Is Jello Vegan? The Answer and 5+ Vegan Jello Brands

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Is Jello Vegan?

Perhaps youre wondering: Is Jello Vegan? Are there any vegan jello brands out there? Weve got the answers to your questions!

Without wasting any time, heres what well be covering…

  • Is Jello Vegan Friendly?
  • Best Vegan Jello Brands You Can Buy
  • How To Use Vegan Jello with a Few Recipes

Lets begin!

Is Jello Vegan?

Jello has been a long-time favorite of households for decades.

However, it may be troubling to learn that jello is made from gelatin, a product derived from animal parts - making it non-vegan.

These animal parts include skin, bones, cartilage, bones, and even hooves. All to make that jiggly substance!

Luckily, there are vegan alternatives…

Best Vegan Jello Brands

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Bakol Jel Dessert is one of the first brands of Vegan Jello we were able to find online. It is very similar to traditional Jello in the sense that it comes in the familiar square boxes and is pre-flavored.

To date, Bakol manufacturers their Jel Desserts in six flavors: Raspberry, Lemon, Strawberry, Cherry, Orange, and Unflavored. All of the flavored ones are made with natural vegan flavors and natural vegan colors such as beet powder.

Simply Delish Natural Raspberry Jel Dessert - Sugar Free, Non GMO, Gluten Free, Fat Free, Lactose Free, Keto Friendly - 0.7 OZ (Pack of 6)

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Simply Delish is another brand we were able to find. Its actually sugar-free and made with a different set of ingredients. Well get into the specific ingredients differences for each brand below.

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Liebers Sugar-Free Jel is a good option if youre looking for a sweetened gelatin replacement (they make a version with splenda and regular sugar). Being that its unflavored, you can add it to any other recipe that calls for gelatin or use your flavoring (such as fruit juice) to customize it how youd like. It is an excellent substitute for agar-agar (see below) should you not want to use it. Go for this one if youre looking for a straight vegetarian substitute for gelatin to use in recipes. Youll likely find this at your local grocery store, so be sure to include it on your vegan shopping list!

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Agar-agar is a great standalone option if you dont want to purchase pre-packaged vegan jello. It will typically end up being a fair bit cheaper as well, as youre just buying the raw ingredient rather than a packaged mix.

Dont worry if youre confused; we have a section below explaining exactly how to use agar-agar.

Simply Delish Natural Instant Vanilla Pudding - Sugar Free, Non GMO, Gluten Free, Fat Free, Vegan, Keto Friendly - 1.7 OZ (Pack of 6)

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As you may know, Jello also makes pudding snacks found in the refrigerator aisle, but most if not all of them contain milk.

Vegan puddings are a bit hard to come by, especially if you dont live in a super vegan-friendly area, but we could find this instant vanilla pudding by Simply Delish! Granted, its not as convenient as being in a cup already, but its a good option nonetheless.

How to Make Vegan Jello From the Package

When you make vegan jello from the package, it literally couldnt be easier. You pour the powder into hot water, cover it, and let it cool by placing it into the refrigerator. It will be set shortly after that, and it is ready to serve!

The video above shows a funny example of watermelon and Bakol Jel Dessert. That seems like a bit of a hassle, but at least its easy!

How to Make Vegan Jello With Agar-Agar

If you dont want to get one of the boxed versions of vegan jello, it is rather easy to make your own at home. Agar-Agar is considered the vegetarian version of gelatin and has been used for ages in Asian cultures.

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Check out this vegan starter kit

It comes in both powdered form and flaked form, but the powdered form is much easier to work with.

Here are the basic steps to using powdered Agar-Agar:

Basic Agar-Agar Vegan Jel Recipe

  • Place the 2 tsp, Agar-Agar to 1 - 1/4 cup of liquid (cold water) and place it on the heat
  • Bring water to a full boil while stirring consistently with a whisk.
  • Ensure that the powder is completely dissolved by using a spoon to check for granules.
  • Add sugar or other sweeteners and bring to another boil to completely dissolve. The above ratio will allow for around 1/2 cup - 1 cup of juice or another liquid.
  • Place it into a mold to let it cool so it can set - you can do this at room temperature or in the fridge.
  • You may have to experiment a bit with whatever flavor youre looking to make, as agar-agar may perform differently at different levels of acidity. Bringing the water to a boil will help neutralize the differences in performance.
  • Watch the video below if you need a visual aide or more detailed instructions.

This recipe might be a bit complex since it has two layers, but the principles of working with Agar-Agar remain the same. Plus, you can feel free only to do one layer of this recipe rather than two or simply use whatever kind of fruit juice youd like. You can also use agar-agar to make vegan gummy bears if you get a mold.

The best part is is that agar-agar is very easy to find online in whatever quantity youd like, and buying in bulk can usually save you a few bucks!

While it is possible to use guar gum as another substitute for gelatin, youre much better off using agar-agar.

What is Vegan/Vegetarian Jello Made of?

There are actually lots of different ways to make vegan/vegetarian jello. Its simply a matter of using plant-based jelling ingredients as an alternative to gelatin.

As always, double-check the ingredient statements before buying or consuming as they can change from time to time.

Thickening Ingredients for Vegan Gelatin

Some ingredients for the base thickeners you might see are:

  • Carrageenan: a plant-based thickener extracted from red seaweed or Irish moss.
  • Vegetable Gum: Its impossible to determine 100% what gum a given company might be using, but for the gelatin replacements weve seen, such as Bakol, they specifically state that its vegan. Gums tend to be plant-based ingredients with hydrophilic properties (they love to absorb water). Other examples you might see in other foods are guar gum, locust bean gum, and xanthan gum. They are often used to thicken soups and ice creams.

Bakol Jel Dessert Ingredients

The Bakol gelatin replacement uses evaporated cane juice which is just liquid made from sugarcane and a gum base, flavoring, and coloring. Check out their entire ingredient statement below:

Evaporated cane juice, vegetable gum, adipic acid, potassium citrate, natural vegan flavor, natural vegan color (may contain beet powder, annatto, beta carotene or curcumin)

No animal products to be found!

The unflavored just uses the same ingredients without any evaporated cane juice:

Vegetable Gum, Citric Acid, Tapioca Dextrin, Calcium Phosphate, Potassium Citrate

Simply Delish Ingredients

Weve seen a few different versions of their ingredient statement, but so far as we could find, heres the most up to date one:

Erythnitol, carrageenan, citric acid, potassium citrate, natural color (beet, beta-carotene), natural flavor (stawberry), stevia extract

They use a combination of Erythritol (sugar alcohol) and Stevia to sweeten their product. They do make a variety of flavors, so the strawberry natural flavor will change depending on which version you get.

As you may have noticed, Simply Delish Vegan Jello is sugar-free and safe for people with diabetes.

Lieber Jel Dessert Ingredients

Much like Simply Delish, Liebers uses Carrageenan as their main thicker. The ingredient statement below is from their version sweetened with Splenda hence the Sucralose.

Adipic Acid, Carragenan, Tapioca Dextrin, Calcium Phosphate, Potassium Citrate, Sucralose.

Other FAQs

Below weve compiled some frequently asked questions about vegan jello/gelatin substitutes. If youve been vegan for a while, you may want to skip these questions!

Is Jello / Gelatin Vegan?

Big brands of jello or gelatin based desserts arent vegan because gelatin isnt vegan. Gelatin is made from boiling cartilage, skin, bones, and other parts of animals.

Are there any sugar-free versions of Vegan jello?

Absolutely! One of the brands weve featured above, Simply Delish, is safe for people with diabetes as it contains 0g of sugar. The Liebers sugar-free version is as well!

What about jelly?

In the UK, people use the term jello and jelly differently than in the US. If youre looking for jam-style spreads, be sure to check out our post on vegan jam and jelly.

Should you want to make your jams and jellies at home, please note that fruit pectin will be your go-to thickener and not agar flakes or any gums.

Can You Make Jello Shots with Vegan Jello?

Absolutely! When prepared correctly, it will perform much like regular gelatin desserts. No need to hurt animals to have a-rockin party!

Check out the video above on making vegan jello shots quickly and easily!

Is it Kosher?

Both Bakol and Liebers were labeled as Kosher. Simply Delish didnt make it clear on their packaging so far as we could tell, but it might be!

You may have also heard that kosher gelatins are vegan, but this isnt the case. Gelatin is gelatin.

How to Find Vegan Jello / Gelatin in Stores

If youre not keen to buy online and would instead buy locally, we have a few options.

  • Use Bakols store locator to find where you can buy their products near you.
  • Another brand to look for is Liebers (although we couldnt find their website for a store locator). They have a kosher unflavored gel that doesnt contain any gelatin. It may be located in the Kosher section.
  • Look for agar-agar in health food stores or Asian supermarkets. It should be readily available in both.

Check your Kosher aisles or right by the normal gelatin things and look for Jel Desserts. Its usually a pretty good indicator that its a vegan version.

Conclusion

Being Vegan doesnt have to mean that youre restricting yourself. Especially in todays day and age, theres more than likely going to be a delicious replacement. 

Being vegan for ethics does not mean you need to restrict yourself!

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Want to take all of the guess-work around going vegan?

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