If you're looking for an easy and relatively healthy way to cool down, these mango paletas are perfect. They have only 3 ingredients and not a lot of sugar for ice cold, fruity deliciousness that's a true taste of summer!
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We're having a warm summer this year, and that for us means lots of grilling to avoid heating the kitchen, as well as cold drinks and treats to cool us down.
We've been having plenty homemade lemonade (like my watermelon lemonade) as well as ice creams (roasted strawberry ice cream was a huge hit). But I like to sneak some healthier ones in there too and these were one that were a big hit.
What are paletas?
Paletas is the Spanish word for ice pops/popsicles/ice lollies, but these are unlikely to be quite like the ones you are used to. You won’t find artificial colors and flavors in these, and you may be a little surprised by some of the flavors.
In Mexico, you’ll find carts selling paletas on many street corners as well as small stores dedicated to them. They are a firm favorite, as is ice cream, and it’s easy to understand why. Not only are they great to cool you down, but the flavors are varied and in nearly all cases, all natural.
There's usually some sugar as most frozen treats need a sweetener to bring out the flavor when it's frozen, but even still they are generally relatively healthy. These mango ice pops in particular are relatively low sugar as fresh, ripe mangoes have a great natural sweetness.
What are some popular flavors of paletas?
Some popular flavors include:
- Paletas de fresa con crema (strawberries and cream)
- Avocado paletas
- Tamarind paletas
- Arroz con leche paletas (rice pudding, a popular dessert)
- Jamaica paletas (made with agua de jamaica, hibiscus tea)
- Watermelon paletas
- Coconut paletas
- And these mango paletas.
Not only are some of these flavors unusual, unless you are familiar with popular flavors in Mexico, but some can be combined with chili.
Chili in ice pops?!
I know, it might sound unusual, but trust me it's worth trying. While this does give them a little heat, it’s mainly used more as a flavor enhancer. You can either combine it in the mixture or dip it in after!
A popular way to add the chili is with tajin seasoning, which combines chili, salt and lime. It’s used on a range of dishes, mainly savory, but really has that great mix of flavors that it works just as well with sweet treats like these. You can find it in most Latin stores or online.
You’ll find many other fruits used in paletas as well, or combinations to make two or three colored striped treats. Some others have whole chunks of fruit in them for decoration. The majority are dairy free, but a few are made with milk as well.
Can you create your own paleta flavors?
Yes, absolutely! The possibilities are about as endless as your imagination, so I encourage you to experiment. A good place to start is with your favorite smoothie. Make it slightly sweeter than usual, since as I say above the freezing will reduce how sweet it seems, and just pour it in your popsicle moulds.
Alternatively, simply start with a single fruit then add another that would go well with it. Lime, lemon or orange juice are great to add an extra freshness, and either a little sugar or honey to sweeten.
How do you make mango paletas?
- Remove the stone and skin from the mango.
- Put the mango chunks, lime juice and sugar in a blender and blend to combine.
- Pour the mixture into popsicle moulds.
- Freeze until frozen solid.
In theory, you could use frozen mango chunks, but I have yet to find frozen mango that has as good a flavor as a truly ripe fresh mango. You want to make sure the mango is very ripe to be as sweet and flavorful as possible.
You can cut the mango from the stone as you prefer, but what's generally considered the 'proper' way is to cut top to bottom near the stone so you cut most of the flesh off in a big chunk, then do the same on the other side. Score the mango halves in squares then pop open and cut the cubes off at the base. Peel the skin from the flesh left by the stone and cut off any additional mango flesh.
These mango paletas are fresh, fruity and flavorful. They're the perfect way to cool down on a warm day, and are relatively guilt free. So give them a try!
Like mango? Try these other tasty mango recipes:
- Mango lassi
- Mango cheesecake parfait
- Cambodian green mango salad
- Mango margarita
- Plus get more summer recipes in the archives.
I use a reusable popsicle mold to make these (affiliate link).
Mango paletas (ice pops)
- 3 cups diced mango from approx 3 yellow mangoes
- 3 tablespoon lime juice
- 4 tablespoon sugar
- Assuming you are using fresh mango, remove the mango flesh from the stone by cutting through the mango near the stone, on both sides, then scoring the mango halves. Pop open the mango and remove the cubes from the skin. Trim remaining mango from around the stone.
- Put the mango flesh, lime juice and sugar in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into popsicle moulds, leaving a slight gap at the top. Put in the sticks and carefully transfer to freezer, keeping upright. Allow to freeze - at least four hours.
- Remove from moulds - put the mould under warm water if they don't come out easily.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
I first shared the recipe for mango paletas on Curious Cusiniere where I am a contributor.