Homemade Jello Gelatin (sugar-free option)

Are you looking for a healthy alternative to the store-bought jello with all of the sugar and artificial additives?  This recipe for homemade JELLO® is super simple and a great way to get extra protein into your diet, without all the extra "stuff."

homemade low-carb jello in glass bowls

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!)

healthy homemade jello in glass dish with spoons

(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.

Benefits of Homemade Jello

Of course, you save money over the store-bought brand.

The gelatin is soothing to the stomach -- and it's a great healthy option for times when you are recovering from a tummy bug.

It's a fabulous source of additional or complementary protein.

Most obviously, you have total control over the ingredients and you can leave out those not so savory things like artificial colors and flavors - yikes!

Ingredient Information


I am no longer using regular store brand gelatin. It's REALLY important to use quality gelatin with all of the factory farming that is going on.

Here are some good choices for quality grass-fed beef gelatin:

Great Lakes Gelatin - this is the first grass-fed gelatin that I ever used. Nice people. Good customer service. Pasture and grass-fed sources from Argentina and Brazil.

Vital Proteins - these seem to be good people too.  Pastured, grass-fed bovine from Brazil.

Perfect Supplements - also pastured, grass-fed bovine from Brazil.

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 :-)!)

Lemon Juice

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--sooo tasty!!  I buy mine in a super big combo pack at Costco. If you don't that much, you can find it here 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.


I personally LOVE Lakanto - use code wholenewmom to get 20% off your order!

More Delicious Flavor Options

There are loads of possibilities for making all kinds of flavors of this Homemade "Jello." I prefer to make it lower carb but you can do either. Here are some great ideas:

  • Juice: Use any flavor of juice you like and skip the sweetener
  • Tea: Try a flavored tea gelatin dessert
  • Premade Drink: Flavored drinks like Bai would be lovely for this purpose.

I haven't tried these yet, but I think using above liquids instead of the amounts of the juice plus water should work. Of course you could dilute for a lighter flavor.

Substitutions for Special Diets

  • Stevia: 1/32 teaspoon is about as sweet as 1-2 tablespoons sugar. So you can substitute another sweetener for the stevia, but you will need to use a lot. See this post for more measuring and usage info.
  • Sweeteners: You can use any sweetener you like for this recipe. I personally use low-carb sweeteners so that this recipe is candida and keto-friendly. If you use a liquid sweetener, you may need to use a different amount if using a liquid--see this post on how to substitute sweeteners. I like using a combo of 2 sweeteners often when using low-carb sweeteners. It helps give a more authentic flavor to the final dish.
  • Juice: You could also use lime juice instead of lemon juice, or you could even use both for a lemon-lime jello.
  • Rind: Use lemon rind for lemon gelatin -- lime for lime.
  • Vegan Option: Substitute agar powder for gelatin for a vegan option.
  • AIP: use coconut sugar instead of the low-carb sweetener

Recipe Notes

  • Molds: 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).
  • Gelatin: For Gelatin Squares, use twice as much gelatin to make a firmer result.
  • THM: This is a "fuel pull" for those on the Trim Healthy Mama plan.
  • Color: The resulting color of this Homemade Jello will not be as intense as that of store-bought gelatin mixes. You can use natural food coloring or even add food stuffs such as spirulina to add intensity to your final product, as desired. Making this recipe without added coloring using lemon or lime juice will result in a faintly colored gelatin dessert.


I have a recipe calling for a box of JELLO®. Can I use this recipe instead?

This recipe should be about the equivalent of one box of JELLO®.

Can I make this recipe into a vegan JELLO®?

Yes, just use agar powder substituting in a 1:1 ratio. If you use agar flakes, you will need to use 3 times as much flakes as gelatin / agar powder.

healthy homemade jello in glass dish with spoons

Homemade "Jello" Gelatin (sugar-free option)

Make this Homemade JELLO at home and ditch the boxed mix. Sugar-free with nourishing ingredients. Tastes great too!
4.79 from 14 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: AIP, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Keto, Low-Carb, Paleo, THM:S, Vegan
Keyword: Homemade Jello
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Chilling Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 16kcal


  • 3 tablespoons gelatin (granulated - 3 packets)
  • 3/4 cup low carb sweetener (see above for alternatives)
  • 3/8 teaspoon stevia extract (see substitutions above)
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water (juice could be substituted)
  • 3 cups cold water (divided--juice can be substituted)
  • 1 1/8 cups lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind (optional)


  • Soften gelatin by soaking in 1 1/2 cups of the cold water (or juice) for a few minutes.
  • Add boiling water (or juice) and stir until gelatin is dissolved.
  • Add remaining ingredients (including the other 1 1/2 cups cold water), stirring until thoroughly blended.
  • Pour into 2 8x8 baking pans.
  • Refrigerate until set.
  • Store covered in fridge.


One recipe is likely equal to one box of store bought "JELLO."


Calories: 16kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 35mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg | Net Carbs: 1g

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is merely an approximation. Optional ingredients are not included and when there is an alternative, the primary ingredient is typically used. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts since they have been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.

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Recipe Rating



  1. Just thought l would let everyone know that l found out from my dr that monk fruit is a probiotic and is good for your gut. Is also good for diabetics as it doesnt spike blood sugar. I find stevia can leave an “after taste” sometimes. Havent tried this recipe yet but will.

    1. Hi there. Good information - yes it actually has prebiotic potential which is great to know! There are actually pre, pro and postbiotics. It's interesting. I hope you like it! You might need more monk b/c I find it's not as sweet as stevia extact but just try it by taste and see!

    1. Hello Craig - I'm not sure what you mean by lecturing. This is the second nasty comment that came in last night. I know that the world situation is getting to people but really if you go back over the post, I think you will see that I didn't lecture and that I did, in fact, provide a LOT of options for substituting so hopefully some ingredients in there are available where you live. Happy to help you find some, but I would appreciate your holding back the unwarranted criticism.

      Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi there. It has always worked for me - did you follow the directions correctly? I've made this many times. What kind of gelatin did you use?

  2. Trying lemon juice and brewed hibiscus yea for red color. Thanks for this recipe and I’ve enjoyed many others on my keto journey since 2017

  3. 5 stars
    Magnificent jello - best I’ve ever had! Makes almost 6 cups of jello. I made the lime version with optional zest of one lime and two drops of green food coloring - it fit perfectly in a 6-cup brain-shaped mold for Halloween. I used xylitol and two droppers of liquid stevia, but next time would use allulose for fewer calories. Anyway, the jello took a long time to set, since I put all six cups in one, deep mold, but it unmolded perfectly the next day, although it was so heavy that it collapsed down a bit under its own weight. Maybe next time I could try adding another tablespoon of gelatin for more strength and solidity. Fantastic! I’m pretty sure my family will be requesting this one often.

    1. How fun!!!! LOVE it and yes, I'm moving towards Lakanto, etc to avoid the calories and carbs. I will go in and change that in the post. You can get Lakanto for 20% off with my code wholenewmom if you'd like. I'm sooo glad you liked it! Hope to see you around again - more recipes coming!

    1. Hi there. It seems that they are from the lemon juice. Sorry for the delay -- we had to review things and your comment got buried under so many others. Hope the recipe works out for you!

    2. No one knows. Matter is neither created nor destroyed. Unless you have antimatter. But that still wouldn’t create it, which was your question, so I guess that’s irrelevant. Many would think the carbs came from the Big Bang, but I would bet on aliens.

    1. or I'm thinking pomegranate powder... Strawberry powder.... not sure how many fruits some flash frozen. I think the sky is the limit! gotta get away from all those toxins.
      Thank You Adrienne!! Nice work!

      1. Any of those sound amazing. There are so many options these days really! You could even do greens and some extra sweetener. Thanks friend!

  4. If I use this, I'm going to use koolade powder...not great I know but I think it would be better than aspertame etc .

  5. Just a few questions: can you substitute the xylitol with granulated swerve or monkfruit? Also, I have custard cups that I typically use when making jell-o. Would those work? Lastly, how many boxes would 4 servings make? I am used to making one box which is 1/2 cup = 4 servings. Thanks!

    1. Sorry for the delay. It took awhile to sort this out - I think that since sugar free jello is only 3 T of powder, and most every other ingredient in there is miniscule, that this recipe is probably equivalent to one box. If you tried it out, would you agree? Thanks!

  6. 5 stars
    Love this recipe thank you so much.
    If I wanted to make this as a strawberry jelly, how many / what weight of strawberries would you suggest I add?
    Thank you again

        1. I have never tried to flavor plain gelatin with strawberries or other fruit alone. I think it would change things dramatically since you are adding a lot of bulk. If you try it I would love to hear how it goes! Sorry for the delay - we had a very unusually busy day!

  7. You should put a warning for dog owners as xylitol is a poison for canines and can kill dogs. Many people are unaware and sadly share their treats with their dogs not knowing they could be killing them.

    1. Hi there "FiFi" -- assuming this is your real name :)? Or not :)? I am not sure how to handle this since I often use xylitol and there are other foods that are toxic for dogs and other animals as well--(raisins, chocolate, etc.) I am gradually going to be switching over the low carb sweetener featured in this post--I assume that would be better for you? https://wholenewmom.com/recipes/egg-nog-cookies/

  8. I'm very confused about the sweetners. There are two paragraphs that you have explained, about sweetners. The first one starts with "Stevia", as a sweetner, but then, the paragraph under that one is titled "Sweetners".

    I would love to try to make this recipe, as I don't want any store bought kind, either.
    I understand where you are explaining about certain things can be used for substitutions, but then, in the ingredients list, there are two sweetners listed also, where BOTH of these sweetners, have to be added together to make this recipe!?? Huh?? I don't understand the purpose of adding two different sweetners! This is not making sense to me, at all. Maybe one of them is just optional or something? No?
    Thank you in advance, if you could clear this up for me?


    1. Hi there. I just cleaned up the wording for you--let me know if that helps! Thanks and hope you like it! Sorry about the confusion!

  9. How much of your recipe would equal a regular box of jello? I'm trying to make desserts like no bake cheesecake and poke cakes. Thanks

    1. Hi there. I think I have to redo the serving count on this but it seems that it would equal about 3 boxes. Hope that helps!