What Are The Best Popsicle Molds For Summer Fun?
Popsicles are one of the best summer snacks for kids and adults. When it comes to flavors, colors, and designs, the possibilities are practically endless—from Strawberry Cheesecake and Peach Pie to Toasted Coconut Latte and White Sangria Boozy popsicles (for the adults in the room, of course).
But just like with water bottles and food storage containers, it’s important to be aware of potentially toxic plastic materials that can leach into food and act as endocrine disruptors in the body.
Read on to learn more about which materials to look for in non-toxic popsicle molds, which ice pop mold brands are the best, and how to get the most out of your popsicle-making experience!
P.S. Here are some related guides to non-toxic summer fun, in case you’re interested!
- Our recommendations for non-toxic play sand
- Your options for non-toxic kiddie pools
- A few of the best natural & organic hammocks
- Ideas for creating a nature-inspired DIY playground in your backyard
- How to find a non-toxic garden hose
- Organic & natural pre-made weed killers & DIY recipes
- The best outdoor dinnerware for picnics, barbeques, and more
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Do I Have To Worry About Finding Non-Toxic Ice Pop Molds?
Unfortunately, many popsicle molds are made from plastic, which commonly contains phthalates. Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors, which means they can cause various issues, from ADHD and autoimmunity to decreased fertility and cancer, and more.
Bisphenol A (or BPA), for example, is one common phthalate you’ve probably heard of before since it’s gained some notoriety in the past decade. As a result of mounting evidence that BPA can cause a wide range of health concerns in both children and adults, many companies have begun taking BPA out of their products—which is great! So when shopping for non-toxic popsicle molds, you should look for the “BPA-free” label as a minimum standard.
However, just because something is made from “BPA-free” plastic doesn’t mean it’s totally safe. After all, BPA is just one type of phthalate that can disrupt hormones and cause long-term health issues. Companies can now use alternatives such as BPB, BPF, and BPS, which have the potential to cause the same issues. While using these sister chemicals, companies are able to label products as “BPA-free” while not actually solving the toxicity issue.
While this isn’t exactly the greatest news, you can rest assured that there are plenty of plastic-free, non-toxic popsicle molds out there that are safe for the whole family.
Are Silicone Popsicle Molds Safe?
The jury is still out on whether silicone is 100% safe. Some research indicates that it can slowly leach nano-particles into one’s body and build up over time. Additionally, silicone can start to melt when heated to 428 degrees Fahrenheit, so you should be careful when using silicone cookware.
Not only that, but some silicone manufacturers have been discovered using fillers, which means you can’t necessarily trust them to be completely plastic-free. The good news, however, is that it’s relatively easy to tell whether or not there are fillers in a certain silicone product: just “pinch and twist a flat surface on the item. If white shows through, the product contains filler. Pure silicone does not change color when twisted.”
All that being said, the currently available research indicates that silicone is most definitely safer than plastic. Especially considering that you won’t be putting your popsicle molds in the oven, we feel safe recommending silicone as a great choice for your safe, non-toxic popsicle molds.
“Generally Regarded As Safe” (GRAS) Popsicle Mold Materials
The Good: BPA-Free & Phthalate-Free Plastic
You’ll find a lot of popsicle molds made from plastic. We recommend you stay away from plastic molds if at all possible. But if you must, make sure you get BPA-free popsicle molds, or even better, looks for a “phthalate-free” label.
The Better: Silicone
As mentioned above, silicone is a safe material for popsicle molds, especially when it doesn’t include fillers. It’s durable and practically unbreakable, which is definitely a good thing if the kids are going to be handling them a lot. Many of the popsicle molds available today are made from silicone. Look for food-grade silicone when possible.
The Best: Stainless Steel
One of the safest materials for non-toxic popsicle molds is stainless steel. It won’t leech, is extremely durable, and is also generally more eco-friendly than the alternatives as well.
The one potential problem with metal molds is that they can be colder and more difficult to handle when you first take them out of the freezer. Your fingers could stick to the mold if you’re not careful, which is why most stainless steel mold brands have plastic handles. This probably isn’t a big deal for older kids and adults, but you may want to keep it in mind for younger kids, so silicone may be better for them!
The 5 Best Non-Toxic Popsicle Molds
Material: Stainless steel
Features: Plastic-free, dishwasher safe
Ecozoi is one of our top picks for non-toxic popsicle molds. They’re stainless steel, which is non-leeching, super safe, and durable. These come in several different variations: you can get mini or regular, flat or round, and with or without built-in sticks. They have a cute cat-shaped one too!
Ecozoi is a conscious company as well: they use plastic-free and recycled packaging, they work with suppliers that pay their workers fairly, and they use renewable energy sources in manufacturing.
Materials: 100% silicone
Size: 60 ml; 12 x 6.3 x 33 cm
Features: Dishwasher safe
How cute are these ice cream molds?! These silicone molds from Liewood come in several different varieties: classic stick molds, push-pop style, and cube trays. Fun shapes include dinosaurs, bears, and cats. And the colors are beautiful, too!
Material: BPA-free, food-grade silicone
Size: 10.5 inches long, 6.72 fl oz
Features: Dishwasher safe and super cute!
Tovolo has a collection of popsicle molds that kids are sure to love—from dinosaurs and monsters to robots and penguins. Fossils are revealed as you eat these dino ones!
Tovolo does sell plastic popsicle molds as well, so just make sure you choose one of the silicone sets.
Material: Food grade, BPA-free silicone
Size: 8 x x 8 inches
Features: Dishwasher safe, fun colors, slim design
Some may prefer to use tube ice pop molds (push-pop style!) since they can be a bit less messy for kids. Plus, they can take up a lot less space in the freezer.
These are also designed as just one piece, which means you don’t have to worry about keeping track of different pieces or making sure you have popsicle sticks around.
Material: Food grade, BPA-free silicone
Features: Dishwasher safe, lots of fun character shapes
Zoku’s silicone molds come in lots of cute shapes, from unicorns and fish to ring pops and frogs. They carry horizontal and vertical molds that come in various sizes so that you can choose what’s best for your family and freezer. Their mini pop molds are great for the littlest ones!
Size: 7.5 x 4.5 x .5 inches
These super cute ice cream molds help you “make every day a Sundae!” The Handstand Kitchen was created with the mission to create joy through cooking together, and these simple mini flexible silicone molds are meant to do just that, whether you fill them with flavored ice or homemade ice cream!
Material: Food grade, phthalate-free silicone
Size: 4.41 inches, 5.43 fl oz
Features: Dishwasher safe, 100% money-back guarantee
Bambini Bear says their cute carrot popsicle mold is completely phthalate-free, which means you don’t have to worry about BPA’s toxic brothers and sisters causing any harm.
Filled with water, these would work great as baby teethers as well!
Your Guide To Choosing The Best BPA-Free, Non-Toxic Popsicle Molds For Your Family
In addition to the materials used, there are some other things to consider when choosing the best popsicle molds for your family.
Here’s what to think about before making the final decision on which ice pop mold brand:
- Consider the ages of the people who will be eating the popsicles. Standard popsicle sizes tend to be too large for toddlers, ending up in a big, melty mess. For kids under five years old, go for smaller molds (about 1 to 1.5 fl oz).
- Also consider how much freezer space you have. This will help you decide whether to get a tray that holds multiple popsicles or molds that can be placed in the freezer individually. Also think about whether an upright mold or horizontal tray will work best for your space.
Shape & Style
- If you’re shopping for kids, they’re sure to love the fun shapes and characters available. From rocket ships to unicorns, the brands listed above have lots of different shapes so you’re sure to find some that your kids (or your adults) will love.
- When considering which style is best for you, think about which is going to be the least messy for your kids. The Helpcook tubes above are probably going to be the least messy because much less juice will drip down your kids’ hands as they melt. Additionally, the Ecozoi ones have a drip guard rim at the bottom which will catch a certain amount of melty goodness before letting it hit the floor. Most of the brands above have leak-proof lids as well.
To Stick or Not to Stick?
Many of the stainless steel popsicle molds on the market require disposable sticks, usually made from wood or bamboo. Some people don’t like this because it requires you to always have sticks on hand and also creates more waste. Luckily, several of the brands above come with their own reusable sticks.
Alternatively, you may choose one of the push-up versions so you can avoid sticks altogether when making your own ice pops.
Fun Facts: Getting The Most Out Of Your Non-Toxic Popsicle Molds
What else is there to know about popsicle making? Here are some common questions and helpful tips to get you started.
What Type Of Stuff Can You Put In A Popsicle Mold?
When it comes to homemade popsicles, you can go way beyond your basic fruit juices and get as creative as you want! You can put practically any liquid in a popsicle mold, including:
- Fruit juice
- Flavored water with fruit chunks
- Milk/nut milk
- Ice cream
You can literally be as basic or fancy as you want with your homemade popsicles. There are hundreds of yummy recipes for popsicles online that adults and kids alike will love. Let us know which ones are your favorite!
How Long Does It Take For Ice Pops To Freeze?
Depending on the size, it will usually take a minimum of two or three hours for a popsicle to freeze. However, you may want to let them sit overnight in order to be safe. If your popsicles don’t freeze all the way, you might pull only half the popsicle out of the mold or end up with just a messy bowl of slush.
How Do You Keep Popsicles From Sticking To The Mold?
Some silicone popsicle molds are naturally resistant to stick, but that still doesn’t mean they’re always easy to get out. To easily remove your frozen treats from their molds, try these tactics:
- Make sure you’re following the correct recipe (or try a different one). Liquids with a lower viscosity may be more likely to stick to the mold. For example, using something like yogurt or putting may make it easier for you to remove the popsicle from the mold, compared to something like pure liquid fruit juice.
- Make sure you allow your popsicle to freeze fully before taking them out of the mold in order to prevent breakage.
- Take the mold out of the freezer and run it under warm water for 5 to 10 seconds. This will thaw the outside of the popsicle so that it slides right out.
- If you’re using your own handles, make sure you stick them far enough inside the holder.
- If you’re using fruit chunks, go for smaller chunks rather than larger ones.
How Do I Keep My Popsicles From Being Too Hard?
Sometimes, popsicles can get too hard depending on your freezer temperature or the location of the popsicles in the freezer. So if you don’t like the hardness of your popsicles, try turning the freezer temperature down slightly or putting the popsicles in the door instead of in the back of the freezer.
You can also prevent excessive hardness by adding some more sweetener to the popsicle mixture. In general, more sugar (whether it’s from honey, fruit juice, simple syrup, etc.) will result in more flaky and less rock-hard popsicles.
Of course, if you don’t want to add any more sugar to your frozen treats, you can always just take the popsicle out of the freezer and let it thaw for five or ten minutes before enjoying it.
Can You Use Craft Sticks Instead Of Popsicle Sticks?
When making your own popsicles, you may wonder if you can use those craft sticks you have laying around in the arts and crafts bin will suffice. To be safe, you should only use sticks that are specifically labeled as “food safe” because craft sticks may be treated with various chemicals throughout processing.
Instead of craft sticks, you can use:
- These food-grade bamboo popsicle sticks
- Straws (bamboo, metal, silicone)
I Can’t Get My Popsicle Sticks To Freeze Straight!
If you’re using the popsicle molds mentioned above, you won’t have any issues with getting them to freeze straight. You may choose, though, to DIY your popsicle molds by using some cups you already have at home! If that’s the case, you may have a difficult time getting your sticks to freeze straight.
However, there’s a very easy fix to this. Simply top the cups with foil, folding it over the edge of the cups to hold it in place. Then pop the sticks through the middle of the foil lids to hold them in place while they freeze.
There’s no reason to use plastic molds when making ice pops this summer. With so many BPA-free and non-toxic popsicle molds to choose from, you can surprise your family and guests with yummy and safe summer treats!