It’s the last month of strawberry season and summer! These strawberry paletas are really easy to make and everyone will love them. At under 50 calories per paleta, I also consider these a pretty healthy snack that you can feel good about giving to your children.
Strawberries are perfect for making water based paletas! You don’t need a lot of ingredients and you don’t even have to cook anything. If your strawberries are really sweet, you might not even need sugar. I love snacking on these especially during the summer. It’s so refreshing and more on the healthy side for snacks.
What is the difference between a popsicle and a paleta?
Though similar, paletas and popsicles do have some key differences that will prove paletas are way better, in my opinion.
Popsicles are mass produced and have lots of additives and artificial flavoring. Paletas use natural ingredients like fruits and are made fresh, so they don’t require additives or preservatives to extend shelf life.
Paletas also have a rich history and are culturally important to Mexican street snacks. Nowadays, you will find plenty of brick and mortar paleta shops but it is still common to get your paletas on the street from paleteros (ice cream carts).
Strawberries- you’ll need 1 1/2 lbs of fresh strawberries for this recipe. Thats about 4 cups of hulled & quartered strawberries.
Sugar- cover the strawberries in sugar for about 20 minutes. This process is called maceration. It softens the fruit and brings out more flavor. I also tried cooking the strawberries but wasn’t really happy with the way those paletas turned out. You can also make adjustments to the amount of sugar used depending on your taste. My strawberries were quite sweet already and didn’t need much sugar. Anywhere from no sugar to 1/2 cup is the range I would stick to.
Strawberry nectar or water- if you don’t have the nectar its totally fine to use water. When making fruit paletas I try to find a nectar to amplify the fruit flavor since fruits tend to lose a little flavor when frozen.
Lime juice- add the juice of one lime (or lemon if you prefer).
Salt- just a pinch of salt to bring out the flavor. I know this sounds wrong but a tiny bit of salt actually amplifies the fruit’s natural flavor.
2 Types of Paletas:
There are MANY paleta flavors & combinations, but there are generally 2 types of paletas made:
Water based (paletas de agua)- these are typically fruit pops that have a water or juice base. These paletas are more true to the integrity of the fruits, and are also healthier (and vegan too!)
Cream based (paletas de leche)- these are creamy paletas with a texture that is more similar to ice cream than a popsicle. They usually have heavy cream, mexican crema, and sweetened condensed milk. These also tend to have more flavors available because it isn’t limited to fruits- some common popular flavors are coconut, coffee, oreo, and, chocolate.
This is a water based paleta. Water based strawberry paletas are the best and easiest to make in my opinion, because the blended flesh makes a really nice texture and you don’t need a lot of other ingredients to make it. The texture is nice and smooth, with very little ice crystals forming so the mouth-feel is perfect.
To make paletas, you will need a popsicle mold, popsicle sticks, and plastic bags for storing. You will also need a blender.
I recommend a silicone popsicle mold because they are easier to remove the popsicles from. The exact one I have is no longer available on Amazon, but I found a similar one that you can purchase. It also comes with the popsicle sticks and baggies. Here is the link to purchase:
- 1 1/2 lbs strawberries hulled & quartered
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup strawberry nectar or water
- 1 lime or lemon
- pinch of salt
- Soak the strawberries in cold water for 5 minutes then wash thoroughly.
- Remove the stems and cut them into quarters. Set aside some of the strawberries if you want to add pieces of strawberry into the paletas.
- To the rest of the strawberries, add the sugar and juice of 1 lime. Mix thoroughly then let it sit for 20 minutes to macerate. Note: Add more sugar if you like it really sweet. Also consider adding a bit more sugar if you plan to use water instead of strawberry nectar.
- Add to a blender with the strawberry nectar (or water) and a pinch of salt
- Blend until smooth- about 1 minute. Then add the remaining strawberry chunks and stir to combine. Taste the puree to see if you need to make any adjustments to the sweetness.
- Fill your popsicle mold leaving just a little room at the top to expand.
- It depends on your popsicle mold, but be mindful about the popsicle stick placement when you're sticking them into the mold. You don't want to push them all the way down because it leaves very little room to hold the stick, but you also want to make sure its deep enough. Also make sure it is centered from all sides.
- Freeze for at least 8 hours. To loosen, you can place the mold into warm water for about 20 seconds, or you can use a popsicle stick and push it down the sides of the mold to loosen the paletas.