Straight to the Point
During my early days at Serious Eats, I developed six fruit-flavored popsicle recipes in the span of two months. And while I consumed countless popsicles over that period, I spent most of my time filling, freezing, and unmolding the popsicles and cleaning the molds.
Popsicle molds come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. During that testing period, I developed a strong preference for my Norpro mold. I knew exactly how full to fill it, how to carefully situate it in my freezer, how long it the popsicles took to freeze through, and how to successfully unmold each one But the Norpro molds aren’t perfect: They use disposable wooden sticks and are pretty bulky. I started to wonder what else might be out there.
I set out to complete this review with one objective in mind: to find the best popsicle mold for at-home use. I tested seven different molds, using my recipe for mango yogurt popsicles. Here’s what I discovered.
The Winners, at a Glance
The Best Popsicle Mold: Onyx Stainless Steel Popsicle Mold
This detachable-style mold means you can remove as few or as many individual popsicles as needed from the frame. It comes with reusable bamboo sticks and removable silicone rings to help keep the sticks in place while the popsicles are freezing. Plus, since it’s made almost entirely of stainless steel, it’s rust-resistant and dishwasher-safe.
The Best Affordable Popsicle Mold: Ozera Popsicle Molds
The Ozera popsicle mold is identical in style to our top pick but made from polypropylene, a sturdy plastic. This model is designed with slender, reusable plastic sticks that also function as drip guards. It comes with a funnel and a brush to assist with filling and cleaning, and offers good value for the price.
What Is a Popsicle Mold?
When you search the internet for popsicle molds, you’ll notice that the results vary tremendously. Putting aside their differences in color (which doesn’t affect performance) and shape (I restricted my review to molds with the classic popsicle shape), popsicle molds can be classified into the following categories: mold type, style, yield, size, stick type, and material.
Mold Type: There are two types of molds: detachable and fixed. With a detachable mold, the individual molds slide into a frame or base from which you can easily remove any number of popsicles. With fixed molds, the individual molds are fused with the base or frame and cannot be detached. This means you need to remove all the popsicles at the same time.
Style: Popsicle molds can either sit upright or lay flat in the freezer. With molds that lay flat, you can easily suspend fruit in the popsicles without worrying that they’ll sink to the bottom. Plus, it’s easy to create a swirled effect. However, it they come with a drawback; they're prone to spills and leaks, and must lie completely flat in the freezer.
Yield: Yield can vary from as few as two popsicles to as many as ten popsicles.
Size: While a standard size doesn’t exist, most individual popsicle molds will hold between two and four ounces of liquid. For uniformity, all of my popsicle recipes produce six three-ounce popsicles.
Stick Type: Molds can come with reusable plastic or bamboo sticks or disposable wooden sticks. Reusable sticks are specifically designed to fit the popsicle mold they come with, which can be a drawback if you lose them. With disposable wooden sticks, you always have to have them on hand, but you don’t have to worry about cleaning or rounding them up after use.
Material: There are three types to choose from: plastic, silicone, and stainless steel. Plastic is lightweight, durable, and cheap, but may not hold up well to repeated dishwashing. Silicone molds are flexible, meaning they do not need to be run under hot water to loosen the popsicles, but may also have the same dishwashing issues as plastic ones. Popsicles made in a stainless steel mold are the quickest to loosen when run under hot water (metal conducts heat faster than plastic), plus the molds themselves are dishwasher-safe and long-lasting.
The Criteria: What We Look for in a Good Popsicle Mold
In order to pick our top performer, my primary objectives during testing were determining how well each mold prevented spills and leaks, noting the length of time each one took to freeze a batch of popsicles, and assessing how easy it was to unmold those frozen popsicles. I also paid close attention to the construction of each popsicle mold. For example, reusable plastic sticks have small holes that the liquid can grip onto while freezing to prevent sticks from sliding around.
Beyond that, I observed and took note of how easy the molds were to fill, the footprint of the molds in the freezer, how easy they were to clean, and if they seemed sturdy and long-lasting. If the molds came with extras—funnel, cleaning brush, demarcated fill lines—I wanted to see if they added any value.
How We Picked Our Lineup
There is a staggering number of popsicle molds to choose from. To narrow the field, I perused highly rated ones on Amazon, consulted competitor reviews, and searched for ones we here at Serious Eats have previously suggested in our popsicle recipes. When all was said and done, there was clear overlap between what I saw on Amazon and in those competitor reviews. I ended up testing four highly recommended molds and three outliers (each of which had a unique characteristic in one of the categories above). All of the popsicle molds are widely available, have received good reviews, and range in price from $9 to $36.
Why You Should Trust Us
To pick my top recommendation, I determined what qualities contribute to the best popsicle mold and then evaluated those qualities by performing rigorous hands-on testing. Also, I’ve spent a lot of time tinkering with popsicle molds and developing popsicle recipes!
Test 1: Spilling/Leaking
In order to test each popsicle mold’s tendency to spill and leak, I filled each mold with water, making sure to fill only to demarcated fill lines and accounting for manufacturer’s instructions on whether to leave space at the top to account for expansion while freezing. Then, I stacked quarter coins, which have an individual thickness of 1.75 mm, one at a time, on one side to tilt the mold, and evaluated how many quarters it took for each mold to spill or leak. This test also highlighted whether molds had to sit completely flat in the freezer or whether some tilting produced acceptable results (without spilling).
Test 2: Freezing Time
After the initial test, I filled each popsicle mold with a batch of mango yogurt popsicles and placed it in my freezer. After the first three hours, I checked the molds every 30 minutes to determine total freezing time. Once they were fully frozen, I gave the sticks a tug to assess whether they gripped the popsicles well or if they slid out.
Test 3: Unmolding
After freezing, it was time to unmold the popsicles. To do this, I filled a large container with water, attached an immersion circulator to one side, and set the temperature to 120°F—the temperature at which the US Environmental Protection Agency recommends setting your home water heater to in order to prevent scalding. Once the water reached the target temperature, I dipped each mold (with the exception of the silicone ones) in the water for five seconds. After each dip, I attempted to unmold a popsicle. If the popsicle stuck, I proceeded to dip it in the water again for another five seconds then tried unmolding, and I repeated the cycle until a popsicle fully loosened from the mold.
During testing, I observed whether the molds were easy to use and fill, if they took up a lot of freezer space, whether they were capable of making layered popsicles, and if the sticks stayed in place and gripped the popsicles well. I also washed each popsicle mold in the dishwasher. After going through the dishwasher, I examined whether the mold was completely clean or not, and if it was durable enough to withstand dishwashing.
The Best All-Around Popsicle Mold: Onyx Stainless Steel Popsicle Mold
What we liked: The Onyx popsicle mold performed well across the board. It did not spill or leak even when quarters were stacked underneath on one side one-inch high. It took four hours to freeze the popsicles and a surprising five seconds to unmold (the quickest out of all seven molds). This detachable model yields six three-ounce popsicles. Since it’s made almost entirely of stainless steel, it’s dishwasher-safe and durable. You can easily swap the reusable sticks for disposable ones, if you like. I especially liked the lids, which allow you to check whether the popsicles are fully frozen, can be left on to double as drip guards, and let you make layered pops with ease. In addition, the mold comes with six extra bamboo sticks and silicone rings in case any get misplaced.
What we didn’t like: Even though the mold itself is dishwasher-safe, the reusable sticks and removable rings are best washed by hand. With the removable rings, they tend to pop out rather easily when you’re sliding in and removing the sticks, so it’s best to go slow and easy on the pressure. Lastly, it’s the priciest one of the bunch.
Price at time of publish: $38.
- Material: Stainless steel
- Comes with: Six molds and lids, reusable bamboo sticks, a stand
The Best Affordable Popsicle Mold: Ozera Popsicle Molds
What we liked: The Ozera mold didn’t spill or leak even when I placed a one-inch-high stack of quarters under one side. It took three hours to freeze the popsicles and 15 seconds to unmold. This detachable model makes six three-ounce popsicles and comes with reusable plastic sticks which also function as drip guards and are comfortable to grip. The molds themselves are clear, making it easy for you to see which is which if you choose to fill each mold with a different liquid. It also comes with a silicone funnel and cleaning brush to help with filling and cleaning. Plus, it’s the cheapest one I tested.
What we didn’t like: It's made from polypropylene plastic so it's hand-wash only. Also, I found that the circular design of the popsicle stick handles were difficult to grip when unmolding the popsicles, especially if your hands are wet.
Price at time of publish: $10.
- Material: Polypropylene
- Comes with: 6 molds and lids and a stand, funnel, and cleaning brush
- Norpro Ice Pop Maker: The Norpro Ice Pop Maker, my previous favorite, only uses disposable wooden sticks, is bulkier to store, and is a fixed popsicle mold.
- Zoku Round Pop Mold: Although the Zoku Round Pop Mold is made out of silicone, it took the longest time to freeze (eight hours), which is likely due to the bulbous shape, which also makes for awkward eating.
- Zoku Classic Pop Mold: These are a top performer in competitor reviews, but I found that the sticks don’t grip the popsicles well and have a tendency to slip out. Also, they aren’t durable. I once dropped a single plastic mold on the floor and it shattered upon impact.
- Lekue Stackable Mold: The Lekue Stackable Mold is on the smaller side, producing popsicles that are two ounces each. I also struggled with removing the pops from the molds even though they’re made from silicone.
- Kootek Popsicle Mold Set: Despite being a fixed mold, the unique design of the Kootek Popsicle Mold Set allows you to remove the top part of the mold containing the frozen popsicles and then fill the bottom part with hot water for easy unmolding. However, the design lends itself to spills, and the popsicles are on the smaller side.
Do silicone popsicle molds work?
They do! When it’s time to unmold your popsicles, unlike with traditional popsicle molds, you don't have to run them under hot water to loosen the popsicles; instead you simply peel the flexible mold away from the popsicle and enjoy.
Can you put ice cream in a popsicle mold?
How do you get popsicles out of the mold?
With plastic or stainless steel molds, you must run them under hot water to successfully remove the popsicle. If the popsicle is sticking to the mold, simply place it in hot water for five seconds longer and try releasing it again. In most instances, the popsicle just needs more time in hot water in order to fully release.
How do you clean popsicle molds?
I’ve found that many manufacturers don’t explicitly state whether their popsicle mold is hand-wash only or dishwasher-safe. While I was testing, some that claimed to be dishwasher-safe got damaged in the dishwasher and came out looking somewhat worse for the wear. That said, to ensure your molds last longer, I suggest hand-washing plastic and silicone ones, and only putting stainless steel ones in the dishwasher.
Where do you buy popsicle molds?
Both of our favorite popsicle molds are available on Amazon (with free shipping).