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How to Make Healthy Jello

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homemade jello
Wellness Mama » Blog » Recipes » How to Make Healthy Jello

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. The “Jell-o” gelatin in stores is packed with sugar (or artificial sweeteners), dyes, additives, and gelatin from factory-farmed animals. I certainly wasn’t going to make that for my kids!

Then I found out how healthy gelatin from grass-fed animals can be a good protein source. It can improve skin and hair quality and help the digestive system. I was drinking unflavored gelatin in my tea and in smoothies, but it dawned on me that I could use that same gelatin to make homemade jello.

This healthy version features natural fruits and fresh juices to make jello my kids love and I’m happy with them eating.

Homemade Jello Recipe

While this isn’t an everyday snack in our house, it’s made from fresh fruit and juices with quality gelatin. In my book, it’s a healthy treat that kids of all ages can enjoy! It’s naturally low-carb, paleo, and gluten-free. The recipe is open-ended and you can choose whichever combination of fruit and juice you prefer, or leave out the fruit altogether. Just don’t use pineapple juice since the enzymes in it prevent the gelatin from gelling.

If you have a juicer you can use fresh juice in this recipe. You can also add a little maple syrup, stevia, or honey to sweeten if desired. Personally, I find it sweet enough with just the juice.

Here are a few ideas to try:

  • Orange juice and cranberry juice
  • Orange juice and blueberries
  • White grape juice with strawberries or peaches
  • Apple juice with some cinnamon
  • Watermelon juice with fresh mint leaves

Collagen vs. Gelatin

You’ve probably heard me sing the praises of grass-fed gelatin and collagen by now. Their health benefits include stronger nails, healthier hair, and improved gut health. While they’re similar in how they work in the body, there is a difference when it comes to making homemade healthy jello.

Collagen peptides are my go-to when it comes to my morning coffee and smoothies. I can make an iced mushroom coffee with collagen powder and not worry about it turning into mushroom jello. On the other hand, collagen will not gel when it comes to homemade jello.

Be sure you use gelatin, not collagen peptides. Gelatin from a healthy grass-fed source is especially beneficial and will “gel” when chilled, while collagen peptides will not.

Knox is a popular grocery store brand but it’s from conventionally raised cows. I’ve used Great Lakes beef gelatin in the past, but I find it doesn’t gel nearly as well as other brands. Right now my favorite gelatin for making healthy jello and gummies is the Vital Proteins brand. Not only are they grass-fed, but they hold up well in jello recipes.

homemade jello

Healthy Homemade Jello Recipe

Here's how to make homemade jello without added sugar or artificial ingredients. It’s a healthy snack that’s kid-friendly and naturally dairy-free and gluten-free.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Calories 67kcal
Author Katie Wells


4 servings



  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 1 TBSP  gelatin powder  (not collagen peptides)
  • ¼ cup water (very hot)
  • cups fruit juice
  • 1-2 cups fresh fruit (optional)


  • Pour the cold water into a medium size mixing bowl. Sprinkle the grass-fed gelatin powder evenly over the top and allow it to bloom for a minute.
  • 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 1 and 1/2 cups of juice and mix well.
  • Place fresh fruit in a layer on the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish if using. You can also use different shaped molds. I used a bundt pan lightly greased with coconut oil so the gelatin would more easily come out of the mold.
  • Pour the gelatin 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.


Nutrition Facts
Healthy Homemade Jello Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 67 Calories from Fat 2
% Daily Value*
Fat 0.2g0%
Saturated Fat 0.03g0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.02g
Sodium 13mg1%
Potassium 150mg4%
Carbohydrates 13g4%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 5IU0%
Vitamin C 22mg27%
Calcium 16mg2%
Iron 0.3mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  • This recipe can be doubled for a bigger batch.
  • Don’t use fresh pineapple juice as the enzymes prevent the gelatin from “gelling.”
  • The nutrition data was calculated with fresh strawberries for the added fruit. 

More Ways to Use Gelatin

Looking for more yummy recipes to use up that can of gelatin powder?

Ever made homemade jello? What are your favorite juice and fruit combinations? Leave a comment and share below!

Like this recipe? Check out my new cookbook, or get all my recipes (over 500!) in a personalized weekly meal planner here!

This healthy Jello recipe is made with grass fed gelatin and no added sugar or artificial ingredients for a healthy treat.

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


156 responses to “How to Make Healthy Jello”

    1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

      It can if you were to just smell it out of the canister or mix a lot in water. Once it’s made into the jello though any gelatin taste and smell isn’t noticeable.

  1. Tammy Avatar

    5 stars
    I had very high hopes of finding an alternative to what is currently on store shelves. They were met and I’m thrilled! I used the recommended gelatin/collagen and everything worked perfectly. Pomegranate juice was my first try and I’m excited to try other flavors. Thanks!

  2. Marsha Greene Avatar
    Marsha Greene

    I made this recipe with grass fed beef gelatin, Zevia Strawberry drink, Coconut flavoring, 2 tsp. Swerve. No fruit. So I am thinking my recipe would have no carbs. I took Coconut fat from canned coconut milk and whipped up for topping. As I am on Keto only doing 15-20 carbs now the fruit would be over the top for my blood sugars. This is a great recipe. Thanks, Going to try Black Cherry Zevia with Dark Chocolate Stevia next.

    1. Nancy L Phillips Avatar
      Nancy L Phillips

      Yes, agar agar is a healthy seaweed that can be used. You can buy it as a powder or flakes. The package will indicate the proper amounts.

  3. Pam Avatar

    Can jello be made with plain water with stevia ( I grow my own)? i need the gelatin and love jello but need it to be sugar free and low carb or no carb if possible.
    Thank you,

  4. Allison Avatar

    Hi! I used a fruit blend of strawberry, blueberry, a little melon and a lot of pineapple. I saw that fresh pineapple prevents the gelatin from gelling. But I also saw that you mentioned just not to only use pineapple. My mixture isn’t gelling. Should I add more gelatin? Is there anything that I can do to salvage this? I doubled the recipe… Thanks!

  5. Sonia Avatar

    Hello, a while ago you recommended the Great Lakes brand, that’s what I’ve been using, why don’t you recommend that one anymore?

    1. Katie Wells Avatar

      Their sourcing isn’t as clean these days as Vital Proteins and Primal Kitchen, and the taste isn’t as pleasant either. But that could in the future, which is why it’s so important to pay attention to what every company is doing…

  6. Molly Avatar

    Am I the only one that thought this was disgusting? We followed the directions and used orange juice. It just felt slimey and not sweet at all. Maybe it was just the OJ?

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