Summer has finally arrived. Put down that scoop and tub, because it is popsicle time. Or, more specifically, it’s paleta time.
But first, what is a paleta and how does it differ from a posicles? A popsicle is simply a water-based frozen treat with no focus on fresh produce, often full of artificial ingredients and added sugar.
A paleta is basically a tastier, better-for-you popsicle with an emphasis on fresh, natural ingredients. The Latin American ice pop is usually made from fresh fruit, but it can also be made from a milk base.
Ice-based paletas have the texture of a traditional ice pop and flavors include cucumber, strawberry, cantaloupe and more. Milk-based paletas usually have a creamy texture with flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, coconut, and more.
Check out this list of 27 popsicle shops that all focus on using fresh ingredients, with most actually serving paletas. Kiss ice cream goodbye because it’s time for some popsicle action up in here.
1. Paletas Betty, Chandler, AZ
These traditional paletas are inspired by the flavors of owner Betty Alatorre’s hometown, Michoacán, Mexico. The paletas are prepared fresh in small batches, with favorites including pina con chile (pineapple with chili) and sandia (watermelon with mint).
2. Paleteria La Mexicana, Long Beach, CA
These traditional paletas are made fresh daily and cost less than $1 each. Don’t miss out on cookies ‘n cream, pistachio or pepino con chile (cucumber with chile).
3. The Pop Shop, Los Angeles, CA
The rounded popsicles from the Pop Shop are made from seasonal market produce and organic sugar. Make sure to try the avocado vanilla and the lime mint mojito, which is available spiked. Popsicle party time.
4. The Ice Bar, Los Angeles, CA
The Ice Bar has created a new way to enjoy popsicles – simply choose a pop flavor and customize it with various toppings, such as pie crust and condensed milk. Or try one of the chef’s designs, including the Korean pear blueberry popsicle topped with blueberry gel, calpico gel, fresh herbs and jasmine powder, pictured above.
5. Viva Pops, San Diego, CA
Viva Pops uses organic fruits and herbs, most of which are locally sourced, to make their all-natural frozen fruit treats. The flavors are constantly changing, but be sure to check out the passion fruit guava pop and the fig and balsamic vinegar pop.
6. The Pop Nation, San Francisco, CA
These vegan and gluten free paletas are made from fresh, natural ingredients, which are sourced locally when possible. Pop Nation supports a sustainable food culture and aims to limit their waste (to only one bag per week!). In addition, Pop Nation composts all of their excess food scraps. Be sure to try the sea salted dark chocolate and the strawberries ‘n cream with basil.
7. Aiko Pops, Denver, CO
Sold at retail locations, farmers’ markets and food trucks, Aiko Pops popsicles are made from fresh, natural ingredients. Make sure to try the Nutella coconut or sweet tomato basil. They also sell pupsicles for man’s best friend.
8. Eccolopops, Miami, FL
This vegan and paleo friendly popsicle shop creates fresh, all-natural popsicles. The shop serves simple, classic flavors, such as blackberry and coffee, but also offers less traditional flavors, including pineapple basil, cinnamon orange and peach ginger.
9. The Hyppo, St. Augustine, FL
Hyppo flash freezes their made-from-scratch pops to achieve an extra smooth, creamy and soft treat. Don’t miss out on the avocado cream or the straight-up strawberry. And look at those colors – can you say Instafame?
10. King of Pops, Atlanta, GA
What started as a one popsicle cart in Atlanta has spread to cart locations across the southeast. King of Pops aims to provide customers with delicious, ecologically responsible, fresh, all-natural frozen treats. They offer over 100 rotating flavors, with Arnold Palmer and chocolate sea salt being a few of their most popular.
11. OnoPops, Honolulu, HI
The popsicle flavors at Onopops reflect regional Hawaiian desserts. Made from organic ingredients, Onopops calls their method, “from farm to stick.” Each pop only contains 4-5 ingredients, but they’re packed with a lot of flavor. Must-try flavors include Kona latte and butter mochi.
12. Meltdown, New Orleans, LA
The house-made pops at Meltdown contain all-natural, minimal ingredients. Because most of the the ingredients are locally sourced, the menu is constantly changing as fruits comes in and out of season. Of course, a few flavors are available year round, such as salted caramel and Vietnamese coffee.
13. Pure Pops, Portland, ME
Pure Pops are handmade with all-natural, organic ingredients in small batches. The popsicle shop aims to support local farmers while making its popsicles. Make sure to snag a chocolate coconut popsicle, pictured above.
14. The Detroit Pop Shop, Detroit, MI
Because their produce is sourced fresh from local farmers, the Detroit Pop Shop popsicle flavors are constantly changing, taking advantage of seasonal fruit. Last summer, the pop shop introduced a maple bourbon bacon pop and a cantaloupe Proscuitto pop to celebrate The Five Days of Meat.
But since those flavors are no longer available, be sure to try the strawberry lemonade or the grapefruit habenero instead, or one of their boozy pops.
15. La Newyorkina, New York City, NY
La Newyorkina serves traditional paletas sold on New York’s High Line and at various street fairs throughout the city. Don’t miss out on mango chile and ruby red grapefruit.
16. People’s Pops, New York City, NY
People’s Pops’ popsicles are made from local, sustainably grown fruits and herbs. Make sure to try their bestseller, blueberry peach, which has whole blueberries in the fruity popsicle.
17. Popbar, New York City, NY
Made fresh daily in small batches with all-natural ingredients, Popbar popsicles are offered in a variety of flavors in three different forms, popGelato, popSorbetto and YogurtPop, all of which are gluten free.
Choose your pop flavor, your dipping sauce and your poppings (toppings) to create your own popbar. Be sure to try the pistachio popGelato dipped in dark chocolate and covered in crushed pistachios. You won’t regret it.
18. Locopops, Durham, NC
This North Carolina popsicle store brings tasty, fresh paletas to popsicle-loving customers. Locopops offers many Mexican flavors as well as more traditional popsicle flavors. Must-try flavors include strawberry balsamic and chocolate malt.
19. Lil’ Pop Shop, Philadelphia, PA
This Philadelphia favorite makes their popsicles with simple, high quality ingredients. Be sure to try the chocolate salted caramel brownie and goat cheese with cherries.
20. The Pop Stop, Pittsburgh, PA
The Pop Stop serves fresh, handcrafted popsicles from their food truck. They prepare the popsicles in small batches with fresh fruit, homegrown herbs and all-natural ingredients, and nearly all of the pops are gluten free and vegan friendly. Don’t miss out on the Elvis, a peanut butter, banana and honey popsicle, or the honeydew pistachio.
21. Pop Culture, Knoxville, TN
Made from fresh, all-natural fruit, Pop Culture popsicles are made in house. Pops are available at their store, a few retailers and farmers’ markets all over the city. Blueberry vanilla, orange cream and banana pudding are three must-try flavors.
22. Las Paletas Gourmet Popsicles, Nashville, TN
Las Paletas offers housemade paletas, using fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs from community gardens. Las Paletas serves traditional Mexican flavors, including lime and Mexican caramel, customer recommended flavors, such as peanut butter and chocolate banana, and seasonal flavors, including pumpkin and corn.
23. GoodPop, Austin, TX
Originally a farmers’ market stand for all-natural paletas in Austin, GoodPop has expanded and is now available in grocery stores in over 15 states nationwide. Made from all-natural ingredients, GoodPop aims to provide customers with fresh, flavorful frozen treats. Don’t miss out on their hibiscus mint or cold brew coffee.
24. Lick’d, Salt Lake City, UT
Lick’d popsicles are made with fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs straight from the farmers’ market or garden, and are then sweetened with local honey. Weekly flavors depend on what is in season, but make sure to try the basil plum or the avocado pistachio, which is a blend of avocados, cream, pistachios and honey.
25. Pantheon Ice Pops, Charlottesville, VA
Sold at farmers’ markets, local events and festivals during the spring and summer months, Pantheon Pops are made with fresh fruit and organic coconut milks (in their creamy selections).
The pops are sold year round at Market Street Market, but with a limited selection. You can also book Pantheon Pops for events, such as weddings. A few favorites include banana chocolate walnut and creamy lime.
26. Six Strawberries, Seattle, WA
Sold on bicycle powered carts and various retail locations throughout Seattle, Six Strawberries popsicles are dairy-free and made from local ingredients. Don’t miss out on strawberry, strawberry rhubarb pie or Thai iced tea.
27. Pleasant Pops, Washington, D.C.
The Pleasant Pops’ method is simple: fresh ingredients, pop mold, freezer and voila! Make sure to try the Mexican sweet cream and cinnamon or the avocado and lime.