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Make homemade Jello with just 2 simple ingredients! This version is sweetened with 100% juice and can be stirred together in minutes. 

homemade jello squares stacked on parchment paper.

Whether you’re trying to sneak more grass fed gelatin into your day (here’s a research study I found interesting in regards to gut health), or you want to make a fun snack for kids, this jello recipe couldn’t be easier.

It makes a fun, jiggly dessert and is naturally gluten-free. If you need a vegetarian recipe, try my Vegan Jello which is made with agar agar, instead.

Ingredients You’ll Need

All you need is gelatin and fruit juice to make jello at home. I use grass-fed gelatin for potentially a higher nutrient content, but any gelatin powder will give you a jiggly Jell-O copycat. 

The fruit juice you use for this recipe will determine the flavor. Grape juice or an option mixed with apple juice will give you the sweetest results. 

fruit juice and gelatin laying on a marble surface.

Juices that may not work for this recipe are pineapple, papaya, mango, or kiwi juices. The enzymes they contain may break down the gelatin protein, so it won’t set.

If you use pure cranberry juice or pomegranate juice, you may want to add 1 to 2 tablespoons of honey into the warm mixture for sweetness. You can taste and adjust as you go!

How to Make Homemade Jello

1. Bloom the gelatin

In a large bowl, add a 1/2 cup of the fruit juice and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. You’ll quickly see the mixture start to wrinkle and thicken. Whisk it briefly to make sure all of the gelatin has bloomed. 

gelatin and fruit juice bloomed in a bowl with whisk.

2. Stir in hot liquid. 

Next, add a 1/2 cup of boiled water to the bloomed gelatin. I use water because it’s easy to boil in a tea kettle. Alternatively, you can boil an extra 1/2 cup of fruit juice in a small saucepan, for a more concentrated and slightly sweeter flavor. In this case, you’d use 4 cups of fruit juice in total. 

Whisk well until the mixture is liquid, with no visible chunks. You may see a bubbly foam start to form on top. Use a slotted spoon to scoop excess foam from the top. (The foam will not settle as the jello sets.)

hot water whisked into gelatin and fruit juice with foam removed with spoon.

3. Mix and chill. 

Whisk the remaining 3 cups of fruit juice into the bowl. It’s okay if you see some bubbles on top of the mixture. 

Prepare an 8-inch square pan by lightly spraying it with oil, then press a piece of parchment paper into the bottom. This will ensure the jello is easy to remove later. Use a slotted spoon to remove any excess bubbles on top, if you like.

Pour the liquid into the prepared pan, then place it on a flat shelf in your fridge. It will take roughly 4 hours for the jello to set, so be patient! 

jello in square baking dish and sliced into squares when firm.

4. Slice and enjoy!

Once you can touch the top of the jello and it feels firm, it’s ready to slice into squares. You can use the parchment paper to lift the jello out of the pan or slice it directly inside the pan.

Jello is slightly fragile, so don’t be surprised if it cracks slightly as you remove it from the pan. This ratio of juice to gelatin is quite wiggly, without being too firm and without much gelatin flavor. 

fruit juice jello sliced into squares on parchment paper.

If you prefer to make a Jello “jiggler” that you can cut out with cookie cutters, try using a 1/2 cup less juice. It’s such an easy recipe to prepare, you can adjust it as you see fit each time you make it. 

Leftover jello can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. 

Looking for more easy fruit-based desserts?  Try Fruit Compote, Vegan Strawberry Ice Cream, or Blueberry Crisp.

homemade jello squares stacked on parchment paper.

Homemade Jello

4.96 from 21 votes
Make homemade Jello with just 2 simple ingredients! This version is sweetened with 100% fruit juice and can be stirred together in minutes. 
prep5 mins cook0 mins Chill Time:4 hrs total4 hrs 5 mins
Servings:16

Ingredients
 
 

  • 3 ½ cups 100% fruit juice (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons grass-fed gelatin
  • ½ cup boiled water (or use boiled fruit juice)

Instructions

  • Add ½ cup fruit juice to a large bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Use a whisk to briefly mix; it should thicken quickly.
  • Pour the boiled water into the bowl, and whisk until smooth. There should be no visible chunks, and bubbles will start to form on top. Whisk in the remaining 3 cups of fruit juice.
  • Prepare an 8-inch square baking dish by lightly spraying it with oil, then press a piece of parchment paper into the bottom of the pan. Pour the jello liquid into the pan and use a slotted spoon to remove as many bubbles from the top as possible. (This is just for looks, so no need to be perfect about it.)
  • Place the pan on a flat shelf in the fridge to chill until firm, about 4 hours. Once it feels firm to the touch in the center, you can slice it into squares and serve. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Notes

Nutrition information is for 1 of 16 squares. This information is automatically calculated and is just an estimate, not a guarantee.
This recipe works best with sweet juices, like grape juice or apple-cranberry juice. For a sweeter result, you can replace the boiled water with an extra 1/2 cup of juice that has been heated to a boil in a small saucepan. (So you’d use 4 cups juice in total.)
• For a firmer jello consistency, reduce the amount of liquid to only 3 cups total. This will create thinner, firmer squares that you can cut out with a cookie cutter to make fun shapes for kids!
Update Note: This post was updated in April 2024 with new photos. I also doubled the recipe so you can make it in an 8-inch square pan. To make a half batch, use a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan instead. You can find the original recipe here.

Nutrition

Calories: 36kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.003g | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 58mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 4IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: homemade jello

If you try this homemade jello recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it.

Megan Gilmore leaning on her white countertop.

Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned best-selling cookbook author. I create healthy recipes made with simple ingredients to make your life easier.

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Comments

  1. I remember wanting to eat jello so much as a kid, but our mother never allowed us, because she was scared of that cow disease.
    It looks so easy, I think even I can try out this recipe 🙂

  2. Thank you for posting this! I really need to add more gelatin into my diet and this jello recipe is the easiest one I’ve seen yet. Now, I have no more excuses! 🙂

  3. Thanks, I seldom make jello because it’s so filled with sugar, now I can make a healthy versions. Thanks a million.
    Colleen

  4. Thank you for this recipe! I haven’t made jello in about 15 years! But this I will try! I love how easy it is :0)!

  5. Hi Megan,
    I am a big fan of your recipes and this jello is definitely one I can’t wait to try.
    My daughter recently had a baby and I am here in town for a few more days and wondering what kind of recipes you might recommend for fixing ahead of time and freezing that will make it easier for her when I leave. Whatever suggestions, would be greatly appreciated.

  6. I started making my own jello for my daughter when we found out that she has celiac disease. She was only 4,so it was difficult to find scd kid-friendly recipes, but this jello certainly fits the bill. And, it’s so easy!