This Vegan Jello is quick and easy to make, using a similar method to my original jello recipe (which calls for gelatin). But instead of using gelatin, this new recipe below uses a vegan-friendly alternative, agar agar, which is easily found in grocery stores. I love that you can make this with less than 10 minutes of hands-on effort!
What is Agar Agar?
Agar agar is a vegetarian substitute for gelatin. Instead of being derived from animal sources, agar agar comes from red algae. It has no calories, carbohydrates, or fat, and doesn’t have a noticeable flavor, either.
You can usually find agar agar flakes on the same aisle where you would buy seaweed wrappers for making sushi. I have only found the flakes in my local stores, but they also sell it in a powdered version. If you use the powder instead of flakes, the Kitchn recommends using a 1:3 swap of powder to flakes. So if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of flakes, use 1 teaspoon of powder instead, since the powder will be more concentrated.
In case you buy agar agar flakes especially to use in this recipe, here are some other ways you can use this vegan thickener:
How to Make Vegan Jello
Agar agar needs to be dissolved in boiling water, so to make this vegan jello recipe you’ll dissolve the flakes directly in boiling fruit juice. This recipe is naturally sweetened, using only 100% juice! You can use grape juice or apple juice with great results.
Once the flakes have dissolved, you’ll stir in another cup of fruit juice, then transfer it to a lined pan to set. Place the pan in the fridge for a couple of hours, and you’ll have an authentic-looking and delicious jello. No one will even know that it’s vegan!
Jello Recipe Tips
I have only tested this recipe using 100% grape juice or apple juice so far, since those are the easiest for me to find at the store. Feel free to experiment with other varieties of juice, or try stirring in some chopped fruit for added texture, such as sliced grapes, berries, or mandarin orange slices.
I imagine that vegan jello is similar to the original version, so I would hesitate to add in fresh pineapple, kiwi, or papaya. These fresh fruits have enzymes that cause regular jello to NOT set. (Though, I’ve heard that canned versions do work well.)
Vegan Jello Tutorial (1-Minute Video):
Vegan Jello (only 2 ingredients!)
- 2 cups 100% grape juice (or apple juice)
- 3 tablespoons agar agar flakes (or 3 teaspoons agar powder)
- Grease a 9-inch square pan (or any size/shape pan that you like) with cooking spray and line it with parchment paper for easier jello removal later.
- Pour the fruit juice into a small saucepan, and add in the agar agar flakes. Bring the juice to a boil, and whisk constantly to help the agar flakes dissolve. Once the juice is boiling the flakes have completely dissolved, remove the mixture from the heat.
- Pour the liquid into the lined dish, then transfer the dish to your refrigerator to set. It will take up to 2 hours to cool completely. Slice into squares and serve chilled.
Vegan Jello Nutrition (per square): Calories: 22, Fat: 0g, Carbohydrates: 5g, Fiber: 1g, Protein: 1g
- If you’re looking to make cut-out shapes from your vegan jello (like jello jigglers!), you may want to try adding one more tablespoon of agar flakes to this recipe. I tried making cut-out stars and hearts with this recipe, and the shapes didn’t hold up to my kids playing with them the way regular jello does. I have a feeling a little more binding power might help, though.
Reader Feedback: Have you tried making vegan jello before?
Questions and Reviews
I made this vegan jello as soon as you posted it, and it’s such a hit with my 3 year old! Thank you for sharing all of your healthy recipes.
I made this today with my 9-year-old, and he loved it! I’ve missed jello since going vegan, so this is such a good recipe to have in my back pocket. And so easy, too!
I made this using a 12 cup mini muffin pan, I measured before I made the recipe and just needed 1 and 1/2 cups of juice so I adjusted the agar powder to under 3 tsp, I used pomegranate juice. Great flavour and an interesting snack. Thanks Megan.
PS: Love your Instant Pot cookbook. My husband and I both love this book – particularly the vegan / vegetarian options. We’ve made almost every recipe and they’re all fabulous! Hoping you’ll come out with a follow-up Instant Pot cookbook?
FINALY HEALTHY JELLO THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
BEST RECIPIE OF 2019-2020
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for letting me know. 🙂
Beas trcipie ever
Has anyone used this recipe for jello shots? Does it work? Thank you!
It works for everything and you will love it
Can you use any type of juice
You’re using %100 percent grape juice. Two cups of grape juice is about 70g of sugar. Unsweetened juice still has the same amount of sugar its just the flavor that is less sweet. Sugar free juice just means that no additional sugar was added on top of the already very high natural sugar content in grapes.
This means that this jello is just one big block of sugar, correct?
Yes, it still has the natural sugar found in grape juice; I just prefer to make less-sweet Jello for my kids. They don’t need the added sugar on top of it, but it is still a dessert that should be eaten in moderation. You’re welcome to use a sugar-free recipe if you’d prefer, but we don’t use any zero calorie sweeteners in my home, so I don’t have a recipe for that.
Do you think if you used pureed fruit instead of juice, that it might work? It won’t t look as pretty I’m sure, but it would be healthier and ‘whole food plant based.’ If anyone has tried that, I would like to know.
I am unsure when this question was posted. My daughter is having her tonsils and adenoid removed. I used this recipe; however, I juiced lemons, limes, oranges, and puréed strawberries to make the 4 different flavors (then mixed some together.) I added some water to the lemon and lime to cut the tartness. The jello is very firm. And looks good. I almost feel that I will use a little less Agar powder when I make the next round. We will dig into them later today!
will this melt if left out at room temperature? thank you!
I made agar jello with many drinks…looking for ways to give my loved one thick drinks. it works well when blended. Then I found something online saying agar is thick and medications will stick to it internally and you lose that medication’s effectiveness. MAYBE that’s about agar in a different form. Have you any ideas on that aspect? I need thick drinks to give this person hydration! also, to the person who didn’t like all the sugar, just make with half and half water. less sugar. less flavour, maybe, but less sugar.
I’ve worked as a cna for many years and a care giver for my grandmother for far longer. They make a thickening agent that’s colorless and tasteless you can put into just about everything. You just add the correct amount of thickener to get the right consistently that you need… My grandmother was between nector and honey thick… And for her meds.. I crushed them and put them into thickened chocolate milk to help hide the bitter taste of the meds and fed her them that way… Ice cream will work as well… (Some places make thickened ice cream that doesn’t get runny when it melts) but only do a spoon full or two with the meds so you know it all gets taken
Unfortunately 3 teaspoons of agar agar powder is way too much. It was way too dense and not like jello at all.
Can you make in advance and freeze the Jello ?
Ooh, I’ve never tried freezing jello! I’m not sure if the structure would hold up or not, but please let me know if you try it.
When using the agar powder, I’ve found that the 1:3 ratio of powder to flakes results in much too firm of a texture (in both jello and other foods like vegan cheese substitutes). While it’s difficult to achieve the same kind of ‘jello’ texture that gelatin yields, I find that using 1/2 t powder in place of 1 T flakes provides a softer, more palatable texture.