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Home » featured, food

Tropical Homemade Paletas and Ice Cream Recipes

Submitted by on July 7, 2011 – 6:39 pm13 Comments
pina paleta recipe

Frida likes pineapple paletas.

I have been making paletas and ice creams regularly ever since we published a mango paleta recipe on the Tiki Tiki. I was inspired.

In my freezer are watermelon, blueberry yogurt, strawberry, pineapple and blueberry/lemon/strawberry paletas plus amazing, amazing, amazing homemade blackberry and blueberry ice creams inspired by The Pioneer Woman’s blackberry ice cream recipe.


blackberry ice cream

Blackberry Ice Cream

My daughter and husband are loving me a lot right now.

So, with an abundance of summer fruit and a slight homesickness for the tropical fruit I grew up with, I went searching for recipes using las frutas tropicales — the coconut, mango, pineapple, even star fruit goodness that makes great paletas and helados.

The custard-based ice creams are rich and full of cream and eggs, but so worth the calories! They don’t have preservatives and strange ingredients and really, a little goes a long way. The paletas are quick and easy to make, the kids can help, and they really highlight the flavor of the fruit. And again, without all the strange ingredients and mucho sugar in store-bought ice pops.

I have listed some pretty delicious and creative recipes from variety of sources and most are pretty darned easy, especially once you get over the fear of custard-making.

Also at the bottom of the post I am listing my favorite paleta and ice cream recipe books, plus links to buying ice pop/paleta molds and an easy ice cream maker.

Let me know if you try any of them…or if you too are inspired.

Buen provecho!

Coconut = Coco

Coconut Mango Paletas. Don’t you just love saying paleta de coco?

Quick coconut ice cream with saffron by ice cream guru David Lebovitz.

Toasted Coconut Ice Cream, another recipe by Lebovitz on Leite’s Culinaria.

Guava = Guayaba

Guava ice cream recipe, plus many more helados caseros, at Comida Cubana on Facebook.

Guava and cream cheese ice cream.  Seriously.

Guava Sorbet if you don’t have an ice cream maker.

Green Apple Guava Sorbet from Hungry Sofia, a great site by a cubana food writer.

Guava-Lime Cheesecake Ice Cream. You read that right.

Lime = Limón

Lime, sweetened condensed milk and Maria crackers make this lime paleta recipe from Fany Gerson’s book, Paletas: Authentic Recipes for Mexican Ice Pops, Shaved Ice & Aguas Frescas, a must try. The book lives on my iPad so I can take it with me wherever I go.

Lime ice cream with guayaba and pepitas brittle. Genius by one of our favorite food writers, Bonnie at Sweet Life Bake, who created our mango paleta recipe.

Mango = Mango

Mango ice cream from the blog of an American ex-pat in Honduras, La Gringa’s Blogicito. She also has other great recipes and homemade ice cream-making tips.

Easy Mexican Mango paletas recipe by Bonnie on the Tiki Tiki. Cayenne pepper optional!

Mammee = Mamey or Mamey Sapote

Mamey Sapote ice cream.

Homemade mamey frozen yogurt, using just mamey, yogurt, agave. Sweet.


Papaya and Coco Paleta. A thing of beauty.

Papaya and Lime ice cream.

Papaya-Mango Ice Cream Daiquiri (well, it has ice cream, so it counts, right?)

Pineapple = Piña

Pineapple-Chile paletas using chipotle.

Simple pineapple paleta recipe, just some pineapple, lime and sugar y ya. This is the paleta Frida, above, is enjoying. It’s 103 calories and zero fat. From the June issue of Bon Appetit.

Pineapple ice cream. You can add rum (for the grown-up version), serve with grilled pineapple or pound cake. Or eat it as is straight out of the tub.

Star Fruit = Carambola

Brazilian carambola sorbet with cachaça a la Hungry Sofia.

Carambola ice cream recipe in Spanish.

You also can serve star fruit sauce with vanilla ice cream. Great for wowing guests!

Tamarind = Tamarindo

Tamarind-Coconut ice cream (plus a Papaya-Mango ice cream recipe in the same link)

Tamarind-Chile paletas over at Saveur.

Coffee = Café

Yes, yes, I know coffee is not a tropical fruit, but we tropical people drink a lot of café. I found this Vietnamese Coffee Popsicle recipe while spending way too time on David Lebovitz’s site and well, if you’ve ever had Vietnamese coffee with sweetened condensed milk (leche condensada!) you’ll thank me for including it.

Paleta and Ice Cream-making Resources

My simple Cuisinart ice cream maker, a gift from a friend, is 15-years-old, and it still is going strong. It has made everything from pistachio ice cream to coffee/chocolate chunk to Philadelphia strawberry. The newest version of my machine is this one for $48. The upgrade, a 2-quart machine, is $79.95.

I use this paleta/freezer pop mold from Progressive International.

Fany Gerson’s book, Paletas: Authentic Recipes for Mexican Ice Pops, Shaved Ice & Aguas Frescas, which I mentioned above really is wonderful. I love the book so much I have gifted it and the paleta molds twice this month. Gerson owns a paleta business, La Newyorkina, in NYC.

A new artisan ice cream shop has opened a branch in Nashville, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, and it is known for the high quality and unique combinations like wildberry/lavender and goat cheese with red cherries. Yowza, right? When it opened last month, the line went around the block. I didn’t make it because I avoid crowds, but I did order the book.  Awaiting, awaiting.

The other ice cream book is David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop. I have fallen in love with his blog, which he writes from Paris. The ice cream recipes on his site are outstanding, so I imagine the book is even better. Lebovitz, by the way, is a former Chez Panisse pastry chef.

*Note: The links are to our Amazon store. The Tiki Tiki earns a commission if you shop.

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