strawberry, lime and black pepper popsicles

I had these popsicle molds for 14 months before using them once, yet in the weeks since I used them for the first time, I’ve made three other varieties and considered doing a 5-day week of posts here exclusively devoted to popsicle offerings. I’ve basically fallen down a popsicle rabbit hole so deep, now every time I see something that looks good, I think, I wonder how that would taste as a popsicle. (My family’s looking nervous around me, understandably.)

strawberries, hulled and quartered
macerating with sugar

So, what changed? First, I realized that they hold 1/3 cup each. One-third of a cup! Do you know how little that is? You could literally stuff it with the most indulgent Ben & Jerry’s and still come in under their suggested serving size, while eating something that felt generous. Not that we’re going to do that. Yet. I also realized that all of the headaches that most iced frozen desserts involve — egg yolk custards, buckets of leftover egg whites, freezer bowls, the churning of machines so loud and groaning that we used to (seriously) lock in the bathroom so we didn’t have to hear it, only to have another two hours of freezer time to go — do not exist in Popsicle Land, a magical place where all concoctions freeze perfectly and but six hours stand between you and your next indulgence-on-a-stick. Finally, seeing as we recently decided it would be a really good idea to buy a white carpet, I especially love that at least the ones I’ve been making aren’t terribly drippy. As they’re mostly fruit purees and other thick things, they don’t so much melt back to a watery state when someone (not naming names) takes an hour to finish one.

a brief simmer to further limpen them

I bought this book on Paletas a few weeks ago and, look, I admit when it came out I thought, “a whole book of Mexican-style popsicle recipes? I can’t imagine needing that,” while my popsicle molds collected dust. Silly Deb, silly silly Deb. This book takes something as simple as a frozen things on sticks and raises it to an art form. I haven’t made one recipe from this book that didn’t knock it so far out of the park, we didn’t sit there in total silence muttering, “No this is the best one yet,” each time only having to update our opinion when the next one came out of the freezer.

lime juice then more lime juice
blended, mostly
ready to freeze
all frozen, ready for dessert

And then there are these. Our favorite summer cocktail hinges on just four tiny things — strawberries, lime juice, black pepper and white tequila — but the combination is out of this world. I even tried to reverse engineer it in my book, only moderately successfully, and probably could have saved some time if I’d just, like, Googled it. (Note: I’ve since adapted it for 2 excellent drinks. You should make them!)

ridiculously good strawberry lime popsicles
strawberry lime and black pepper popsicles

But I did not make these with tequila in them, in part because the ingredients are so absolutely amazing without it, and also because “Yes, mommy made a freezer full of vibrant red homemade popsicles from your favorite fruit but they’re not for you, nya-nyah” is some pretty cruel tantrum bait. Fortunately, Tracy from Shutterbean has solved everything, once again, and it’s called, or I call it, The After-Bedtime Dip. You’re welcome.

a white tequila dunk after bedtime

One year ago: Mediterranean Baked Feta with Tomatoes
Two years ago: Naked Tomato Sauce
Three years ago: Everyday Chocolate Cake
Four years ago: Plum Kuchen
Five years ago: Garlic-Mustard Glazed Skewers
Six years ago: Summer Berry Pudding

Strawberry, Lime and Black Pepper Popsicles
Strawberry cooking and freezing technique from Paletas, flavors from the Red and Black cocktail at Back Forty

Prior to falling in love with this cocktail, I’d only paired strawberry with lemon, and I was missing out because lime is the perfect contrast to strawberry’s spun sugar/cotton candy/pink frosting earnestness. It’s second only to the black pepper, which you can add at whatever level you’re comfortable with (1/4 teaspoon was only vaguely noticeable, and did not even go mentioned by the resident spice-sensitive preschooler), needn’t add straightforward spiciness so much as a background pick-me-up. You’ll be amazed by how well strawberries and black pepper go together; they’re totally the yin to each other’s yang, even when you’re not doing The After-Bedtime Dip in white tequila.

Texture-wise, we love that these popsicles, since they’re made from tender fresh strawberries, don’t get rock hard (the way ones made from juice will) but stay tender and totally nibble-able.

4 slightly heaped cups (about 20 ounces) fresh, ripe strawberries, hulled and quartered
2/3 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar (we used the latter but use less if you’re sensitive to sugar)
1/2 cup water
Juice of 2 limes
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (use less for a barely detectable bite, more if you’d like it more present)
Pinch of sea salt

Combine the strawberries and sugar in a bowl; let them sit for 15 minutes if they’re really fresh, longer if they’re firm or off-season berries. Transfer mixture to a saucepan and add the water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. You can hasten this along by transferring them back to their macerating bowl and setting that in a bowl of ice water.

Once cooled, transfer to a blender or food processor, add the lime juice, pepper and salt and blend until mostly smooth (I find some leftover bits lovely in here). Divide between popsicle molds.

[You’ll have about 3 1/4 cups of the mixture, which divides evenly among 10 1/3-cup molds, with 1/4-inch space on top to make room for expansion in freezing.]

Freeze for about 5 hours, or until completely frozen. Dip in lukewarm water for 10 seconds to unmold each popsicle.

If After-Bedtime Dipping: Put a shot of white tequila in a glass wide enough to dip popsicle. Yes, you can double-dip.

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195 comments on strawberry, lime and black pepper popsicles

  1. Jes

    These look great! I normally make a strawberry and basil popsicle, but the black pepper and lime sound like a great combination to try.

  2. The black pepper addition is fantastic! Only recently did i discover that spice and heat can really compliment fruit in frozen form (since cold seems to dull the taste of things. I like to add a bit of fruit liquor to my ice treat if I want them to stay soft but I think these look lickable as they are!

  3. Cynthia

    Too funny. I just got the same mold last week and since then have been on an ice pop FRENZY. With no kiddies in the house, somehow all of my made-up recipes have a smidgen of ingredients from the alcohol family. I’ll be sure to try your recipe soon.

  4. Foram

    I completely feel you on the popsicle phase! The summer heat and abundance of fruits has been singing ‘popsicle time’ to me for 2 months now! The fact that you’re in a similar popsicle rabbit-hole, makes it only so much easier! Can’t wait to try this!!

  5. wendy

    These look fantastic. I will be making some this week. I have been on a popsicle kick all summer, and love new recipes to try. Too often I just pour some juice in my zoku and have that, but this recipe has my two favorite fruits in the world.

  6. angela

    Not Jacob-appropriate, but we made Mark Bittman’s mojito popsicles last night and they were amazing. You should check them out.

  7. I love homemade popsicles. I skip the sugar for the kids, which can make them kind of hard and icy. Since no one want a hard and icy popsicle (except for kids who will take any form of frozen sweet they can get), I added chia seeds, which gels the liquid. The frozen gel is softer than the straight up frozen puree. I solved a problem no one was complaining about by adding a superfood buzzword. I should start a blog and “pin” my fancy ideas. (My bejeezus when did I get so snarky?)

    On another note, I highly suggest a honeydew-lime-mint combo. Kale makes a lovely ingredient for the kids that goes with the color scheme of the pop if you’re nuts like me and spoil the fun with VEGETABLES.

    I quit. Clearly I need that shot of tequila in my coffee. :)

  8. Sharon

    If you are childless and want to make them with the tequila already mixed in, how much would you add? Does it change any of the other ratios?

  9. Jessie

    Red and Black!! My sister and I were at Back 40’s Monday (all) night happy hour this week, and a woman at the bar was nearly in tears because she had been waiting for a R&B since the minute after she’d given birth a year before. And they had just taken it off the menu 2 days earlier. Oh it was so sad. I think the bartender took pity on her and offered to make them as long as they brought in their own bodega berries.

    1. deb

      Jessie — Nooooo. We had our last one there last Friday. So sad. At least we all have the recipe now?

      (I had the same experience post-pregnancy with a drink at Gramercy Tavern called the Ruby Rye, a really bitter grapefruit drink. I had one the week before I found I was pregnant, and then not another for a year, when I learned it was off the menu. They made me one out of pity. I actually got the recipe from them with the intention of sharing it here but it was so complicated and I figured that even if I streamlined it, my affection for bitter grapefruit cocktails wasn’t shared by many.)

      1. Sandy

        Hello! You made a passing reference back in 2013 to a cocktail recipe you got from from Gramercy Tavern after they stopped serving it, “Ruby Rye, a really bitter grapefruit drink.” Please would you share that with me?? It sounds right up my alley.

  10. Cynthia

    Sharon- after a failed margarita recipe which didn’t freeze, I read that over 20% alcohol would mean the pops stay mushy. I now just use a few tablespoons in a given recipe.

  11. Sara

    Excited to try adding pepper! This might be sacrilege, but I’ve also had great results using frozen strawberries, blending, letting sit for a bit, and then re-freezing. It worked fine without even heating and it takes 5 minutes that way.

  12. Emily

    (I’m putting on my librarian hat for a moment here.) Have you seen the picture book What Can You Do With a Paleta? Jacob might love it. It’s got colorful illustrations and some simple Spanish words sprinkled throughout, plus it’s about popsicles! Amazon link:

    Going back into kitchen mode, these sound delicious. The summer here in Wisconsin has been so weirdly mild this summer I haven’t had my normal burning desire to eat only frozen things, but I think it’s time.

  13. elise

    how about making these into a granita? I love the combo – but my popsicle molds are too big. and granita can be sized to serve. would the texture hold up?

    1. deb

      ebgb — Because I had a run-in with a four pound box at Trader Joe’s. ;)

      Elise — I think it would be a delicious granita.

      Emily — That is so cute. If only my child liked coloring!

  14. YUM! I can’t wait to try these. I have gestational diabetes so this will be perfect for a sweet treat when I’m craving it. I’m curious, do you have other popsicle molds you recommend? I want to make more pops, but have trouble finding kid-friendly molds.

  15. noor

    So funny. You’re basically doing the same thing as I did. Buying these molds I love them) and the paletas book as a sort of beginners guide. I made the watermelon pops they were the best pops I ever had, and the grapefruit ones. Love home made ice pops! They are winners!

  16. So… related to the obsession, you’ve seen Zoku pop makers? They freeze a pop in 10 minutes or so? Worth a look-see maybe. They’re pretty fun and perfect for the truly impatient! And pop parties. Especially with tequila. But, you know, make the kids ones first…

  17. I have almost the same popsicle mold. I just used it for the first time last week. Blog post next week. Your popsicles look so good and refreshing! Something makes me want to add rum to them for like strawberry daiquiri pops! You can see where my mind is at. Great use of strawberries!

  18. I’m so with you on the week of popsicle recipes. I work at home 50% of the time and don’t have air conditioning (it’s not as bad as it sounds…. LA doesn’t get as hot/humid as other places I’ve lived), so I’ve been living on popsicles this summer.

  19. Sara

    Deb, did you see that the Food and Wine margarita recipe calls for 1/2 CUP of black pepper? That’s gotta be a typo, right? Based upon your experience with this recipe, any recommendations on where to start with black pepper on the margarita recipe? (Like you, I’m space challenged in a city apartment. Popsicle molds don’t make the cut!)

  20. I’ve never had a “spiked” Popsicle. Is it possible to get drunk on a pop? My local kitchen store is featuring the popsicle molds in the window…now do I need to drive back to town and pick 1 up for me???? I’m very VERY tempted! The color of yours on this blog post are amazing!

  21. Lou

    I would have never suspected that black pepper would go along with strawberry and lime, but I’ll trust you on this. ;-)

    Looks great and I may just need to make them for this weekend’s pool party.

  22. Hi Deb – Thanks for posting this great recipe. I have to ask, where did you get your popsicle mold? I’ve been looking for one for ages, but all I can find are fancy ones. I just want something simple! Thanks in advance.

  23. Although these look infinitely more delicious, your last photo somehow reminds me of the scene in A Christmas Story where Ralphie’s mother sticks a cake of red soap in his mouth as punishment for swearing. :)

  24. Morgan

    sound amazing! For those of us without popsicle molds (and don’t mind our ice cream maker!), could this just get poured in to make a sorbet?

  25. Dsayko

    Any suggestions to make these sugar free?

    Also, Susan (#33), I have a Zoku and highly recommend it. I can make 9 pops per use, usually, though the last set takes a “long” time (a whopping 15 minutes sometimes, as opposed to 7 or so minutes for the first set).

  26. Becky

    Oh these look fabulous. One question – I have a TON of frozen strawberries from going picking this year- can I use these in place of fresh? And should they be thawed beforehand or just blended with the rest of the ingredients without cooking them down? Thanks!

  27. Susan

    Having kids really opens up a whole world of new ideas, doesn’t it? I suppose tequila dipped popsicles came from the same brilliance as the jello shot! I love it!

  28. Strawberries and black pepper are a match made in heaven. What about subbing the lime juice for balsamic (maybe white so it doesn’t alter the color too much..)?!

  29. Rhonda

    I’ve been using my ice cream maker a lot lately so I am so with you on the pops. I made margarita sorbet last Sunday, the adult kind, my kid had to wait for his. It really needs the salt to be great. I put it in salt lined glasses (I used pink Bolivan salt-yep the good stuff) but if I made pops, then dipped lightly in salt on the sides? We need salt sprinkles! Then we wouldn’t be caught licking the glass. You are making us think about things other than work. And it hit 105 yesterday.

  30. Mary

    holy cow these are good! Stopped by your site this morning & happened to have bought berries & limes last night – took less than 30 seconds to make the leap. My daughter & I are in heaven.

  31. Those look phenomenal, and the after-bedtime dip is a great idea! Not that there are kids in my household (so any time is tequila time!), but I’m sure paletas freeze a lot more nicely without any alcohol already mixed into them, so that seems like the perfect solution to boozing up some frozen-solid popsicles.

  32. AngAK

    does anyone else have trouble when clicking on the photo links that are Instagram(white carpet)? I don’t have Instagram so I just want to back out to the Smittenkitchen site and Instragram will not back out, and then I have to X out and lose Smitten as well.

  33. Barbara Qualls

    These look fabulous! My favorite desserts are flavors that mix sweet and savory ingredients in unexpected ways….and since it is 100 degrees in the shade here NOW, I plan to make these TOMORROW, since today is about done! Thanks Deb!

  34. Kaiya

    I have always thought the one thing you needed more of on this wonderful site was more bitter grapefruit cocktails. Please, please, please share!

  35. Theresa

    Ahh, Chinaco Blanco! That was my first introduction to clear tequila ever, chased with blood oranges dipped in cinnamon and sugar. I’m sure it went well with the popsicles!

    1. deb

      Emily — No worries! It was buried in there. The book is amazing; it gave me so many ideas. (Hence the need for Popsicle Week.) Oh, and I also made the Key Lime Popsicles and cannot get over them. So bracing! So tart and creamy! (Jacob hated them.)

  36. Wow. How do you floor someone with a Popsicle?
    How do you do it?
    Have you ever had a melon popsicle? Do you know how to make one? Would a melon popsicle be worth the trouble/too watery/etc., do you think?

  37. Hee hee hee! Love that last photo! :) Necessity is the mother of invention, afterall! :) These are gorgeous and look delicious! I can’t wait to get to the Farmer’s Market this weekend now!

  38. Janelle F.

    mmmmm! They’re gorgeous! I got that book–Paletas–from the library and renewed it as many times as they would let me :) My favorite are the avocado ones. Have you tried them? Amazing.

  39. Laurin

    delurking after many years to say – YUM! Also, if you’re after fun Strawberry combinations, there is this amazing icecream made by, I bought her book for my friend and we were blown away by how good it was (I was sceptical!) – Strawberry, basil and black pepper icecream!

    The recipe is shared here:

    Can I just say I always love your recipes, I always get excited by your blog posts! :)

  40. AussieBeth

    do you think I could successfully substitute lime juice from a bottle for fresh limes and, if yes, about how much I should use?

  41. Jessica

    Fine, you win. This post led to me buying ice pop molds. Are you happy with yourself now? Are you? ARE YOU? Ok good. Now post more delicious recipes because I need to justify my purchase. :)

  42. Stella

    Jessica (91), you crack me up. I’m thinking EXACTLY the same thing. I rarely post comments, but love all of your recipes, Deb. I do have a question, could I make these without the sugar or could I substitute some splenda instead. Usually I have no trouble subbing splenda in recipes, but I’ve never made a popcicle and wouldn’t want to ruin the texture.

  43. Kristen

    Thanks for the inspiration! Not sure of anyone has mentioned this, but a friend gave us one of those Zoku popsicle makers that freeze a set of three in 7 minutes flat. Then you can make another batch or two quickly after that. I thought it was a bit of an indulgent use of limited kitchen storage space and probably never would have bought one myself, but the instant gratification has made us fall in love with it and it doesn’t really take up that much space to store it in the freezer. We use it regularly for leftover breakfast smoothies which then become a healthy treat later in the day. Also, since it freezes so quickly you can get fancy with stripes of different flavors. I think you might “need” one:

  44. Fezdak

    Why do you cook the strawberries?
    We make popsicles all the time, but use fresh or frozen fruit and juice. Sometimes I have to thaw the frozen fruit.

    1. deb

      AussieBeth — Sorry, I’ve never used bottle lime juice before. Does the package come with an equivalent suggestion?

      Fezdak — It softens them further and concentrates the syrup. You can skip it if you don’t think it is necessary.

      Stella — I think the sugar can definitely be reduced. I haven’t worked with splenda before but if it works with other popsicles, no reason not to think it would here. I don’t think that strawberries need a lot of sugar per se, but strawberries with two limes worth of juice might.

  45. Kathi

    Rats! I sent my kid-style popsicle molds to the charity shop when my son turned twenty and no longer wanted Scooby- do pops. I’ll just have to sneak some in before my retired and vigilant husband notices yet more kitchen gadgets to be forgotten in a corner of a cupboard.

  46. SallyO

    Why, just, why? I need another kitchen gadget like I need the proverbial hole in the head. The banana pops almost made me do it, but now, sheesh! The color of those pops alone make my mouth water. I’m gonna justify this by telling myself I can make healthy frozen treats by tweaking sugar and possibly experimenting with subbing some (or all) Splenda. I’m already thinking up combos. Cantaloupe with mint hits me right off the bat. M’kay, off to Amazon now to order popsicle molds. Thanks, Deb!

  47. Noemi

    Hi, I just wanted to point out that the book that Emily (#20) suggests is not a coloring book, but a picture book. I clicked on the Amazon link, and it looks cute and colorful, just as she promised! You should definitely check it out, or they may have it at your closest library. I like the idea of the Spanish words sprinkled throughout the book.

  48. Ande

    Made these last night the combo is perfect, I used white pepper for a bit more spicy flavor and 2 oz of Cazadores for the grown up version. Keep the forzen treats coming it is still hot and steamy here in DC.

  49. Jeannie

    First off let me say thank you for reading comments and answering questions. So many bloggers don’t. Secondly, you inspired me to jump over to amazon and purchase that book, I can’t wait for it to arrive. And, lastly, I also purchased a mold set with plastic handles (I get a ‘fingernails on the chalkboard’ sensation to wooden sticks on my tongue

  50. Jeannie

    Oops, got it. The mold you use is at amazon…you reference this in the beginning of your post. Sorry, I didn’t see it. This will come in handy for larger batches.

    1. deb

      Kariann — You can make a full batch (refrigerating the extra popsicle “batter” until needed), unmold them, refreeze them on a tray for a few minutes if they got soft in the unmolding, then place them in freezer bags for longer-term storage. Repeat with remaining popsicle mixture.

      Noemi — Oops! Thanks for clarifying.

      Emily — Sorry about that! I was running through comments too quickly that morning and didn’t look carefully. :( I am SO getting that for Jacob.

    1. deb

      Popsicle molds — Are from Norpro and I bought them on Amazon. (Link)

      Devorah — Those peppercorns are just to infuse the simple syrup (sweetener) for the cocktail and only some of the syrup is used in each pitcher. The resulting drink (at the restaurant at least, can’t say if the recipe is right until I try it) is something with the faint, faint kick of pepper, but nothing really hot.

  51. LisaG

    Perfect! I just bought 2kg (almost 4 1/2 lbs) of strawberries from the local farmer’s market for £3 ($4.50) and was wondering what the heck to make besides the Christine Ferber strawbery with pepper and balsamic vinegar jam recipe I have planned. Yum, yum, yum.

  52. Judy

    @lindsay. I see you’re also a cook so I really have a cheek but if you you don’t like pepper what about hot paprika or chilli? Unless it’s hot stuff you can’t eat. Chocolate with hot chilli is lovely.

  53. Deb! My parents just gifted me popsicle molds for my birthday and I haven’t a clue what to with them. Thank you for this inspiration, I will report back with results:)

  54. Lisa Cornely

    These look and sound amazing. I love strawberry with pepper/ I have never tried lime and strawberry together but that does sound delish. I can’t wait to make these on Thursday Night. I also love the idea of making them without the alcohol so all can enjoy.

  55. Juliet

    I made some popsicles a few weeks ago with lime juice and cream of coconut; I ran it through the ice cream maker to firm it up a little before molding. I can’t wait to try these.

    And, completely unrelated, what happened to the Good Reads section? I loved checking out new (to me) blogs.

    1. deb

      Juliet — It went the way of Google Reader (which the list was generated from): it shut down as of July 1st. I haven’t yet found another solution to create the page automatically from my reader (the only way to keep it from getting stale).

  56. Jessica

    #91 here again. I wasn’t kidding. My mold is arriving today and I am going to buy strawberries on my way home from work.

  57. Hi Deb,

    This looks yummy, by the photos and ingredients used.
    I suggest to put a watermark on your photos before posting them. There’s a lot of photo hackers like the ones from Facebook.

    Jean of The Chew Inn

  58. As if I haven’t craved berry pops enough, you go and post this recipe! These pops are such a spectacular color. Thanks for yet another inspiring creation!

  59. Lissa

    Here we go again…back on the ‘Deb Train’. I don’t even like popcicles but have just returned from Amazon with all equipment on the way. I didn’t think I liked Tequila either, but that suggestion has worked out nicely. Oh, the places we go after reading your persuasive prose!

  60. DH

    I’m typing this while eating this. Thank you so much- it’s amazingly delicious. As is everything you do on this site! Can’t get over how good these are…

  61. Elaine Shannon

    Yep, read this post and immediately ordered the mold from Amazon and the mold from the library. They both arrived on the same day and I immediately made some Peach/Coconut milk and tequila paletas. Delicious. The Strawberry, Lime, Black Pepper ones are in the freezer now. Really good. Like Amazing. Am going to make some to take next week on the first day we teachers are back in school. Minus the tequila, of course.

  62. MariaV

    Most of my co-workers were so skeptical with the strawberry-black pepper flavor combination. I’ve had awesome strawberry-black pepper sorbet from Brown Dog Cafe in Cincinnati, OH so I know that the combination of these two ingredients work so well. I made a batch of your recipe which I’m bringing to work tomorrow. Can’t wait to hear the non-believers “eat” their words. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  63. Sayuri

    I bought popsicle molds after seeing this recipe. Just made these and put them in the freezer! CANNOT wait to try it. I tasted the leftover liquid and it was divine! I added a little over 1/4 tsp of pepper and barely tasted it. Lime definitely helps to keep the flavor more dimensional. Thank you so much for sharing :)

  64. Ale

    I made these today with my 4-year old daughter. We both loved them. So perfect for today’s heat! Thanks for the recipe. I was wondering, have you ever used yogurt in popsicles? I would like to experiment with yogurt and fruit but I am not sure where to start.

  65. Kyla

    So when I finally caved in and ordered the popsicle moulds, I was planning to make the key lime pie ones first as they were the ones that pushed me over the edge. But when my 3 year old saw the molds and was so excited I knew I had to make some that she would love first, and you said that Jacob wasn’t too keen on the key lime pie ones so I decided to make these instead. And they are fantastic, a huge hit with all the family. I know popsicle week is over now, but if you could see your way clear to sneaking one more in, a strawberry cheesecake popsicle would be greatly appreciated!

  66. Hima

    Dear deb,
    Just tried these as it’s the season for fresh strawbeery’s in south India.they were absolutely yummy and excellent. I have tried my recepies from your blog and all of them are loved by my family.

  67. Caterina

    I had to suffer through popsicle envy all last summer but am now the proud owner of popsicle molds and working my way through your popsicle recipes. Just finished a batch of the key lime popsicles (amazing!!!) and have these in the freezer. My goal is to make all your popsicle recipes by end of summer. Thanks Deb :)

  68. Adlyn

    Ok, so I just popped these in the freezer. While pouring the mixture in the molds, I realized something: I could make a “limber” out of it.

    Puerto Rican limbers are nothing more than a cup version of frozen popsicles. Traditionally, you buy them from the neighborhood grandma for a range of 50 cents to a dollar, and flavors may vary from passion fruit, strawberry, mango, coconut, and grapes to vainilla, oreo, “milk” (softer version of caramel, condense-milk-based,) or almonds.

    General gossip says these frozen treats were named after Charles A. Lindbergh; he came to the island on a “goodwill” trip, and he apparently loved them. People thought the pilot’s name could be quite appropriate for baptizing these treats… considering that both of them were “cold and hard.” :)

  69. Maria

    I just made these popsicles yesterday and put in the full amount of black pepper but subbed out about 1/3 of the lime juice for a splash of tequila. We LOVE them and really enjoyed the kick of pepper with the strawberry-lime–magical spicy coolness in our fourth-floor walkup! Definitely a recipe we’ll be making this weekend for our house guests.

  70. Tim

    I had some basil left over from a pasta sauce; instead of chucking it, I chopped it finely and added it in to these. I thought it worked pretty well!

  71. Hey Deb, I don’t have any white sugar in the house right now (I know, I know), but I do have honey, maple syrup, and coconut sugar. Do you think any of those would work here? I’m thinking coconut sugar might be the best, but you’re the expert :) Thanks!

    1. deb

      Ella — I am sure other sugars would work here; I might use honey instead of maple syrup but I haven’t worked with coconut sugar so cannot say if it would be better than either.

  72. Julia

    Hi, and thank you for the recipe! If adding a little alcohol to the popsicles, or if making the red and black drink recipe, do you think I could substitute something else for the tequila? I’m not a fan of tequila or gin. Okay with rum, vodka (and Cointreau or other liqueurs). Thanks!

    1. deb

      Julia — Alcohol would of course be great fun, but it doesn’t freeze, thus more than a spoonful might make it hard for the popsicles to firm up. Hence, the dip!

  73. Anna

    I just made these and they’re in the freezer. I got pumped when I saw the recipe because strawberries are on sale, but Kroger was completely out!! I used 2 10 oz bags of frozen strawberries, letting them thaw on the counter while macerating, and then followed the rest of the directions exactly. Can’t wait to try them later tonight with the tequila dip!

  74. Shante

    I’m blender and food processor challenged (so excited to finally get out of college life and into actually having a kitchen life, but a real kitchen is still a few months away)- do you think mixing these with a hand mixer would work? Or could I cut the berries extra small, or just mash them by hand?

  75. deb

    Hi Shante — I’d just chop them really well. A few bits leftover are nice in the popsicle, so don’t worry about chopping them to a full puree.

  76. I made these this weekend. Amazing. I almost faltered at the addition of black pepper. It seemed too… weird, but I did it. I don’t know why I ever doubt your recipes. (After all, you are the one who first convinced me to put a poached egg atop my vegetable stew and now I can never go back.) Anyway, these popsicles are the perfect thing for a warm spring day and a week-old cough. And the pepper is such a nice, subtle flavor. Thanks for keeping it interesting!

  77. just made this recipe and my 2.5 yo (and *cough* me!) are so excited! I also made a peach/pineapple/coconut milk version — In freezer now, can’t believe I have to wait 5 hours. argh!

  78. Jessica

    I write this as I sit here at the kitchen table eating one of these, and it is astoundingly delicious, like a super-concentrated strawberry slushie, except better…I’ve never had a popsicle before where the texture was so eatable, with little chunks of strawberry and dots of pepper and a soft background note of lime. It is somehow dreamier than the title implies, even to someone like me, who read “strawberry and pepper” with glee.

    ANYWAY, by god, anyone reading this, you should make these. I’m off to make every popsicle recipe in the archives. Deb, please make more, I can only imagine what your recipe-genius mind could come up with!

  79. Amy

    As I started reading this I wondered to myself if you’d read the Paletas book I have and then saw that of course you had. I went through a Popsicle obsession in the summer of 2012. The problem with making so many ice pop recipes is that if you make 3 recipes you quickly have 24 ice pops in your freezer and now I have practically a whole drawer of molds. My other favorites from that book (besides the strawberry) are the watermelon and the sour cream, cherry, tequila pops (amazing).

  80. Anne

    Just made these for the first time – so easy and delicious. I let the popsicles freeze for about an hour and a half before inserting wooden popsicle sticks – worked perfectly. Next time I’ll freeze them for 6 hours before serving – by the time I got them out of the molds they were getting melty. Such a fun treat – thank you!

  81. I made these with Zoku Classic Pop molds, which have 6 molds of 100 ml each. I scaled the recipe down to 75% and it worked great, so here are the measurements in case anyone else is using the same equipment and doesn’t feel like doing math:

    3 cups strawberries
    135 ml sugar
    90 ml water
    1 1/2 lime
    1/4 tsp black pepper, heaped, or to taste

  82. Amy P

    Have you tried the cucumber-lime-ginger paletas that were featured in Bon Appetit a couple summers ago? The recipe is online and it’s proven to be very addictive! Even my 3 and 5 year old like them, which was surprising.

  83. CarolJ

    My lazy person’s version: I put the lime juice and 20 oz. frozen strawberries into my Vitamix and let this stand for 30 minutes to let the strawberries soften a bit. Then I added the sugar mixed with pepper and 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum and blended to a smooth puree. I did not add the water. The idea of the xanthan gum was to counteract the unpleasant iciness in my first attempt at homemade popsicles (a different recipe, not Deb’s), but I found that these ended up actually too creamy; next time I will add 1/8 tsp. Also, I used frozen berries because I have lie-flat silicone molds and a slushy mixture works better for filling them. The popsicles are delicious.

    1. SNI

      I misread the recipe and neglected to add the water when I made these, too! I did not add any xanthan gum, but they turned out quite well, regardless! To be honest, I’m not sure what addding the water does, except maybe yield more popsicles. I was able to make about 6 using generic plastic molds.

  84. El

    I tend to use orange juice rather than sugar to both add a bit of sugar and also add some liquid as needed. But I’ve been adding less and less. With most fruit being sweet, I dont miss the sugar. My favorite adult popsicle has been cherries with cherry vodka.


  85. Emily

    Just made these with strawberries we picked this weekend and they are amazing! Left out the black pepper because they were for my picky kids too, but seriously they were best popsicles ever.

  86. Anna

    I made these. They are very good!!!! I would never eat a popsicle. Only ice cream. But these were so good I had to finish eating the one I tried. They taste NOTHING like the ones you buy in store. Questions. I left out the pepper because it was for a kid. Am I missing out on things? Also why do we cook the strawberries? Is there a reason for this. I am curious. Can you leave them raw? Ans last one: do you need to add the lime? Are they better or worse without it. Thanks!

    1. deb

      I put the black pepper and lime in here because it’s one of my favorite combinations with strawberries so not, I wouldn’t skip it. But you can if you don’t care for them. The softened strawberries freeze more smoothly than fresh ones.

  87. Rachel

    DEEEElicious! We made them earlier in the week following the recipe exactly and they were beloved by young and old. The pepper just adds the slightest bit of zing. And that color is the real thing!

    We are having guests over for dinner tomorrow night and I am starting another batch now for dessert. I plan to reduce the sugar just a hair and add a bunch more lime. I hope we love them as much with these changes. Thanks so much for the recipe.

  88. Christina

    I made this with some strawberries we had grown in our garden! It was delicious, and the perfect way to showcase that real strawberry flavor. My husband loved that it was really creamy instead of icy like some fruit pops can be. I didn’t get as strong a pepper flavor as I wanted, so I think I will add more the next time I make them… next year once the strawberries are back!

  89. Liz

    I made these with the most pricy, ripe, local strawberries and regret nothing. I also made a mango version: used the lesser amount of sugar, added the lime, as well as a teaspoon of chopped mint and a quarter tsp of cayenne. So good! And I think it’s much easier to make a good popsicle than it is good homemade ice cream , not to mention, probably healthier.

  90. Poorna Metro

    Deb. You never do me wrong. Every time I’m thinking about a combo or craving a dish and google it…there you are! Now, I skip google entirely and head straight to the source. Don’t ever stop. I will cry.

  91. Chelsea

    Just made these – the unfrozen syrup is delightful. I added 1/4 t pepper to about 2/3 of the mix and could definitely taste it (as the recipe implies). It’s different and interesting! I cooled the pot outside in the snow and then just blended with an immersion blender, my favorite toy, before adding to molds, which could in theory make it one pot.

    I have a couple questions: 1. Why the sitting period before cooking? Won’t everything juice and soften while cooking anyway or no? Just wondering. 2. Do we think it’s necessary to add the lime juice and pepper after cooling? Ie, is that on purpose or just when it’s easy to add then in the instructions?

    Thanks for the fun!

  92. Erika Abbas

    These have been on repeat this summer, along with Deb’s pink lemonade recipe also frozen into popsicles. They are great with frozen fruit, just measured by weight, then heated from frozen with the water and sugar. Sometimes I just take a potato masher to the mix because the previously frozen berries break down quite easily.
    Also, substituting frozen blueberries for the strawberries works wonderfully. I usually use lemon juice instead of lime there because I like the blueberry/ lemon combo. But I think you could do lots of substitutes.

  93. Joe L

    It is now the 15 days cherry picking season. Do you have a cherry recipe? Replacing strawberry with cherry would work?

  94. Anne

    I made this exactly to the recipe – worked perfectly. Once the popsicles were frozen, I unmolded them and layered them in a tupperware container, sheets of parchment paper beween the layers. Made them very easy to keep in the freezer and serve easily. I can’t wait to try these with blueberries and with mango.

  95. melissa

    Delicious! Followed the recipe exactly, using 2/3 cup sugar and a middle amount of pepper. The pepper seemed just right in the liquid mixture but when frozen retreated to the background, and I could have used a little more tartness from the lime, so next time I’ll up the pepper and lime a notch. The texture is wonderful, both soft and icy, and the strawberry flavor really pops. Great recipe!

  96. Anna

    I made these two nights ago using a 16oz bag of frozen strawberries from Trader Joes and they were incredible! I put the sugar (allulose in my case), frozen strawberries, lime juice, and water in my high speed blender and let it sit for about 30 minutes before blending it up. Then I stirred in the black pepper and salt and poured them into the popsicle molds. I scoured the comments for any reason why you’d need to go to the trouble of heating up the strawberries and the only reasoning I could find was that the strawberries freeze better if they’re softened first? But I didn’t have any issue with freezing these and they were incredibly smooth and delicious, no icy bits. Then I realized that this recipe was created in 2013 and high-speed blenders are much more common now than they were 10 years ago. I just wanted to let people know you could get these incredible popsicles without the fussy heating step!