Zoku Quick Pop Maker Review & Recipes

by Kelly on August 16, 2010

Hi.  My name is Kelly and I am a kitchen gadgetaholic.  Whenever I find something new and novel for the kitchen I have to have it, even if it is a unitasker or largely impractical.  Some people are obsessed with cars or electronics or shoes (well, I like those too), but for me kitchen tools take the cake.
Zoku Quick Pop

So back in May when I saw a review of a gadget called the Zoku Quick Pop Maker on Erin Cooks that could make homemade popsicles in 5-7 minutes I knew it was only a matter of time before I called it mine.  I even trekked out in the worst rainstorm we’ve had all summer to buy it.  Never mind that I didn’t really eat popsicles that often before buying this thing; it just sounded cool.  Yes, I should probably have my head evaluated!  Was it worth it?  Scroll down to read my review and find out.

The premise of the Zoku Quick Pop Maker is much like an ice cream maker.  It has a base that you pop in your freezer for 24 hours and then when you take it out, you are minutes away from homemade popsicles.  It sounds simple, and it is.  You just make your popsicle mix in the flavor(s) of your choice (or just use straight chilled juice or lemonade for something easier) and chill it until it is cold, much like making an ice cream base.  Then simply pop the sticks into the molds and pour in the mix.  Once they are frozen you can use the Super Tool that comes with the maker to remove the pops quickly and easily.  I’ve used mine to make Cherry Limeade Popsicles (pictured below left) and Mint Lime White Tea Popsicles (pictured below right).

Zoku Quick Pop 2

While the pop maker is pretty easy overall, it can be a bit finicky at times.  After almost two months of experimenting with this gadget I’ve learned there are a few keys to success:

  1. You have to read the directions. I will admit I am terrible at this.  I’m almost a guy in this respect.  However, it’s worth the time.  Almost all the mistakes I’ve made along the way are things that could have easily been remedied by doing the due diligence of reading.  Unfortunately this isn’t a gadget where you can just pour any ol’ liquid into the molds and expect success.
  2. Popsicles with high sugar and fat are easier too remove, but too much can be a bad thing. Popsicles that are too low in sugar can be had to remove where as popsicles with too much (or too much fat) never quite firm up no matter how long you freeze them.  Finding the exact ratio can be a bit of an ongoing experiment (for example, the first recipe is still a bit soft as written, though delicious so I invite you to try it and tweak, while the second came out perfect).  If you find this frustrating Zoku may not be the gadget for you right now, but the company does plan to launch a cookbook, which should make things easier down the road.
  3. 5-7 minutes is just a guideline. As with most things in the kitchen, some popsicle recipes take more time, some take less.  The most reliable test I have found it to monitor the texture of the top of the popsicle.  Still liquidy?  It probably needs to be rechecked in a minute or two.

Overall, I’ve enjoyed this quick pop maker a lot.  It’s definitely inspired me to eat a lot more fruit and as a blogger, I love that it makes testing recipes much easier.  Now instead of waiting hours for a popsicle to set to see if the flavor combo is right, I can taste right away and adjust as needed.  I also love that it is relatively small (think the size of a half gallon of ice cream) because it allows me to keep it in my freezer 24-7 so I can make popsicles at almost a moment’s notice.  With it’s $50 price tag and finicky operation it may not be for everyone, but if you have some cash to spare and time to play it is definitely fun.  Now I’m just going to have to resist the urge to buy the accessories that just arrived at Williams-Sonoma like a cute storage case and set of art set-esque tools.

Cherry Limeade Popsicles
Yields 6 Zoku-sized popsicles

Ingredients:

-1/2 cup lime juice
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 pint sweet cherries, pitted

Method:

In a saucepan over low heat, combine the lime juice and sugar and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Combine with the cherries in the blender and puree until well combined and the fruit has broken down. Pour into a bowl and chill in the refrigerator until cold (1-2 hours).

If using conventional ice pop molds, divide the mixture among the molds. Cover and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days. If using sticks, inset them into the molds while the pops are partially frozen, after about 1 hour, then continue to freeze until solid, at least 3 more hours.

If using an instant ice pop maker, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to fill the molds and freeze the pops.

Mint Lime White Tea Popsicles
Yields 6 Zoku-sized popsicles

Ingredients:

-1 cup water
-1/4 cup loose white tea (or less/more as your tastes prefer)
-3/4 cup fresh lime juice, strained of any pulp
-1/2 cup mint-infused simple syrup (see below)

Method:

In a saucepan over the stovetop or a bowl in the microwave, heat the water to a rolling boil. Then, let it sit aside for a couple of minutes to cool down slightly. (You’re looking for it to be between 170-185 degrees F.) Add the loose tea to the saucepan/bowl. Brew for 6-7 minutes (or as directed by the package of your specific tea).

Strain out tea leaves and combine the tea with lime juice and mint-infused simple syrup. Chill in the refrigerator until cold, about 1-2 hours.

If using conventional ice pop molds, divide the mixture among the molds. Cover and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days. If using sticks, inset them into the molds while the pops are partially frozen, after about 1 hour, then continue to freeze until solid, at least 3 more hours.

If using an instant ice pop maker, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to fill the molds and freeze the pops.

Mint Simple Syrup
Adapted from Southern Living
Yields approximately 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

-1 cup sugar or sugar substitute
-1 cup water
-1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves

Method:

Stir together all three ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Boil for 1 minute, or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and let stand for 30 minutes. Pour the liquid through a wire-mesh strainer into an airtight container, discarding mint leaves. Cover and chill for 4 hours before using. Syrup can be stored for up to 1 month in the refrigerator.

What about you, have you ever splurged on a kitchen gadget? What did you get and how do you like it?

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

RebeccaC August 17, 2010 at 11:16 am

This thing sounds so cool! I am NOT a gadget person — you’ve seen my kitchen. We are most decidedly out of storage space in here so my necessity I avoid any gadget that I can’t use at least 3 times a week. But I’m loving the popscicle idea. I may have to make a batch old-school style today!

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ashlee August 17, 2010 at 7:58 pm

thanks for letting me know about your feed changing! these popsicles look fantastic! i never knew such a quick ice pop maker existed! amazing!!!

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A Plum By Any Other Name August 17, 2010 at 9:08 pm

I am TERRIBLE about reading directions too. This has earned me the reputation of a pretty poor baker in certain circles. I’ve been wanting to make popsicles all summer but haven’t gotten around to it yet. Hopefully I can use your post as motivation!

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Victoria August 17, 2010 at 9:14 pm

I dream of being a gadgetaholic. There’s just no room in the kitchen… or the storage shed! But I want popsicles now. Those look refreshing!

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Shannon August 17, 2010 at 10:42 pm

thanks for the heads up, my reader didn’t pick it up!! those cherry pops sound amazing, and i’m guessing that mint syrup would make some killer mojitos too ;)

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5 Star Foodie August 17, 2010 at 11:09 pm

Cool gadget! And I love these popsicles flavors!

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Carolyn Jung August 17, 2010 at 11:42 pm

I’ve seen these in foodie catalogs, too, and wondered if they were worth the price, especially because — like you — I don’t eat popsicles that often. Since our freezer is always stuffed to the gills already, not sure I’d have the space for one. But glad to hear it works well after a little experimenting. ;)

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River (Wing-It Vegan) August 17, 2010 at 11:56 pm

What a cool gadget! If I had the funds, I would buy a new kitchen gadget every day! Yep. I am also terrible at reading manuals. Manuals are boring and I just want to use my new toy NOW! :D

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Sues August 18, 2010 at 4:51 pm

I was just wondering why you hadn’t posted in a while!! Thanks for the comment bc I clearly rely way too much on my Google Reader :)

I’m the same way as you… I’ve got to have every kitchen gadget even if I use it twice and it sits on my shelf for a year! These pops look awesome though- I love the mint, lime, white tea ones- so refreshing!

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