These tropical fruit popsicles are easy homemade ice pops made with just three natural ingredients—fruit, sugar, and water. Use watermelon, papaya, or mango for the simple taste of summer.

Look, we don’t judge. So go ahead and happily lick these tropical fruit popsicles come summer if you please, regardless of whether or not there’s the pitter-patter of little feet in your domicile. Feel a little sheepish? We encourage you to let that go, although if you feel the need, you can easily turn these DIY ice pops into a sophisticated sorbet with our instructions in the recipe below. Although as we said, no judgment here.–Renee Schettler Rossi

Two red tropical fruit popsicles on a plastic tray.

Tropical Fruit Popsicles

5 / 2 votes
These tropical fruit popsicles are easy homemade ice pops made with just three natural ingredients—fruit, sugar, and water. Use watermelon, papaya, or mango for the simple taste of summer.
Servings12 servings
Calories88 kcal
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time3 hours 35 minutes
Total Time4 hours


  • Ice cream maker; 12 plastic or paper cups; 12 popsicle sticks (optional)


  • 2 cups cold water
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 pounds seedless watermelon rind removed and fruit cut into chunks, or 3 pounds ripe papaya, peeled and seeded, or 5 ripe mangoes, peeled and fruit cut away from the pit
  • Juice of 2 limes


  • If making popsicles as opposed to sorbet, place twelve 1/3-cup plastic or paper cups on a baking sheet and place in the freezer.
  • Warm the water and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and cook until a light syrup forms, about 5 minutes.
  • Pour the syrup into a bowl and let it cool to room temperature.
  • Dump the fruit in a blender and purée until smooth. You may need to do this in 2 batches. Strain the purée through a sieve to remove any seeds or large lumps.

    ☞ TESTER TIP: We tried making these in a food processor rather than a blender and found that it yields a slightly different, less desirable texture. But if that’s all you have, it’ll be fine.

  • Mix the purée with the cooled syrup and stir in the lime juice. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • If using an ice cream maker, pour the purée into your ice cream maker (you may have enough to make 2 batches) and process for 30 to 40 minutes or according to the manufacturer's instructions.
    If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can skip this step if you're just making popsicles.
  • If making popsicles, spoon the churned sorbet or the unchurned mixture into the chilled cups and insert a Popsicle stick in the center either now if you churned it or after 2 hours if you didn’t churn it. To serve, hold the cup between the palms of your hands for 30 seconds, then gently ease the cup away from the Popsicle. To store, place the Popsicles in freezer-safe resealable plastic bags. If making sorbet, once the sorbet is thick, serve it immediately in dishes or even cocktail glasses or transfer to a resealable container with a tight-fitting lid and freeze for 2 hours or so to harden slightly.
  • The popsicles–or the sorbet-is best the same day although it will keep for up to 2 weeks in the freezer.)
Can I Freeze It?

Adapted From

Can I Freeze It?

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Serving: 1 popCalories: 88 kcalCarbohydrates: 23 gProtein: 1 gFat: 1 gSaturated Fat: 1 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gSodium: 4 mgPotassium: 170 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 20 gVitamin A: 860 IUVitamin C: 12 mgCalcium: 12 mgIron: 1 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2007 Susie Theodorou. Photo © 2007 Deirdre Rooney. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This tropical fruit sorbet is extremely refreshing and not too sweet—perfect for the 90°+ days we’re having.

I used 1/4 large watermelon, which weighed exactly 4 pounds before the rind was removed. After pureeing and combining the strained puree with the lime juice and simple syrup, I had enough liquid to fill the 2 containers of my Cuisinart ice cream machine; therefore, I had to churn twice and ended up with just under 2 quarts sorbet.

My tasters really liked this sorbet and I’ll definitely be making it again.

For those out there without an ice cream maker, don’t shy away from this recipe. I followed all of the steps for the popsicles and poured the final cooled liquid into each cup and placed it in the freezer. Two hours later I added the sticks, and it worked beautifully. Kids and adults alike loved them.

We made 2 batches, one with watermelon (which was small to medium size) and one with mango. Both were excellent but noticed that the mango version was sweeter than the watermelon.

This was a refreshing treat. It was easy to assemble and it froze nicely.

I measured all the liquid ingredients: 4 cups watermelon juice after being strained, 1 2/3 cups simple syrup, and 2 tablespoons lime juice. After freezing it for over 24 hours, it produced a tasty, icy pop. I’d hoped for a more concentrated flavor, but for the small effort and few ingredients, it turned out nicely. I think next time I’ll infuse the syrup with basil or rosemary or something like that.

Originally published August 10, 2020

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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