Since many of our readers were curious about freezing Jello, we conducted an experiment to find out what happens when Jello takes a trip to the freezer.
In an attempt to cover all of our bases, we froze multiple types of Jello to see how the different types would react to the big chill.
From sugar-free to prepackaged jell-o, we tested them all.
Freezing Jello Made from Mix
After freezing and thawing both the sugar-filled and sugar-free jello, both resulted in a watery Jello with a crumbly texture. Due to the freezing, ice crystals formed and broke the gelatin in the Jello, creating the unappealing appearance and texture.
Raspberry Jell-o (Sugar Free) after thawing
The sugar-free version showed the most water separation post thawing as it had less powder in the mixture.
A closeup of the sugar free raspberry after thawing.
Strawberry Jell-o (w/ sugar) after thawing
The sugar filled variety experienced less water separation but still had an unappealing texture that no longer felt like it was jello.
Closeup of the sugar filled jello after freezing.
Freezing Pre-Packaged Jello Cups
Freezing the pre-packaged Jello cups resulted in the least amount of water separation and a texture similar to the original texture.
In terms of why this is the case, it could be because there was less water overall in the cup or that the package was sealed with an air-tight covering. Either way, it held up the best in the freezer.
Closeup of thawed, prepackaged jell-o.
Freezing Jello Pudding (Milk-Based)
The milk-based pudding held up in the freezer, but it did experience a slight change in texture. The air pockets also became more pronounced. Given its low water content, the structure of the Jello pudding remained intact.
Freezing Jello Pudding (Water-Based)
The pudding instructions called for milk, but I thought it would be interesting to see what happened if I replaced it with water. There was a huge change in quality and texture after freezing.
Using another package of chocolate Jello, we tested a sample using water in place of milk. In this test, there was a large difference in the texture post-freeze. The water and pudding separated and the texture was chunky and watery.
So, Should You Freeze Jello?
Based on what we saw with a majority of the test subjects, it’s best that you don’t freeze Jello.
If you do, stick to the pre-packaged ones. Anything you make yourself will definitely lose its jiggly Jello-y texture. And who wants that?
For best results, leave the Jello chilling in the fridge until consumption.
How to Properly Thaw Jello
If you want to freeze Jello, the best way to thaw it is to move it to the refrigerator so that any textural changes are minimal. If you don’t care about the texture changing, then you can thaw at room temperature. Choose your own adventure.
How Long Does Jello Last in the Fridge?
Jello should last approximately 7-10 days in the fridge.
Can You Freeze Jello Shots?
Since Jello shots contain alcohol, the likelihood of them freezing is minimal. That’s good news for anyone who made their Jello shots last minute and needs to chill them quickly.
Putting them in the freezer will not only cool them down more quickly, it’ll help them slide down easier. But be careful, those sugary delicacies can get you intoxicated fast.
Can You Freeze Jello to Make it Set Faster?
If you’re in desperate need of a quick batch of Jello, you can put it in the freezer for 10-20 minutes. Don’t forget it in the freezer though! It’ll freeze and you’ll have to start all over.
Can You Freeze Jello Salad?
Similar to the other frozen Jellos, it’s not advisable to freeze Jello salad. You’ll end up with a strange, unappealing texture.
Can You Freeze Jello to Make Popsicles?
Now even though regular Jello doesn’t do well after thawing outside of the freezer, you can make popsicles out of Jello! The key is that popsicles don’t thaw.
If you want to try making a tasty frozen summer dessert out of your favorite Jello flavor, create it just like you would any other Popsicle. Here's a full guide to creating jello popsicles at home.
If you’re thinking about freezing Jello, we wouldn’t recommend it. Unless you’re never going to thaw it (i.e., if you want to eat it frozen).
Thawed Jello, however, does not pass the tasty-after-frozen-and-thawed-test. It had similar textural ramifications as freezing creamed cheese or ricotta cheese.
You can utilize the freezer as a tool to speed up the setting process, but don’t expect the Jello to look too appetizing if you leave it in the freezer for too long.
Now that the mystery of frozen Jello has been solved, it’s time to go make your favorite gelatinous snack. You know the science. You’re prepared. You deserve it. Let us know how it goes!