Easy Homemade JELLO Style Gelatin

Easy Homemade JELLO Style Gelatin

Ditch the box, and make homemade jello style gelatin at home. So easy, with only a few ingredients—and it’s actually good for you.

Ditch the box, and make homemade jello style gelatin at home. So easy, with only a few ingredients—and it's actually good for you.

Making this easy homemade “JELLO” gelatin really requires just two ingredients: juice + gelatin. But, as with most intriguing things in life, the closer I looked, the more deliciously complicated it all became.

I’m boiling it all down for you here into just the facts. If you don’t really want to know much more and just want to get to the recipe, feel free to scroll down to the bottom for the video and the recipe. But don’t you want to know at least a little bit more?

Ditch the box, and make homemade jello style gelatin at home. So easy, with only a few ingredients—and it's actually good for you.

Adding fresh fruit to homemade jello

At the very least, you’ll want to know the best way to put some fresh fruit in there and make sure it doesn’t sink to the bottom. Just let the gelatin chill for about 45 minutes in the refrigerator until it’s beginning to set. Press a few slices of your favorite fruit into the mixture, then finish chilling until it’s completely set.

When it’s summertime and fresh berries are affordable and at their peak, those are the flavors of homemade jello that I’m most likely to make. Strawberry tops the list for me.

But when you’re adding whole fruit to the gelatin, avoid chunks of pineapple, kiwi, mango, papaya or mango. When it’s fresh, those types of fruit can make it difficult for the gelatin to set up properly. (Here’s why.)

Ditch the box, and make homemade jello style gelatin at home. So easy, with only a few ingredients—and it's actually good for you.

How pretty are these pineapple and blueberry “JELLO” flavors? No additives, no chemicals, no food dyes. Just food, glorious food.

Ditch the box, and make homemade jello style gelatin at home. So easy, with only a few ingredients—and it's actually good for you.

What type of fruit (juice)?

I don’t generally keep any juice in the house other than pineapple. And that’s only for my gluten free Hawaiian Rolls since they’re some of the best burger buns around, and my gluten free pineapple upside down cake. I make that at least a couple times a year.

I do always have different types of fruit, both fresh and frozen at home. So I complicated things a bit by testing fruit purees in place of juice. I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that you most certainly can make homemade “JELLO” gelatin with fruit purees. The bad news? You must mix the puree with at least as much actual fruit juice or the “JELLO” simply won’t set up.

Ditch the box, and make homemade jello style gelatin at home. So easy, with only a few ingredients—and it's actually good for you.

So even though this is really so simple as to almost not even qualify as a “recipe,” there were enough tips and tricks that I picked up along the way that I thought it was worthy of its own post.

Gelatin is actually quite healthy for you. So I’m often looking for ways to get some of it into my children without opening up a box of overly sugary JELLO.

If you’re looking to make this vegan, maybe try agar agar powder in place of the gelatin? I’ve been experimenting with making vegan cheese (!), so I’m becoming more and more familiar with vegan magic ingredients. But just enough to make me dangerous, so far.

Now click play ▶️ and watch me make some strawberry homemade JELLO style gelatin!


Ditch the box, and make homemade jello style gelatin at home. So easy, with only a few ingredients—and it's actually good for you.

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 4 servings gelatin (can be doubled, tripled or even halved easily)


2 cups (16 fluid ounces) fruit juice or combination fruit puree and juice*

1 tablespoon (8 g) unflavored powdered gelatin**

2- 3 tablespoons (42 to 63 g) honey (can replace with 3 to 5 tablespoons (38 g to 63 g) granulated sugar), to taste

*I have tested this recipe with many different combinations of fruit juice and pureed fruit, and have found that, if you use more than 50% fruit puree, the gelatin will not set properly. See the instructions for how to make a fruit puree for use in this recipe.

**I use Great Lakes brand unflavored grass-fed gelatin because, well, I like it a lot and can buy it in large quantities for a good price. I try to sneak as much of it into my children’s diet as possible because of its health benefits. But, of course, any unflavored powdered gelatin will work just fine. 1 packet of Knox gelatin is approximately 8 grams.


  • Select 4 single-serving heat-safe dishes to hold the JELLO as it sets, and set them aside.

  • To make a fruit puree for use in this recipe, soften the fruit by placing it in a heavy-bottom saucepan and adding just enough water to cover it. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, and cook until the fruit can be easily smashed by pressing it against the side of the pan. For berries, this should only take a couple minutes after boiling. For more fibrous fruits like apples, peel, core and roughly chop the apples before cooking. It will take longer for the fruit to be tender enough. Once the fruit is ready, remove it from the heat and set it aside to cool for a few minutes before transferring the entire contents of the pan to a blender and puree until smooth. Pass the puree through a fine mesh sieve to remove any solids or seeds. Use only 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) of fruit puree per recipe.

  • Some notes about fruit juices: 

    1. I prefer to use only 100% juice so I can control the amount of added sugar.
    2. Apple juice is a nice, relatively neutral juice to add to berry purees. When I made the blueberry JELLO you see above, I used 1 cup of apple juice along with the 1 cup of fruit puree.
    3. Pineapple juice makes for a surprisingly lovely gelatin flavor.
    4. You can actually use water in place of juice for an unflavored gelatin, but you’ll need to add considerably more sugar to make the JELLO palatable.
  • In a small bowl, place about 1/4 cup of the fruit juice and sprinkle with the powdered gelatin. Mix thoroughly and allow to sit until the gelatin swells in the liquid. Place the remaining 3/4 cup fruit juice, plus any fruit puree (or more juice) to make 2 full cups in a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat. Add the swelled gelatin and honey (or sugar) to the hot saucepan and mix until the gelatin and honey/sugar dissolve.

  • Divide the mixture immediately among the serving dishes, and allow to cool to room temperature. Cover the dishes and place in the refrigerator to chill until set (about 3 hours). If you’re feeling particularly generous, serve with whipped cream.

  • Originally published on the blog in 2015. Some photos, video and some text new.



Comments are closed.

  • Cameron
    August 21, 2017 at 12:29 AM

    I am not familiar with Great Lakes gelatin I have always used Knox gelatin. You can make all the flavors you love, create new flavors and so much better for you. It does not take any longer to make. All of those gelatin recipes you had to stop making works doing it from scratch.

  • Judi
    August 20, 2017 at 6:20 PM

    Can it be made with fresh squeezed lemon/lime, green tea and lemon/lime seltzer? I would think it could, I should give it a try. :)

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 21, 2017 at 7:42 AM

      I’m not sure about using seltzer, Judi. I’ve actually never tried that, and since you heat the mixture, I imagine all of the carbonation would leave the solution. Any of those other liquids instead of fruit juice would work, though, in still water, but I would definitely cut that with some sweetness and water!

  • Pam
    August 20, 2017 at 4:29 PM

    Has anyone tried leaving out the sweetener and subbing stevia instead? Will the gelatin still set up?

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 21, 2017 at 7:43 AM

      I bet that would be fine, Pam. I haven’t tried it, but I don’t see why the Stevia would interfere with the setting up of the gelatin (although I haven’t tried it, so I can’t promise!).

  • Marilyn
    April 30, 2015 at 3:18 PM

    I went to Amazon to buy the Great Lakes gelatin & saw a BUNCH of different items. Which do you use? The red or green can, beef or pork, etc. Thanks

    • May 1, 2015 at 7:19 AM

      You can really use any of them, Marilyn, but I used the red can of beef gelatin.

  • Lauren
    April 27, 2015 at 3:12 PM

    Aww! My mom used to make this for me when I would get my braces adjusted and be in agony! It always felt extra special to have “Jello” that tasted like *real* grapes. Thanks for the reminder. Now I have something simple to make for my dessert-loving husband during the week.

    • May 1, 2015 at 7:18 AM

      Braces food, Lauren! That’s adorable.

  • youngbaker2002
    April 27, 2015 at 12:09 PM

    wow Nicole, your ”jello” looks exactly like the real deal! using grass fed gelatin and using honey instead of sugar… could there be a more healthy dessert? we have the grass fed gelatin and we have honey and juice. i could make this for dessert TONIGHT. i believe i will.

    • April 27, 2015 at 2:11 PM

      And you should! It’s actually, dare I say, better than the “real thing,” Mena.

      • youngbaker2002
        April 27, 2015 at 2:43 PM

        Oh i know it. Much better than the real thing. Thank you so much!!!

  • Nm
    April 27, 2015 at 10:52 AM

    Hi, the gelatin in the pictures looks so pretty. I can’t wait to try this. Do you have a recipe or link to a recipe for whipped cream? Thanks in advance.

    • April 27, 2015 at 11:22 AM

      Hi, Nm, all you have to do to make fresh whipped cream is to place chilled heavy-whipping cream in a bowl and beat it with a handheld mixer or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or by hand with a whisk which is an arm workout but totally doable) on medium speed just until stiff peaks form. If you’d like to sweeten it, once the cream becomes foamy during beating, add about 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar per cup of cream and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. That’s all!

  • Lucy
    April 27, 2015 at 9:14 AM

    yippee! This is a great addition to our recipe box, thank you Nicole :)

    • April 27, 2015 at 11:20 AM

      So glad you survived, Lucy! I knew you could do it—but I also knew you’d be worn out. :)

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