If you remember those sunny summers by the pool, eating your fair share of jello, you know how much of an enjoyable treat it can be. Jello has been delighting children of all ages and backgrounds for ages. Sadly, many kids today don’t know how awesome that stuff was. If you’re reading this, that means you’ve grown tired of missing your favorite childhood dessert and decided to take matters into your own hands.
We’re glad to have you because today, we’re making a healthy homemade jello recipe from scratch. The best part? This recipe involves fruit juice, so no unnecessary added sugar. Feel free to get the little ones involved, too — let them pick their favorite juice and help cut the yummy finished product into wiggly sweetness.
What Is Gelatin?
Gelatin is a protein derived from boiled skin, ligaments, and/or bones with water. Gelatin is often used in cosmetic products, such as shampoos, face masks. It is also used as a thickener for fruit delicacies and desserts, such as jello, and in sweets, cakes, ice cream, yogurts, and marshmallows. In our case, it’s what gives jello its wiggly texture.
Healthy Homemade Jello
This HOMEMADE JELLO recipe only requires 2-3 NATURAL INGREDIENTS! We use fruit, natural sweetener, and grass-fed beef gelatin (NOT gelatin protein powder). Using fruit blends, like peach mango juice, will give the finished product a bright orange color, but that’s us – you can use just about any fruit juice for this recipe. You can fresh-press your own juice and use that!
Moreover, this recipe does not contain ANY DYES OR ADDITIVES. The color will come from the natural richness of the juice you end up choosing. Additionally, our HOMEMADE JELLO IS FREE OF ALL MAIN ALLERGENS including, egg, dairy, nuts, soy, fish, etc.
What Kinds of Juice Can I Use for Homemade Jello?
The choice is literally yours! We recommend 100% fruit juices for a more authentic dessert. Any fruit juice will do well, except pineapple. The proteins in pineapple will break down the gelatin so that it won’t hold properly. Our favorites flavors are peach-mango fruit, cranberry raspberry, and blueberry-pomegranate.
Where Do You Buy Gelatin?
We use Vital Proteins brand gelatin for this recipe, which you can find on Amazon, or at your local health stores – Whole Foods should have them. Great Lakes is another reputable brand you can try (get it at Thrive Market or Amazon). Other options include Knox brand gelatin (not grass-fed).
Note: Do not try to make this homemade jello recipe using protein powder or gelatin-based protein powder. It will not gel properly.
Is Homemade Jello Vegan?
Unfortunately, it is not. It is dairy-free, but jello is made with gelatin, which is animal-derived. We haven’t experimented with a vegan gelatin substitute. But if you are interested, this article about vegan gelatin alternatives might come in handy!
Can I Make This Jello Without Any Added Sweetener?
That’s up to you and your tastebuds. Some juices are naturally sweeter than others. While the gelatin reduces the juice flavor slightly, we find that adding natural sweeteners such as honey or agave helps bring it back to its natural flavor. But again, that’s totally up to you! If you want your jello on the sweet side, feel free to add some honey in there.
Does the Gelatin Add Flavor?
It will not. Not to the finished product, at least. However, we must warn you it doesn’t smell very good when combined with a liquid. Don’t fret! Once it’s dissolved in the warm juice of your choice, the smell will go away.
How Long Can I Keep This Homemade Jello in the Fridge?
For optimal texture/flavor, we recommend 4-5 days, though it most likely won’t break down for a week or more.
- 4 cups of juice (avoid pineapple juice)
- 2 Tbsp unflavored beef gelatin (such as Vital Proteins or Great Lakes). Do NOT attempt with protein powder
- 2 Tbsp honey or agave (optional)
- Calories Per Serving: 84
- Total Fat: 0 g (0%)
- Cholesterol: 0 mg (0%)
- Sodium: 38.7 mg (2%)
- Total Carbohydrate: 15.8 g (6%)
- Dietary Fiber: 0 g (0%)
- Sugars: 4.3 g
- Protein: 2 g (4%)
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- Add 1/2 cup of your chosen juice to a large bowl (or liquid measuring cup) and your gelatin powder.
- Stir together to combine and let it sit for 5-7 minutes to “bloom.” The granules will plump, and the mix will take on a lumpy appearance and start to look like thick applesauce.
- Add the rest of your fruit juice into a medium pan. Heat over medium heat until it starts boiling.
- Remove from heat and stir in your sweetener of choice (if using) and add the bloomed juice/gelatin mix. Whisk to dissolve further.
- For thick jello, transfer the new mixture into an 8×8 (2-quart) baking dish. For thin jello, pour into a 9×13″ baking dish or individual glasses or jars for single portions.
- Put the baking dish in the fridge for about 4 hours or until set. If you’re using a 9×13 pan, it may be good to go in as little as 2 hours.
Do Summer right this year, add this homemade jello recipe to your arsenal of recipes, and pay attention to the kids’ faces as they beg you to make more. More healthy recipes: