This easy whipped JELLO-style gelatin recipe with a mousse-like texture and fresh fruit flavor is the perfect no-bake easy, light dessert for warmer months.
Whipped gelatin is so easy to make, and it tastes like a fruit-based strawberry mousse (if you choose that flavor, as I did). It's so light and refreshing and can be made as sweet or as tart as you like. Try stirring some fresh fruit slices into the mixture after whipping it with cream and you've got a 4-ingredient showstopper of a dessert.
Is JELLO gluten free?
JELLO brand treats are made by Kraft Heinz company, which practices “truth in labeling.” That means that, if there's an allergen present in their products, they will disclose that allergen in their ingredient labeling.
There are currently no gluten-containing ingredients in JELLO gelatin (always check individual product labels for the most current information). However, the mixes are not certified gluten free. It's up to you and your family to decide whether it's safe to enjoy JELLO products on a gluten free diet.
What is JELLO-style gelatin made of?
Each flavor of JELLO gelatin, of course, has its own list of ingredients. But the main components of any JELLO gelatin mix are sugar, gelatin, flavorings, coloring, and preservatives.
It's so incredibly easy to make your own classic JELLO-style fruit gelatin, though. The gelatin is rehydrated in water, then mixed into a hot liquid to melt, mixed together and then cooled until set.
You can make it any flavor you like, and even just use fruit juice and powdered unflavored gelatin without additional fruit purees or flavorings. My favorite base juice to use in making gelatin is apple juice since it's very neutral-tasting.
Pineapple juice also makes great gelatin, with another flavor added or not. Be careful about adding fresh fruit to your gelatin before it sets, though, since fresh pineapple, kiwi, mango, papaya, or mango will make it difficult for your gelatin to set properly.
How to make whipped JELLO-style gelatin
Whipped gelatin can be made from a packaged JELLO gelatin mix, but here we're making it entirely from scratch. The only real difference in making it from scratch is that you need your own flavoring and your own powdered gelatin.
For flavoring, I like to use freeze-dried fruit that I've ground into a fine powder in a simple blender. Nearly every type of fruit is now sold in freeze-dried form, and it allows me to add plenty of natural color and flavoring to the gelatin.
When I first made this recipe, I used apple juice instead of water. Even when I used less granulated sugar in the recipe, the final whipped gelatin was overly sweet. I really prefer to use water, and then control the sweetness with granulated sugar. But feel free to tweak the recipe to your preference.
Like regular homemade gelatin, to make whipped gelatin, simply rehydrate unflavored powdered gelatin in a bit of liquid and allow it to swell. Heat most of the remaining water in a saucepan until simmering, then add the sugar and freeze-dried fruit powder. Next, add the swelled gelatin and melt it in the hot liquid.
Transfer the hot mixture to a mixing bowl, and add a bit more cold water to help cool everything down. Chill the gelatin until it begins to set. The mixture will move slowly and begin to cling to the sides of the bowl.
Then, whip the gelatin until it lightens in color and begins to increase in volume. Add some cream and whip again, then just transfer to serving dishes and refrigerate until fully set.
Ingredients and substitutions
Freeze-dried fruit: I usually buy freeze-dried fruit in packets from my local Trader Joe's. They have lots of types of fruit, and it's at a pretty good price. Then, I grind it in my blender until it's a fine powder.
You can also buy freeze-dried fruit from other brands, both in grocery stores and online. You can even purchase freeze-dried fruit already in powdered form on nuts.com, but it's super expensive. I'd rather grind my own.
If you'd prefer to make this recipe without freeze-dried fruit, you certainly can. Just follow the instructions for making homemade JELLO-style gelatin here, and allow it to begin to set and follow the rest of this recipe as written.
Cream: If you'd like to make this recipe dairy-free, that should be easy enough. Just replace the heavy-whipping cream with chilled canned coconut cream.
You can either buy coconut cream alone in a can or buy full-fat coconut milk and chill the can in the refrigerator overnight. The cream will separate from the liquid and you can scoop off some cream to use in this recipe.
Sugar: If you'd like to avoid using refined, granulated sugar in this recipe, you can make your JELLO-style gelatin base using a naturally sweetened fruit juice. You can also replace the granulated sugar with an equal amount, by volume, of honey.
You can also increase or decrease the sweetness of this recipe as you like. The gelatin is what sets the mixture, not the sugar. You could even make this recipe without any sweetener at all (although I don't think it would taste very good!).
Whipped JELLO-Style Gelatin
1 3/4 cups (14 fluid ounces) cold water
1 tablespoon (8 g) unflavored powdered gelatin
1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
About 1 ounce freeze-dried fruit, ground into a powder
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (2 1/2 fluid ounces) heavy whipping cream
In a small bowl, place about 2 tablespoons of the water and sprinkle with the powdered gelatin. Mix thoroughly and allow to sit until the gelatin swells in the liquid.
Place about 1 cup of the remaining water in a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat and bring it to a simmer. Add the sugar and freeze-dried fruit powder, and whisk to combine well. Add the swelled gelatin and whisk constantly until the gelatin is completely melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat and transfer the mixture to a medium-sized bowl. Add the remaining cold water, and whisk to combine well. Place the bowl in the refrigerator (for about 1 1/2 hours) or freezer (for about 30 minutes) until the gelatin is beginning to set. It will cling to the sides of the bowl as you rotate it.
Remove the chilled gelatin from the refrigerator or freezer. Whip with a handheld mixer, for about 3 minutes or until the mixture froths and begins to lighten in color as a result of incorporating air into the mixture. Add the cream, and whip again until completely combined and the mixture is increased by about 50% from its original volume. Transfer the mixture to serving bowls or jars, cover each container and refrigerate until fully set (about another 2 hours). Serve chilled.