Easy Healthy Sugar-free Jello Gelatin (vegan option)

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Are you looking for a healthy alternative to the store-bought jello with all of the sugar and artificial additives?  This recipe for homemade Sugar-free 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.

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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

Gelatin

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.

Sweeteners

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.

FAQs

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!
4.82 from 16 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

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  • 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 8×8 baking pans.
  • Refrigerate until set.
  • Store covered in fridge.

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.

Nutrition

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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