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With the arrival of warmer weather (and downright sweltering, HOT weather!) many of us are thinking about the best treats for keeping cool. I think an ice cold, refreshing popsicle on a hot summer day is one of your best options!
Not only will you be able to control the ingredients when you make your own at home, you’ll save money, too. Plus, you can customize the flavors to your liking in endless combinations: fruit, juice, punch, and even chilled alcoholic treats for the grown-ups!
In order to create these tasty treats, you’ll need a great mold. Below we’ve reviewed the best on the market.
First, I share our number one pick. This model is reasonably priced, and with it you’ll be able to enjoy tasty treats all summer long. After that, I’ll discuss the features that you should look for when choosing a model, and then I’ll provide a few other options that I’m confident you’ll be very happy with as well.
Table of Contents
- Our top rated pick
- Features to consider
- Popsicle maker/mold reviews
- Best budget option (Mamacicles)
- A great low cost BPA-free plastic model (Zoku Classic Pops)
- An awesome model for babies and toddlers (Nuby Garden)
- A neat option(s) for small children (Zoku Mini Pops)
- Best mess-free silicone mold set (Foodworks)
- A stainless non-reactive model (Onyx Original)
- A second stainless non-toxic option (Onyx Paddle Style)
- Aluminum models (or the lack thereof)
Bottom Line Up Front: Our Top Rated Model
Zoku Quick Pop
Zoku is primarily a housewares business based in Hoboken, New Jersey but many foodies know them for their popsicle makers and molds with the distinctive block logo.
Their main goal when they began experimenting with these products was to make popsicles freeze faster, and within a few months, they developed the idea for the Quick Pop Maker.
Available in a single, duo, or triple model. At first, I was disappointed that this product only makes 1-3 pops at a time, depending on which one you choose. But that can easily be overlooked when you consider the speed with which it works.
It only takes about 7 minutes to freeze your treats, which is where Zoku really stands out. And you can make three batches before refreezing the unit is required.
Of course, if you do want to maximize your production efficiency, you’ll probably need some extra sticks and drip guards. The single model comes with two, four are included with the duo, and the triple model includes six. Replacements are availablein sets of six.
The thing I really like about this model is that you simply place the base in the freezer, and leave it in there to freeze at least overnight. It’s nice to be able to keep it in the freezer all summer long, so you can make popsicles whenever you want, at a moment’s notice.
Keep in mind that you can’t just take it out of the box and expect to be enjoying a popsicle in a matter of minutes. Freezing overnight is essential, before the first use and whenever the mold has defrosted completely.
The popsicles themselves are the same size for each model, about 2 1/4″ wide x 3/4″ thick x 3 1/4″ long. Each model is the same height too, measuring in at 4.5″ tall.
Depending on how many popsicles you’d like to be able to make at a time, the length, width, and weight of these bases varies. The triple model is 8 inches long x 4.2 inches wide, and it weighs in at 5 pounds. The duo base is 5.75 inches long x 4.75 inches wide, and weighs about 3.5 pounds. The base for making one popsicle at a time is 4.25 inches long x 4.6 inches wide, and it weighs 2.6 pounds.
Keep these dimensions in mind to make your selection – if you want to be able to make ice pops whenever the mood strikes, this baby is going to need a dedicated space in your freezer. Add about 2 inches of clearance to the height, so you’ll have room for the sticks when they’re inserted.
A Zoku storage case is also available, if you want to stock up on freeze pops. With an opaque clear lid and red base, it holds six popsicles in an upright position, so you don’t have to worry about them becoming misshapen or sticking to each other. The case is available on Amazon.
All models include a user-friendly instruction manual with troubleshooting tips. And making popsicles with one of these molds is a cinch. Pour your base into the molds to the line, insert the sticks with drip guards attached, let it sit on the counter, and wait just 7 minutes – your frozen treats are ready to go!
Plus, Zoku’s Super Tool is included, a grabber that can be attached to the handles to help release your pops from their molds with ease. And the sticks are imprinted with whorls and polka dots, a ridged pattern that’s designed to help your frozen ice pop base adhere well to the sticks – this means no more worrying about pulling out a stick with nothing on it!
A variety of different colors are available, so you can choose your favorite or match your kitchen decor. Though the duo is only available in white (with lime green trim!), the single and triple versions also come in blue, red, green (with a yellow accent), orange, and purple, with matching Super Tools. The white triple set has an orange accent and Super Tool, to match the Zoku logo.
To hasten the freezing process, the base is filled with a similar liquid to what you’ll find in freezer bowl style ice cream makers, and the molds are lined with nonstick aluminum. Other parts, like the sticks and drip guards, are composed of BPA- and phthalate-free plastic.
This is one of the pricier options on our list, but if the convenience of nearly instant popsicle delight whenever the mood strikes is going to make your summer, the Zoku makers are for you.
Whichever size you choose, it’s important to treat the base like you would an ice cream freezer bowl, and never immerse it in water or put it in the dishwasher. Simply wipe out the base with a damp cloth. Only occasional cleaning is recommended thanks to the nonstick properties, and cleaning is not recommended after each use, according to the directions.
You’ll want to avoid dropping the freezer base as well – some who own this product have reported leaking blue goo, i.e. the special liquid that helps the base to freeze so well. If this model cracks, you’ll need to throw it away. Fortunately, many have reported a good response from customer service in terms of requesting a replacement.
Getting Creative & Crafty
Looking to up your popsicle making game? For the more advanced frozen treat chefs among us, Zoku also offers a kit to facilitate the production of more complicated and artistic freeze pops. This is a fantastic summer project for bigger kids.
The 7-piece set includes three drip-free pouring cups, tiny heart and star-shaped “stencil” tools (like mini cookie cutters), a fruit wand, a siphon, and an angle tray.
Make pops with a filled core using the siphon, and add pieces of fruit cut into fun shapes with the wand. The angle tray holds the mold at a slant, so you and the kids can add layers of different flavors at different angles, creating a variety of geometric shapes with base juices and yogurts of different colors.
Step by step instructions are also included, and the kit is available on Amazon.
What Others Are Saying
The following comments are compiled from verified customer reviews on Amazon at the time of this writing.
With many positive reviews, customers said the Zoku makers were easy to use, and they appreciated the relatively small size of the mold, saying it fit easily in their freezers.
These models make popsicles much more quickly than the usual freezer method, though some noticed that consecutive rounds of ice pops take longer to freeze.
If you’re hoping to make 100 pops in one go for everyone at summer camp, you’ll have to wait while you refreeze the mold every three rounds or so. You’ll also need quite a few sticks…
On the downside, a significant number of customers reported that the product leaked blue fluid from the base, though they had not dropped it.
Others reported that the product broke without detailing the specifics, but several reported being pleased with good customer service, and easy replacement of faulty products. Some have also suggested that there may have been design improvements in the past couple of years to help prevent leaks.
Some recommended purchasing extra sticks, as some of theirs had broken. And if the molds are overfilled, popsicles can reportedly be very difficult to remove. Others experienced sticking when they were working with a thicker base, like pudding or yogurt, or bases with a lower sugar content.
This is definitely the most important factor when it comes to these models. With this product you’ll be able to make cold treats in as little as 7 minutes, and you just can’t beat that.
Due to the innovative design (i.e. molds that you keep in the freezer) and the aluminum lining, all of the treats come out with a uniform shape, and all are fully frozen every time.
Little to No Cleanup
I really like how clean this stays – any excess simply pops off in frozen chunks, making cleanup a breeze.
This is one of the more expensive models on the list, but it’s worth paying a little extra for the convenience of popsicles on demand. If the price is a factor and you don’t mind waiting a few hours for your frozen treats, Zoku also makes a “classic” model – keep reading, because this review is coming up next.
If you’re looking for a product that makes great treats quickly, and doesn’t require much work with simple cleanup, I highly recommend this product.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing
Popsicle molds and makers are pretty straightforward. You have a base (i.e. the molds themselves, either built in or with an additional stand to hold them), sticks, and sometimes drip guards.
Popsicle makers include the same parts, but they can freeze ice pops in minutes, right on your counter. The term “maker” makes it sound as if these are small appliances, but they’re actually more like an ice cream mixer attachment that’s filled with special freezing fluid, and you don’t even need to plug them in.
There are a just a few things you should consider before you buy:
The actual size of the popsicles that you’ll be able to create varies. Some run small, with the molds holding about one or two ounces of liquid. These bite-sized pops are perfect for small children.
Others are oversized with a larger capacity, making them a good option for bigger kids or adults.
I will say that I’m always surprised by how little juice it sometimes takes to fill up a set of molds. Some recipes may need to be halved, or you’ll have to save the excess in the refrigerator until some space is freed up again, depending on the size of the model that you choose.
The size of the mold and stand with the sticks inserted is also important to consider, as you’ll need to keep that space free in your freezer. Most molds cannot have anything stacked on top of them, as the molds will topple or the sticks will be pushed off center, making them difficult to remove.
2. Time It Takes to Freeze
Depending on your recipe, total freezing time will also vary. Things like fresh fruit and milk or yogurt-based recipes tend to take a little longer than juice to freeze.
Recipes that contain alcohol often require colder temperatures to freeze, and if you add too much, they may not freeze firmly.
For some makers, sugar content is also a factor. Bases high in sugar (like juice) often freeze more firmly than low-sugar items (like yogurt).
The makers reviewed above are the fastest options, taking just minutes to create solid popsicles. Molds take at least 4 hours to freeze, with many requiring 6 hours in the freezer or longer before serving.
Of course, as was touched on above, the time factor also depends on the temperature of your freezer. Temperatures closer to 32°F will take longer to freeze ice pops than a sub-zero freezer chest.
You’ll find freeze pop molds in a variety of materials, from BPA-free plastic and silicone to aluminum and stainless steel, with plastic being the most common.
Plastic is an affordable option, but it’s often the type with the shortest life. Plastic can become scratched, cracked, and brittle, clear molds can stain or cloud after multiple uses and washes, and many models are not dishwasher safe.
Next comes silicone, often thicker than plastic and more durable. Popsicles can usually be removed from this type more easily, and these molds won’t crack. They tend to last longer than plastic too, meaning less money spent buying replacements.
Then there’s aluminum and stainless steel, good options for those who are worried about plastic leaching into their treats. Although all of the plastic models on this particular list are BPA free, that is not the case for all products on the market.
Aluminium is a lighter option in terms of weight – but it can also be more difficult to clean, since it’s porous and may react with certain foods, like those high in acid.
Stainless steel is heavier but it is easier to clean. It’s also much stronger – meaning it will last longer.
This is where the products that we’ve reviewed really differ the most, and there are many options available. Price is largely dependent on the material a mold is made from, as well as the extra features that it offers.
If you go with BPA-free plastic, you can find a very low priced product, great for those who are not sure how often they’ll be using it, and who don’t want to make a big investment.
If you want one that’s stainless steel, you’re going to be looking at the higher end of the price range. This is because the material is more expensive to produce. But these molds will last a very long time, essentially paying for themselves over the years.
If you want to go with a maker rather than a mold, like one of the Zoku models, these are the most expensive. But many would argue that this is a small price to pay for the convenience of having treats ready in a flash, whenever you want them.
Other Great Options
Best Budget Popsicle Maker: Mamasicles BPA-Free Plastic Molds
This product makes 6 pops, which comes in handy if you want to make these for a group of kids or a backyard barbecue. Each large popsicle measures in at 4 x 2 x 5/8 inches, a little under 3 ounces each. These aren’t exactly jumbo (though they are described that way online), but they’re a decent size.
These BPA-free plastic molds are also very easy to use – simply pour your base recipe into the molds, leaving an inch of head space at the top so you can easily pull them out once they’re frozen.
Freeze them for at least 4 hours (depending on the temperature of your freezer and what kind of base you’re freezing), then let them sit out on the counter for a few minutes to defrost a little. Finally, pull your treats gently out of the molds.
These are the perfect shape and size for making Mexican-style paletas.
After using, you can wash this set by hand, or even put the molds in your dishwasher. This set comes with 6 reusable sticks with built in drip trays, to keep little hands from getting sticky.
The green sticks are vented, which helps your popsicle base to hold on tight. Rather than being a single unit, each individual mold stands separately in the base. And the “Tupperware-style” plastic that these are made from lasts longer than other materials that might crack or wear out more easily. The molds with the base measure 6 x 6 x 3 inches.
If you tend to lose little pieces in the bottomless cavern that is the plasticware drawer in your kitchen, this set is nice because the drip guards are attached to the sticks – one less thing to have worry about locating when your molds are filled and you’re ready to stick these in the freezer! Of course, you do still have 13 different pieces to keep tabs on.
What Others Are Saying
Verified customers on Amazon.com at the time of this writing had lots of good things to say about this product overall.
They liked the high-quality materials, and the fact that they were able to save money by replacing store-bought popsicles with homemade versions frozen in this cost effective mold.
Users reported that it wasn’t a hassle to remove the frozen treats from the molds, especially if you quickly run the mold under warm water for a few seconds first. This mold also offers a space-saving option, as the individual molds can be stored separately in the freezer once they’re fully frozen, taking up less freezer space.
The molds are easy to clean, and they fit well in the stand without tipping easily. Many customers love the large size of the freeze pops, and some also appreciated that unfinished popsicles can be stored for later enjoyment, using the mold itself as a freezer storage container.
On the negative side, some customers reported that the lids were difficult to secure, resulting in spills. Others said the stand bends when the molds are inserted, also leading to spillage.
A few reported that the sticks pulled right out, leaving the frozen treat behind in the mold, or that they experienced cracking of the molds or breakage of the sticks after only a few uses. Even though the drip guards are attached, several purchasers said the fact that the molds, base, and sticks are all separate can make it difficult to keep track of all of the pieces.
Others were disappointed that the product did not come with a recipe book. We’ve got an excellent solution for that, though. Check out Pops! Icy Treats for Everyone by Krystina Castella. This is one of our favorites, and it’s available on Amazon.
The Perfect Size
Sometime you’ll find that a standard popsicle recipe results in a bunch of leftover juice, especially since this product doesn’t come with its own recipe suggestions. These molds are perfect because they hold a good amount of liquid to make a full-sized treat.
Easy to Use
There are no special instructions required to use these molds. I love that you can place them in the dishwasher when you’re finished too, for easy cleanup.
Not only is this Mamasicles offering the least expensive pick on our list, the company also offers a 100% no-hassle refund guarantee. If you’re not completely satisfied, you can return this set with no questions asked.
If you’re excited to start making ice-cold treats with a high-quality product that’s inexpensive, give this one a try.
A Great BPA-Free Plastic Option: Zoku Classic Pop Molds
This model is more of a traditional option, unlike the more innovate design that was featured as our best option. It makes six pops, and comes with six sticks with built-in drip guards – these are actually separate parts that click together, so they can be separated for easy cleaning. The lime green stand, molds, and sticks are made of BPA- and phthalate-free hard plastic.
Each pop mold holds roughly 3 ounces of liquid. This is the “classic” version because, like most of the other products on this list, you’ll have to leave your treats in the freezer for a longer period of time before they’re ready.
They don’t have the “freezer bowl” liquid solution surrounding the mold cavity as does Zoku’s Quick Pop model. The manufacturer recommends at least 8 hours of freezer time.
Once frozen, pull out the sticks – each individual mold will slide out of the base with the stick attached. Then run under warm water for 30 seconds and gently pull to remove your treat.
At 4.33 x 9.06 x 4.53 inches, it’s one of the longer molds reviewed, and it will take up a little extra space in your freezer. The product includes an illustrated instruction manual that’s easy to follow.
You’ll want to wash each mold, including the sticks, with warm water and soap after each use. It’s recommended that you hand wash them, so they don’t melt or wear down at a quicker rate. Do not place any of the parts of this product in the dishwasher.
Round pop molds are also available from Zoku, with silicone molds that simply peel away from the frozen treat. Each mold can make four popsicles of about 3.5 fl. oz. each. You’ll find reviews of more silicone molds in the next section.
What Others Are Saying
This reflects a compilation of Amazon reviews from verified customers at the time of this writing.
The reviews of this product currently on Amazon are overwhelmingly positive, with customers saying the pops slide out of the molds easily. The plastic sticks and molds are easy to clean, and the base is secure enough to prevent tipping.
However, there were some more critical comments as well. In particular, customers reported that the sticks are smooth, without ridges like the Zoku maker sticks have, or notches/vents like other models. This gives the frozen base little to cling to, and frozen popsicles sometimes slide right off the sticks.
Others said the drip guards left something to be desired, since they are very shallow. Some users reported receiving products with missing parts, or sticks that broke when they tried to remove them from the molds. A few who owned multiple molds from Zoku reported that they preferred the round silicone molds to the plastic classic version, which can crack.
Treats Are the Perfect Size
The finished product is 4 inches long and customers can’t stop raving about it being the perfect size for both their kids and themselves. However, if you have small children, you might want to check out the mini Zoku molds, reviewed below.
One thing this model has going for it is how easy the molds are to remove from the base, and how easily the treats come out of the molds.
Another cool feature is the ability to store the pops in the molds outside of the base once they’re frozen, giving you back some of that precious freezer space.
You don’t have to worry about your homemade popsicles falling apart. Your treats will come out perfectly and hold up well every time.
If you’re looking for a classic model that won’t break the bank, one where you simply pour the liquid in and place the base in the freezer, this is a good option.
For the tiniest toddlers and babies too, read on – we found a quality product designed just for them, and this review is up next.
Best For Babies and Toddlers: Nuby Garden
Looking for a mini pop option for the littlest of little ones? The Garden Fresh Fruitsicle Frozen Pop Tray from Nuby is the answer.
These pops are shaped like pacifiers, with a BPA-free plastic ring instead of a stick that’s easy to hold, which snaps into a small mold that creates a frozen pop that’s the right size for littler mouths. The mold is 5.8 x 5.8 x 4 inches.
Recommended for ages 6 months and up, these are perfect to give to teething babies. Fill with fresh fruit and vegetable purees, or milk.
Each mold makes four 1-ounce popsicles, and they freeze more quickly than other options, since they’re smaller.
The ring-shaped “sticks” are vented (for extra holding power) and rounded at the ends, and they include a built-in wide drip tray with a deep groove for catching whatever melts.
What Others Are Saying
Lots of verified customers on Amazon love this product for teething babies, and little ones who are reluctant to eat their vegetables.
Customers say this mold is easy to fill, though there were many reports that the pops can be difficult to remove. Since the base is not flexible like an ice cube tray and it doesn’t allow for individual removal of each pop mold, you’ll likely have to run the whole thing under water to release a reluctant freeze pop, or let it defrost for a bit on the counter.
However, there were others who said the pops were easy to remove. One user suggested pressing down on the corner tabs of the mold base to release the popsicles.
One customer reported that a stick snapped in half, which can pose a choking hazard. But this did happen when attempting to remove a pop from the mold, not in a child’s mouth.
Perfect for Babies
With a 1-ounce capacity and ring-shaped sticks, this mold is perfect for babies and toddlers. And BPA- and phthlate-free plastic is a choice that many parents prefer.
The extra-wide and deep drip tray works well, so you won’t have to worry about popsicles melting all over the carpet. Sure, it’s not foolproof, but it offers more protection than other models.
Though these are molds rather than makers, their smaller size means they’ll come together more quickly in your freezer – perfect for when you need something to soothe a cranky teether in a hurry!
Best for Small Children: Zoku Mini Pop Molds
Similar to the classic, this model takes at least 6 hours to freeze. The difference is that this model makes 9 small, round pops at a time. And you won’t have to worry any more about running the molds under hot water, since these are easy to release.
Each individual mold holds 2 ounces of liquid, and the base and sticks are made from BPA- and phthalate-free plastic. Silicone molds are attached to the orange base, and they invert when you pull on the stick of each freeze pop, removing the hassle involved with some other molds.
Though the treats created with this product are small, at 10 x 7 x 2 inches, this mold will take up more space in your freezer than more compact models.
It’s easy to use – simply fill the mold with your base recipe, insert sticks in each of the molds, and place in the freezer. When the popsicles are frozen, as long as you haven’t filled above the line, they pull out easily.
This set comes with 1 mini pop mold and 9 sticks with drip guards, which must be washed by hand. Purchase also includes a simple illustrated instruction manual.
This is a great choice for those of you with small children, or adults who prefer a smaller treat.
What Others Are Saying
Most verified purchasers on Amazon at the time of this writing really like this product. It’s easy to use, easy to clean, and the pops are just the right size if you’re looking for something smaller.
On the more critical side of the ledger, the complaints are comparable to those related to the classic model – the sticks are smooth, so frozen pops may slide off. But they’re easier to remove, thanks to the easy release silicone molds.
The molds cannot be removed individually though, so you won’t be able to free up storage space or use the mold as a convenient storage cap.
Ideal for Small Children
Customers love the small size for their children, or for those who just want one or two bites. These also offer a clever way to get the kids to eat healthy yogurt and smoothies, which magically become more appealing when frozen on a stick!
This set makes it very easy to remove the treats from the molds, with no breaking of the sticks or wasting water trying to defrost the pops.
Users love how sturdy the sticks are, and how clearly defined the fill line on the molds is.
Another version of this product is also available in a variety of fun shapes like a “fish” theme. Each of the blue or green bases makes six pops, and the sticks are fun as well.
I say “fish” in quotes because this set actually includes a shark, clownfish, octopus, whale, puffer fish, and scuba diver. The whimsical stick handles are shaped like tails (or a flipper, in the case of the scuba diver!) and “skeletons” are revealed as the popsicles are eaten.
The polar set includes a parka-clad explorer with a penguin, walrus, orca, seal, and polar bear, with feet or flipper sticks.
Dino pop molds include a stegosaurus, pterodactyl, tyrannosaurus, triceratops, and apatosaurus, plus Lucy the Cavegirl, with feet or tail sticks.
Each shape has a 1-2 ounce capacity, and these also have the silicone mold liners that turn inside out for easy release. They’re super cute – even if you don’t have any kids, you will want these for yourself. I highly recommend one of these sets if you’re looking for small molds in fun shapes.
If animals aren’t really your thing (ahem, your kids’ thing), space-themed sets with six molds are also available from Zoku, though they don’t entirely fit in the mini category. Each set of six has one astronaut with a 1.2-ounce capacity, and five rocket ships that hold 2.2 ounces of yogurt, pudding, or juice.
Unlike the rocket freeze pops that you might remember from your childhood, these are more well defined, each with a different shape and numbers on the sides – your only challenge here will be to get the kids to cut their missions to Mars short, before they melt! Again, these are easy-release silicone molds.
Just in case you didn’t already have enough options, or if you’re looking for a smaller mold that takes up less freezer space, individual character pop molds are also available from Zoku. Choose between a frog, a bunny, a hedgehog, a kitty, a princess, an owl, a songbird, and a turtle. Good luck choosing your favorite!
Like the sets above, these have fun stick designs and easy-release silicone liners. Each has a 1.4-ounce capacity. They are sold separately or in sets of two, and they’re available on Amazon.
Best Silicone/Mess Free Option: FoodWorks
These are a great option for those of you who are often on the go, as each treat is completely contained inside the silicone tube. It’s a good option for those with white carpets as well (though you’ve all learned by now not to make red popsicles, right? Or chocolate. Or anything containing any staining pigment whatsoever…).
With this set of molds from FoodWorks, you simply squeeze and push the frozen treat up into your mouth, like one of those plastic tubes of Fla-Vor-Ice that your grandma always used to have at the house “for the kids” in the summertime. (My own grandmom is diabetic. But we know she used to occasionally sneak one of these when no one was looking… it got hot in the kitchen!)
Of course, the main difference here is that these are reusable – no snipping the end off of a plastic tube required (and no artificial colorings and flavorings either, unless you’re into that).
This set comes with six dishwasher-safe BPA-free silicone molds in all of your favorite bright rainbow colors (almost all – sorry indigo!) with matching caps. These fit on the molds so well that you can fill them with liquid and then lay them on their sides without having to worry about them spilling all over your freezer.
Having said that, a base or freezer stand is not included. So you’re basically forced to rely on that seal. Make sure you push those caps on well, or place the tubes in a zip-top freezer bag before placing in the freezer, just to be extra sure.
We’re not saying you’re going to spring a leak (you probably won’t) but it’s better safe than sorry, right? Nobody wants to clean out the freezer if they don’t have to.
The molds are 8 inches long and hold 3.4 ounces of liquid each. Users suggest that you give them at least 4 hours to freeze, but the freezing time will depend on the type of liquid you use, as well as the temperature of your freezer.
You can toss the molds and caps in the dishwasher, and since these are a “push-up” style, no sticks are needed.
During cooler months when the kids might not be in the mood for something frozen, you can use the molds to hold dry snacks like nuts and seeds, trail mix, and small crackers.
Unlike some of the other options on this list, if one your little angels isn’t able to finish their treat, you can put the lid on and pop it back in the freezer to finish at a later point – this is such a benefit when it comes to reducing waste (and saving money)! Plus, since each mold is a different color, you can remember whose is whose.
As long as we’re talking about the kids, it’s probably a good idea to mention that these are one of the more narrow molds that we’ve reviewed here. Combine that with the fact that a stand is not included, and maybe you’ll see where I’m going with this… if little ones are your popsicle-making buddies in the kitchen, a model with wider mouthed molds and a sturdy stand is preferable.
Even those with a steady hand may need to employ a spouted measuring cup or a funnel to fill these, and the help of an assistant who can hold each mold steady while the other pours. They’re not ideal for filling with base mixtures that contain large chunks of fruit or chocolate either, since these will be more difficult to squeeze back up the tube.
What Others Are Saying
Most verified customers on Amazon at the time of this writing who left a review for this product were delighted with their purchases. They reported that they’re easy to squeeze, and easy to clean.
Many said they stack these on their sides in the freezer with no issues. A few mentioned that you can actually freeze them upside down without any leaks (a bold statement!) but then the lids become difficult to remove.
Some customers did mention that these can be more difficult to fill than other models, as I mentioned above. A few users discussed the fact that it’s important to leave a bit of head space at the top of the molds (as is key for all models) since liquids do expand in the freezer.
At least one reviewer reported that these are flimsier than expected and that they do not stand up well on their own when full if the liquid is no longer frozen, making them a less than perfect option for kids who eat their frozen desserts more slowly, and clumsy adults.
Even though they’re dishwasher safe, some didn’t like this idea, and recommended hand washing with a narrow bottle brush instead. Others said they became discolored after washing in the dishwasher. A few mentioned a plastic-y smell or aftertaste.
Tips from customers: a rubber band tightened at the bottom can help littler kids to squeeze their frozen treat to their mouths. And a warm water rinse is recommended, to loosen the contents a bit before eating.
One of the biggest benefits to these is that they’re self contained, with tightly fitting caps. Though a kid who’s determined to make a mess can achieve this with anything, and accidents do happen, at least there are no sticks for sticky popsicle juice to drip down with these.
This is a great option for little children, or the messier children (and adults) among us.
Another Pro Tip
Though we certainly wouldn’t condone sneakiness or any form of deception when it comes to feeding children (cough), these molds are opaque, and the resulting ice pops are eaten directly from said molds. This means you might find yourself presented with the opportunity to fill them with whatever you like. Healthy green juice popsicles, anyone?
Since all of the juice is contained within the ice pop molds and it’s held “upside down” when it’s eaten (contrasting with other frozen treats, where gravity can quickly and easily take over), these are a better option for eating on the go.
Popsicles in the minivan used to be banned, but now there might be room for an occasional freeze pop fest without having to worry about your precious upholstery – at least some of the residual juice and drips are bound to make their way back into the container, right?
Unlike other options on this list, you can also use these for holding things other than ice-cold treats.
Like dry snacks. Tiny treasures. Lost teeth.
Caterpillars found on the playground.
Okay, maybe that’s going too far… but maybe not? Don’t let them suffocate in there!
If the squeezeable freeze pop model is attractive to you and you’re looking for something fairly simple, I wholeheartedly recommend this product.
The Best Stainless Steel Model: Onyx (Original Style)
Trying to avoid plastic altogether, or you’re not a big fan of silicone? If so, you’ll want to check these out.
They’re pricey, as stainless steel is more expensive to produce than plastic. We also failed to find many products made from this material on the market. With that being said, we’ve reviewed two contenders.
Carolyn Cameron at Onyx designed both of these for her daughter, and she believes in providing safe and environmentally responsible products that won’t break the bank.
This original model from Onyx is another excellent offering for children who love outer space, since the molds look a bit like rocket ships (or maybe tubes of lipstick). The molds are made of 18/8 stainless steel, and each mold holds about 3 ounces of liquid.
The white plastic-coated metal base is 4 x 8 x 5.5 inches, and it comes with 6 stainless steel molds, 6 stainless lids, 12 removable silicone rings (to keep the sticks upright and in place), and a set of 12 reusable bamboo sticks.
The popsicles take about 6 hours to freeze, and most users found the stand fits nicely inside of their freezer without taking up too much space. Popsicles are easy to remove one at a time, and the stand easily wipes clean. All parts should be hand washed.
Keep in mind that stainless steel can scratch – you’ll want to avoid using the scrubby side of the sponge on these, if you want to keep them looking nice. Lesson learned when I attempted for the first time to wash the set of bar tools from my wedding registry that a dear college friend gave us. Lesson learned again the first time I washed the set of stainless katoris that my mother-in-law brought back from India. Okay, the lesson wasn’t learned at all, not at first, but I’m more careful now!
To remove popsicles from these molds easily, the manufacturer recommends holding them for a minute or so to transfer the heat from your hands, or giving them a quick rinse under warm water.
Be careful when you’re doing this – stainless is a great heat conductor, much better than plastic, and water that’s a bit too warm (or a rinse or dunk that’s longer than necessary) will quickly result in melted popsicles, and disappointment. You’ll have a tough enough time resolving the dispute when you realize you’ve painstakingly made only one of each flavor of a selection of artisan popsicles, and both of your kids want the same one. Avoid the tears if you can help it!
It’s very important that you wash the mold with soap and water before filling it, as some users reported silver shards flaking off onto their first batch of treats. A quick wash will help you to avoid that.
What Others Are Saying
With many outstanding reviews from verified customers on Amazon at the time of this writing, the Onyx 18/8 molds are praised for the safety and environmental friendliness of the materials used to make them. However, there do seem to be some quality control issues.
Marketed as a “fast freeze mold,” stainless is an excellent conductor of cold. But users do say it still takes somewhere in the range of 5-6 hours to freeze these.
In the negative column, there were many reports of metal flaking at the seams and sticking to the popsicles, posing a hazard. Customers with a less than stellar impression of this product also reported that the stand was flimsy, or that the plastic coating flaked off.
Some also had an issue with the shape, seeing it as something other than rocket ship-like…
Not Made with Plastic
The biggest plus with these is being able to avoid plastic, which can crack, stain, or become brittle with time. Rather than tossing cheap molds into the local landfill year after year, these can provide your family with popsicles for years to come.
Users love how easy it is to remove the finished frozen product from the molds, frustration-free without any tugging required. If you experience any resistance, a quick rinse under warm water will do the trick.
This product is very strong and sturdy, and the molds themselves (though maybe not the base stand) will likely outlast a lot of the other options on this list.
With a good washing before use, we hope this product will serve you well. But we cannot 100% attest to its safety – it’s a shame there are so few stainless molds on the market, and that this one does not appear to be machined as well as it could be.
The only other significant negative with this product is the price, as some popsicle-lovers can’t justify spending a significant amount on a mold, at least one that doesn’t offer the magic of nearly instant freezing capabilities. However, if you’re currently buying your freeze pops at the store, this product could easily save you money in just one summer.
Although it does come with 12 reusable bamboo sticks, users recommend buying a few extra. You’ll want to replace them over time as they gradually absorb the color of the treats that you make, too. Bamboo is naturally antibacterial, just remember not to let the sticks soak in water.
Another Stainless Nontoxic Option: Onyx (Paddle Style)
Also from Onyx, these 18/8 stainless steel molds are very similar to those described above. But instead of being cylindrical with a point at the end, these are more of your standard paddle or paleta shape.
This set comes with a metal base stand, 6 stainless steel molds, 6 stainless lids, 12 removable silicone rings (again, to keep the sticks in place), and 12 reusable bamboo sticks. The molds hold 4 ounces of liquid each, and they take about 6 hours to freeze.
If you know you want stainless steel and you’re looking for a traditional shape, this is a good option.
The stand is not coated with plastic like the previous model, so flaking is not an issue. It’s made of stainless steel as well, and users really like how visually appealing it is. This product is also more expensive than the previous model.
What Others Are Saying
At the time of this writing, there were not very many reviews available from verified customers on Amazon in comparison to those we surveyed for other products in this guide, but the comments that have been posted to date were overwhelmingly positive.
Users love the long-lasting potential of the materials, the fact that these aren’t made of plastic, and their ability to freeze quickly and release easily.
One customer reported that they don’t like that the inside of the molds is rough rather than polished, and another experienced some flaking of the metal, prior to washing the product in preparation for the first use.
Others said they think the product is a bit overpriced, based simply on the fact that this is a popsicle mold, but they felt it was a good value once they tried it and are satisfied with the product.
Again, the biggest benefit with this set is being able to avoid plastic. If this is important to you, this is an excellent option.
Stainless steel is a lot longer lasting than plastic and it won’t crack or tear, providing years of potential use.
Attractive, Sturdy Design
This is a very attractive, timeless model, and you can tell that it isn’t flimsy just by looking at it. Stainless steel kitchen implements like this are made to last.
Onyx recommends that you dip individual molds quickly in warm water, and then pull off the mold. Users love how easy it is to unmold each cold treat.
If you’re looking for a stainless steel product and want your treats to be larger in size with that classic shape, this product will be the perfect fit.
Though molds with aluminum covers to hold the sticks in place are available, we couldn’t find one with molds that were confirmed to be BPA-free. None of the available models made the cut at this time for our review.
Time for Popsicles!
Ready to start making your own popsicles at home? The following recipes double as excellent freeze pop bases:
We also have some proudly made, tastily original popsicle recipes right here for you to try as well:
- Tahini, Honey-Roasted Fig, and Banana
- Frozen Yogurt with Oats and Blueberry Jam
- Rum-Punch Freeze Pops
- Café con Choco-Latte with Roasted Banana Paletas (Mexican Ice-Pops)
When it comes to making cold treats, you really can’t go wrong with any of the mold or maker options on this list.
Whichever type you choose, keep in mind that overfilling can lead to an unwanted mess, or popsicles that are difficult to remove. Keep each manufacturer’s directions in mind, since filling, freezing, and washing directions can vary.
Our top-rated mold for simplicity and affordability is the model from Mamasicles, but a selection of other quality contenders are included on this list as well, to meet every budget and taste. Whether you’re looking for a mini version for tiny tots, larger molds to experiment with multilayered and more creative treats, or a popsicle maker that freezes whatever you fill it with in just minutes, there’s something on this list for everyone.
Let us know what you choose, and tell us about your experience in the comments. We’d love to hear about your favorite recipes and flavor combinations!
Photo credits: Shutterstock, except where otherwise indicated. Original Photos by Sarah Hagstrom, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED,. See our TOS for more details. Product photos courtesy of Zoku, Mamacicles, Nuby, Foodworks, and Onyx. Significantly edited and expanded from an original version written by Sarah Hagstrom. Originally published October 30th, 2016. Last updated February 7th, 2017.
About Allison Sidhu
Allison M. Sidhu is a foodie from Philly who is based in Los Angeles, where she loves exploring the local restaurant scene with her husband. She holds a master's degree in gastronomy from Boston University. When she’s not in the kitchen whipping up something tasty (or listening to the latest food podcasts while she does the dishes!) you’ll probably find Allison tapping away at her keyboard, curled up with a good book (or ready to dominate with controller in hand in front of the latest video game) on the couch, or devouring a food-filled magazine at the beach.