Table of contents[Hide][Show]
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), colorings, additives and gelatin from factory farmed animals. I certainly wasn’t going to make that for my kids!
Then I discovered how healthy gelatin from grass-fed animals can be a good source of protein. 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 uses natural fruits and fresh juices to make jello that my kids love and I’m happy when they eat.
Homemade Jello Recipe
Although this is not an everyday snack in our house, it is made from fresh fruit and juices with quality gelatin. I think it’s a healthy treat that kids of all ages can enjoy! It is naturally low-carb, paleo and gluten-free. The recipe is open-ended and you can choose which combination of fruit and juice you want, or you can leave out the fruit altogether. Just don’t use pineapple juice, because 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 it 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
By now you’ve probably heard me sing the praises of grass-fed gelatin and collagen. Their health benefits include stronger nails, healthier hair and improved gut health. Although they are similar in the way they work in the body, there is a difference when it comes to making homemade healthy jello.
Collagen peptides are my favorite when it comes to my morning coffee and smoothies. I can make mushroom iced coffee with collagen powder and not have to worry about it turning into mushroom jelly. On the other hand, collagen will not gel when it comes to homemade jello.
Make sure you use gelatin and not collagen peptides. Gelatin from a healthy grass-fed source is particularly beneficial and will “gel” when refrigerated, while collagen peptides do not.
Knox is a popular supermarket brand, but it comes from conventionally raised cows. I have used Great Lakes beef gelatin in the past, but I find that it doesn’t gelatinize nearly as well as other brands. Right now my favorite gelatin for making healthy jello and gummies is Vital Proteins brand. Not only are they grass-fed, but they also hold up well in jello recipes.
Healthy Homemade Jello Recipe
Here’s how to make homemade jello without added sugar or artificial ingredients. It is a healthy snack that is kid-friendly and is naturally dairy and gluten free.
- ¼ cup cold water
- 1 TABLESPOON gelatin powder (no collagen peptides)
- ¼ cup water (very hot)
- 1½ cups fruit juice
- 1-2 cups fresh fruit (optional)
Pour the cold water into a medium mixing bowl. Sprinkle the grass-fed gelatin powder evenly over the top and let it bloom for a minute.
Stir briskly until blended. It will be much thicker.
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 in the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish, if using. You can also use different shaped molds. I used a baking tin lightly greased with coconut oil to make it easier for the gelatin to come out of the tin.
Pour the gelatin mixture over the fruit and stir lightly to make sure the fruit is coated.
Place covered in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours or overnight.
Cut it into cubes or scoop it out with a melon baller to make fun shapes.
Healthy Homemade Jello Recipe
Quantity per serving (1 serving)
Calories from fat 2
% Daily Value*
Saturated fat 0.03 g0%
Polyunsaturated fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated fat 0.02 g
Egg white 3g6%
Vitamin A 5IU0%
Vitamin C 22 mg27%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
- This recipe can be doubled for a larger batch.
- Do not use fresh pineapple juice, as the enzymes prevent the gelatin from ‘gelling’.
- The nutritional data has been calculated using fresh strawberries for the added fruit.
More ways to use gelatin
Looking for more tasty 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!