What Is Jello Made Of? (Ingredients, Types + More)

There are many sweet treats available nowadays, thanks to regular food experimentation, but most are very complex and require a lot of ingredients to make. People love an easy dessert with simple ingredients and one American treat has always been delivered – Jello.

With its bright colors and amazing flavors, you may be wondering what Jello is made of. I looked up the facts, and here is what I discovered!

What Is Jello Made Of?

Jello is primarily made up of Gelatin. Gelatin comes from animal collagen, which is what makes up tendons, connective tissues, ligaments, and bones. These parts are processed until the collagen is extracted. Once dried and sifted, the collagen is now ready to be made into gelatin. When dissolved in hot water, gelatin forms a semi-solid substance with a gel-like, jiggly texture.

How does Jello get its gel-like texture? Keep reading to find out!

What Is Jello?

Jello is a famous American treat that is usually served as a part of school lunch trays and hospital meals.

Jello is a sweet, low-calorie dessert that can come as a powder or be ready-made in individual cups.

Additionally, Jell-O is a brand name owned by Kraft Foods, but Jello has been now widely used to refer to any treat made from gelatin.

There are a lot of flavors available when you buy Jello mixtures in packets with classics like Strawberry, Black Cherry, Berry Blue, Fruit Punch, and a lot more fruit flavors.

Moreover, there are even Jello flavors like Italian salad, Coffee, and Cola, but most have been discontinued.

What Ingredient Makes Jello Jiggle?

Gelatin, Jello’s main ingredient, has very weak protein bonds. These bonds hold together the protein structures or helixes that make up the gelatin strands and they are easily manipulated.

When you add boiling water to your Jello powder and mix them, this dissolves the gelatin and its bonds, and you are left with free-floating proteins.

When the Jello is mixed and dissolved and allowed to cool, the protein bonds begin to form again and it starts soaking up the water. These bonds form a sort of net, where water is trapped inside.

This is sometimes referred to as a “colloid” structure, where a dispersed substance-in this case, water, is suspended inside another substance- the gelatin bonds.

This “net” is stable enough to hold the shape of the Jello, but the water inside stops the Jello from being completely solid, giving the Jello its wiggly texture and jiggle.

What Is Gelatin?

What Is Gelatin?

Gelatin is a product made from collagen. Jello is made out of proteins and amino acids and is the primary ingredient in Jello.

Collagen is the most plentiful protein in the body and is most abundant in the bones, ligaments, tendons, and skin. Collagen in Jello is usually derived from the parts of animals like cows and pigs.

Gelatin can be extracted by boiling these said parts in water and the gelatin you can get from this process is usually colorless and flavorless. This serves as the base for the actual Jello mixture.

Gelatin is also the reason why Jello can be molded into different shapes and sizes while maintaining structure and still having a jelly-like consistency.

Is Jello Made Of Horse And Cow Hooves?

Contrary to some people’s belief, animal hooves cannot produce gelatin, so it is impossible that Jello is made from animal hooves.

Horse and cow hooves are made from a protein called Keratin, a protective protein usually less prone to breakage, tearing, or scratching. Unlike collagen, keratin cannot produce gelatin.

Since gelatin is the primary ingredient of Jello, cow hooves and horse hooves cannot be incorporated into any Jello mixture.

What Are The Other Ingredients Of Jello?

Aside from gelatin being Jello’s primary ingredient, other ingredients are in Jello.

Packaged Jello contains added sweeteners and colorings, which is what makes Jello very appealing to kids and adults alike.

Jello sweeteners are usually aspartame, a calorie-free artificial sweetener. People who are into calorie-free diets love eating Jello because of aspartame.

However, Jello is very high in sugar because aspartame is 200 times sweeter than regular sugar, making it unideal for diabetics to consume.

Bright colors in Jello may be artificial or natural. Due to consumer demand, manufacturers have been trying to use more natural colorings like beet and carrots in their Jello mixture.

Some jello mixtures also contain maltodextrin, a white powder carbohydrate that gives Jello ist slippery and shiny texture. Adipic Acid is also added to provide Jello’s tart flavor.

What Is Vegan Jello Made Of?

Vegan jello uses a replacement for gelatin since gelatin is made from animal parts where collagen is extracted, which is not ideal for vegans and vegetarians to consume.

There are now a lot of vegan substitutes for gelatin where vegan Jello does not require any part of any type of animal to attain the famous consistency of Jello.

Agar-agar, or simply agar, is one of these alternatives. Agar-agar is a thick, translucent, jelly-like substance that comes from Gracilaria, a type of red algae.

Moreover, agar-agar is perhaps the most famous and most used gelatin substitute in the world.

Another vegan gelatin substitute for Jello is Carrageenan, or Irish moss, which is also derived from seaweeds, like agar, and is a popular thickener in some dairy products.

Pectin is another vegan Jello ingredient, and pectin is derived from the skins of fruits, not the skin of animals.

Moreover, pectin is a bit softer in texture than agar and carrageenan but still forms a very jelly-like structure.

Check out our related articles to learn what Jello is, what Jello shots are, and when Jello was invented.


Jello, a very popular American treat, is usually made from gelatin and Jello is most popular in schools and hospital meals for the sick.

Gelatin is a substance that gives jello its consistency, and gelatin is derived from boiling animal skin, bones, and ligaments, where collagen is most present.

There are also plant-based gelatins available in the market for vegans and vegetarians who cannot consume this animal by-product.

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