Paletas de fresa is the ultimate summer treat for everyone! Made with fresh strawberries, those Mexican ice popsicles are so easy to make with only 4 ingredients!
What are paletas?
Paletas are the name ice popsicles take in Mexico. In this recipe we’re going to make strawberry paletas, aka paletas de fresa, a delicious treat to enjoy on hot days.
Mexican paletas are made mostly with fresh fruit and other basic ingredients and they are divided into two categories:
- Paletas de agua. Made with water, fruits like guava, pineapple, watermelon, etc.
- Paletas de leche. Made with milk or cream and fruit, seeds, or cereals.
And, unlike most store-bought ice pops, paletas have a softer texture making them easier to bite into.
In Mexico, you can find those frozen treats all over the country, especially in coastal states where you look for a refreshing treat all day long.
When I was a kid, my grandpa Gabino used to wait for me at the park near to my elementary school, and then we will enjoy a strawberry paleta or paleta de mango before heading home.
Why You Should Make This Recipe
- Delicious. They are truly delicious because you can really taste the fruit!
- Easy. It takes only like 10 minutes to make them and you can double the recipe and make a large batch for a party.
- Healthier. Because they contain real fruit and not fake flavors or preservatives. Strawberries are packed with vitamin C and manganese, they contain a good amount of potassium and vitamin B9 (folate) and are rich in antioxidants.
- Customizable. You can make them sugar-free, use other sweeteners, add more flavors, or even a boozy kick for a grown-up version.
Related: Nutritional Benefits of Strawberries.
How To Make Paletas de Fresa
Wash the strawberries and remove the green part. Cut them in half, set aside about 2 ¼ cups, and then dice the remaining fruit.
Place the halved strawberries in a bowl and add the sugar and lime juice. Mix nicely and then leave it to rest for 10 minutes, allowing the fruit to release its juices and macerate with the lime juice.
After that, transfer the strawberries mixture into a blender and add 1 and a half cups of water. Blend until smooth.
Place the strawberries mixture in the freezer for about 1 hour or until it starts to set, with a texture similar to a slushie (see photo below).
Important: Allowing the mixture to freeze a bit will help your paletas de fresa to have a softer texture, don’t skip this step if you don’t want hard popsicles!
Once time has passed, blend again the mixture.
Now, distribute the diced strawberries into the ice pop molds and fill them with the strawberries mixture.
Cover the mold, insert the ice pop sticks, and place it in the freezer until nicely firm.
How To Unmold
- Fill a bowl or pan that is as tall as your popsicle mold with warm water (not hot!).
- Dip in the mold for 15-20 seconds to loosen the paletas.
- Remove the mold from the water and gently pull each piece.
- If the popsicles don’t come out, dip the mold for a few seconds and try again.
- Make them creamy. Substitute water with whole milk or coconut milk for a creamier texture.
- Add other flavors. When marinating the strawberries, add a few slices of fresh ginger, a pinch of cinnamon, or some fresh mint leaves for extra flavor.
- Mix other fruits. Pineapple and mango add a tropical kick, but other fruits such as peaches and bananas adds also texture.
How To Store Strawberry Paletas
Store your paletas de fresa for up to 3 weeks in the freezer nicely wrapped with cling film or parchment paper and place them into a container.
We don’t recommend storing for longer because the ice pops will develop some hard ice and become a bit flavorless.
Watch How To Make It
- Watermelon paletas. Made with fresh watermelon.
- Agua de Fresa. Fresh and slightly sweet, this strawberry water is perfect for summer.
- Strawberry Ice Pops with Yogurt. Creamy and sweet, kids love those ice pops.
- Fresas con crema. A Mexican version of strawberries and cream.
Paletas de Fresa
- 1 lb fresh strawberries (divided)
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 ½ cup water
- Wash the strawberries and remove the green part.
- Cut about 2 ¼ cups in half and dice the rest.
- Place the halved strawberries in a bowl and add the sugar and lime juice.
- Mix nicely and sit for 10 minutes.
- Transfer the strawberries mixture into a blender and add the water.
- Blend until smooth.
- Place the strawberries mixture in the freezer for about 1 hour or until it starts to set, with a texture similar to a slushie.
- Important: This help the ice pops to have a softer texture, so don’t skip the previous step.
- Once time has passed, blend again the mixture.
- Distribute the diced strawberries into the ice pop molds and fill them with the strawberries mixture.
- Cover the mold, insert the ice pop sticks and place in the freezer until firm.
Are strawberry paletas gluten free?
Yes, they are! Our recipe doesn’t contain any products with gluten.
Are paletas healthy?
They can be if you use only fresh fruit and little or no sugar. To make them healthier, we recommend substituting white sugar for honey, monk fruit, or stevia.
What can I use if I don’t have popsicle molds?
Use small plastic or paper cups, like the ones from yogurt! Muffin tins are also perfect to make paletas. Cover with parchment paper and make a small hole to hold the sticks in place.
Can I use frozen strawberries?
Yes, and is actually a nice idea because you don’t have to wait for the mixture to set the first time, just blend them with sugar and water, then fill your molds as instructed in the recipe card.
Can dogs eat strawberry popsicles?
Yes, they can! Taita and Lucy (my puppies) love my paletas de fresa but I always make a batch for them without sugar and always supervise to be sure they are safe when they eat them.
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Maricruz Avalos Flores is a Mexican cook and photographer living in Italy where she shares authentic Mexican & Italian recipes that can be easily made at home using easy-to-find ingredients.