Imagine this: It’s July, usually the hottest and stickiest month of the year here in the midwest, and you are 8 years old again. School is out for the summer, and it’s finally the Fourth of July: fireworks time. Even though it’s evening, it’s still unbelievably hot, and since you’re wearing shorts, you can feel the scratchy plastic lawn chair beneath your legs as you sit on your porch. There’s excitement in the air as you wait for the sun to go down, and then your mom brings out the treat of all treats, the only thing you want in this moment: a colorful, cold, sweet popsicle.
You’re never too old for popsicles. Even as an adult, there are still moments when the only thing I want is ice cold frozen goodness on a stick. They are not far out of reach with our Refreshing, Creamy Homemade Fruit & Yogurt Popsicles.
How to Make “Choose Your Own Adventure” Yogurt Popsicles
Once you know the basics to making popsicles, you will be living in a whole new world. These are “choose your own adventure” popsicles because you can customize them to make them exactly what you want. Choose your base fruit flavor, your mix-ins, your layers, and your yogurt. For all of my indecisive people out there (including me), don’t worry. If you don’t want to decide, you don’t have to! When I make a batch of popsicles, I make a few different base flavors, have different mix-ins available, and end up making every popsicle different. Fortunately, they only take five minutes to mix up, so the hardest part is just waiting for them to freeze.
Here are the basics: Using a food processor or blender, mix one cup of fruit plus one cup of yogurt (plus an optional extra creamy ingredient, see more below). Blend until it’s a smooth consistency. That will create your popsicle base. Layer different bases and mix-ins into your popsicle molds (be sure not to fill the mold completely, leave a little bit of space), add the stick/lid according to your mold’s instructions, and freeze for minimum five hours, or overnight.
Read on to discover ways to customize your popsicles! The popsicles photographed for this post are Strawberry Banana Pretzel Popsicles (with an Extra Creamy Banana Base) and Red, White, and Blueberry Popsicles with strawberry and extra-creamy banana bases layered with fresh blueberries.
Mix-and-Match Your Favorite Fruit Flavors
Part of the beauty of these popsicles is that you can decide which flavor you want to use based on your mood, what’s in season, what’s in your refrigerator, or all of the above. If you are indecisive like me and want multiple flavors at once, go for a layered popsicle and get the best of all worlds!
A general rule of thumb is to blend one cup of fruit with one cup of yogurt. This will produce a creamy popsicle base that’s bursting with fruit flavor. For the strawberry popsicle base, I put one cup of roughly quartered fresh strawberries into a food processor along with one cup of vanilla Greek yogurt. For the banana base, I used one banana plus one cup vanilla Greek yogurt (plus the secret ingredient for extra creamy popsicles–read on to find out what it is!). In this case, it’s better to use bananas that are yellow or green; save your ripe bananas for our banana bread or banana brownies.
Repeat this formula with whatever fruit you’d like, such as pitted cherries, raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries.
The Secret to Extra Creamy Yogurt Popsicles
Greek yogurt popsicles are creamy and delicious. They will remind you of an updated and more sophisticated version of your favorite nostalgic popsicle you ate as a kid. To create a popsicle that’s even creamier, add 2 oz. of cream cheese per cup of yogurt. This will produce a texture that’s almost like ice cream. It’s smooth, decadent, and luscious. For a more mellow fruit flavor but creamier popsicle, add the cream cheese. For a sharp, extra fruity, and sweet popsicle, leave it out. Again, these popsicles are here to please, so you can have the best of both worlds by layering one extra creamy base with one extra fruity base.
Add Mix-ins, Toppings, and More
By this point, it should be clear how flexible and adaptable these popsicles are. Another way to customize them is to add mix-ins of your choice. Layer pieces of fruit, cookie pieces, granola, pretzels, or chocolate chips in your popsicle for an additional burst of flavor. You can add them to the very top of the popsicle mold, the middle, the bottom, or all of the above.
What Kind of Yogurt Should I Use?
When it comes to what kind of yogurt to use in your popsicles, you have options. Any kind of yogurt will work, but Greek yogurt will give you the creamiest and most protein-packed popsicles. Nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt produces my favorite popsicle, but be sure to read the label before you buy it, since many flavored yogurts have quite a bit of added sugar. You could also opt for plain Greek yogurt and add a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup per one cup of yogurt. You can use full fat or nonfat yogurt; my preference is nonfat. These popsicles are so versatile, not only can you mix and match the flavors, but you can also use whatever type of yogurt you have on hand.
What If I Don’t Have Popsicle Molds?
No popsicle molds? No problem! If you have 5 oz. paper cups (like Dixie cups) and popsicle sticks, you are in business. Pour in your base(s) and mix-in(s) into the cups, though don’t fill them completely. Be sure to leave some space at the top of the cup. Place the popsicle stick into the middle of the cup, and freeze for at least five hours or overnight. Tear away the cup to reveal a delicious, refreshing popsicle. If you’re looking to buy popsicle molds, check out New York Magazine’s roundup of traditional and novelty molds.