Here comes the most refreshing summer recipe ever! It’s also the best — and most fun — way to enjoy iced tea. These practically calorie- and carb-free keto popsicles are the perfect warm-weather treat, but they also make a wonderful pick-me-up any time of year.
Tips for making the Keto Iced Tea Popsicles
This is a very easy recipe, though it takes some time to prepare because, obviously, popsicles need freezing. The preparations are quick and easy, but cooling the tea and freezing the popsicles takes the most time. And you don’t want to skimp on freezing time, because the longer you freeze the popsicles, the better they look. Why? You’ll find out when you read about my experiments below, and how I thought this recipe was a disaster at first!— before it turned out to be a real winner in the end.
By the way, this recipe makes a little over 2 1/2 cups (350 ml), which equates to six 2 oz (60 ml) popsicles, but feel free to adjust the amount to suit your favorite popsicle molds. If you have any extra iced tea left over, you can enjoy it as a cold drink. (Just add some water before you do, because the iced tea for the popsicles is super-sweet: iced and frosty or chilled desserts need some extra sweetness just so they taste like something. If you don’t add enough flavor and sweetener, the taste will be very bland.)
But without further ado, let’s take a look at how to prepare these wonderfully icy treats:
Take 1/4 cup (60 ml) water and pour it into a small cup.
Add two teaspoons gelatin.
Set aside to let bloom.
Boil 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) water. Take a heatproof pitcher or teapot and add the boiling water…
…and the bloomed gelatin.
Mix gently but well, until the gelatin is dissolved. (This is important! You don’t want any gelatin lumps lingering in your popsicles!)
Let cool to room temperature.
Remove the teabags. Squeeze well (but carefully!) to preserve all liquid.
Mix again well to ensure everything is evenly distributed.
Pour the tea into popsicle molds. (These are my preferred molds. They are from Ikea).
Place also the sticks.
Freeze, preferably for two days for the best presentation.
When you’re ready to eat one, hold the mold under hot running water for a couple of seconds for easy removal.
My Keto Iced Tea Popsicle experiments
I’ve made lots of keto popsicles using homemade sugar-free juice – actually, with mom-made sugar-free juice, since my mom makes the juice from the berries she picks each summer.
For the 4th of July, I was planning to make keto popsicles with cream cheese, heavy cream, sweetener, wild strawberries and wild blueberries. Well, I did manage to make them, but I didn’t have time to take a proper photo. Here’s one of those not-so-good photos of me holding the popsicle:
They actually tasted really good!
We have plenty of wild strawberries and wild blueberries in our summer house, where we have spent now most of the time. Here’s my son with some really flavorful and unbelievably delicious wild strawberries that I used for those 4th July popsicles:
But for a long time, I’ve wanted to make sugar-free popsicles with iced tea. There’s just one problem when making homemade popsicles with juice or iced tea: if you freeze the juice or tea, the consistency of the frozen liquid becomes very dense. It’s like sucking a flavored ice cube. Commercial popsicles are softer: you can easily bite into them.
Even worse, in homemade popsicles, the juice and sweetener fall to the bottom of the mold during freezing, so when you remove the popsicle from the mold, you’ll get the tastiest part first, and then you’ll find that the rest is basically just hard, tasteless ice.
Previously, I’ve used xanthan to improve the texture of my popsicles, and also to prevent the juice and sweetener from sinking to the bottom during freezing. Now, I wondered if gelatin would work equally well, or even better. All in all, I consider gelatin a more natural ingredient than xanthan. Plus, gelatin provides you with some valuable amino acids.
So, for my first experiment, I took 3 orange rooibos teabags (my son’s favorite tea!), 2 tablespoons powdered erythritol, 1 teaspoon gelatin and 2 1/4 cups (300 ml) boiling water. I combined everything in a heatproof pitcher, mixed well and let cool to room temperature.
Then I poured the cooled liquid into popsicle molds. To my devastation, I noticed that some of the gelatin had gotten stuck to the bottom of the pitcher. I just hoped there was some gelatin left in the liquid I was pouring into the molds… And, the liquid wasn’t enough to fill all the popsicle molds. It was just enough for 5 out of 6 molds. So I had also miscalculated the amount of fluid.
Still, I popped the molds into the freezer. After freezing them overnight, I excitedly removed a popsicle from its mold. But my devastation only increased: the popsicle was full of white spots! What a fail! Gelatin definitely didn’t seem to be the best way to improve the texture — or, rather, it did improve the popsicles’ texture, but they didn’t look very pretty. The texture actually was quite pleasant — almost like commercial popsicles. But they looked terrible! I could never post a finished recipe that looks this bad…
I went ahead and conducted another experiment with Lemon Zinger tea, which is one of my favorite herbal teas. Now I let the gelatin bloom first before adding it to the hot water with the rest of the ingredients. It worked: there was no leftover gelatin in the bottom of the pitcher, and there were fewer white spots in the ready popsicles. I also noticed that the spots completely disappeared when the popsicles had been in the freezer for two days. Phew! I was relieved. Maybe this recipe still had potential!
For this latest experiment, I had also increased the amount of powdered erythritol, but it was still far too little. You can certainly create sweetener-free popsicles if you want to avoid all sweeteners, but I decided to make this version properly sweet. So, I concluded I had to add both powdered erythritol and stevia to sweeten the popsicles. And I should also use more liquid so that I could fill all the molds.
Oh, and also, I was working on these final experiments in our summer house. We have a freezer there, but my mom had turned the freezer to the minimum setting by accident. She was supposed to have turned it to maximum, but the switch isn’t the most user-friendly, so it’s difficult to see whether you’ve turned it to the minimum or maximum setting. So I was freezing my popsicles overnight, and then wondering why they still weren’t completely frozen the following day. After examining the switch, I noticed it was set to minimum. I changed the setting, and things finally started happening!
So, after all these difficulties, I was getting there with my recipe. Once I got the freezer working properly, I made some more experiments (one of them turned out far too sweet!) before finding the perfect ratio of sweeteners, liquid and gelatin. Finally, I managed to perfect the recipe for you to enjoy.
All in all, I was very happy to find that gelatin performed even better than xanthan in the popsicles in terms of improving the texture, so that the texture of the homemade keto popsicles was almost like the sugary commercial ones. And not only did I get the texture right, I also managed to get enough flavor into the popsicles. I have to admit that my first experiments were really bland and looked awful (I referred to them as “poopsicles” instead of “popsicles!”), but this final recipe is full of flavor!
Here it is:
|Nutrition information||In total||Per popsicle if 6 popsicles in total|
|Protein||5.1 g||0.8 g|
|kcal||25 kcal||4 kcal|
Tips for variations
You can easily vary this recipe by using different teas. I love this sampler; I can make 5 different flavors of keto popsicles with it! Herbal teas are great for the whole family, but different flavored black, green or white teas make refreshing treats as well, and they have plenty of antioxidants — though they do contain some caffeine. I can also imagine peppermint iced tea pops will be ultimately refreshing. Oh yes, my son loves chamomile tea, so no wonder he loved the chamomile iced tea popsicles I made for him! If you make tea often, these popsicles are a great variation to your regular cuppa!
If you avoid sweeteners, you can omit all sweeteners – the popsicles will be anyway flavorful when you use strong enough tea. You can also use only one sweetener (like stevia), or play with different flavored stevias.
You can also add some freshly squeezed lemon juice or lime juice to the iced tea before freezing for a bright, tangy flavor. Or how about adding a thin slice of lemon to each popsicle mold? They’ll look beautiful, and the lemon slices will give you something to bite down on as you lick.
In the video I use Lemon Zinger tea. It makes delicious popsicles — and they’re beautiful, too (when you don’t have those white spots!)
Here’s one experiment using True Blueberry tea:
And here’s one using Black Cherry Berry tea (my son really loves these!):
These Citrus Sunrise tea popsicles were my absolute favorite: so fruity and refreshing with just a perfect tang!
Too much to handle!