Why It Works
- Puréeing ripe, fresh mango yields the most flavorful popsicles.
- Using full-fat Greek yogurt provides a luscious, creamy texture.
- The addition of lime juice complements mango’s tropical flavor.
A while ago, we set out to create the most delicious mango yogurt popsicles: bursting with the fruit’s bold, tropical flavor and showcasing yogurt’s smooth and creamy texture. To get there, we had some questions to answer. Is plain or Greek yogurt better for a popsicle? Does the yogurt's fat percentage matter? Which variety of mango excels in pop form? Should we fully blend the fruit and yogurt for a monochromatic treat or should we shoot for a swirl with distinct layers of each? We tested every variation and ultimately landed on a winning combination that produces tasty pops loaded with sweet ripe mango and full-fat Greek yogurt.
In previous tests, Max Falkowitz found that full-fat plain yogurt is best for frozen yogurt, but it turns out that popsicles don't follow the same rulebook. Test after test confirmed that when it comes to frozen pops, Greek yogurt was the clear winner, with a pleasantly tangy flavor and unparalleled creamy texture.
As for the mango, we experimented with a couple different varieties. The Tommy Atkins is the most common type of mango in the US; it's generally not considered to be a particularly delicious mango, and we found that even when sweetened with plenty of extra sugar, it's still not great. Much better was the Ataulfo variety, which is widely available year-round at many grocery stores. It has a creamy sweetness and more intense tropical flavor. That said, with a little extra sugar, you can make a ripe Tommy Atkins work. (Frozen mango works well, too!)
To achieve the finest pop possible, we chose to blend the mango and yogurt. While a swirled pop was definitely more eye-catching, the blended ones have a more balanced flavor while still being fruit-forward—a lot like a mango lassi in frozen form.
- 5 1/2 ounces (3/4 cup; 155g) cubed fresh, ripe mango flesh, from 2 to 3 medium-sized Ataulfo mangoes, another mango variety, or frozen mango (see note)
- 5 1/2 ounces (3/4 cup; 155g) full-fat Greek yogurt, 5% milkfat (see note)
- 3 ounces granulated sugar (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons; 85g)
- 2 1/2 ounces water (1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon; 70g)
- 2 ounces (1/4 cup; 55g) heavy cream (see note)
- 3/4 teaspoon fresh lime juice, from one lime
- 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use half as much by volume
In a blender, combine mango, yogurt, sugar, water, cream, lime juice, and salt, and process until very smooth, about 30 seconds.
Divide mango mixture evenly between six 3-fluid-ounce popsicle molds and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours. To unmold, follow your popsicle mold's instructions.
Blender, 3-ounce popsicle molds
This recipe is formulated to make six 3-ounce popsicles, but you can scale it up or down as needed to accommodate popsicle molds of different sizes and numbers.
Our favorite popsicle mold is this model from Norpro but if they are out of stock, Zoku molds are also good.
To determine if fresh mangos are ripe, focus on their smell and feel. They should be extremely fragrant with skin that at the very least gives a little when gently pressed; even better is if it's beginning to wrinkle just slightly.
If using frozen fruit, place the frozen mango in a medium bowl and let thaw at room temperature until slightly softened, about 30 minutes. Discard any liquid that has accumulated at the bottom of the bowl before proceeding with the recipe (this will increase the total time of the recipe).
Not all Greek yogurts are created equal, which can make a big difference in a recipe where it’s the main ingredient. Look for brands that contain nothing but milk and active cultures, such as Fage and Chobani, or try skyr instead. Steer clear of any yogurt or skyr artificially thickened with gums or pectin, as their high moisture content can alter the frozen texture.
We highly recommend sticking with full-fat Greek yogurt; substituting with low-fat or skim yogurts will produce icy popsicles with a harsher, more tart flavor. The same goes for heavy cream; substituting with milk of lower fat percentages will produce icy popsicles with a watered-down flavor.
Make-Ahead and Storage
After unmolding, each popsicle can be tightly wrapped in plastic and kept frozen for up to 4 weeks.