Ice pop
A cucumber, elderflower and mint ice pop.
Alternative namesPopsicle, paleta, ice lolly, icy pole, ice block, ice drop, ice gola, ice candy
TypeFrozen dessert
Place of originUnited States
Region or stateCalifornia
Created byFrank Epperson
Main ingredientsWater/milk and flavoring (such as fruit juices or chocolate ice cream)
Food energy
(per serving)
200 kcal (837 kJ)

An ice pop is a liquid/cream-based frozen dessert on a stick.[1][2] Unlike ice cream or sorbet, which are whipped while freezing to prevent ice crystal formation, an ice pop is frozen while at rest, becoming a solid block of ice. The stick is used as a handle to hold it. Without a stick, the frozen product would be a freezie.

An ice pop is also referred to as a popsicle in Canada and the United States, a paleta in Mexico, the Southwestern United States and parts of Latin America, an ice lolly or lolly ice in the United Kingdom and Ireland, an ice block in New Zealand and Australia, an ice drop in the Philippines, an ice gola in India, ice candy in the Philippines, India and Japan, ai tim tang or ice cream tang in Thailand, and a kisko in the Caribbean. The term icy pole is often used in Australia, but is a brand name.


As far back as 1872, two men, doing business as Ross and Robbins, sold a frozen-fruit confection on a stick, which they called the Hokey-Pokey.[3]

Francis William "Frank" Epperson of Oakland, California, popularized ice pops after patenting the concept of "frozen ice on a stick" in 1923.[4][5]

Epperson claimed to have first created an ice pop in 1905,[1][3] at the age of 11, when he accidentally left a glass of powdered lemonade soda and water with a mixing stick in it on his porch during a cold night, a story still printed on the back of Popsicle treat boxes.

Epperson lived in Oakland and worked as a lemonade salesman.[6]

In 1922, Epperson, a realtor with Realty Syndicate Company in Oakland,[7]introduced the Popsicle at a fireman's ball.[8][9][10] The product got traction quickly; in 1923, at the age of 29, Epperson received a patent for his "Epsicle" ice pop,[11] and by 1924, had patented all handled, frozen confections or ice lollipops. He officially debuted the Epsicle[8] in seven fruit flavors[12] at Neptune Beach amusement park, marketed as a "frozen lollipop", or a "drink on a stick".[13][14]

A couple of years later, Epperson sold the rights to the invention and the Popsicle brand to the Joe Lowe Company in New York City.[4][8]


In the United States and Canada, frozen ice on a stick is generically referred to as a popsicle due to the early popularity of the Popsicle brand, and the word has become a genericized trademark to mean any ice pop, regardless of brand or format.[15][16][17] The word is a portmanteau of pop and icicle; the word is genericized to such an extent that there are decades-old derived slang meanings such as "popsicle stand".[18] The term ice pop is also used in the United States.[19]

In Ireland, the term ice pop is predominantly used.[20] In the United Kingdom, the term ice lolly is used to refer to ice pop[21] while the term ice pop refers to a freezie (flavoured ice inside a tube).[19] The term chihiro is used as a slang term in the Cayman Islands, partially derived from chill.[22] Different parts of Australia use either ice block or icy pole (which is a brand name),[23][24] and New Zealand uses ice block.[25] In the Philippines, the term ice drop is used with coconut flavor ice pops being called ice bukos.[26] India uses the terms ice gola[27] and ice candy.[28] In Japan the term ice candy is used.[29]


After a trip to the United States in the early 1940s, Ignacio Alcázar returned to his home city of Tocumbo, Michoacán, México,[30][31] bringing the idea to manufacture ice pops or paletas (little sticks) using locally available fresh fruit. He and some family members expanded by opening a shop in Mexico City which became very popular[30] and he began to franchise Paletería La Michoacana to friends and family from his town. The popularity of paletas and association with Tocumbo has increased to the status of a national Mexican food.[32]

Paleta flavors can be divided into two basic categories: milk-based or water-based. The composition of each flavor may vary, but the base is most often fruit. Paleterias usually have dozens of flavors of paleta including local flavors like horchata, tamarind, mamey and nanche along with other flavors like strawberry, lime, chocolate and mango. Distinctly Mexican ingredients like chili pepper, chamoy, and vanilla are often present in these paletas. Paleterias adapt their flavors to the tastes of the community and local availability of ingredients.


A paletero in Denver, Colorado

A paletero (roughly equivalent to the English "ice cream man"), is a street seller of paletas and other frozen treats, usually from a pushcart labeled with the name of the enterprise that made the paletas (paletería). Today, many paleteros are now commonly found in American cities with significant Mexican populations. Vending requirements for paleteros vary widely by city.

Homemade ice pops

An ice pop made using a mold

An alternative to the store-bought ice pops is making them at home using fruit juice, drinks, or any freezable beverage. A classic method involves using ice cube trays and toothpicks, although various ice pop freezer molds are also available.

In the UK, there is an increasing number of people making alcoholic ice lollies at home by putting alcoholic drinks inside the mould. Buckfast, Kopparberg and Strongbow Dark Fruit ciders are popular choices used.[33]

Innovations in ice pop creation

In 2018, the UK food-focused design firm called Bompas & Parr announced that they had created the world's first 'non-melting' ice pop.[34] The ice pop does melt but not as fast as other ice pops.[34] This is due to the strands of fruit fibers inside the ice pops which makes them thicker than regular ice pops.[34] The thicker the ice pop the slower it melts.[34] This design was inspired by the material called pykrete, which was invented by Geoffrey Pyke.[34]

World record ice pop

On June 22, 2005, Snapple tried to beat the existing Guinness World Records entry of a 1997 Dutch 21-foot (6.4 m) ice pop by attempting to erect a 25-foot (7.6 m) ice pop in New York City. The 17.5 short tons (15.9 t) of frozen juice that had been brought from Edison, New Jersey, in a freezer truck melted faster than expected, dashing hopes of a new record. Spectators fled to higher ground as firefighters hosed away the melted juice.[35]

See also


  1. ^ a b Ramírez-Navas, Juan Sebastián; Sandoval-Flórez, Juan Diego; Santamaría-Molina, Santiago; Armero-Salas, Diana Lorena; Arteaga-Rivera, Joseling Nathalia. "Paletas de helado". Heladeria Panaderia Latinoamericana. 295 (1): 40–47.
  2. ^ Hallock, Betty (August 22, 2007). "Paletas: Icy, spicy, cool". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Paul Dickson (May 11, 2017). "WHO INVENTED THE POPSICLE?". American Academy of Pediatrics. Archived from the original on May 11, 2017. Retrieved November 3, 2018 – via January 1975, VOLUME 55 ISSUE 1
  4. ^ a b Ben Marks (August 15, 2012). "The cold, hard truth about popsicles". Collectors Weekly.
  5. ^ "Trademark Status & Document Retrieval". Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  6. ^ Elizabeth, Laura (July 27, 2017). "The Frozen Mistake That Made a Fortune". Archived from the original on June 3, 2021. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  7. ^ "Oakland Tribune, November 12, 1922 - Frank Epperson, realtor". Oakland Tribune. November 12, 1922. p. 23. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  8. ^ a b c AP (October 27, 1983). "Frank Epperson, 89, Inventor Of Popsicle, Dies in California". The New York Times. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  9. ^ "Burlington Daily Times News Archives, Oct 25, 1983, p. 5". October 25, 1983. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  10. ^ "What We Want: Artisan pops". Archived from the original on July 28, 2020. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  11. ^ "Popsicle Invention in Oakland California". Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  12. ^ Ament, Phil. "Popsicle History - Invention of the Popsicle". Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  13. ^ "The first Cold War: Popsicle vs. Good Humor - DOWNTOWN EXPRESS". July 19, 2017. Archived from the original on October 5, 2020. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  14. ^ Drowne, Kathleen Morgan; Huber, Patrick; Dr, Associate Professor of History Patrick Huber (November 3, 2018). The 1920s. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9780313320132. Retrieved November 3, 2018 – via Google Books.
  15. ^ "8 Common Words That Are Still Trademarked: Popsicle." at Retrieved August 10, 2018. "It might be surprising, but Popsicle is trademarked..."
  16. ^ Mark Abadi. "Taser, Xerox, Popsicle, and 31 more brands-turned-household names." Business Insider. June 3, 2018. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  17. ^ Martha Cooper and William L. Nothstine. Power Persuasion: Moving an Ancient Art Into the Media Age. Educational Video Group, 1992. ISBN 9780961648930 p. 159: "...what would we call those sweet icy treats on a stick if we did not have the name 'Popsicle'?"
  18. ^ Jonathon Green. Cassell's Dictionary of Slang. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 2005. ISBN 9780304366361 p. 1123.
  19. ^ a b "ice pop". Retrieved October 9, 2021.
  20. ^ Costello, Rose. "What's really in your cool, refreshing ice-pop?". The Irish Times. Retrieved October 9, 2021.
  21. ^ "ice lolly". Retrieved October 9, 2021.
  22. ^ Miller, Grace (2008). Cayman Culture. London: Penguin Books. p. 142.
  23. ^ "Icy pole definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary". Retrieved October 9, 2021.
  24. ^ "Ice block". Encarta Dictionary. MSN Encarta. Archived from the original on November 1, 2009. Retrieved December 30, 2008.
  25. ^ Thompson, Amanda (January 14, 2020). "The ice blocks I have eaten this summer, from best to worst". The Spinoff. Retrieved October 9, 2021.
  26. ^ "How Ice-Cream Became Popular in the Philippines - Filipino Food". ABOUT FILIPINO FOOD. July 12, 2021. Retrieved October 9, 2021.
  27. ^ "Ice Gola Recipe: How to Make Ice Gola Recipe | Homemade Ice Gola Recipe". Retrieved April 5, 2023.
  28. ^ "Ice golas are tempting but dangerous | Varanasi News - Times of India". The Times of India. TNN. April 25, 2012. Retrieved October 9, 2021.
  29. ^ MATCHA. "5 Popular Ice Cream Treats You Can't Resist On A Hot Summer Day". MATCHA - JAPAN TRAVEL WEB MAGAZINE. Retrieved October 9, 2021.
  30. ^ a b Alarcón, Claudia (September 12, 2003). "The Michoacana Connection". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  31. ^ Graber, Karen Hursh. "Mexican frozen treats: Helados, nieves and paletas : Mexico Cuisine". Mexconnect. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  32. ^ Potter, Cristina (April 20, 2013). "Paletas La Michoacana: Big Business, Sweet and Icy in Tocumbo". Mexico Cooks!. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  33. ^ Erin (June 30, 2012). "DIY: Toothpick Popsicles with Fruit!". Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  34. ^ a b c d e Matchar, Emily. "Inventing a Longer-Lasting Popsicle". Smithsonian. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
  35. ^ "Disaster on a stick: Snapple's attempt at popsicle world record turns into gooey fiasco". NBC News. Comcast. Associated Press. June 22, 2005. Retrieved July 12, 2019.

Further reading