Vegan jello that looks and tastes like the classic! This stuff is refreshing, kid-friendly, and super easy to make in your favorite flavors with just a few simple ingredients.

I hope this isn’t a surprise: Jello is not vegan.

Sorry if I just crushed anyone’s world.

I didn’t find out until a year or so after going vegetarian that gelatin is made from animal parts. As far as jello was concerned, I really didn’t care. I did care about marshmallows (also made with gelatin — sorry!). But jello was never really my favorite.

So when I decided to veganize jello it was really just for you guys and this blog. I didn’t expect to like the stuff.

But you know what? I totally did! I worked on this recipe during one of our early hot days of the year and it was super refreshing and my husband and I had loads of fun taste-testing all my vegan jello flavors.

The Main Ingredient: Agar Agar

You’ll need to get your hands on some agar powder (also known as agar agar) to make your vegan jello.

What’s agar? It’s a vegan product made from algae that gels much like gelatin. Agar can usually be bought in powder or flake form — we’ll be using powder in this recipe.

I buy my agar online, but you can sometimes find it at Asian markets as well. Just make sure you’re buying the right thing: you want agar to be the only ingredient in your product. I’ve made the mistake before of buying dessert mixes made with agar and some other ingredients.

Agar Pointers

Large Wine Glass Filled with Jello in Front of a Window - Vegan Jello

While agar will give you a jello much like that made with gelatin, there are a few key differences you’ll need to keep in mind when working with it.

First off: you can use less agar than you would gelatin for the same sized batch of jello. A lot of people seem to think that you can substitute it at a one-to-one ratio, but I’ve found this to be way off. Using that ratio gives me jello with the consistency of gummy candy!

When I’m substituting agar for gelatin in a jello-style dessert, I use a 1:3 substitution. So if a recipe calls for three teaspoons of gelatin, use a just one teaspoon of agar.

Unlike jello made with gelatin, agar-based jello can remelt. So keep it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve, and eat it up quickly.

Vegan jello made with agar also gels much quicker than regular jello (in about an hour), so you can enjoy it much more quickly!

How to Make Vegan Jello

In addition to some agar powder, you’ll need juice (or liquid of choice), and you want at least some of it to be chilled. You can also use some sweetener if your liquid isn’t already sweet. In the example shown in the photos I’m actually using matcha green tea with a little bit of organic sugar added!

Place 2 cups of your liquid (and sweetener, if using) into a pot along with 1 teaspoon of agar. Hang on to an additional cup of liquid, and preferably store in in the fridge to keep it cool while you work.

Place the pot over high heat and whisk your ingredients together rapidly while the liquid heats up.

Bring the liquid to a boil. Lower the heat a bit so it’s at a low boil, rather than a rolling boil. Continue to cook the mixture for 2 minutes, whisking it the whole time.

Remove the pot from heat. Grab your chilled liquid and whisk it in. Pour the mixture into molds and chill for an hour or more.

FAQ & Vegan Jello Making Tips

  • Once your jello has set, keep it chilled! It will quickly turn back to liquid if you don’t.
  • Is vegan jello gluten-free? It sure is!
  • Want to make the green tea flavor shown in my photos? Just make it with water, a teaspoon of matcha powder, and sugar to taste.
  • Can you make alcoholic vegan jello? Yup! Just substitute 1/2 to 1 cup of chilled vodka for some or all the chilled liquid that gets added at the end.
  • My jello never set! What gives?
    • Make sure you’re using agar power (not flakes!).
    • Make sure your liquid comes to a full boil, and don’t set your timer until it does.
    • You need to whisk your liquid nearly constantly as it heats up and boils. I’ve found that if you don’t, the agar can collect on the bottom and sides of the pot, and not enough for gelling purposes in your liquid.
    • Do your best not to disturb your jello while it gels in the fridge.
  • If this is your first vegan jello making experience, start simple — use something like berry or grape juice. Experiment with other liquids and flavors from there!

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Vegan Jello

Vegan Jello

Vegan jello that looks and tastes like the classic! This stuff is refreshing, kid-friendly, and super easy to make in your favorite flavors with just a few simple ingredients.

  • 3 cups fruit juice of choice ((or liquid of choice), divided (make sure at least 1 cup is chilled))
  • 1 teaspoon agar powder
  1. Place 2 cups of the fruit juice into a small saucepan. Chill the remaining cup until you're ready to use it.

  2. Whisk in the agar powder.

  3. Place the saucepan over high heat and bring the liquid to a boil, whisking constantly.

  4. Lower the heat so that the liquid is at a low boil and continue cooking it for 2 minutes, whisking constantly.

  5. Remove the pot from heat and whisk in the chilled juice.

  6. Pour the liquid into molds of choice.

  7. Chill for at least 1 hour to set. Keep the jello chilled until ready to serve.


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