Oh, 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 have never made this for my kids … until now.
The “Jell-o” 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 me that I could use the healthy kind of gelatin with natural fruits and fresh juices to make a jello that my kids would like and that I would be ok with them eating.
Homemade Jello Recipe
While this isn’t an everyday snack, it is made from fresh fruit and juices with quality gelatin, so it can be a healthy treat that kids of all ages will enjoy! Just make sure that you are using gelatin, not collagen peptides. Gelatin from healthy grass-fed sources is especially beneficial and will “gel” when chilled, while collagen peptides will not.
Healthy Homemade Jello Recipe
- ¼ cup water (cool)
- 1 TBSP pasture-raised gelatin (green lid)
- ¼ cup water (very hot)
- 1½ cups fruit juice
- 1-2 cups fresh fruit (optional)
- Pour the cool water in a medium size mixing bowl and add the gelatin powder.
- Stir briskly until mixed. It will start to thicken a lot.
- Add the ¼ cup of really hot water and stir to mix. It should be thinner now.
- Pour in the juice and mix well.
- Place fresh fruit in a layer on the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish if using.
- Pour the jello mixture over the fruit and stir slightly to make sure it has coated the fruit.
- Put in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 2-3 hours or overnight.
- Cut into cubes or scoop out with a melon baller to make cute shapes.
Ever made jello? Like the chemical laden stuff at the grocery store? Want to try this healthy version? Share below!
Discussion (153 Comments)
I should whole-heartedly thank you for this recipe, jelly is my favorite food from childhood, so this has been a life saver!
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.
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?
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.
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).
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.
It’s ‘off-putting’ if you are a vegetarian or choose not to consume animal products.
It’s not actually possible to make gelatin without animal products…
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.
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…
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?
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!
Using agar agar powder or flakes is also another healthy way to make jello and jams/marmalades.
Are you willing to share your recipe? If so, can you post it.
Awesome!! Can’t wait to try this.
I love the champagne idea for grown-ups! Healthy jello cocktail-shooters… What fun!
Amanda Hormann Lenton
Just curious – what does the gelatin in your tea do?
It’s just a way to get it down hot, since it gels when you put it in cool liquid. This way, I get the skin and health benefits without having to eat Jello everyday…
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?
Hi Margaret! I’d use about either a teaspoon or a tablespoon! 🙂
How could you not eat Jello everyday?! ? I’m crazy for the stuff! In fact, I’m making matcha and coconut milk Jello right now in place of fruit juice.
Also, is Great Lakes’ pork gelatin ok? I’m allergic to beef.
GL pork gelatin is a great option for those who can’t tolerate beef.
The coconut milk jello sounds interesting. Can you post the recipe?
Ever tried hydrolysate? It mixes so much easier. Cold or hot.
Not for the jello recipe, I know that won’t work. The hydrosolate is great for using in your tea or other beverage. I like to mix it with my kids milk by the gallon. I use about 1/4 cup for the gallon. Easy.
I am so going to try this! My kids will love you forever!!
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.
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!
You cannot use fresh or frozen pineapple. The enzymes in pineapple interfere with the gelling process. Canned pineapple has been heated, and heating it deactivates the enzymes. Here’s a link to a site about the chemistry:
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 🙂