People from all over the world enjoy different foods that contain gelatin, such as mousse, jelly, and jello. Unfortunately, there are certain people that aren’t able to eat gelatin or they choose not to because it’s an animal byproduct. With that being said, if you’re a fan of all things gelatin but don’t eat it, then keep reading to learn about some great substitutes for this widely used ingredient, as well as, some fantastic recipes for your newly acquired knowledge.
Using Agar Agar or Kanten as a Substitute for Gelatin
Agar is made out of cooked and pressed algae and it’s typically used Asian desserts and firm jellies. It’s absolutely flavorless and has firmer, less jiggle texture than gelatin does. In order to use agar, it needs to be heated for it to dissolve properly. The powdered form of agar is much easier to use and measure, but if you’re going to use the bars or flakes, then it should be dissolved in water first. You can also break it down into a powder using a coffee grinder. Agar sets in about an hour at room temperature.
1 teaspoon gelatin = 1 teaspoon agar powder
1 teaspoon agar powder = 1 tablespoon agar flakes = ½ agar bar
Coffee Flan Agar Jelly (Thach Flan Ca Phe)
1 packet agar powder (25 grams or 2 tbsp)
5 ¼ cups water
1 cup sugar, add more if you want it to be sweeter
For the Coffee Layer:
4 tsp instant coffee
¼ cup hot water
¾ cup cold water
For the Cream Layer:
¼ cup half and half
3 heaping tbsp coconut cream
½ cup cold water
For Ice Bath:
4 cups ice
2 cups water
1. Add water into a medium saucepan. Sprinkle the agar powder into the water and mix together. Set it aside for 15 minutes.
- Mix the instant coffee with hot water. Stir to dissolve. Add cold water to make one cup.
- Heat the agar powder and water over medium heat. Make sure to constantly stir to dissolve the agar. When it starts to bubble, add in the sugar and stir until it’s dissolved. Skim the foam from the top, throw away. Turn the heat down to low.
- Pour 2 ½ cups of the mixture into a smaller saucepan. Add the coffee to the first saucepan and stir. Add cream to the second saucepan and stir. Both of the pans should now be simmering over low heat.
- Place the smaller dish inside of the large one and surround the smaller dish with ice. Pour in cold water, filling the outside dish about ¾ full.
- Measure out one cup of the coffee mixture and pour it into the smaller dish. The setting of the jelly depends on the size of the pan you’re using, but each layer usually takes in between 3-5 minutes.
- Stir the mixture and measure out one cup of cream. Gently scoop the mixture with a large spoon and place it on the coffee layer. You want to avoid pouring the mixture into the dish because it could break the other layers.
- Continue to make layers until there are four layers of coffee and three layers of cream. Always stir the mixture before pouring it into the measuring cup.
- Once all of the layers have been completed, place in the refrigerator for at least four hours.
Using Carrageen or Irish Moss
Carageen is another great substitute for gelatin. Carrageen is a dried seaweed that is typically used in vegan Kosher gel products. People like to use carrageen in soft jellies, mousses, ice creams, soups, dairy products, and puddings because it’s flavorless and sets things softer than gelatin. If you want to use carrageen in its dried seaweed form then you would want to look for whole seaweed, not powdered. Make sure to rinse it well and allow it to soak in water for approximately 12 hours until it swells. Then, boil it thoroughly with the liquid you want to set before straining it.
To set one cup of liquid, use 1 ounce of dried carrageen.
Heavenly Coconut Mousse
1 ⅔ cups of coconut milk
1 cup powdered sugar
A pinch of salt
3 grams of Cape Crystal Kappa Carrageenan
1.8 grams Cape Crystal Iota Carrageenan
- Mix all of the ingredients together in a saucepan. Bring it to a simmer while whisking it together.
- Simmer the mixture for three minutes. Pour the liquid into a container and allow it to set.
- Once the mixture is set, stir the coconut gel into a smooth puree.
- Place the puree into a cream whipper and charge with nitrous oxide.
- Dispense the completed mousse from the whipped cream canister when you’re ready to serve.
Using Vegan Jel
Vegan Jel is a fantastic substitute because it’s actually made from vegetable gum, adipic acid, calcium phosphate, potassium citrate, and tapioca dextrin. And because it can be used anywhere that gelatin is used, it makes the perfect substitute. It’s tasteless and extremely easy to use, which is why it’s a favorite for vegans all over the world.
1 teaspoon gelatin – 1 ½ teaspoons Vegan Jel
Cinnamon Roll Cookies
1 stick cold salted butter cut into pieces
1 cup almond flour
⅓ cup coconut flour
⅓ cup sweetener of your choosing
3 teaspoons Vegan Jel
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp erythritol
2 tsp cinnamon
Cream Cheese Drizzle:
2 oz cream cheese
2 tbsp sweetener
1. Preheat oven to 350.
- Combine all of the dough ingredients in the food processor. Process until all of the comes together in a ball. This should take approximately one minute to complete.
- Roll out the dough on a piece of parchment paper. Sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon and erythritol. Roll the dough into a log and slice into 20 pieces. Put the pieces onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Press down gently to make the layers meet.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes or until it’s light brown around the edges. Cool for at least 10 minutes.
5. Combine the softened cream cheese and the sweetener. Put the cream cheese into a piping bag. Snip the corner of the bag and drizzle the cookies with the cream cheese.
Healthy Homemade Strawberry Gummy Bears
2 cups of strawberry puree
⅓ cup lemon juice
1 tsp liquid stevia extract
Natural red food coloring
6 tsp Vegan Jel
- Wash the strawberries and slice the greens off. Puree in a blender. Measure 2 cups of the puree and place them into a medium-sized bowl.
- Stir in the lemon juice, stevia, and food coloring.
- Pour the strawberry mixture into a nut milk bag. Tie the bag closed and squeeze the bag to remove as much liquid as you can. There should be approximately 1 ¾ cup liquid when you’re done.
- Pour the mixture into a nonstick saucepan. Sprinkle the Vegan Jel over the mixture and allow it to sit for five minutes. Stir together and mash any big clumps of Vegan Jel.
- Put the man on medium heat and stir until it comes to a light boil. When the mixture boils harder, begin to stir constantly. When it comes to the point that you can’t stir the bubbles away, keep it on the heat for 30 seconds and then remove. Allow the mixture to sit until the foam goes away. Carefully scoop the mixture into gummy bear molds.
- Allow the molds to cool on the counter for an hour, then place them in the fridge.
- Refrigerate in an airtight container to store.
As you can see, there are plenty of alternatives to using gelatin in your favorite snacks and desserts. If you’re a vegan, or you just don’t care for gelatin, then try out one of these recipes and you’ll surely see that these substitutes are just as good, if not better than the original!