Make your own single-serve Jell-O cups

I love it when the whole family's involved! Will, husband of legendary Parenthacker Hedra, sent this in…perfect for grab-and-go summer snacking:

A few weeks ago I was grocery shopping with the girls, and Miss M wanted more Jell-O ™ cups, but they now use high fructose corn syrup, which she can't have. Very sad Miss M. So I suggested we look at the powder mix and make it ourselves. The mix has no corn syrup, so we bought some and took it home.

When my mom made Jell-O, she would pour it into custard cups so that we had individual servings. We don't have custard cups, but then my eye fell on the small paper cups that Miss M had been playing with earlier in the day. Perfect. We mixed the Jell-O in the bowl, with the girls helping with the stirring – their favorite part of cooking. I put a bunch of cups in a baking pan, we ladled out the Jell-O, and put it in the refrigerator to cool. When it was done, they had little portions of Jell-O that they could easily manage themselves. And no lid to remove!

Even easier: when you mix the Jell-O, do it in a large, glass measuring cup so you can pour (instead of ladle) the liquid into the paper cups.

Also, I just read the directions on my Pomona Universal Pectin (which I use to make jam) — you can mix it with fruit juice to make your own fruity "gel" snacks…with no sugar or artificial color!

Another option: this beautiful fruit juice gelatin cup recipe from Biggie at Lunch in a Box. I know how I'll be using up some of my summer blueberries.

Any more Jell-O tricks to share?

Related: Make healthy snacks easiest to grab


  1. says

    Just don’t use pineapple juice. The results are not easily transportable and your Jell-O hungry children will cry.

  2. Kate says

    To keep the cups from falling over in the fridge, put the cups into muffin tins.

    And if you’re not a fruit juice fan, I’m sure you could use sugar-free Kool-Aid for your liquid with the pectin.

  3. Chic Momma says

    I use recycled Gerber baby food containers for this. The perfect size for individual size Jello snacks, and the lids make them easy to pack in lunches.

  4. melane says

    I also use fruit juice and use a little less than called for in the recipe. But instead of paper cups, I use the small round Ziploc/Glad (not sure which brand) plastic containers with lids and fill those up, pop the lid on and place in the fridge. Easy to pop in a lunch box, including my own. You also don’t have to worry about them falling over in the fridge.

  5. says

    @Melane- fabulous! I liked Will’s idea, but my kids want it in a lunchbox- they want all the individual packaging The Other Kids Have. I’ve got a plan now. Thank you!

  6. Bitts says

    Per a rec from “The Sneaky Chef,” I now replace half the water in Jello (the hot half) with weakly-brewed decaf green tea. The taste is virtually undetectable and as far as health benefits, well, every little bit helps!!

  7. says

    If you add another package or two of gelatin (unflavored) to the mix and then put them in shaped trays, you have jelly candy when they harden. Better for the food-allergic kids!

  8. epeepunk says

    Submitter here – To keep them from tipping over I put the baking pan right into the refrigerator with the cups in it (the pan was originally to catch drips). I love the idea of using the measuring cup.

  9. says

    LOL – when I was a child in the UK (40 years ago!) birthday parties always involved jello served in little paper cups (often with a dollop of whipped cream on top.)

  10. says

    If you had them (which I don’t, alas), could you use those silicone baking cups, either in the cupcake tin or on their own? Reusable, squishable, colorful!

  11. chris says

    We make the single serve jellos and puddings by washing out baby food tubs. I neurotically saved every single one and reuse it for treats. If you’re concerned about BPA (or whatever that plastic chemical is), let the jello mixture get to room temp before you fill the tub. Hubby’s taken jello to work in his lunch many times. Unlike the custard cup, the baby food tub has a lid for traveling and then toss into trash/recycle when finished. No clean up.

  12. catmom says

    Does anyone have a “jello” recipe that uses a thickener like agar instead? I’m thinking pectin would be a little too firm. I’m loving this thread, which brings back fond memories, but as a vegetarian I can’t quite bring myself to serve/eat gelatin.

  13. says

    well funny you should talk about jello b/c that’s all I could muster up for our fourth of july dessert for the kiddos. I had my 6 year old help me mix it up then I pour it into juice glasses to firm. reddiwhip and sprinkles top it off!

    I’m thinking though… all those yogurt cups that I saved and the applesauce cups that I occasionally buy and clean out (I save these for little snack cups/paint cups/etc for the littles in our house)- maybe I could use those for jello cups and top it off with some press ‘n seal?

    thanks for the tip on the ready to eat jello at the store – forgot there might be corn syrup in there!