enjoy your frozen treats, there are a few ways to make your popsicles freeze faster.
Firstly, popsicles with higher water content and less sugar will freeze more rapidly. They might not be quite so creamy and tasty, but they’ll work well if you want an ice pop in a hurry.
Turning the freezer temperature down not only makes the popsicles freeze faster, but will also create that soft-yet-frozen texture we all know and love.
This is exactly how commercial ice pops are made, by fast-freezing them at extremely low temperatures!
Place your filled popsicle mold in the coolest part of the freezer — this is normally at the center of the rear section of a chest freezer. If you have an upright freezer, the coldest place is normally the top shelf or drawer.
Some freezers have a “fast-freeze” function, which is used when large quantities of food need to be frozen quickly. This may be helpful if you need to freeze plenty of ice pops in a hurry for a party or barbeque.
The size and thickness of popsicles will also affect how quickly they freeze.
A thinner ice pop will freeze far faster than a thick one, as the freezing temperatures will reach the middle much sooner. So if you are in a rush, go for the thinnest popsicle molds you have available!
On the topic of molds, if you are planning on making popsicles regularly then it may be worth considering investing in a quick pop maker.
This is a countertop device that freezes popsicles in just seven minutes — perfect for kids who like to see quick results from their kitchen labors!
Now we’ve got your popsicles frozen to perfection, let’s take a look at some other ice pop-related questions.
What is the best way to make creamy popsicles?
For a popsicle that is soft and creamy when you bite into it, you need to reduce the water content and replace it with a different type of liquid.
When water freezes it forms hard crystals, which detract from the smoothness of your homemade popsicles.
Most popsicle recipes contain added sugar, which is a great place to start when it comes to smoothness. Sugar will reduce the grittiness of frozen water crystals, giving your fruity ice pop a creamier texture.
For added silkiness, you can replace some of the water with a dairy product such as Greek yogurt. Alternatively, a small amount of coconut milk can give popsicles a smooth, creamy texture which also freezes well.
How are Jello popsicles made?
Jello popsicles are a quick and easy alternative to fruit popsicles, and far less messy to make! They freeze really well and take forever to thaw, giving your kids a cool and refreshing drip-free snack on a hot summer’s day.
The Jello will first set and then freeze, turning them into refreshing ice pops.
If you want to add a bit of fruity goodness to your Jello popsicles, pop some chopped, peeled fruit into each mold as well. This is a great way to sneak some nutritional value into your family treats!