If the last time you ate Jell-O, it was served in a tiny plastic cup at the end of an epic bar crawl, we have good news: It’s about to be redeemed for you. Yes, we’re calling it right now — the jiggly, bright gelatin pudding dessert is about to make a serious comeback, at least in our kitchen.
While we can’t put too much of a stamp on its nutritional value (oh, hi, boiled bones), there’s no doubt about its artistic potential beyond the fruit-layered vodka shot. It's come a long way from the original four flavors patented in 1845. We asked our imaginative recipe developer, Ali Nardi, to dream up three light, sweet dream concoctions, and Lazy Mom to demonstrate just how to showcase them for your next party. (Seriously, check out that Jell-O birthday cake...). Get ready to take the original “Delicate. Delightful. Dainty” dessert to wobbly new heights.
Grasshopper Pie Jell-O Serves 12
Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
This recipe makes a little over 6 cups of Jell-O, so choose a vessel (i.e., a cake pan, pie dish, or Jell-O mold of choice) that can hold at least 7 cups.
Cream Layer Ingredients 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk 1 cup cream 2 packets Knox Gelatin 1/2 cup cold water 1/2 cup boiling water Green food coloring
Mint Layer Ingredients 1/2 cup cold water 1/2 cup boiling water 1 packet Knox Gelatin 2 cups crème de menthe Green food coloring (if using clear crème de menthe) 16 pieces Andes candy, chopped
Base Ingredients 2 cups crushed chocolate Teddy Grahams (use a food processor) 1/2 cup cold water 1 packet Knox Gelatin 1/2 cup heavy cream 1 tbsp unsalted butter Pinch of salt
Garnish 8 pieces Andes candy, chopped Whipped cream (optional)
Instructions 1. For the cream layer: In a medium bowl, mix condensed milk and heavy cream. In a separate bowl, sprinkle two packets of Knox Gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water, and allow to bloom for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over cold water with gelatin, and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Add this to condensed milk mixture and add 2 drops of green food coloring.
2. Pour 1/3 of this mixture into your Jell-O mold and place in fridge. Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a pot that the bowl with remaining cream mixture can rest in, and turn off heat. Place the bowl on top of the pot. This will keep your cream mixture from setting while you build the other cake layers.
3. While your first cream layer is beginning to set in the fridge, prepare the crème de menthe layer. As in step one, in a medium bowl, sprinkle gelatin evenly over 1/2 cup cold water and allow to bloom for 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup boiling water and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved.
4. Add crème de menthe and 3 drops green food coloring (if using) and mix well. By the time you have prepared the crème de menthe mixture, the first cream layer should be set enough (not completely firm, but like the consistency of pudding) to add your first crème de menthe layer. Pour half of the crème de menthe Jell-O over this first layer, sprinkle with half of the Andes candy, and place the mold back in fridge.
5. After 20 minutes, your crème de menthe layer should be set enough to add your second cream layer (again, it shouldn't be completely firm, but about the consistency of pudding). If your cream mixture has started to set, bring the water in the pot back to a gentle simmer over a low flame until mixture is just melted but not warm.
6. Pour half of remaining cream mixture into Jell-O mold. Allow to set for 10 to 15 minutes, until it's the consistency of pudding, and add the remaining crème de menthe mixture and Andes candy. Allow this to set to pudding consistency in fridge (15 to 20 minutes) before pouring the final cream layer. Do not place in fridge after adding final cream layer, as it will set too quickly before you can make the base.
7. For the base, bloom 1 packet Knox Gelatin over 1/2 cup cold
water, as in previous steps, in a medium bowl. Place cream, butter, and a pinch
of salt in a small saucepan and heat until cream is scalding.
8. Pour over gelatin
and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Add the crushed Teddy Grahams
and mix well. Gently spoon this over the final cream layer and return mold to
fridge. Allow to set fully for at least 4 hours.
9. To remove the Grasshopper Pie Jell-O from the mold, dip the
mold in warm water for five to 10 seconds and turn onto a wet plate or serving
platter (this will allow you to shift the Jell-O a bit if you don't hit
the center when you flip it). Sprinkle with Andes candy, and serve with whipped
cream if desired.
Champagne & St-Germain Jell-O Shots Serves 12
Prep Time 1 hr 15 mins
This recipe makes 12 1/3-cup servings. Individual Jell-O molds or individual silicone molds will work well for this. Lightly grease the molds with a neutral-tasting oil, such as vegetable oil.
Champagne Layer Ingredients 1/2 cup water 2 tbsp sugar 1 cup chilled Champagne or prosecco 1 packet Knox Gelatin 1 6-oz container raspberries
St-Germain & Juice Layer Ingredients 1 1/2 cups chilled St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur 2 packets Knox Gelatin 1/4 cup water 1/2 cup peach or apricot juice (or juice of choice)
Instructions 1. For the Champagne layer, place 1/2 cup water and sugar in small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar completely. Turn off heat. In a separate bowl, sprinkle 1 packet gelatin over 1/4 cup Champagne, and allow to bloom for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour boiled water and sugar over gelatin and stir until completely dissolved. Allow this mixture to come to room temperature, and add remaining 3/4 cup Champagne.
2. Divide this mixture among 12 individual Jell-O molds, and put three raspberries into each. Place in fridge and allow to set for 45 minutes to 1 hour (until Jell-O is getting firm but is still wobbly and a little sticky, like the consistency of pudding) before adding the second, St-Germain layer.
3. While first layer is setting, prepare the St-Germain layer. Mix 1/4 cup St-Germain and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Sprinkle 2 packets gelatin over this mixture and allow gelatin to bloom for 1 to 2 minutes.
4. Place saucepan over medium-low heat and gently heat until gelatin is completely dissolved, stirring frequently (about 4 to 5 minutes). Remove saucepan from heat and add remaining 1 1/4 cup St-Germain and juice. When the first layer is the consistency of pudding, divide this second mixture evenly among the Jell-O molds.
5. Allow to set for at least 2 hours before unmolding. To remove Jell-O from molds, dip each one into warm water for five to 10 seconds, and flip onto wet serving dish (this will allow you to shift it if it doesn't land right where you want it the first time).
Tropical Broken-Glass Jell-O Serves 16
Prep Time 2 hrs
This recipe makes about 8 1/2 cups, so you'll want to use a vessel that can hold at least 9 cups, such as a bundt pan. You'll need 4 containers to allow the "broken-glass" Jell-O to set. To get a nice cube, use a container no bigger than 5 x 5 inches. You can also experiment with cookie cutters and make stars or circles.
Lime Jell-O Ingredients 1 cup lime juice 1/2 cup sugar 1 packet Knox Gelatin Green food coloring
Pomegranate Jell-O Ingredients 1 cup pomegranate juice 1 packet Knox Gelatin
Mango Jell-O Ingredients 3/4 cup mango juice or smoothie (such as Naked Mango Smoothie) 1/4 cup water 1 packet Knox Gelatin
Pineapple Jell-O Ingredients 1 cup pineapple juice (shelf stable — not fresh, or it will prevent your Jell-O from setting) 1 packet Knox Gelatin Yellow food coloring (optional)
Base Ingredients 2 13.5-oz cans coconut milk 1/2 cup water 3 packets Knox Gelatin 1 cup sugar
Instructions 1. For the lime Jell-O: Place 1/2 cup lime juice and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar completely. Turn off heat. Sprinkle 1 packet of gelatin over remaining lime juice and allow to bloom for 1 to 2 minutes.
2. Add boiled lime juice to gelatin, add 2 drops green food coloring, and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Pour this mixture into a container and place in fridge. Allow to set completely (about 1.5 hours).
3. For the pomegranate Jell-O: In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup pomegranate juice to a boil and turn off heat. Sprinkle 1 packet gelatin over remaining pomegranate juice, and allow to bloom for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour boiled juice onto gelatin mixture and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Pour into a container and place in fridge. Allow to set completely (about 1.5 hours).
4. For the mango Jell-O: Bring 1/2 cup of mango juice to a boil and turn off heat. Mix remaining 1/4 cup of juice with 1/4 cup water, and bloom gelatin as in steps 1 and 2.
5. Pour boiled juice onto gelatin mixture and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Pour into a container and place in fridge. Allow to set completely (about 1 hour).
6. For the pineapple Jell-O: Repeat instructions from steps 1 and 2 (omitting sugar), using pineapple juice and adding yellow food coloring (if using). Allow to set completely for about 1 hour.
7. While the "broken-glass" Jell-O is setting, make the base. In a medium saucepan, add 1 can coconut milk and 1 cup sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar completely, and turn off heat. In a large bowl, mix 1/2 cup water with 1 can coconut milk. Sprinkle 3 packets of gelatin over this mixture and allow to bloom for 1 to 2 minutes.
8. Pour boiled coconut mixture over gelatin and stir to dissolve gelatin completely. Allow this mixture to come to room temperature.
9. When the fruit-juice Jell-Os are set, cut them into 1-x-1-inch cubes or shape of choice and lay them into the large Jell-O mold. Pour coconut mixture into mold, and place in fridge. Allow to set for at least 3 hours before serving.