Homemade “Jello” Gelatin (sugar-free option)

Homemade Jello - Sugar Free with Low Carb Option. Ditch the overpriced packets of sugar and artificial flavor and colors and make this easy healthy treat instead!

I love making homemade healthier versions of processed foods. Some of our favorites are vegetable broth powder, homemade ketchup, homemade gummy snacks, taco seasoning, natural blue food coloring, homemade chocolate chips and homemade white chocolate chips.

So when I found a way to make homemade “JELLO” – I was thrilled!

“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 Jello - Sugar Free with Low Carb Option. Ditch the overpriced packets of sugar and artificial flavor and colors and make this easy healthy treat instead!

(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.)

Ingredient Sourcing:

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.

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

By the way, any of the following links may be affiliate links. If you click on them and make a purchase, I might make a commission. Your support is much appreciated and helps keep this free resource up and running.

Homemade "Jello" Gelatin (sugar-free option)
Recipe type: Pudding
Cuisine: Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free, & Low-Carb
Serves: 2 8x8 square pans
Make this Homemade JELLO at home and ditch the boxed mix. Sugar-free with nourishing ingredients. Tastes great too!
  • 3 Tbsps gelatin, granulated (3 packets) (I recommend Great Lakes Brand. See Notes. For Gelatin Squares, use twice as much gelatin.)
  • ¾ cup healthiest sweetener (I used xylitol for a candida friendly version. Any granulated or liquid sweetener will work.)
  • 12 scoops stevia extract* (NuNaturals is one good brand.)
  • 1½ cups boiling filtered water
  • 3 cups cold water (divided)
  • 1⅛ cup lemon or lime juice (or some of each for Lemon Lime Gelatin! I used Dream Foods Organic Lemon. I LOVE this brand!)
  • ½ teaspoon grated rind (optional. Use lemon rind for lemon gelatin--lime for lime.)
  1. Soften gelatin by soaking in 1½ cups of the cold water for a few minutes.
  2. Add boiling water and stir until gelatin is dissolved.
  3. Add remaining ingredients (including the other 1½ cups cold water), stirring until thoroughly blended.
  4. Pour into 2 8x8 baking pans.
  5. Refrigerate until set.
1. *Stevia extract is super sweet. 1/32 tsp is about as sweet as 1-2 Tbsp sugar. So you can substitute another sweetener for the stevia, but you will need to use a lot. See this post for more measuring info.

2. Instead of the baking pans, you could of course use anything as a mold. Like the little heart molds I bought for my Healthy "Reese's" Candy (with allergy options.)


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?

These comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Whole New Mom, LLC.


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  1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. You’re welcome. Thanks for responding.

  4. 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?

    • 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:

      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.

  5. 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

  6. 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. 🙂

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Would you please post ???? the recipe using sugar,maybe honey. Thanks in advance,,????

  10. Help! I’ve tried this recipe three times and my jello never set up! What am I doing wrong? I’m using Great Lakes cold soluble gelatin, stevia and fresh lime juice. Itwon’t set up.

  11. Mary Hagerman says:

    I missed eating jello, it was a favorite when we were growing up. I just made my own homemade jello using a double strength lacto fermented lemonade. The only trick was dissolving the gelatin in hot water and adding ice cubes to bring the temperature down (before adding lemonade) to keep from killing the probiotics in the lemonade.

  12. im wondering how to make other flavors like raspberry and strawberry? Could you use extracts?

  13. I am curious if you can just use juice straight from the fruit for this? I currently have brain cancer and can not have anything with sugar in it. All store bought juice contains sugar. Does it matter? Would it be better with juices from fruit or would it not turn out. I think I remember I used to add chopped fruit to the store bought jello.

  14. Commeneter says:

    Xylitol as a healthy food? My daughter’s doctor told her to stay away from it, especially with her digestive problems. I cannot imagine how a laxative (sugar alcohol) could be good for kids with upset tummies. Also, Web MD reports “some animal studies have shown tumor growth resulting from high doses of xylitol over long periods, more research is needed. If you are a dog owner, be aware that xylitol can be toxic to dogs, even in small amounts.”

    • Hi there. I see you didn’t use a real email or name, but I will respond to you anyway. As for xylitol, I am aware of the controversies about it. I personally try to not use much of it and I lean heavily on stevia that is pure. However, since I have candida, I don’t have much of a choice. I am going to try lo han again for awhile, but I recall it not working well. As for the health aspects of it, I don’t see anything on the internet that is real information about tumors and xylitol. I looked for a long time last night and there most certainly is nothing on Web MD about it so I don’t know where you are getting that information. As for dogs, you are correct about that. Also, though in somewhat greater amounts, raisins and grapes and chocolate are also toxic to dogs.

      I have a friend who has 2 dogs and is a sugar-free baker. She uses xylitol all the time and has trained her dogs not to eat people food.

      Thanks for commenting but in the interest of having a real dialogue please leave your accurate information next time (well, of course you can’t read this, but others can :)).

  15. Akka Bekka says:

    There is some concern that extremely high doses for long periods of time (more than three years) can cause tumors. Xylitol can cause diarrhea and intestinal gas. It is probably safe for children as a medicine in amounts up to 20 grams per day.

    So, unless you actually are diabetic, stick to sugar as most sugar free sweeteners are much worse than it…

  16. Hello! I just found your website while looking for healthier alternatives to treats for my daughter. She has a lot of stomach issues and we’re embarking on a fairly severe elimination diet and I need to find stuff she can and will eat! I will definitely try the gelatin recipe. I am not a fan of stevia, though, so will probably use honey or coconut sugar. Thanks for the recipe!

    I noticed some comments expressing concern about Xylitol. There actually is a note about a possible link to tumors on WebMD (http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-996-XYLITOL.aspx?activeIngredientId=996&activeIngredientName=XYLITOL) on the “Side Effects” tab. I don’t know what an “extremely high dose” is, but I bet I couldn’t afford that much Xylitol anyway. 🙂 I also found this article: http://www.naturalnews.com/022986_xylitol_health_sugar.html#

    I have used Xylitol for baking and as a sweetener for coffee/tea on occasion. I think as long as people don’t get carried away (as with anything), it should be safe to use.

    I will check out the rest of your site for more recipes.

    • Hi there. I’m glad you brought this up as I was looking into it awhile ago and couldn’t find anything about the tumors anywhere.

      I did more digging and here is a very interesting thread about it.


      I’m not worried. I don’t eat a ton of it, but some days eat more than others.

      As for N News, he has some good info, but some very unfounded information. I have personally tried to contact them / him with proof of their errors and have never gotten a response. Take that for what it’s worth.

      Look forward to seeing you around again!

      • Ah, thanks for that link. It’s good that people discuss and question things. Thanks, too, for the info on N News. I’d never read anything else on there; just found it when searching the Xylitol question. Everything with a grain of salt!

        I’ve saved a few more recipes on your site. I’ll make them over the next few weeks and see how it goes. I’ll be back! 🙂

  17. Luina Manaci says:

    Regarding your comment about Great Lakes gelatin: You cannot pasteurize a cow.

  18. Have you tried with the Agar-Agra yet? i have kids in my Science Innovation Fair projects who are tying to make because they read about what is in other Jello/gelatins. It is not working and we have tried a few ways…

  19. I want to add collagen to my diet. I don’t understand 12 scoops is this a typo? Please clarify for me. Thank you

  20. SherriLee says:

    You made my day ! I have been all over the web tonight looking for Jello and all of a sudden I came across you page. You are a God send. My dad for yrs fed our horses Jello to help there hoofs grow believe it or not ! I have since moved to Fla and have been buying it at the local store and it is getting a bit pricey with 7 horses eating 2 packs a day . They there you are with a home made brained like I said you are a god send. I will have my daughter get all that we will need and get right on this tomorrow morning so my wallet can take a rest ..Thank you so much for keeping this up on the net .