How to Make Healthy Jello

healthy homemade jello no sugar 300x217 How to Make Healthy JelloOh, Jello…. the sugar (or chemical) laden mystery food of hospitals and cafeterias. I went to public school and got my fair share of this stuff back then, so I had never made this for my kids… until now.

The “Jello” Gelatin you can buy in stores is packed with sugar or chemical sugar substitutes, along with Gelatin from conventional animals fed a poor diet. I certainly wasn’t going to make that for my kids!

Then I found out about how healthy gelatin from grass fed animals can be a good protein source and can improve skin and hair quality and help the digestive system. I’d been drinking unflavored Gelatin in my tea and in smoothies, but it dawned on my that I could use the healthy kind of jello with natural fruits and fresh juices to make a “Jello” that my kids would like and that I would be ok with them eating.

Certainly, this still isn’t an everyday snack, but if it is made from fresh fruit and juices with quality Gelatin, it can be a healthy treat that kids will enjoy!

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How to Make Healthy Jello
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A recipe for making healthy jello without added sugar or artificial ingredients.
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups of organic or freshly juiced fruit juice of choice (grape, pineapple, orange or a mix of orange and pineapple are all good!)
  • ¼ cup cool water
  • ¼ cup hot (almost boiling) water
  • 1 tablespoon of Kosher Pasture-raised Gelatin Powder (green lid)
  • 1-2 cups of fresh fruit (optional) - Pineapple, strawberries, blueberries and orange slices are all really good
  • Note: Can double recipe.
Instructions
  1. Pour the cool water in a large mixing cup or quart sized mason jar and add the gelatin powder.
  2. Stir briskly until mixed- it will start to thicken a lot.
  3. Add the ¼ cup of really hot water and stir to mix- it should be thinner now.
  4. Combine this with the juice and mix well.
  5. Put the fruit into the container that you are going to make the jello in. 8x8 baking dishes work well.
  6. Pour the jello mixture over the fruit and stir lightly to make sure it has coated the fruit too.
  7. Put in the fridge, covered, for at least 2-3 hours or overnight and serve.
  8. Can cut into cubes or scoop out with a melon spoon to make cute shapes.
  9. Enjoy.
Variations:
Use Water kefir in place of part of the juice for a probiotic boost. You can make it entirely with Kombucha for a less-sweet but more healthy version. For a grow up treat, you can even do this with Champagne for a fun party treat. If you want individual sizes, make it in ice-cube trays with a single strawberry or piece of fruit in each cube.

Ever made Jello? Like the chemical laden stuff at the grocery store? Want to try this healthy version? Share below!

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Reader Comments

  1. Tabitha says

    Can you use fresh pineapple and fresh pineapple juice? I thought that the enzymes on the pineapple wouldn’t allow the jello to set.  I grew up eating lots of jello and we always used canned and never fresh.  Just wondering.

    • says

      I don’t know… I used fresh pineapple in the one in the picture and it set, though I used mango and orange juice, so I don’t know for sure. I’ll definitely look into it!

      • says

        It’s true, if it’s fresh it won’t set. With pineapple I read you have to boil it for a couple of minutes and then it works. Ditto with the lemon too. Nevertheless this is a method I’ve been using for a long time, and it’s niceness never fails. And one more thing, instead of setting it in the fridge (takes like 4-5 hours) you can also put it in the freezer and depending on quantity it can set between 15 min – 1 hr. So if you make it before you start making the meal, when you’re done eating you can have dessert :)

      • Margaret says

        What are the best proportions of gelatin to water in tea? How much do you recommend taking each day? Are there different amounts recommended for different issues such as weak nails or regulation of stomach acid?

        Thanks!

  2. says

    I am glad you posted this because I really wanted to find a use for gelatin. My only concern is the juice. I do not have a juicer so making 1 1/2 cups of juice by hand may be a pain 😛 what juice brands if any are safe? What is your opinion on juices from concentrate like OJ? After I found out that OJ in cartons is just flavored water basically I don’t buy anything anymore. Hard to trust any food company now.

    • says

      There are some organic, not from concentrate juices in the organic/natural foods section. We’ve found a few all-juice blends that are great occasionally. I’m not a fan of the from concentrate either…

    • Kenzie says

      The only reason “from concentrate” is not recommended is because it pretty much kills anything good in the juice. They make the concentrate by boiling the fresh juice down, and the heat destroys anything in it that’s good for you. So it’s not bad, per se, unless you’re thinking more in terms of this pretty much only leaves the fructose in the juice … it’s just not nearly as healthy as it can be =) Does that make sense?

    • Kenzie says

      When buying juice, just read the ingredients. If there is anything besides just the juice, it’s probably not a good idea. There are alot of companies now that are making pure, 100% juices. Lakewood organic is one that we usually buy, ceres is pretty good also, though some of their juices are from concentrate. There’s alot more, you just have to read labels and do a bit of research. And beware of “natural flavour” as there are literally 100’s of things that companies are legally allowed to put under this label, that are not natural at all!

  3. Karen says

    We made “healthy jello”, or kanten, out of agar powder as part of the digestive health section in Natural Chef training. They weren’t huge on animal products, though, so they didn’t really teach anything about gelatin – do you know offhand how agar compares to gelatin when it comes to health properties and benefits?

    • says

      Culinary wise, it works pretty well, though I’m not sure of the conversion in this recipe. From a health perspective, Gelatin will provide more protein and more benefits for skin, hair and nail regeneration as it is mostly protein, where agar is mostly fiber.

    • kasia says

      Hi Karen, I use agar agar in my organic jelly range. Agar agar has a high fiber content, which means it’s good for digestion and also helps to slow down the blood absorption of sugars present in fruit. Gelatin is certainly a source of protein but it’s made of bones of pigs, which is a rather offputting idea. The kosher variety is made from beef bones.. I have to say agar agar is great to use because it sets in a matter of 5-10 min (it’s setting at temperatures lower than 50 C, so make sure you work above it).

      • D. Smith says

        There’s nothing wrong with eating gelatin from animals that are grass-fed. What’s “off-putting” about that? We use soup bones with the marrow to make beef vegetable soups and things, don’t we? At least I do. But I’m old so maybe I’m also old-fashioned.

  4. Suzanne says

    This is timely.  I just bought some gelatin with the intention of making Kombucha Gummies.  I haven’t played with gelatin before so it may take some trials to get the consistency right.  All the recipes on the web for gummies call for using jello and gelatin.  If anyone has any experience making gummies without jello, I would love to hear about it.

  5. says

    have you ever had a problem with the smell of the gelatin? in the reviews on amazon some people complained of the unbearable smell of the gelatin when heated up. thoughts??

    • des says

      The smell is not appetizing, but goes away completely if you let the jello sit for a day. Also, at this concentration, while it does have a faint smell when first made, it doesn’t taste bad. My toddler eats it so fast, she doesn’t even notice, lol.

  6. JH says

    I have made this a few times and it seems like a lot of the gelatin settles to the bottom while it is setting up. I just read on the general gelatin post that you let it sit with the cool water to “temper”. Should I do that here too? Thanks!

  7. Amy says

    I’d like to try making homemade jello with water kefir, but I’m worried that the heat from the heat from the hot water will kill the probiotics. Am I worried for nothing, or is there a way to do it without killing the probiotics? Thanks

  8. darren says

    Saying that a powdered, store-bought gelatin is not as healthy as this is absurd. Doing the research for myself, the protein in gelatin is a very poor quality. You’re also loading it up with a bunch of fruit juice (AKA, a buttload of bad carbohydrates) Anyone who thinks that a ton of sugar in fruit juice is healthier than Sucralose or Aspartame is out of their tree.

      • darren says

        Even though these “artificial sweeteners”, “artificial dyes”, and a “lesser quality gelatin”(By your opinion, not by fact) have been approved by the USA’s FDA as safe…………..What does a massive regulatory agency that reviews countless scientific studies know about anything?! (Sarcasm)

        • Christa Fiallos says

          Yeah well, the FDA’s record of keeping America safe isn’t the finest and the fact that they are “massive” as you stated is part of the reason. Too big for enough QC, among other things.
          Also, as this is her site, it’s “her opinion” that counts to the majority of us on here. Don’t agree, simply don’t visit the site. Easy as that, no need to argue your obvious wisdom. (Sarcasm)

        • Maribel Rodriguez says

          Believe the FDA result of its “scientific” studies and follow their guidelines at your own health risk. I know I run the other way.

          • Maribel Rodriguez says

            By the way, awesome recipe and great idea of using water kefir to make jello. Big thanks.

          • Mick says

            The FDA and other govt. authorities like CDC & WHO are well known to have a conflict of interest with consumer interests. They care more about growing govt. at all costs which often means cutting deals with Giant Corporations to put their interests ahead of citizens. If you watch monies like Farmageddon and many others you will see how they harass farmers and customers. They have forcefed their demands to high heat cook and pollute milk in almost all states. They use gestapo-like tactics to scare people also. Learn about how better milk prevents illnesses & is our right. Support free choice in whatever state you live. Call Congress and tell them you care. We must stand together against Big Agriculture & Big Govt . while we still have worthwhile things and our health. These interests of our cross all political lines to band us as one people!!!

        • Megan says

          So what do you say about dye allergies? Cause I have a four year old at home that I have to make everything from scratch or break his heart, because our government says artificial dyes, (which are made from petroleum by the way), are completely safe. And they are completely unnecessary, he doesn’t even care that I’m making him jello that isn’t a radioactive looking orange.

          • Deana says

            My son is allergic too. When he was younger, if someone gave him “orange drink” or Gatorade or Doritos or just about any other processed food marketed to kids, he came home with what looked like a severe burn on his skin all around his mouth-picture The Joker. If burning your child’s face off isn’t enough to indicate artificial dyes are not safe, I don’t know what other evidence you need. I also note that in Europe, it is not legal to lace childrens foods with these toxic chemicals, so all their candies are made from natural dyes. As far as I know, we are the only Western nation that claims they are “safe.”

            Thanks for the recipe and clear instruction!

      • darren says

        Fact: More than 100 studies reviewed by the FDA UNANIMOUSLY found Sucralose to be safe. Sorry, but if you think it’s dangerous, you’re ignorant of the science that’s been done on it. The exact same thing can be said of Aspartame. More than 90 countries’ accept it as safe, including USA’s FDA. I do my best to read and understand science, especially that on health. Simple sugars are bad, even if from an apple or orange. The consensus on Sucralose and Aspartame are that they’re safe. Why would you disregard artificial sweeteners that probably aren’t dangerous for “natural” bad carbohydrates which have generated an obese nation?

        • Kristal says

          Wow, I don’t know whether to feel sorry for you because your information is completely the opposite; or to call you out as the troll you must be.

          • darren says

            Are you kidding? I’m not trolling. I actually want you to do some research. Read the wikipedia pages on Sucralose and Aspartame. Then reply back. Or cite an article that is peer reviewed……… Or you know, any evidence at all. You probably also believe Organic food is better than “Non-organic” food, which is also completely lacking any evidence at all.

          • Jason says

            Since artificial ingredients are new to the human species, I’d rather just play it safe and avoid them. Point me to a study that was done over a large group of people (millions) over a long period of time (millenniums) and I’ll concede. Until then, enjoy your jello :)

          • Nezza Bugatti says

            Darren, LOL you remind me so much of myself when I was younger. Very naive, believing everything you are told by the media, and lacking the knowledge of God and the Bible. I pray that God continues to show you the answers and you take up the courage to explore it and not turn away from a gift no man can give you.

        • lilypad says

          Science and homeopathy don’t exactly see eye to eye . . . maybe this isn’t the site for your opinion but I am sure the FDA would love to hear about your loyalty to their department. After that call up the USDA and see how Michael Taylor, Margaret Miller and Islam Siddiqui are enjoying their switch from Monsanto lobbying and employment to their new positions for the FDA and USDA. Come on, open your eyes to the song and dance your so blindly and ignorantly being serenaded to.

          • Melissa says

            Anyone can add anything they want to wikipedia. Don’t believe everything you read.
            Aspartame’s two amino acids are combined using a methyl ester bond. Methanol is released from the aspartame within hours of consumption after hydrolysis of the methyl group of the dipeptide by chymotrypsin in the small intestine. Once this methyl ester bond is broken it liberates free methyl alcohol or methanol, which is commonly called wood alcohol. The problem with methanol is that it passes into your blood-brain barrier and is converted into formaldehyde, which causes the damage. You may recognize formaldehyde as embalming fluid. Hence, NOT safe once consumed.

        • Mrs. Plankton says

          Wow. Do you believe everything you’re told then go start unfounded arguments with people? Maybe you swallow the idea of the government having “the people’s” best interest at heart. Hate to break it to you, but they are an organization with an agenda. Always look at the source of your information. Question why the material you read was distributed. Is there something monetary to gain by deceiving you? If the answer is yes, do some unbiased research.

          I personally have a vendetta against Splenda aka sucralose. Chemically speaking, it’s closer to chlorine than sugar; yet their pretty, sparkly commercials claim it’s “made from sugar”. It can’t be that bad, right? Wrong. It hasn’t been around long enough to research and properly study its effects. They are a company out to make money. They want to convince you it’s safe and naturally-derived. They will post and fund studies when the independent research is clearly not going their way. It’s deception at it’s finest. I believe Splenda will be the next “big tobacco”, resulting in scandal: knowingly peddling poison to the stupid mass consumer.

          In this age of information, there’s really no excuse to believe everything that one hears.

          Thanks for the recipe! I needed the quantity of plain gelatin to liquid. Thanks for posting successful experiments!

          As a side note, there are fruits to avoid when working with gelatin. Specifically fresh kiwi, pineapple, papaya, and mango have enzymes that will prevent the gelatin from setting. If you’re interested in the science behind it, here’s a good breakdown. http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/content/kitchenscience/exp/science-of-fruit-jellies/

        • Mick says

          When you pay the researchers huge amounts of money they tend to find the results you ask for. So much research is agenda driven now. They cooked weather data to push an agenda for instance. The money involved makes the citizens ants compared to giant corporations and political entities. If things worked in our interests there wouldn’t be so many sick people everywhere in The United States. We are sicker than countries in poverty. Why? They conspire in many ways to keep us suck and in a fog. They misuse our money & so on. Demand more & research everything you can now while you can.

        • Mae says

          Late to the party, but whatever.

          The natural/simple sugars vs processed/artificial sugars debate is one of the reasons I was looking up homemade jello recipes. The more recent generation of my family has been plagued with health issues, everything from allergies to simple foods and preservatives, to Celiac disease. The nutritionist that some of my family uses has been pushing that all of us – even those who have no food-related issues – to give up anything and everything that contains artificial/processed sugars. Aspartame in particular, as it’s being shown to affect the brain in way that scarily mimics Alzheimer’s.

          Anyways.

          Can’t wait to try this, but I’m wondering (to possibly save myself some frustration) how well this recipe stands up to being molded/shaped/cut? The younger ones like to take cookie cutters to their jello.

        • Jennifer Quick says

          A review is not a controlled study. I imagine you will not find any good studies on food additives in children because no one wants to experiment on them. Also, a lot of studies are observational, which means they’re reliant upon accurate self-reporting, which is an oxymoron (heavy on the moron, which is not sarcasm). Due to that, plus individual differences in metabolism, the best course of action is to see what bothers you or your child, or what improves the way you feel, and eat accordingly.

          As for relying on government agencies, after the recent Ebola virus debacle and the lack of any thoughtful and cohesive response on the part of the CDC and the public health system, I prefer to look at lots of data from lots of sources. No one source gives the full picture.

    • William says

      I’d rather eat a small amount of naturally occurring fruit sugar than even a microscopic amount of a chemical made in a factory, regardless of who says it’s safe.

  9. Yolanda says

    If I made this with Kombucha, do I heat 1/4 cup of it too and mix it with the cold Kombucha? I use Great Lakes Gelatin and homemade Kombucha!!

  10. Lee says

    This recipe works great! I’ve done grapefruit juice and kombucha so far. Both firmed up into Jello-y treats! The kombucha is really fun because it still tastes carbonated. Thank you for these!!

  11. Miranda says

    My kid is on a jell-o kick right now, which I have been allowing with some trepidation as I do thing the gelatine is good…. at least. I purchased some gelatine with the intention of making the homemade gummies (haven’t yet), but I think i’ll just do jelly instead! I’m thinking white grape juice (super sweet) and a bit of cranberry for colour Can’t wait!

  12. Olivia says

    Can you use the Gelatin in the green canister from this company for jello and gummies or is that one strictly for liquids?

  13. Ali says

    Love this! My daughter has FPIES (a severe food allergy GI disorder) so she’s on a very limited diet. She only has 6 safe foods right now, so we used porcine gelatin and blueberry juice. It, of course, wasn’t as sweet as packaged Jell-O, but she didn’t mind! (I could add sugar, but she’s fine without it)

  14. Sarah Seagraves says

    I wonder if Darren knows that the FDA considers sugar and fruit to be safe. There’s hypocrisy for you, if you’re looking for some to point fingers at. Anyone who asserts that synthetic “foods” are safe because the FDA says so, but simultaneously insists that natural foods that are also FDA approved are “bad” needs to reevaluate his thinking process. Whether I agree with him or not, he doesn’t agree with himself. Not to mention having a need to engage in a more productive hobby than visiting a website he knows he’s not going to agree with just to spend all day making a nuisance of himself for the dubious pleasure of being contrary.

    But the primary reason I’m commenting here is to ask whether anyone knows of a good way to make homemade gelatin (made by cooking the bones myself) work in a sweet jello recipe. I’d hate to cook the bones directly in the fruit juice (because who wants to cook the juice at all, much less for hours and hours?). I don’t know if mixing it 50% warm bone gelatin and 50% fruit juice would work, either to set the jello or to have a finished product that didn’t taste like fruity meat. Has anyone tried this? I’m having no success googling for this info. :/ But while the gelatin powder is very expensive, bone gelatin is practically free and easy to make, so I’d rather use that if it’s feasible.

  15. Katherine Dordbic says

    Why shouldn’t be an everyday snack if it’s made without sugar, using fresh organic fruits and gelatin from healthy, grass fed cows?

  16. Steve says

    “Certainly, this still isn’t an everyday snack”. Why would you say that Katie? Everyday I consume fruit, juice, and beef gelatin powder in a smoothie. What’s the matter with that? Now I’m looking forward to making jello with the same healthy ingredients.

    • Janet says

      Fruit juice has a high sugar content that can throw you off. It’s best to eat the whole fruit and include the fiber, etc.

  17. Melanie says

    Just curious – have you ever been to a food pantry where people go to get food for their families when they are desperate? Food pantries do NOT have a line for all organic food. While I admire your quest for excellence in health, I do not appreciate your judgement on people with limited income, resources, and time. While you may have the time and money to invest, others may not and pushing your opinions only makes them feel worse about their situation.

    • says

      I am not judging people over anything. I am recognizing the harm in non-organic food and giving an alternative. I do realize that some people simply cannot afford the alternatives, but I’d rather have them available to those who can do this, and I hope that for those people out there who are not able to do this now, that maybe they will see this as aspirational. I have not always have been able to buy organic, and I would never judge a mom who has to choose between putting *enough* food on the table and putting organic food on the table. By all means, feed your family!

  18. Cas says

    Does anyone have any suggestions to make blue jelly? I am having a Frozen party for my girls and would love to have blue jelly, however I cant for the life of me think of a way to get flavoured white or clear jelly. I have an all natural blue food colour, so making it blue per say wont be hard. However plain water jelly is so far the only thing I can think of that would allow the blue colour to actually work.
    TIA

      • Cas says

        I hadn’t thought of coconut water, I might give that a try. I thought that the blueberries would turn purple as opposed to blue. And my personality wont handle if its purple ‘ice bricks’ that the jelly ends up, instead of blue lol

        • Heather says

          Adding baking soda to blueberries can turn them blue (or bluer). Perhaps you’ve already had the party, if not it’s something you can experiment with. It only takes a little and the reaction is not instantly complete. Have fun with it!

  19. Alarna says

    Hi, I am keen to try a healthy version of Jelly, using good quality gelatine, but I was told pineapple and kiwi fruits can interfere with the setting of the gelatine. Is that so?

  20. Rita says

    Can I use Great Lakes gelatin with grape fruit juice mixed with tinned fruit i.e. fruit cocktail and tinned mandarins to make a jelly for a trifle I intend to make soon? Also, does anyone know how to make organic custard?

  21. Christina says

    You could also blend whole fruit like apples with the jello…. That way you add fiber and you don’t need a juicer.

    I use my grandmother’s recipe, that this isn’t exactly super healthy, but I’m sure it could be “healthied” up a bit: Take 4 medium apples, peeled & roughly chopped (any will work, but I prefer 2 red & 2 green), 1 can evaporated milk, 1/2 can of condensed milk, 2 gelatin packets — I believe that is 4 tsps, 1/4 cup water, 1 pinch salt. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let it absorb. Add half your evap. milk into a saucepan and whisk in the gelatin, turn on the heat and continue stirring until the milk comes to a simmer and the gelatin has dissolved. Dump everything into the blender. Blend well, pour into a dish and let it set.

    For more fiber and apple flavor, you can peel only two of the apples and leave the other two unpeeled.

    Strawberries work splendidly too. You could omit the the dairy, add 1 can of coconut milk and some honey.

    — Don’t use raw pineapple or raw guavas. The enzymes won’t let the gelatin set.

  22. Sharon B says

    Just a word about kombucha, coming from someone who used to brew her own! There has been no credible science for the claims being made about kombucha. Plus, what’s in there? Sometimes helpful bacteria, sometimes harmful bacteria.

    Here’s a great article: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/kombucha-a-symbiotic-mix-of-yeast-bacteria-and-the-naturalistic-fallacy/

    Bottom line, it won’t kill you, but it’s probably not helping (and if it is, it could be from the alcohol and acid content). FYI Candida albicans is not inhibited by kombucha.

  23. Carla says

    Do you think I could use the same silicone candy trays that I use to make the coconut chews? That way I could just eat a few a day and be done with it. No muss, no fuss.

  24. jana says

    I am sincerely impressed with this website. I haven’t been on here long but I found the Gelatin information so insightful that I had to join. I became a Grand-mother last year and will pass this site on to my daughter. Great site! Thank you for sharing your knowledge because its the best I’ve found in years.

  25. Kay says

    I am wondering what amount of gelatin I would use to sub for a box of strawberry Jello in a freezer jam recipe. I love this family recipe for freezer jam that I have but don’t want to feed my family all of the junk in the boxed Jello. I am wondering how I coukd go about subbing it. Any ideas? Or suggestions?

  26. Lynn says

    I saw your recipe yesterday and decided to try and make homemade jello. I’ve never made it before. Instead of fruit juice, I used iced herbal tea that I already had in the fridge. I doubt the kiddies would like it, but I though it was really good. Thanks for posting your recipe.

  27. Barb says

    First I have to say it is so cool you use Kosher gelatin. Although I am not Jewish, I avoid pork and pork products and for me, finding an organic source of beef gelatin is difficult. Second, thanks for the recipe. I originally bought my beef gelatin to make marshmallows, but I was looking for a good Jello recipe because I missed the Jell-O of my youth LOL. I haven’t been all over your site yet, but if you researched gelatin, you probably know that bone broth is an excellent source of gelatin (collagen). If you want your dose and are tired of the sweet stuff, the broth is easy to make and so so good for you. The best broth is made from the bones of young chickens, (if you eat chicken, if not, organic beef is good too). I never buy broth for my soups as I find there is too much junk in it and yes, we do not know how these animals were raised. I have a pressure canner so I put it up in jars and usually have about a dozen quarts for my use at any given time. The last time I prepped my broth, I had a little left over but I hate wasting, so I poured it in a glass and drank it. It was incredibly delicious! All on its own it is great, but if you simmer it with some celery, onion, a bit of sea salt and a bit of garlic, maybe a sprinkle of parsley, you have the ultimate chicken-in-a-mug. It is obviously more work and effort, but you have to try it to experience for yourself how fantastic it really is! I bet your children would love it, and you can avoid the sugars too!

  28. Carla says

    I love all your recipes and use them all the time! I’d like to make lemon “jello”, but 1 1/2 cups seems like an awful lot of lemon juice. Any suggestions? Thanks.

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