Homemade Fresh Strawberry Jello for Mother’s Day

Homemade Jello With Strawberries Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Jell-O always seemed a bit like magic to me. Add water to the brightly colored, sugary powder and in no time it’s solid and giggles like a good belly laugh. The problem is, the stuff in the box tastes like congealed, watered-down kool-aid. There is no actual fruit involved, just artificial color and flavor. Luckily gelatin desserts have earned more respect in the past decade with the popularization of panna cotta and other sophisticated, intense flavors, like wine and espresso. The best part of using gelatin is being able to create sexy shapes out of a liquid. Panna cotta just wouldn’t be the same if it was a puddle of custard on a plate. Knowing how to work with unflavored gelatin properly means you can set a liquid, without having it bounce like a rubber ball. You want to use just enough to keep its shape, but still have a smooth, luscious feel. This homemade jello dessert is nothing but pure, ripe, sweet strawberries pureed and set with a bit of gelatin in a fun mold. A bowl of perfect strawberries and cream is nice, but when you present this regal dessert to your mom, it will take her breath away and she deserves that.

Homemade Jello With Fresh Strawberries

2 1/2 pounds strawberries (fresh or frozen)

1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar

3 packets unflavored Knox gelatin (for a vegetarian alternative try using agar-agar)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup heavy cream

Fresh strawberries with sugar | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

In a saucepan cook the strawberries and 1 cup sugar over medium-low heat. If you are using fresh strawberries you may need to add 2 tablespoons of water. Cook until the fruit is softened. Frozen and VERY ripe fruit will cook faster.

Pureed Strawberries | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Use a regular or Immersion Hand Blender to puree the fruit. Strain the seeds and return to the pot. Using a Chinoise Strainer will make the job go much faster.

Mixing Gelatin Powder with Water | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

In a small bowl, pour the 3 packets of gelatin over 1/2 cup of water, making sure no dry powder remains. Let the gelatin sit until it “blooms” and absorbs all the water.

Stirring gelatin into strawberry puree | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Heat the strained puree to a simmer, turn off the heat and add the bloomed gelatin. Stir until the gelatin is melted and evenly distributed in the puree.

Jello Mold | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Choose a mold that fits at least 5 cups. I used the Lekue Imperial Monarch Mold which is made of silicone.

Strawberry Jello in Mold | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Fill the mold with 3/4 of the puree. Set the mold in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until a skin is formed on the top.

Mixing Strawberry Puree with Heavy Cream for Homemade Jello | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Pour half the remaining puree into a bowl. Whip the heavy cream with 2 tablespoons sugar and add it to the puree in the bowl.

Folding Heavy Cream into Strawberry Puree for Homemade Jello | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Gently fold the cream into the puree.

Homemade Jello in Mold | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Add the cream/puree mixture to the mold, refrigerate for about 15 minutes, or until it has set slightly. Add the remaining strawberry puree to the top. Set in the refrigerator for about 3 hours or until well set.

Homemade Jello Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

To un-mold the jello: fill a large vessel with hot water.

Dipping jello mold in a hot water bath | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Dip the homemade jello into the hot water, being careful not to get water over the lip of the mold. You may need to use a knife to carefully separate the edge of the mold from the jello. Let the mold sit in the water for about 15 to 30 seconds.

Homemade Jello With Strawberries Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Set the jello on a platter.

Homemade Jello With Strawberries Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Homemade Jello With Strawberries Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Use a thin bladed knife dipped in hot water to cut the homemade jello.

Homemade Jello With Strawberries Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Happy Mother’s Day!

25 thoughts to “Homemade Fresh Strawberry Jello for Mother’s Day”

  1. This looks fantastic. My mom makes the amazing pretzel crust/cream cheese layer/strawberry jello layer topped with cool whip concoction that makes me swoon, even though I totally agree with you on the kool-aid element of jello. I’ve always wanted to make it with real fruit and juice. THis is a good primer of how! FYI I used to make Cook’s Illustrated’s strawberry pie and could cut the sugar by more than half when I added 1/4 tsp of balsamic.

  2. WOW and I mean WOW! Looks beautiful. I have to try it. I grow so many strawberries and am always looking for great recipes to try and this looks like a great one. Thanks for posting this one!

  3. For those who can’t get your brand of gelatine :).. how many grams of gelatine is 3 packets?

    I’m drooling 🙂

  4. Just bought 8 pkgs of strawberries from Aldi’s. Hopefully I can make this within the next two days.

  5. I guess I am the first to try this. So here were my problems: 3 tbsps of water seemed significantly to little when blooming the gelatin. I guessing I used 2-3 times more. I used 3 bags of knox gelatin. Didn’t say how low to cook strawberries or what to look for to stop. Straining the berries was a challenge. After spending 19 minutes trying to strain through a 6 inch strainer I got out my chinoise (sp) and it worked quite well. There didn’t appear to be a statement of when and where to add vanilla. I added it to the whipped cream. It is in the refrig chilling right now.

    1. Hi Dick,

      Thank you so much for trying the recipe and for all of the feedback. You are absolutely right, I messed up on the amount of water to bloom the gelatin, that amount was per packet.

      I will also clarify the strawberry cooking directions. Medium low heat, until the strawberries are softened, which will take less time with frozen and very ripe berries.

      You don’t have to strain the strawberries if you don’t mind the texture of the seeds. The chinoise is the way to go, if you have it!

      Allowing the cream layer to set for 15 minutes in the refrigerator will create a skin and allow you to have that separate layer on the bottom.

      Thank you again for taking the time to write back! Zoë

      1. Zoe – thanks for the reply. Notwithstanding my problems the jello was great. After pouring in the last layer it was clear I should have waited. Since straining was such a pain next I won’t and see how it comes out.

  6. further. If you add both the cream mixture and remaining berry mixture together at the same time as the directions state the remaining berry mixture simply sinks into the cream mixture and no third layer is formed.

  7. So lovely, is amazing. I wanna try but Is it possible to use another gelatin instead of Knox gelatin? I can’t find it in my country. also I feel confused about the measurement of ‘cup’, how can I convert from grams? I have searched recipe conversion chart from internet but there are so many different answer. Thanks

  8. Sorry I missed this for mothers day but this looks so incredible. I think I will be making it this weekend. I absolutely love your blog and your photos are always so lovely! Keep up the good work!

  9. This looks amazing! I really loved Jell-O but I don’t eat fake food anymore. I’ve made delicious jellos using just fruit juice, so one make from a fruit puree will probably be awesome!
    Thanks

  10. Hi Zoe,
    I just made this and my husband who hates jello, loved it. Since I had no molds, I bought the Imperial Monarch mold (your link) but learned that it only holds 4 1/2 cups of liquid. The jello, though looks beautiful and tastes sublime. Thank you!

    1. Hi Karen,

      I am so thrilled that you made the jello! Did you have very much left over after filling the mold?

      Thanks! Zoë

        1. Thanks for letting me know Karen, I need to go back and figure out why!

          Glad you found something to hold the leftovers.

          Cheers, Zoue

  11. I have been searching for a strawberry cake, and most are vanilla cake w/strawberries(chopped or puree) and the strawberry flavor is there but not strong. Most strong flavor strawberry cakes require jello. Will this mixture work by adding to a vanilla cake batter? (to get a strong strawberry flavor)

  12. I was just going to make this but it doesn’t say when to add the vanilla. I’m assuming it would be in the whipped cream, correct?

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