What Is Jello? (Types, Flavors + More)

Desserts and treats are an essential part of every meal and are often looked forward to. A sweet treat is always the perfect way to end an otherwise savory meal, and one popular treat is Jello.

If you have never tried Jello, you may be wondering what Jello is. I checked out the facts, and here is what I discovered!

What Is Jello?

Jello is a gelatin-based dessert that is famous for its jiggly texture and flavors. Jello has been an American treat since the 1800s, and Jello is mostly found in school lunches and as a hospital dessert. Jello is now a generalized term for any gelatin-based dessert but is actually a brand called Jell-O, which is owned by Kraft Foods. 

Are you wondering what Jello looks like and who invented Jello? Continue reading!

What Is Jello Powder?

Jello powder is a mix of powdered gelatin, artificial sweeteners and flavorings, and artificial color.

Generally, Jello comes in a packet where you dissolve the contents in boiling water, set into a mold of your choice, and chill until set.

Typically, Jello can be molded into however shape you want while the Jello is still warm or you can cut the Jello into shapes after it has set and chilled.

Moreover, Jello also has a variety of flavors that you can use to add to desserts and dishes for a fun texture.

You can eat Jello by itself or Jello can be incorporated into other desserts for a pop of color.

What Is A Jello Shot?

A jello shot is made by adding an alcoholic beverage, typically a hard liquor like vodka or tequila, into a gelatin mixture.

Next, the Jello mixture is molded in shot glasses or small cups, hence the term Jello shots.

Normally, the alcohol is mixed in when the gelatin has been dissolved in hot water and needs proper proportioning so the gelatin sets.

This is very common in universities, people going to spring breaks, or holiday parties because Jello shots are cheap and easy to make.

Additionally, Jello shots also serve as a shot and chaser in one because of the flavor in the gelatin mix.

However, you must monitor your alcohol intake when taking Jello shots because the alcohol is suspended in the mixture and it takes long before the Jello is dissolved by the body.

Some drinkers only feel the effects after a long time, underestimating the alcohol content because of the fruity taste and the late body absorption.

What Is Jello Salad?

Jello salad is made with flavored gelatin and a variety of fruits or unsweetened gelatin with a medley of vegetables.

However, Jello salad’s popularity has decreased, and Jello salads are now rarely seen or made.

Jello salads are usually molds of big gelatin, where fruits or vegetables are cut up into smaller pieces and suspended inside the mixture for design purposes.

Some ingredients include nuts, different cheese varieties, marshmallows, and more, depending on the flavor of the Jello salad.

What Is Finger Jello?

What Is Finger Jello?

Finger Jello is a bite-sized treat mostly served to little kids and is usually a block of gelatin cut into fun little shapes by a cookie cutter or any molder.

Normally, finger Jello’s purpose is for kids to eat jello-like finger food, just plucked out of a dish and placed straight to their mouths.

You can serve different flavors of Jello into different shapes and even mold them into brick squares so kids can build things with the Jello like lego.

Moreover, Finger Jello is used so children do not choke on large pieces of Jello, which is why smaller cuts and shapes of Jello are for smaller children.

What Is Jello Pudding?

Jello pudding is an instant mix powder that is combined with warm milk or water to create a creamy, gelatinous pudding.

Typically, Jello pudding has a variety of flavors including the basic chocolate and vanilla and is full of gelatin and cornstarch which makes it have a gel-like consistency but with added creaminess.

Additionally, Jello pudding is a lot like custard, but more jelly-like. Plus, Jello pudding can be used as a pie filling, frostings, or eaten on its own while cold.

Where Did Jello Come From?

Before it was manufactured as a food brand, gelatin desserts had been on the table of the well-to-do families and royalty.

Jello was popularized in the Victorian era of New York, where Jello was sold in sheets in a time-consuming process.

Gelatin at that time had to pass through a lot of stages and needed to be purified to make the complex and spectacular desserts molded for the rich.

In 1897, Pearle Wait, a cough syrup manufacturer, and his wife May made a gelatin dessert with added flavorings like lime, orange, and raspberry and trademarked it as “Jell-O”.

This couple then sold Jello-O to Genesee Pure Food Company, owned by Francis Woodward, who then started the long process of selling and advertising the food product until Kraft foods obtained Jell-O in the 1990s.

Jell-O became very popular as food ornaments because of its easy preparation and cheap price.

Moreover, Jello-O was used as decor in tea sandwiches during high tea and as dainty toppings to food.

A rise in the market began when Bill Cosby was featured to advertise Jell-O and thus began its popularity along with other varieties like Jello Pudding and Jigglers, or finger Jello.

Take a look at our related articles to learn what Jello is made of, if Jello is the same as jelly, and how long Jello lasts.


Jello is a popular sweet treat that has amassed massive popularity because of its easy preparation techniques and variety of flavors.

Jello is made from gelatin, from which it gets its trademark consistency and texture. Over time, Jello has been incorporated into more food products like puddings and salads.

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