Homemade “Jello” Gelatin (sugar-free option)

Homemade Jello! This Sugar Free Jello is easy to make and oh so nutritious! Ditch the overpriced boxes and make this instead!

“Jello” is one of those things that has always perplexed me.

Why would someone pay over $5 per pound for a little box made up of mostly sugar, a teensy bit of gelatin, artificial color and flavor?

‘Cause you know- I’m the type of mom who never buys much of anything packaged and processed.  So none of those itsy bitsy containers of sugar and artificial dye-laden boxes that cost about $1.10 or so for 1 batch of not-so-good-for-you stuff.

Well, a number of years ago, I bought brand name and generic brand gelatin for some reason or another.  I’m sure it was probably an ingredient in a recipe that I wanted to try.

So I bought it and had the rest of the packets sitting in my pantry for a long time.

Don’t ask how long. Good thing gelatin doesn’t spoil :-).

Anyway, at some point, in my “making my own version of processed foods” trials and errors, I ended up making “Knox Blocks” (or generic “gelatin blocks”) for my kids whenever they’ve been sick and nothing else will calm their tummies, or as a treat when they’ve wanted something a little special.

I’ve made it following a few different recipes, but we recently tried it with lemon and lime juice and these versions were super refreshing (and candida friendly too!)

Homemade Gelatin

(For all you vegans out there, I encourage you to stick around.  You can make this with agar agar as well.  I just haven’t gotten around to it yet but I’m sure I will :-).)

This recipe turned out so beautifully that I just needed to get it out on my blog.  And besides which, I haven’t posted a recipe in quite awhile and it was about time :-).

(This recipe was modified from this one on Cooks.com.)

NOTE:  I am no longer using regular store brand gelatin.  I am now using Great Lakes Gelatin.  It is made from pastured cows in Argentina that have not been treated with antibiotics or hormones.  I bought a HUGE amount (remember – gelatin doesn’t spoil :-)!)

Please don’t use those icky “Not ReaLemon” bottles that are sold everywhere.  They are filled w/ nasty preservatives and don’t taste like the real thing.  Because they aren’t.  Have you ever drunk that stuff straight?  :-(.

The Dream Foods brand costs more, but it is worth it!  I buy mine in a super big combo pack at Costco.  If you don’t that much, you can find it on Amazon or at The Green Polka Dot Box (where I can almost promise you that they have the best price around.  They have a 30 day FREE Trial Membership to their Organic, Non-GMO Buying club.) If you do go and buy the pack at Costco, you can use your extra juice for my Homemade Lemonade with Sugar Free Option.

Stevia extract is a little hard to measure.  These stainless steel mini measuring spoons from Amazon are super handy.  The 2nd smallest is the size of 1/32 of a teaspoon so you can easily measure stevia extract with these!

 

Norpro Mini Measuring Spoons

Looking for other ways to save money on DIY / MYO replacements for processed foods?  How about:

Do you have a favorite way to eat “Jello” or a favorite flavor?
This post contains affilate links.  You can read more in my disclaimer here.
Shared at  Diet, Dessert, and Dogs,

Comments

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  1. Bobbi Urquhart says:

    You can also make your gelatin just with juice. It’s delicious and you don’t have to bother with other ingredients and is also sugar free.

    • Thanks, Bobbi! You’re right. I’ve done that as well. I personally need this version since I am off of juice right now, but that’s a great suggestion!

    • You know, Bobbi, I am rethinking this. Thanks for your comment. I am going to have to rework this. I think the juice only version is exactly right but when making lime or lemon (which is what I made) you’d need the water or it’d be horribly tart. Thanks and I’ll make the appropriate changes!

  2. Mmm, I haven’t made gelatin in a long time! Like you said, good thing it doesn’t spoil. ;) Only juice I have right now is apple though… hmmm.

  3. I love any kind of make your own recipe! And agree that the premade jellos are pretty gross and pointless.

    I’d rather use agar myself, but you’re right, it works pretty similarly.

  4. Perfect spring dessert! You think this would work with Pineapple juice? If I remember correctly, when making Jello from the box (which I have done maybe 2-3 times), directions say not to use pineapple. I just bought a fresh organic pineapple for my family. We cannot use it all in one sitting. I shouldn’t eat hardly any ’cause of sugar content. So I’m looking for low sugar pineapple recipes for the family. So, perhaps there is a way to incorporate pineapple into a healthy gelatin dessert.

    • Good question, Michele! I just did a little digging around and found out what the situation is regarding pineapple. Pineapple contains bromelain which is a digestive enzyme. It serves to aid in protein digestion so fresh pineapple or pineapple juice might break down some of the gelatin and then the gelatin won’t set properly. If you add the pineapple at the end, it might unset it and if you add it at the beginning, it might cause the gelatin not to set.

      If you use pasteurized (heated) pineapple juice, however, the enzymes have been destroyed so the gelatin will set fine. That means any pineapple or pineapple juice packed in bottles or cans will work fine. Sadly that means that your pineapple won’t work. Maybe you should freeze it and make a sorbet if you have a Vitamix? Or top pizza with it? I know what you mean about the sugar content. :-(. The only other thing I can think of right now would be drying it or making a low sugar cake with pineapple rings on top. I hope that helps!

      • Christine says:

        One of my mom’s favorite things to do in the summer is to cut pineapple into “sticks,” wrap in wax paper, and put them in a freezer bag/container … Then we could get them from the freezer whenever we wanted … Best summer treat in the world …

  5. I get really bad headaches with xylitol… was wondering if you have made the jello using just the Stevia. By the way… I want to say- Thanks for all of your recipes and knowledge, Adrienne… I love and support all you do!

    • Joyce, first of all, thanks for the sweet comment! You’re welcome! I think you could certainly make it with just stevia. I think it’ll be a little bitter, but you know how stevia is already :-). Have you tried higher quality xylitol? Are you certain it’s not a reaction to corn and the birch would be better? Also erythritol or vegetable glycerin might be a nice fit for you. Take care!

  6. This is a great alternative. I have some Knox gelatin in my pantry too.
    But have you ever had trouble with the Stevia causing headaches? For some reason it does that with me and it also seems to keep me up if I use it in a juice drink later in the evening. I’ve read many places that it’s totally safe, but I read this on Livestrong.com: “People who are allergic to plants such as ragweed, marigold and daisies may have adverse reactions to stevia that include headaches. Stevia also may interact with lithium. Stevia may heighten the effect of diabetes medication, causing blood sugar to drop too low, which could contribute to headaches and dizziness, as well as other adverse reactions. Effects on fetal development have not been established and as such, expectant mothers should avoid using stevia.”
    I made sure I was using the right kind “Reb A (Stevia Extract)” and not some other form. But still have the problems. Really want to use something natural but low calorie. Anyway, wanted to check and see if you know anything more about this. You have such a helpful site.

    • Hi Gail. I too have had concerns about stevia and have tried to make sense of all of this. I thought I was having horrible problems with it at one time and even stopped using it for awhile. I am allergic to ragweed so I thought that that was my problem. Now, after changing my diet and working hard on Nutritional Balancing to get my adrenals in better health (which should address blood sugar issues as well), I am able to eat it.

      I am confused about the info on it. I have read about these issues, but have also heard from some “experts” in the industry that if anything, it should level out one’s blood sugar. I am not aware of its interaction w diabetes meds, however.

      I am curious what brand you use. I have heard from several people that it is really important to get a high quality extract w/ no fillers. Have you seen the info on the brands that I use? I am hoping to do a post or 2 on sweeteners and stevia in particular soon, but for now you just have to poke around on posts like my Bean Fudge Recipe.

      Let me know your thoughts and thanks for your kind words!

      • I know you’ve recommended the NuNaturals brand of pure stevia extract, but the formulation on that product changed in April 2013, and it became a very bitter brand of stevia extract. I’ve switched to the Trim Healthy Mama THM Stevia Extract and the THM Sweet Blend (a blend of stevia and erythritol), and it is much sweeter than the NuNaturals brand now.

        • I haven’t tried that one. Are they making it or relabeling?

          • They have sourced their stevia and erythritol products from Asia, but were extremely picky about how it was being processed…basically, minimally processed, not even granulated. Non-GMO, organic. Good stuff! They are having it manufactured for them under their strict guidelines, so they aren’t just repackaging stuff that has already been currently available. I talk about this on my website, but I’m afraid if I put a link here to the exact page on my website, this comment might be flagged as spam. :) You can also read about it on the Trim Healthy Mama.com website.

            • They decided to make their own version of pure stevia extract, as well as their own more natural version of Truvia, because of the changes in the KAL stevia and the NuNaturals stevia products. They wanted to ensure as much as possible that they could recommend stevia that met their own careful specifications.

            • I just asked after your other comment – do you know what country in Asia they are from?

  7. As a vegetarian, I can’t wait to read your recipe with agar agar when you come up with it! I have yet to find a “jello” recipe that I like. Thanks for trying that for those of us who can’t/don’t eat gelatin! :-)

  8. Wow, I didn’t know you could do that. Thanks

  9. Thank you so much for sharing this!! I would love for you to link this up to Fantabulous Friday @ Little Becky Homecky! Hope to see you there!!

    http://littlebeckyhomecky.blogspot.com/2012/03/fantabulous-friday6.html

  10. Very excited to try this… but how much is 12 scoops of Stevia?

    Very much looking forward to the vegetarian option as well – my daughter loves jello – but has decided that she is a vegetarian!

    • Each scoop is 1/32 of a teaspoon – so 12 scoops is about 3/8 tsp. Tell your daughter to be careful. I know there are many schools of thought but one must be really careful to get all the nutrients on that diet.

  11. I just love Jello and am very happy to have this recipe! Hope you are having a wonderful Spring day. Thank you so much for sharing your great recipe with Full Plate Thursday and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  12. I totally need this! My daughter can’t have the dyes in regular jello! TI Would love to have you link up to my 2 carnivals today….http://www.aroundmyfamilytable.com/2012/04/feed-your-soul-5/ (anything food related) and http://everydaymomcakes.com/sugar-me-up-5/ (deserts only). Hope to see you around!

  13. I’m just wondering what “healthiest sweetener” people have tried and were they happy with it. I’m not sure which to start with…
    Thanks!

  14. Still anxiously awaiting the vegetarian version (unless I missed it), because this looks so yummy. Thanks in advance! :-)

  15. Am I reading the recipe right? Do you use both the sweetener and the Stevia?

    Thanks,
    Joey

  16. I,m very confused about the scoop measurement ~ how much is a scoop? A tsp, a T ??

  17. Hi Adrienne,

    After I read your post I got this idea to do pumpkin shaped gelatin cut outs but it raises two questions: To make the cut outs look like pumpkins, they should be orange. Can you suggest a way to make them either with orange juice or maybe using an orange extract and food coloring? Question #2 is can I cut a sheet of gelatin or must I mold them in the pumpkin shapes? I love reading all your clever ideas and thanks for sharing!

    • You can cut them if you use the firmer option. Maybe try carrots to get orange color? Turmeric might work but it might be yellowy. I think turmeric would work easier. Just be Ok in your mind w/ yellow and you’ll be happy!!! Great idea! Might just have to try it :)

  18. Why do you need the “sweetener and stevia? That seems like a lot of sweetness.

    • I do that b/c it makes the flavor better if you use more than one sweetener. The resulting sweetness is the same. Also, some people don’t like using so much sugar or alternative like xylitol so this way you can augment the sweetness by adding stevia. Hope that helps!

  19. I want to try this. I would use agave syrup or organic sugar to sweeten.

  20. I just ordered the GREEN can of gelatin from Amazon. I got the recipe and tips for cold water first. Thanks!

  21. Do you think it would work with Guar Gum? Also, I have been trying to create a grape jelly using Guar Gum, any suggestions? I think this is my first time posting, so in this post, I would like to say thanks for all you do, and that I love all of your recipes that I have tried so far.

    • You are so kind – thanks! I think it could work. I am not a fan of the gums, but try it maybe with about 1/2 the amount first and see how it goes. Agar would be a more likely vegan sub. Enjoy!

  22. Thanks Adrienne! I keep trying to incorporate honey rather than all the sugar subs – what do you think? Feel free to reference one of your previous articles. I love reading your stuff!

  23. You’re welcome. Thanks for responding.

  24. southern woman says:

    I am a bit confused by this recipe….does it call for BOTH a sweetener AND Stevia or is it supposed to be one or the other?
    Thanks.

    • I like to blend alternative sweeteners for a better taste. You could use one or the other but you will likely need to increase the amount of whatever you choose :).

    • southern woman says:

      Ooops.
      Just read that, yes, the recipe does call for both.
      Now—I would prefer not to use Stevia at all but just pure, organic sugar. Can you tell me how much sugar I should use in this recipe?
      Thanks again.

      • For right now, you can read this post on stevia. You will have to work w/ it to taste b/c all stevias are different and I think that the brand I was recommending is stronger than most.

  25. Why did you use sweetener AND Stevia? I thought stevia is a sweetener. I ask because I would like to try my hand at homemade jello for the family, and of course I love that your recipe includes a whole gelatin that is better for us

  26. We don’t eat jello much, but it’s nice to know that when I want some I have a good option! Thanks for linking at Trim Healthy Tuesday. :-)

  27. Hi I use Xylitol for coffee and tes but I know baking with it you have to be cautious as it is a diaretic, Did you have any issues with that amount of sugar? I was thinking of doing half Xylitol and half coconut sugar

  28. I read through all the posts but could not seem to find an answer to this. Can orange juice be used to make the jello orange colored? To make it healthier maybe get the juice right from the orange? Thanks

    • You could do that but it will add a lot more sugar. You could use turmeric for color only – just a little. I would whole juice it in the vitamix to make it the healthiest.