Mandarin Creamsicles

Cold, creamy, and sweet, these mandarin creamsicles would make a perfect hot-weather dessert, or a great option after a spicy meal.

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Mandarin Creamsicles - Vegan and Vegetarian Options
Mandarin Creamsicles – Vegan and Vegetarian Options

This is a super-flexible recipe. Like almost everything I post here on not not nutritious, there are vegan and vegetarian options that are equally good. Either way you want it, you start by making a simple citrus syrup. I’ve made this version with mandarins, but it would be just as good with tangerines, or tangelos, regular oranges, or even lemons.

This is also a really easy recipe, but you do have to make the citrus syrup ahead and then of course you have to allow time for the dreamsicles to freeze, so factor that in when you’re planning. The dreamsicles will easily hold a few days in the freezer so they are a great make ahead dessert.

Fake. Fake. Fake

Now, just for fun — take a look at the picture below. There are 2 “fake” dreamsicles and one real one in that pic. And there is only 1 real ice cube. Can you tell which items are fake and which are real? One of these days I’m going to write a post about food styling and how surreal it is.

Mandarin Creamsicles - Vegan and Vegetarian Options
Mandarin Creamsicles – Vegan and Vegetarian Options

Mandarin Creamsicles
Prep Time
15 mins
3 hrs

Rich, creamy, and sweet, these mandarin orange flavoured creamsicles are a perfect hot weather dessert or treat. Easily made either vegan or vegetarian. 

Course: Dessert, Snack, treat
Cuisine: American
Keyword: creamsicle, dairy-free creamsicle, non-dairy creamsicle, popsicle
Diet: vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 6 2.5 ounce creamsicles
Author: Sylvia Eastman
  • 5 large mandarin oranges {enough for about 2 cups of peel}
  • 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • drop orange oil or orange extract {optional, to boost the flavour}
  • 1 1/2 cups milk, cream, coconut cream, or yogurt {any animal or plant-based kind
  1. First, calculate how much fluid you need to fill your popsicle molds. This recipe makes approx. 2 cups or 500 ml of liquid. I have 6 molds that are each about 2.5 ounces, or 80 ml. Measure the volume of one of your molds and multiply by the number of popsicles that you want to make to arrive at how much liquid you need, and therefore whether you need to adjust the ingredient quantities.

  2. Make the citrus syrup:

    Half each mandarin and then juice it. Reserve the juice for other uses, or just drink it! Adding booze is optional.

    Cut the juiced oranges into quarters and place the orange peels in a glass bowl or other non-reactive type of bowl.

    Sprinkle the sugar over the orange peels and stir. If you are worried about bugs, cover the bowl. Let the bowl sit on the counter for at least 3 hours and up to about 12. Stir occasionally.

    Put the peels and syrup in a strainer that’s placed over a small bowl. Use a spoon to press out as much syrup-y goodness as possible. You should have a scant half cup or so.

  3. Combine the citrus syrup, vanilla, orange oil/extract if using, and enough milk or yogurt to reach the volume of liquid that you need.

    Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for about 5 hours or until solid.

Recipe Notes

About the Citrus Syrup

  • This recipe is heavily adapted from this recipe from Serious Eats. 
Mandarin Creamsicles - Vegan and Vegetarian Options
Mandarin Creamsicles – Vegan and Vegetarian Options

Make it a Meal

This post was originally part of my Make it a Meal Series, where I create plant-based menus with vegetarian and omni-friendly variations. Mandarin Dreamsicles is part of Menu Five, “Say Cheese.” We started out with some cheeze-y battered oven fries and egg-free roasted garlic mayo, then got to grilling up some cheese/cheeze sandwiches, namely hot chili cheeze (vegan); caramelized cheese with maple raisins on pumpernickel (vegetarian); and bacon-buttered grilled cheese with bacon skewers.

Check out not not’s other meals:

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