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How to Use Gelatin Powder

If a recipe calls for gelatin powder and you’re feeling lost, here’s everything you need to know about how to use it!

What is Gelatin?

Gelatin is derived from animal collagen, which comes from the skin, bones, ligaments, and tendons. It is flavorless and odorless, and though brittle when dry, once wet it sets to become rubbery. While gelatin has a pale yellow color, when it is added to recipe it is clear and won’t affect the color.

This makes it a perfect ingredient for creating stable, thickened foods. While Jello is an obvious use of a flavored gelatin, it can also be added in smaller amounts to help stabilize ingredients without giving a rubbery texture.

Unflavored gelatin is available in most supermarkets in the baking aisle, generally with the flavored gelatins like Jello. You can also buy higher quality gelatin that is sourced ethically and considered healthier than the highly-processed gelatin found in grocery stores. I like the Great Lakes brand.

How Long Does Gelatin Take to Set?

After it has been completely dissolved in liquid, gelatin will reset in about 6 hours. Of course, this depends on the temperature (it sets faster when cold) and the amount of liquid that has been added.

Gelatin based recipes should be set in the refrigerator to help them set with the correct consistency.

How to Bloom Gelatin Powder

  • Place 1/4 cup (60 ml) of cold water in a bowl.
  • Sprinkle 1 package (2 1/4-2 1/2 tsp.) over the cold water. Make sure not to dump it in a clump, as the powder in the center won’t be able to dissolve and bloom correctly.
  • Allow the gelatin to set for 5 to 10 minutes. The longer you let it sit, the thicker it will become.

Using Gelatin That has Bloomed

Once your gelatin has bloomed and set (it will be fairly thick), heat it gently over a low burner flame or in the microwave on low heat in 10 second increments. When the gelatin is liquid again, you can mix it with other liquids and make other recipes.

If you are using the gelatin to set a straight liquid, 1 package will set 2 cups of liquid firmly. For a softer set, use 3 cups of liquid.

Recipes that Use Gelatin

  • Panna Cotta is a classic Italian dessert that is set with gelatin, and one of my all time favorites!
  • Mousse is another gelatin standard. It helps the fluffy dessert hold it’s shape, like in this Chocolate Peppermint Mousse Cake.
  • Gelatin can help whipped cream hold up for several days, instead of turning watery. Get the recipe for stabilized whipped cream here.
  • Marshmallows rely on gelatin to help keep them firm and give that soft-and-squishy texture that we all love in a good ‘mallow. Here’s a delicious recipe for Vanilla Bean Marshmallows.

Tips for Working with Gelatin

  • Do not add gelatin to boiling liquid. Above 212°, gelatin’s strength will quickly start to disintegrate, and it will not set as firmly.
  • The initial dissolving step must be done in cold water.
  • Avoid tampering with the amount of sugar a gelatin-based recipe calls for. Gelatin is a protein and sugar creates shorter protein chains, making desserts softer and more tender. Reducing the sugar could ruin the texture of your dessert, especially if you are making something like marshmallows or a jelly.
  • Gelatin never expires, so unless the packaging is damaged or it’s otherwise contaminated, you can use gelatin forever!

How to Use Gelatin Powder in Whipping Cream

Gelatin can be used to set whipped cream and make it last longer. This is typically called stabilized cream, and I’ve written an entire post on how to make it.

Click here to Learn how to Stabilize Whipped Cream

A bowl of whipped cream, stabilized with gelatin
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How to Use Gelatin Powder


  • Author: Rebecca Neidhart
  • Total Time: 7 minutes

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) cold water
  • 1 package (2 1/2 tsp.) powder gelatin

Instructions

  • Place 1/4 cup (60 ml) of cold water in a bowl.
  • Sprinkle 1 package (2 1/4-2 1/2 tsp.) over the cold water. Make sure not to dump it in a clump, as the powder in the center won’t be able to dissolve and bloom correctly.
  • Allow the gelatin to set for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Once your gelatin has bloomed and set (it will be fairly thick), heat it gently over a low burner flame or in the microwave on low heat in 10 second increments. When the gelatin is liquid again, you can mix it with other liquids and make other recipes.

Notes

  • Do not add gelatin to boiling liquid. Above 212°, gelatin’s strength will quickly start to disintegrate, and it will not set as firmly.
  • The initial dissolving step must be done in cold water.
  • Avoid tampering with the amount of sugar a gelatin-based recipe calls for. Gelatin is a protein and sugar creates shorter protein chains, making desserts softer and more tender. Reducing the sugar could ruin the texture of your dessert, especially if you are making something like marshmallows or a jelly.
  • Gelatin never expires, so unless the packaging is damaged or it’s otherwise contaminated, you can use gelatin forever!
  •  
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Setting Time: 5 minutes
  • Method: Chilling

Keywords: how to use powdered gelatin

Recipe rating

Pat

Monday 12th of December 2022

Wow and thank you! I am going to make marshmallow for the first time in my life and you are making it easy! Clear concise instructions and solid tips!!

Rebecca Neidhart

Tuesday 13th of December 2022

Marshmallows are such a great way to use gelatin! Thanks for the kind words.

Avinav

Thursday 1st of December 2022

Thanks for sharing but there is one issue, you said heat the bloomed gelatin before using but as soon as I add it to my cheesecake mix it cools down rapidly and turns into clumps of jelly before it is mixed.

Rebecca Neidhart

Tuesday 13th of December 2022

Hey Avinav! I'm so sorry that happened to your cheesecake. When adding the gelatin to a cold mix, make sure to drizzle it in very slowly. It should be almost a thread going into the mix to prevent clumps.

J. Evanovich

Wednesday 23rd of November 2022

Using this versatile product is not appreciated by younger cooks, your comments are helpful to these cooks. Regular jello has slipped out of regular use (maybe it was over used in its heyday) but this unflavored version has so many uses I hope new cooks will give it a chance.

Praisegod

Saturday 12th of November 2022

Thank you for this recipe. But must I chill the cube to get it firmer?

Lucho

Thursday 28th of July 2022

awesome share for those just starting out.

Rebecca Neidhart

Friday 29th of July 2022

Thanks for taking the time to comment! Are there any other tutuorials or information that you would find useful that I could share?