How to Make Jello from the Box, Step by Step

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Step by step instructions for how to make Jello straight from the box. Easy recipe and ideas for any flavor. Top with Cool Whip and make it dessert!

You may think me a little silly to write up a recipe all about how to make instant Jello. My first thought was about the same when I decided to work on this recipe; I mean, it's right there on the box.

mini trifle dish of orange Jello with spoon and boxes of instant Jello mix behind it

But my hope is that those who haven't spent as much time in the kitchen will find value in this recipe and all of the wonderful things you can do with Jello.

There truly is a technique to making even the simplest of things.

While I chose to make this recipe with orange Jello (my favorite), you can use any flavor you want. Keep in mind, this is only for actual Jello gelatin, not for Jello pudding (another recipe for another day).

Jello is something I've enjoyed since I was a kid. My mom would make cherry or strawberry Jello cake, and she'd even make actual gelatin for dessert, filling it with fresh fruit.

And if we caught the flu or some other bug that took away our appetites, she'd make up a bowl of Jello and stick it in the fridge for when we started to get a little hungry. I keep gelatin mixes handy in the cupboard for just such times with my own family.

WHERE CAN I FIND THE ACTUAL RECIPE CARD?

If you’d rather skip all of my Jello tips, important info for this recipe, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to the recipe – just scroll down to the bottom, where you’ll find a printable recipe card.

box Jello ingredients, including orange Jello gelatin mix and hot water and cold water in glass measuring cups on white marble countertop

INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED:

Keep in mind, all of the ingredient amounts you’ll need are in the printable recipe card below.

KITCHEN TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT YOU'LL NEED:

Medium Mixing Bowl

Spatula or Spoon

Tea Kettle or Sauce Pan

Glass Measuring Cup

HOW TO MAKE JELLO FROM THE BOX

This is a time-sensitive recipe. So before you start, you need to make sure you have everything you'll need, because it goes fast, and your gelatin can start to set up if you're not prepared.

  1. Pour the powdered gelatin into a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  2. Add boiling water to the gelatin mix, and stir for 2 minutes until it's completely dissolved.
  3. Stir in the cold water.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or until the gelatin is firm and doesn't stick to your fingers when touched.
step by step how to make Jello in glass bowl with water and orange gelatin mix

Once your Jello has firmed up, it's ready to eat. If you're making it for dessert, you can scoop some into a dish and top it off with whipped cream or Dream Whip.

glass mini trifle dish full of orange gelatin and topped with Dream Whip whipped cream, with spoon, on blue linen cloth

HOW TO MAKE JELLO SET FASTER

Jello does have a “speed-set method,” and this cuts the set-up time significantly.

To make Jello set faster, you need to:

  1. Dissolve the gelatin mix in 3/4 cup boiling water.
  2. Add ice to 1/2 cup cold water to make 1 1/4 cups.
  3. Stir the cold water into the gelatin until it's slightly thickened.
  4. Then just remove any unmelted ice, and refrigerate for 30 to 90 minutes, or until firm.

CAN YOU SPEED IT UP BY PUTTING IT IN THE FREEZER?

You can put Jello in the freezer for maybe 20 minutes or so, but you don't want it to freeze at all because freezing Jello will ruin it.

When frozen, Jello can lose its ability to gel and turn into a watery, goopy mess. Personally, I wouldn't go this route.

If you really want to cool it faster, you can place your mixing bowl into a larger ice water bath while stirring, being careful that the rim of your Jello bowl doesn't go beneath the water. Then as it begins to thicken, stick it in the fridge to finish setting up.

orange Jello with instant Jello mix in glass trifle dish with spoon and medium bowl of Jello, on blue cloth

CAN YOU COVER JELLO BEFORE IT SETS?

You can cover it with plastic wrap, but just know that it may take it longer to set up if it's covered, especially if the Jello is still warm.

IS JELLO GLUTEN-FREE?

Hmmm, that's a good question and one I've been trying to find the answer to for some while.

The most definitive answer I've been able to get is that the ingredients in Jello are naturally gluten-free, but it is produced in a factory that may have traces of gluten, causing cross-contamination.

I've also read that certain ingredients, like colorings or spices or flavorings, may be sourced from other suppliers and may indeed contain gluten.

The only way to be sure, beyond all shadow of a doubt, that your Jello is gluten-free, is to make it yourself. I really want to try making this healthy homemade Jello from One Lovely Life.

bite of orange Jello with Dream Whip whipped cream on spoon in glass mini trifle dish

WAYS TO CUSTOMIZE OR “BEEF UP” YOUR JELLO

There are many ways to make Jello so much more interesting and fun, especially if you're making it for kids or for a party.

You can make Jello with fruit. My mom likes to make Jello with strawberries in it, and it's a family-favorite every single holiday. She even adds sliced bananas sometimes.

You can also make Jello Jigglers or Jello cubes.

Jello shots are another very fun way to serve up Jello, especially to party guests.

Oh, and Jello molds!

HOW TO MOLD JELLO

Instead of just letting it set up in one big bowl, use fun and interesting molds.

Pour the Jello liquid into small shot glasses, smaller serving bowls or dessert cups, candy molds, a bundt cake pan, or a more decorative Jello mold immediately after mixing and before it thickens. Make a Jello brain, a holiday wreath, or Jello Christmas trees.

Keep in mind, if you're using a bigger mold, you'll likely need to use more than 1 box of Jello mix.

And to remove the Jello from the mold, you'll need to immerse (but not all the way) your Jello mold in warm water for a few seconds.

glass bowl of orange Jello with spoon on blue cloth

GREAT RECIPES USING INSTANT JELLO

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Yield: 4

How to Make Jello from the Box, Step by Step

How to Make Jello from the Box, Step by Step

Step by step instructions for how to make Jello straight from the box. Easy recipe and ideas for any flavor. Top with Cool Whip and make it dessert!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Chill Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Pour the powdered gelatin into a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  2. Add boiling water to the gelatin mix, and stir for 2 minutes until it's completely dissolved.
  3. Stir in the cold water.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or until the gelatin is firm and doesn't stick to your fingers.
  5. Once your Jello has firmed up, it's ready to eat. If you're making it for dessert, you can scoop some into a dish and top it off with whipped cream or Dream Whip.

Notes

HOW TO MAKE JELLO SET FASTER

Jello does have a “speed-set method,” and this cuts the set-up time significantly.

To make Jello set faster, you need to follow these instructions instead:

  1. Dissolve the gelatin mix in 3/4 cup boiling water.
  2. Add ice to 1/2 cup cold water to make 1 1/4 cups.
  3. Stir the cold water into the gelatin until it's slightly thickened.
  4. Then just remove any unmelted ice, and refrigerate for 30 to 90 minutes, or until firm.

CAN YOU SPEED UP THE PROCESS BY PUTTING JELLO IN THE FREEZER?

You can put Jello in the freezer for maybe 20 minutes or so, but you don't want it to freeze at all, because freezing Jello will ruin it. When frozen, Jello can lose its ability to gel and turn into a watery, goopy mess. Personally, I wouldn't go this route.

If you really want to cool it faster, you can place your mixing bowl into a larger ice water bath while stirring, being careful that the rim of your Jello bowl doesn't go beneath the water. Then as it begins to thicken, stick it in the fridge to finish setting up.

CAN YOU COVER JELLO BEFORE IT SETS?

You can cover it with plastic wrap, but just know that it may take it longer to set up if it's covered, especially if the Jello is still warm.

HOW TO MOLD JELLO

Instead of just letting it set up in one big bowl, use fun and interesting molds.

Pour the Jello liquid into small shot glasses, smaller serving bowls or dessert cupscandy molds, a bundt cake pan, or a more decorative Jello mold immediately after mixing and before it thickens. Make a Jello brain, a holiday wreath, or Jello Christmas trees.

Keep in mind, if you're using a bigger mold, you'll likely need to use more than 1 box of Jello mix.

And to remove the Jello from the mold, you'll need to immerse (but not all the way) your Jello mold in warm water for a few seconds.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 16Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 24mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 3gProtein: 0g

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