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Our Power Ranking Reveals The Only Popsicles Worth Buying This Summer

As the temperatures begin to climb and we head deeper and deeper into summer, it’s now the perfect time to hit the beach or post-up poolside, crack open a can of your favorite beverage, and indulge in a nostalgia-inducing popsicle. Wait! Before someone races to the comments, let me add the obligatory sentence about how Popsicles are actually a brand name (like Band-Aid), and the frozen treats we’re talking about are actually referred to as ice pops — which honestly sound like the sort of trash snack a mean dad would give his children. Who goes around saying, “It’s so hot I could eat an ice pop?” Nobody! So we’re just going to refer to every entry in the following ranking as a popsicle, not THE Popsicle unless of course, it is actually made by the Popsicle brand.

Annnnyway… for this ranking, we’ve rounded up 16 popular popsicles from Target, Walmart, Amazon, and Whole Foods. Next, we broke them down by calories and sugar content and ranked them based on flavor in search of the very best. Summer is here baby, so let’s get into this ranking so that you can pick up some sweet and cold treats for the weekend.

The Bad — Don’t Give In To Nostalgia, Avoid These At All Costs

16. Popsicle — Colors

Popsicle

Calories: 40

Sugar: 7g

Average Retail Price: $4.29 (18 pack)

Straight up, these are way worse than you remember. This classic trio of popsicle flavors, Orange, Cherry, and Grape, tastes more like freezer-burned ice than they do the fruit flavors they’re supposed to conjure. The box reads “Colors From Natural Sources. Sugar-Free” which makes me wonder — are the Popsicles called “Colors” or is the brand claiming the color of each popsicle is derived from natural sources? I used to think it was the former, but now that I’ve reacquainted myself with each flavor, I think it’s the latter.

Really this stuff just tastes like ice, I think if anything the color influences the “flavor” more than anything else. Sometimes, for reasons unknown to me, certain popsicles will stick to the wrapping. It’s not a matter of age, it happens to random popsicles in the same box. What are the popsicles trying to tell us?

The Bottom Line

These are bad but if you want to rank them individually, I’d say it goes Grape, Orange, and Cherry, worst to best.

Pick up Popsicle Colors at Target. Or don’t!

15. Nestle — Push-Up Pops

Nestle

Calories: 70

Sugar: 12g

Average Retail Price: $3.99 (9 pack)

This is a weird one. When I grew up these featured a Flintstone’s theme — Fred was Orange Sherbet, Dino was Grape (obviously), and Pebbles was Cherry. They were delicious, but Nestle’s version is a far cry from that wondrous frozen treat. Don’t let the flashy names like “Cherry Blast,” “Turbo Grape,” and “Outrageous Orange,” fool you, these things mostly taste like the cardboard they’re housed in, and they’re not even sherbet.

This is truly an ice cream treat made for children, as it’s impossible to work your way through this without either licking cardboard, or getting your hand dirty as you jam this disgusting chapstick-like treat towards your face. In the pandemic era we live in? No thanks.

By the time you get to the end of this thing, you end up licking a plastic disc, it’s a fitting end for something that already tastes way too much like plastic.

The Bottom Line

Tasting notes of plastic and cardboard.

Pick up Nestle Push-Up Pops at Kroger. Or lick your mail, same deal.

14. Fudgsicle — Fudge Pop

Popsicle

Calories: 40

Sugar: 2g

Average Price: $4.29 (18 pack)

We’re a few entries into this ranking and I’ve said nothing but negative things. I’m not here to trash on all your childhood favorites, though. More to warn you that most of your childhood favorites are trash now. The Fudgsicle Fudge pop might’ve been good at one point, but these aren’t what they used to be. You’ll notice the box says stuff like “no sugar added” and “40 calories per pop” I get it, these snacks are marketed toward children so they’re taking a more health-conscious approach. Cool, I’m not mad at that, but it seems like it should be on the parents to make sure their kids don’t overdo it on the frozen sugar pops.

Am I crazy for thinking that? You’re in a section that sells frozen ice with flavoring, if you came here for something healthy your priorities are all out of wack. Whatever the case, if you bought this box hoping for some deep chocolatey goodness, it’s not here. This tastes like watery ice with just a hint of a flavor that I suppose you could describe as chocolate. It’s a sad scene.

The Bottom Line

Less fudge more sicle, if sicle means “ice.” But hey at least it doesn’t taste like cardboard.

Pick up Fudgsicles at Target if you want to spend money on a snack that I promise you won’t like.

13. Nestle Orange & Cream Bar

Nestle

Calories: 90

Sugar: 15g

Average Retail Price: $1.50 (for one bar)

Also known as a 50/50 bar, the Creamsicle is a classic popsicle flavor that offers a bit of zesty orange alongside creamy vanilla ice cream. Nestle’s version of the creamsicle is a disgrace to the concept of this flavor. Despite tasting like ice, this popsicle might still be refreshing on those brutally hot days when the heat is wearing you down, but if you’ve ever had a good creamsicle (not sure if they exist anymore) you won’t be able to get over the fact that these are seriously lacking something. The creaminess just isn’t there, and that’s a key part of the experience.

They’re also incredibly small, which adds to the unsatisfying quality.

The Bottom Line

Refreshing in the right setting, but you’re better off ordering the carton of ice cream version of this flavor if you really want to taste the wonderful combination of orange and vanilla.

Pick up a Nestle Orange Cream bar at Walmart and prepare to be disapointed.

The Good to Great

12. OtterPops

OtterPops

Calories: 15

Sugar: 3.5g

Average Retail Price: $11.15 (pack of 100)

Does OtterPops belong on a ranking of popsicles? They don’t come on a stick, but they are just essentially food coloring, ice, and fruit flavor so we’re going to go ahead and say “yes” and count these. And good thing too, because so far we’ve had nothing but trash, and here come Otter Pops to save us. Other Pops aren’t great, and a lot of the flavors are forgettable (Alexander the Grape and Sir Issac Lime, I’m looking at you) but at least they have flavor. Each Otter Pop will greet you with an intense blast of sugary semi-fruitiness. Luckily, Otter Pops are fairly small now — so before you start to realize you’re eating poison, you’re finished!

The flavor names are seriously weird here, you’ve got Strawberry Short Kook, which… are they saying she’s crazy? Louie Bloo Raspberry, who is French I guess since he wears a beret and a striped shirt, which of course means he’s flirty according to Otter Pops logic (he is seen on the box offering Short Kook a flower as she stares blankly at you). And then you’ve got Little Orphan Orange, which is a very weird thing to call a frozen snack.

Having said all that, there is something wonderful about eating a snack named after a brand-invented orphan while you in 2021. It’s trashy in an amusing way — like a mullet in your mouth.

The Bottom Line

My favorite flavors go — Little Orphan Orange, Louie Bloo Raspberry, Poncho Punch, Strawberry Short Kook, Sir Issac Lime, and Alexander The Grape.

Pick up Otter Pops from Amazon.

11. GoodPop — Watermelon Agave

GoodPop

Calories: 40

Sugar: 9g

Average Retail Price: $3.39

I so desperately wanted these to blow me away, they’re made with real watermelon juice and fair trade organic agave nectar and cane sugar, and I was hoping they’d be similar to a watermelon margarita. They’re unfortunately not. Opening this treat will give you an appetizing melon smell, but this bar tastes less like watermelon to me than it does watermelon rind, and overall the experience of eating it was disappointing.

The quality of the ingredients sourcing and the dense texture of the bar is enough to knock it above some of the more candy-like options on this list, but if you were charmed by the name and the gourmet aesthetic, prepare to be let down.

The Bottom Line:

It’s decent and high quality, but not nearly as good as you want it to be.

Pick up GoodPop’s Watermelon Agave bar at Whole Foods.

10. Van Holten’s — Pickle Ice

Target

Calories: 0 (seriously)

Sugar: 0

Average Retail Price: $18.64 (12-pack)

I gotta admit, I’m ashamed that these are ranking this high. It’s exactly what it sounds like: frozen pickle juice. This undoubtedly will turn off anybody who doesn’t like pickles, but there is something interesting about these. They’re tangy, slightly sour, and incredibly refreshing and satisfying. They’re also packed with electrolytes, which… cool?

If you have an aversion to pickles, it’s going to be hard to convince you that this is worth trying, but if you do like pickles, go ahead and pick this up next time you’re in the freezer section and prepare yourself to be pleasantly surprised. I haven’t experimented with pairing this with a cocktail, but given that it’s iced pickle juice, I feel the possibilities are endless with this one.

The Bottom Line

It’s frozen pickle juice, which tastes way better than you’d imagine.

Pick up Van Holten’s Pickle Ice from Amazon.

9. Annie’s Organic Fruit Juice Pops — Cheerful Cherry

Annie

Calories: 45

Sugar: 10g

Average Retail Price: $3.99 (pack of 10)

I fully expected to hate these — “organic fruit juice, no high fructose corn syrup, no flavors, colors, or preservatives from artificial sources” and just 45 calories, all this health shit sounds like a nightmare. I’m trying to snack! If I wanted something healthy I’d eat a piece of fruit.

Having said that, Annie’s Fruit Juice Pops are pretty damn good, it turns out you can make a healthier frozen ice pop and not have it taste like nothing, which means Popsicle brand just isn’t trying. My favorite flavor is the Cheerful Cherry and since Annie’s doesn’t sell that classic Grape, Cherry, and Orange trio pack, this one is making the ranking. The cherry flavor is strong, which helps to prevent the popsicles from ever having the harsh freezer burn flavor that plagues the cheaper brands.

I’m going to once again suggest enjoying this one with alcohol. Make a bright, fruity summer cocktail and dip Annie’s Cheerful Cherry in between sips — you’ve just taken your popsicle to the next level.

The Bottom Line

Annie’s Cheerful Cherry offers that classic intense popsicle flavor you remember from your youth. Don’t let the health-conscious packaging dissuade you, this is leagues better than Popsicle brand.

Pick up Annie’s Cheerful Cherry at Target.

8. Fla-Vor-Ice

FlaVorIce

Calories: 25

Sugar: 5g

Average Retail Price: $10.24 (100 count)

I used to grab these from the push-cart ice cream man at the park when I was little so not only was I surprised to find out that they still exist, I was surprised that they still taste exactly as intensely as I remember. The flavors are a little bit different, they’ve swapped out cherry for strawberry, which I think is a mistake, and the texture of the ice is slightly softer, but they’re still incredibly fruity and offer an experience akin to a slushy in a plastic sleeve.

My advice is to ditch that plastic sleeve, throw it in a bowl and break up that ice until you have slush, and then enjoy with a spoon. It’s a better experience and you won’t cut the sides of your mouth on the plastic, as I have since childhood.

Better yet, here is an idea: break up your favorite flavor and toss it in the blender with the rest of your frozen margarita ingredients for an extra sweet and intense slushy marg.

The Bottom Line

The only downside about this one, assuming you’re cool with artificially colored and flavored ice, is there are too many flavors. You’re inevitably going to have a few flavors that stay in your freezer forever. Give your least favorite flavors to your frenemies.

Pick up Fla-Vor-Ice at Walmart.

7. Popsicle — Spiderman

Popsicle

Calories: 70

Sugar: 9g

Average Retail Price: $4.29 (6 pack)

I was expecting this to be awful and I only picked it up because it was Spiderman themed (who doesn’t love Spidey?) and it reminded me of the Ninja Turtles ice cream bar with bubblegum eyes that I used to buy from the ice cream man when I was a kid. No bubblegum eyes here but I’m happy to report that this Spider-Man bar is way better than it should be.

Featuring a strawberry base with hints of blue raspberry and lime (the lime flavoring is in the eyes!) the Spiderman bar offers a mix of flavors with every lick. It’s like a cocktail on a stick, only it doesn’t get you drunk. If there is one thing that this popsicle ranking has revealed to me, it’s that I like to pair alcohol with popsicles. A lot.

Having said that, I was at a loss for how to pair this one with a cocktail, which is really just a sign of how good on its own it is.

The Bottom Line

Better than a popsicle shaped like Spiderman has any business being. If you’re going to buy one Popsicle product this summer, make it this one.

Pick up Popsicle Spider-Man at Target.

6. Outshine Fruit Bars — Cherry, Tangerine, Grape

Outshine

Calories: 40

Sugar: 10g

Average Retail Price: $4.78 (12 count)

If you’re looking for the best fruit-flavored ice pops in the game, you won’t find a better brand than Outshine. Initially, I was feeling a bit salty that Outshine went with Tangerine over the classic Orange, and then I bit into one and was greeted by a sweet and tangy flavor that exceeded all expectations. The Cherry and Grape flavor is also a step up from the popsicles of my youth, offering a rich and fruity flavor that will make you forget that you’re just eating ice.

Cherry and grape can sometimes taste medicinal, but that’s not the case here with Outshine, everything is fruity and refreshing with a focused flavor that far surpasses what Annie’s offers.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for that classic popsicle flavor trio, this is hands-down your best choice.

Pick up Outshine Cherry, Tangerine, and Grape Fruit Bars at Walmart.

5. 365 Everyday Value — Strawberry Fruit Bars

Whole Foods

Calories: 120

Sugar: 28g

Average Retail Price: $2.49 (4 pack)

I’m not the biggest fan of strawberry flavored sweets, I generally think the flavors are a far cry from their real world counterparts, which I find too distracting to enjoy, but Whole Foods’ 365 Strawberry Fruit bar actually tastes like a big bar of frozen strawberries. That probably comes down to the fact that the first ingredient in these frozen bars are actual strawberries, and then water, and cane sugar. It has so few ingredients, that I was actually shocked when I looked at the box.

Don’t celebrate too soon though, because this isn’t some healthy natural snack, at 28 grams of sugar these bars have more sugar in them than most of the ice pops on this list. It is a bit more “real” than the other bars on this list though — with bits of actual strawberries embedded in each bar and a flavor that strikes a nice balance between sweet and sour notes.

The Bottom Line

Sweet, natural, and refreshing, but if you’re trying to stay away from sugar be warned — these have a lot, as much as about half a can of strawberry soda.

Pick up 365 Strawberry Fruit Bars at Whole Foods.

4. 365 Everyday Value — Coconut Fruit Bars

Whole Foods

Calories: 180

Sugar: 29g

Average Retail Price: $2.49 (4 pack)

I love and find it incredibly funny that Whole Foods, a market that has over the years branded itself as a healthy haven for health conscious dorks, has one of the most wildly sweet and decadent popsicles on this list. Guess that’s what happens when Amazon buys you? All shade aside… I love these. Don’t get me wrong, they’re way too sweet and I can’t really stomach an entire bar, it’s just too overwhelming, which is why it isn’t ranking higher on this list, but the experience of eating half a bar is pretty amazing.

The Coconut Fruit bars have pieces of real coconut embedded within them, but don’t let that fool you into thinking these are in the least bit natural or healthy. The coconut is candied, offering an intensely sweet flavor that’s akin to the shaved coconut frosting on top of a donut. Midway through, these get so sickeningly sweet that you’ll seriously contemplating putting it back in the wrapper and throwing yours back in the freezer.

That’s disgusting. Don’t do that. But we definitely understand if you can’t finish a whole bar.

The Bottom Line

Incredibly sweet and delicious for a moment, and then unfortunately overwhelming. You gotta be high to get through one of these things.

Pick up 365 Coconut Fruit Bars at Whole Foods.

3. GoodPop — Orange Cream Pops

Whole Foods

Calories: 90

Sugar: 10g

Average Retail Price: $3.39 (4 pack)

Sometimes nothing hits the spot like a good Creamsicle — or 50/50 bar if you prefer — but too many of the brands at the mainstream grocery stores don’t do this delicious combination of vanilla and orange justice. By “too many brands” I mean all of them. After having a few different brands, everything from Nestle to Popsicle’s Good Humor Creamsicle, I’ve found that they all taste way too icy. The vanilla inside suffers the most, calling it vanilla is a disservice. It’s more like frozen milk.

If you really want a classic creamsicle, sorry, I’m going to suggest you skip the idea of having it in bar form, and instead reach for Breyer’s Creamsicle flavored ice cream. Despite its affiliation with Popsicle brand, it tastes nothing like the freezer pop version, which just makes the Creamsicle frozen pop version even more sad. I’ve said a lot now about an ice cream flavor that doesn’t appear on this list, because while GoodPop’s Orange Cream pops clearly take inspiration from the creamsicle, it’s something different entirely.

First of all, it’s dairy-free, the Orange Cream Pops aren’t made with vanilla ice cream, but instead an organic coconut cream mixed with an orange ice pop coating made from organic Valencia orange juice. The flavors are great, with a bright citrus forward flavor that leads into a creamy nutty finish that isn’t sickeningly sweet like the Whole Food Coconut Fruit Bars, but still isn’t entirely natural-tasting either. Alas, with the coconut cream in place of the vanilla, we can’t really call this a creamsicle as good and close to the real thing as it is.

The Bottom Line

This isn’t quite a creamsicle due to the use of coconut cream in place of vanilla, but right now it’s the best tasting ice pop that resembles a classic 50/50 bar you can find at any market.

Pick up GoodPop’s Orange Cream Pop at Whole Foods.

2. The Original Bomb Pop

Bomb Pop

Calories: 120

Sugar: 7g

Average Retail Price: $2.97

I went back and forth over which popsicle deserved the number one spot but ultimately the Original Bomb Pop is just going to have to take second place here. No ice cream pop screams “summer” to me quite like the Bomb Pop, and the OG version has yet to be watered down and made healthy, delivering a seriously addicting combination of intensely sweet lime, blue raspberry, and cherry. There is something subtly sour about this flavor combination, which adds a nice complexity (feels ridiculous to call a popsicle “complex,” but here we are) to the experience.

The individually wrapped Bomb Pops are nearly twice the size and feature a sour gumball at the tip. If you see this version, give it a try, but the standard market size without the gumball works too. In fact, if you do find the larger version, ditch the gumball as it’ll lose flavor almost immediately. Once you freeze gum it becomes intensely hard, so hard it might crack your tooth which will probably be such a traumatizing experience that you’ll swear off popsicles forever, and we don’t want that for you.

This Fourth of July you could go around waving an American flag, but that’s tacky. Wave a bomb pop instead. Then go blow some shit up and enjoy the show while you eat this sweet and sour treat.

The Bottom Line

This summer we’re giving the number two popsicle spot to the almighty Bomb Pop. Don’t get the Rocket Pop, or some other red, white and blue popsicle, settle for nothing less than the original.

Pick up an Original Bomb Pop at Walmart.

1. Big Stick

Popsicle

Calories: 70

Sugar: 11g

Average Retail Price: Price Varies Wildly

Apparently Popsicle’s original Big Stick has been officially discontinued, but… not really, as you can find this bar at most grocery stores, either under the Popsicle moniker, or under another name (Monster Pop, and Super Pop are popular options, Cherry-Pineapple swirl works too) as well as on Popsicle’s website as individually wrapped bars. Honestly, whether you buy Popsicle brand or not, it doesn’t really matter. Hands down, Big Sticks are one of the best popsicle flavors of all time. President Theodore Roosevelt once said “Speak softly and carry a big stick, you will go far,” historians think that that refers to his foreign policy but they’re wrong, he was actually talking about these things. Which makes sense because he invented them! (Okay, I made that up — I’ve had a lot of sugar today).

When someone says the word “popsicle” this is the first flavor that comes to my mind, and for that reason, it’ll always be my number one. A delicious mix of cherry and pineapple, when these flavors come together they are greater than the sum of their parts, offering sweet and tangy goodness with every lick. They’re also considerably bigger than your typical popsicle, a promise right in the name, which gives you more to enjoy!

Be wary though, some brands will offer a mix of strawberry and pineapple. That’s not a Big Stick. It has to be cherry. Don’t get me wrong, the Big Stick doesn’t taste like either pineapple or cherry, but when you throw strawberry in there it really changes the experience for the worse.

The Bottom Line

Sweet, tangy, and refreshing, the Big Stick is easily the best popsicle flavor you will ever experience.

Pick up a Big Stick at your local market (trust us, its there, it might be in a non descript plastic bag under another name) or via the Popsicle website.

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