7 Best Jell-O Pudding Flavors & 3 Tasty Hacks
Jell-O is an American pudding made, mostly, of gelatin and flavoring. Whether you enjoy these on their own or as part of a pudding or even jello shot recipe is up to you. Here you will find the best Jello-O flavors and great hacks and alternatives.
Powdered gelatine is a relatively new invention, having been patented in 1845 by one Peter Cooper. It wasn’t an immediate success, but once it took off it quickly became a household name.
Modern jello is available in a huge variety of flavors and textures. Some of the vintage and international flavors are particularly interesting. But more on that later.
What Jell-O Pudding Is
Jell-O pudding is a dessert made with gelatin, sugar, and flavoring. Usually food coloring is added as well to make the dessert look more appealing. Modern Jell-O is available in a wide variety of flavors, colors, and consistencies. The gelatin is really what makes it so versatile and easy to cook.
Where Jell-O Is From
Jell-O is an American dessert, which is still produced in Iowa today. As of the 1960s, jello is produced internationally as well. In 2020 over 110 million Americans used Jell-O.
What Jell-O Is Made Of
Jell-O is mostly made of gelatin, as well as natural and artificial flavors. The normal packets contain sugar as well, while the sugar-free ones contain aspartame and sucralose.
Origin of Jell-O Pudding
Back during Victorian times, gelatin was extracted by boiling bones or boiling and purifying gelatin sheets. You could then add whichever ingredients and flavors you wanted to create complex desserts and even savory dishes.
Back in the day these were cooled in complex molds and were the centerpiece of any particularly extravagant meal.
Amount of Sugar and Sugar-Free Jell-O Flavors
Regular jello contains about 18 gramm of sugar per serving, which is the same as about 4.5 teaspoons. Sugar free jello has no sugar at all, and is instead made with the sweetener aspartame.
Interestingly, the sugar free Jell-O mix also doesn’t contain any carbohydrates. This makes it a great alternative for diabetics and those following a low carb diet.
The Best Jell-O Flavors You Need to Try
Jell-O is one of those dessert mixes you either love or hate. Yet there are truly delicious flavors out there, and what’s more, it just depends how you use them.
Jello shots and jellied toppings on top of cheesecake desserts have long been a popular option. So even if you don’t just want a big wobbly plate of ‘just’ jell-o, we think that the flavors below may tempt you.
Exactly what it says on the packet. This flavor is particularly popular as it is so refreshing. It contains less than 2 percent of natural and artificial flavors, yet is still very flavorful to eat. It makes a great addition to jello shots or as a slightly tart addition to no-bake cheesecake recipes.
Top tip: Use orange jello to make your own jaffa cakes.
Strawberry Jell-O is delicious, artificially strawberry-flavored jelly goodness. It’s fantastic in jello shots or in jello cheesecakes. It’s also yummy as part of the whipped yogurt dessert recipe below. Add extra strawberries as decoration on top for a refreshing and pretty treat.
As with most modern Jell-O products, peach jello contains no artificial sweeteners and no high fructose corn syrup. It’s a popular variety that’s quite good when paired with peach schnapps. It’s also a tasty treat on its own. Add canned peach slices to the Jell-O mix for a refreshing summer dessert for kids.
Watermelon Jell-O is a category of its own, in our opinion. Top tip: add part watermelon juice when making your jelly and pour it into a halved watermelon. Once the Jell-O has set, cut slices of watermelon deliciousness. It looks fun and tastes great. You can also make a boozy version by adding vodka.
Mango Jell-O is a great flavor and, we’d imagine, particularly popular in Asia, where mango-flavored desserts are a big thing.
Make your mango jello with part mango juice and chill. Cut it into cubes and add to milk-flavored jello (use agar agar or regular gelatin to make this.) Chill again and cut into slices for a fun, mosaic-looking dessert.
If you love raspberry-flavored puddings, you’ll probably like this jello. Raspberry jello is great in jello shots, as well as Jell-O yogurt mousse recipes. It’s also a delightful, sweet addition on top of cheesecakes.
Raspberry jello is a great option both for kids and adults alike. If you really want to get creative you can make a raspberry jello ‘salad’ for your friends and family.
Simply add fresh or frozen raspberries to your freshly-made raspberry jello. Pour in a baking dish to set. Then, coat with a mix of heavy cream and mini-marshmallows and serve. Delicious.
Grape Jell-O is one of those flavors you either absolutely love or kind of loathe. However, if you like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, you’ll love this idea: Use peanut butter and grape jello to make sweet jelly ‘slices’ or Jell-O jigglers.
To make these, add unflavored gelatin, peanut butter, and marshmallows to boiling water. Pour into a square dish and allow to set. Make the grape jello as instructed on the packet and pour over the top. Set again, cut, and enjoy as a fun party treat. Kids will absolutely love these.
The Worst Jell-O Flavors
Once upon a time people made some really crazy jelly flavors. We’re talking savory mixes that could be used in jellied salads.
That’s right, for a brief period of time people enjoyed presenting elaborate salad-like dishes to their guests — in jellied form. Below are some of the worst flavors of Jell-O you used to be able to buy. Thankfully, all of these are now discontinued.
It should be noted at this point that there are still some crazy flavors available internationally: The German waldmeister flavor is made from the woodruff herb and tastes herbal and slightly medicinal.
In Japan, you can get a type of red bean paste jelly. In Mexico, anise-flavored jello is sold and tastes a lot like liquorish.
You read it correctly. There used to be a celery Jell-O flavor. It was used to make elaborate ‘salads’ or encircle them in a band of (fairly disgusting) jelly. There’s not much more to say about this flavor, except thank goodness it no longer exists. The green color alone would be enough to put most people off.
2. Seasoned Tomato
This one actually isn’t as strange as it sounds. Seasoned tomato jello is no longer available today, but was once a fairly popular flavor.
Nowadays, to get a similar effect, you’ll have to follow a recipe for tomato aspic. Fresh tomatoes are added to gelatin, finely-chopped herbs and celery, as well as spices. It’s an old-fashioned recipe, but great alongside mozzarella or fresh bread.
3. Mixed Vegetable
Another horrible flavor of Jell-O that’s no longer made today. Mixed vegetable flavor was specifically marketed as being for salads. Back in the 1920’s and 30’s recipes such as the Layered Rainbow Jello Salad were all the rage. These were presented in elaborate molds.
Whether or not anyone actually enjoyed eating these is questionable, but they did help stretch ingredients. They also looked fairly impressive, if a little scary by modern standards.
4. Italian Salad
Italian Salad-flavored Jell-O was a sort of seasoned jelly, it would appear. It’s long since been discontinued, but the idea was that you could set different salad ingredients in it.
Italian Salad jello was again presented in an elaborate mold, and made an impressive centerpiece of any meal. Slices of jello salad would have been served alongside bread and vinegar, presumably.
5. Maple Syrup
Another long discontinued flavor of Jell-O. Maple Syrup jello just doesn’t sound very good. With that said, maple jelly is still a recipe apparently popular in Canada. It’s used as part of a kind of fruit salad concoction. Serve with cream as a very Canadian pudding. Or just skip this one altogether.
Tasty and Creative Jell-O Flavors Hacks and Recipes
If just having straight Jell-O sounds more like hell-o to you, that’s alright. Did you know that you can use jello in a variety of recipes instead?
The high gelatin content of Jell-O makes it really useful when it comes to crafting some really special desserts. Below are some of our favorites you should definitely try, even if you don’t ordinarily enjoy jello.
Jell-O shots are beloved by University students everywhere, and it’s easy to see why. They’re bright, colorful, and it takes about three jello shots to have the effect of one regular shot of alcohol.
To make them, you’ll want to mix one 3 oz packet of Jell-O with one cup of boiling water, 0.5 cups of cold water, and 0.5 cups of vodka. Experiment with different flavors and colors. Pineapple, orange, or cranberry jello work particularly well for these.
Creamy Jello Yogurt
Mix one package of Jell-O with ¾ cup of boiling water, 0.5 cups of cold water, and one cup of plain yogurt in a blender. Allow the mixture to set in the fridge and that’s it.
Enjoy this delicious, fluffy, easy to make dessert. You can even use sugar free jello to make this, giving you a great diet-friendly dessert option.
A jello cheesecake is the easiest no-bake dessert you’ll ever make. To make it, mash up 300g of graham crackers with 125g of lightly salted, melted butter.
Coat the base of your cake tin with this mixture. Now mix ⅓ cup of Jell-O granules with 2.5 cups of slightly heated double cream and 850g of full fat cream cheese. If you want a lighter, more whipped-looking cheesecake, mix everything in a blender.
Add the topping to the base and chill in the fridge. You can enjoy this cheesecake with pretty much any flavor of Jell-O mix, including the sugar free ones.
Best Alternatives to Jell-O Flavors
If Jell-O isn’t your favorite dessert, there are plenty of delicious alternatives you can enjoy. Below are some of our favorite dessert mixes you can whip up yourself or have straight out of the packet.
Bear in mind that nothing quite beats Jell-O for their sheer variety of flavors and the versatility to use it in desserts.
Bakol Jel Dessert
Bakol Jel Dessert is a natural, vegan, kosher, and halal alternative to Jell-O. It even looks a little bit like the classic jello packaging.
You can use these gelatine alternative dessert mixes to create more or less the same recipes as you would with jello. The only drawback with these is that they don’t come in quite as many flavors. They’re also not flavored quite as strongly as Jell-O, but then the flavors are natural.
Dr. Oetker Pudding Mixes
Similar to Jell-O but with an aim to create slightly more ‘premium’ desserts. Dr. Oetker is a German brand, but popular internationally for their tasty pizzas and easy to use pudding mixes.
They offer a variety of powdered dessert packets, including mousses, creme caramel, mug cakes, creme brulee, and of course pudding. Dr. Oetker puddings are available in a vast variety of flavors, including caramel, vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, lemon, and coconut.
Royal Desserts offer a variety of jello-like pudding mixes, some of which are even keto diet-friendly and/or sugar free. Some of their classics include strawberry, lime, and orange.
They also have a variety of pudding and pie filling mixtures, including chocolate, banana cream, and butterscotch. Royal tends to be slightly more lumpy while Jell-O has a tendency to go foamy at the top when setting. So it’s up to you to decide which you prefer for your dessert recipes.