Finger Jello is a yummy and fun treat kids love! Plus it’s super easy to make at home using only two simple ingredients – your favorite juice and plain gelatin.
I grew up eating jello jigglers, a classic 1980s treat for kids. Since we don’t eat a lot of added sugar, I figured out how to make my own version with simple ingredients.
All you need to make this easy recipe are two ingredients and a couple of minutes of free time (which can be hard to find when you have hungry little kids).
The best part is you can customize this recipe with your favorite flavor and even make different shapes. Little kids and even big kids will be asking when you’re planning to make more.
- Ingredients and Tools
- By the Numbers: How to Make Finger Jello
- Finger Jello Tips, Ideas & Substitutions
- Where to find unflavored gelatin?
- How many Knox gelatin envelopes?
- What does it mean for gelatin to bloom?
- How is this different from regular jello?
- What types of molds work best?
- How to make fun shapes?
- What are some different flavor ideas?
- How to make layered jello?
- How long does finger jello last?
- More kid-friendly snack ideas?
- Easy Finger Jello Recipe
- More Delicious Dessert Recipes
Ingredients and Tools
- 4 cups your favorite juice
- ¼ cup gelatin
- Mixing bowl
- Sauce Pan
- Glass Dish or Silicone Mold
By the Numbers: How to Make Finger Jello
Follow these simple steps to learn how to make fun finger gelatin treats for kids of all ages.
Step 1: Whisk Gelatin Into Juice.
The first thing you want to do is add 2 cups of your favorite juice (room temperature or cold, not hot) to a medium mixing bowl. Sprinkle ¼ cup of plain gelatin powder over the top of the juice.
Whisk in until it’s totally dissolved. You want to do this step first so the gelatin has time to bloom.
Step 2: Heat Juice.
Add 2 additional cups of juice to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.
Step 3: Combine Hot and Cold Juices.
At this point, your cold juice and gelatin mixture should be fully bloomed and ready to go.
After it boils, pour the hot juice into your heat-safe mixing bowl with the juice and gelatin mixture. Whisk until well combined and all of the gelatin powder is dissolved into the juice.
Step 5: Pour Into Mold and Refrigerate.
Pour the jello mixture into a shallow glass Pyrex dish, cover with plastic wrap or a lid and place it in the refrigerator and allow it to chill until it’s fully set, which usually takes at least 2-3 hours. Smaller dishes may set faster.
Step 6: Cut and Serve.
Once set, remove your finger jello from the fridge. It should be fully set and cold. If it’s still room temperature or cool, put it back in the fridge. It’s easier to cut when cold.
Cut it into bite-sized cubes or other cool shapes. My kids always loved eating their jello squares with their fingers!
Finger Jello Tips, Ideas & Substitutions
Answers to all of your questions about making finger jello jigglers in different shapes and flavors.
Where to find unflavored gelatin?
How many Knox gelatin envelopes?
There are 2 ½ teaspoons in each envelope of Knox gelatin. So if you have those instead of the bulk powder like I buy, you’ll need 4.8 packets to equal ¼ cup.
What does it mean for gelatin to bloom?
During the blooming process, the gelatin powder is rehydrated and softened by the juice or water you sprinkle it into. This step basically activates the gelatin. This cannot be done with hot water – it needs to be done with cold to room temperature water.
Once it has absorbed the cold liquid and swelled up, then you’re ready to melt it with a hot liquid. Only once you have bloomed and melted your gelatin will it become what we know as jello.
How is this different from regular jello?
Finger jello has less water than the regular squishy jello you eat with a spoon. If you want a softer texture, use the same amount of juice (4 cups total) with 5 teaspoons (or two packets) of unflavored gelatin.
What types of molds work best?
I typically just put it in whatever dish I have handy and then cut it into cubes. It does stick a bit to the container, but that doesn’t bother us.
Some recipes recommend using cooking spray to keep this from happening, but it doesn’t actually work. When you pour the warm jello mixture into the mold, the oil will just mix in with the liquid and leave little divets in your jello where it settles.
If you want perfect cubes or other shapes, I recommend choosing a silicone mold. It’s much easier to pop the shapes out cleanly than with glass, plastic or metal.
How to make fun shapes?
You can use silicone molds or cookie cutters to make interesting shapes for fun desserts. Some cute ideas are:
- Christmas trees, candy canes or Santa Hats for winter festivities
- Hearts to hand out in the classroom on Valentine’s day
- Clovers or rainbows to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
- Cupcakes or balloons for birthdays
Just keep in mind when you cut shapes with cookie cutters that you’ll have leftover bits of jello (perfect for moms to snack on).
What are some different flavor ideas?
One great thing about this recipe is that you can use almost any juice you like. I used Cranberry-Apple Juice in the batch you see in the pictures, but we love experimenting with different flavors.
Some other combos we enjoy are apple strawberry mango, elderberry black cherry, or apple grape. Citrus juice does not gel well.
I also enjoy making jello with half juice and half kombucha (use kombucha for the blooming step, not the heated step). My homemade kombucha gives it a nice tang!
How to make layered jello?
The secret to creating the multi-color layered jello look is to chill each layer until it’s set, but not until it’s totally firm. If you wait until the layer is totally firm, the next layer won’t bind to it and you’ll just have piles of jello colors that slip and slide apart.
The second tip is to allow each layer of liquid jello to cool and thicken slightly before pouring it over the other layers. If you add hot jello, it’ll melt the layer under it and they’ll blend together.
How long does finger jello last?
If stored properly in the refrigerator, finger jello will last for about a week. Ours is usually gone in 2-3 days. I find that the edges dry out faster compared to regular jello due to the high gelatin content.
More kid-friendly snack ideas?
I love creating delicious recipes that kids love. Here are some of my kids’ other favorite snacks:
Easy Finger Jello Recipe
- 4 cups your favorite juice
- ¼ cup unflavored gelatin powder
- Mixing bowls
- Sauce Pan
- Glass Dish or Silicone Mold
- Add 2 cups of cold juice to a medium bowl, then whisk in the gelatin until it’s completely dissolved. Set aside for a little bit so the gelatin can bloom.
- Add the remaining 2 cups of juice to a small sauce pot and bring to a boil.
- Once it’s boiling, pour it into the mixing bowl with the juice and gelatin mixture and whisk until the gelatin dissolves.
- Pour the liquid jello mixture into a shallow glass dish or square pan, wipe any drips with a paper towel and put it into the fridge.
- Allow your finger jello to sit in the refrigerator until it’s set, at least 2-3 hours for a dish this size.
- Cut your yummy juice flavored jello into small squares or other cool shapes.