How to Make Easy and Delicious Japanese Coffee Jelly

This simple coffee jelly dessert has the same texture as classic Jell-O, but with a lightly sweetened coffee flavor.

When you think of gelatin-based desserts, what probably comes to mind is a vintage Jell-O packet. The mysterious powder inside transforms into squishy, colorful squares that taste like cherry, orange or strawberry.

But what if you’re looking for a different kind of flavor, something a little more grown-up? This coffee jelly recipe is exactly what you need.

What Is Coffee Jelly?

Originally made in England in the 1800s, this specialty dessert called for setting coffee with gelatin to firm it up and then serving it with whipped cream. It became a popular Japanese dessert in the early 1920s, where it remains most popular today. It has the same texture as classic Jell-O, but with the flavor of slightly sweetened coffee. It’s light and refreshing and perfect for any coffee lover.

When it comes to making new desserts from around the world, you might be more prepared than you think. For this one, you’ll need strong coffee, a box of unflavored gelatin and a bit of patience while it sets. You’re in for a treat!

How to Make Coffee Jelly

ingredients for coffee jelly on a kitchen counterRisa Lichtman for Taste of Home


  • 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin powder
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups strong coffee
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Whipped cream


Step 1: Make coffee

using a Chemex pour over to make coffeeRisa Lichtman for Taste of Home

Brew 2 cups of very strong coffee. (I used the pour-over method.) You can also use strong cold brew instead of fresh brewed coffee.

In a small saucepan, heat up the coffee and sugar until it starts to boil, then remove from the heat.

Step 2: Make gelatin slurry and mix

gelatin mixed with coffee for coffee jellyRisa Lichtman for Taste of Home

In a small bowl, combine gelatin powder with 1/4 cup water and mix thoroughly.

Add this gelatin slurry to the warm coffee and stir until dissolved. Allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes.

Step 3: Chill and set

coffee jelly mixture in a clear glass shallow baking dishRisa Lichtman for Taste of Home

Pour your coffee mixture into a shallow baking dish and refrigerate until set, about 1 hour.

Step 4: Cut and serve

Slice set coffee jelly into half-inch squares. Use a spatula to gently remove from the pan.

Serve coffee jelly cubes in a small bowl topped with homemade whipped cream.

Coffee Jelly FAQs

Does coffee jelly have caffeine?

If you use regular coffee, then yes, coffee jelly will have caffeine. But you can enjoy this jelly with decaf coffee. It won’t affect the jelly setting up, and that way it won’t keep you up all night if you’re eating it in the evening. Looking for more dessert recipes? Check out our collection of the best coffee desserts.

How long does coffee jelly last in the fridge?

This coffee jelly will last a week in the fridge. You can cut it ahead or just before eating, but it will keep its shape best if you don’t pull it from the pan until you’re ready to serve it.

How do I eat coffee jelly?

Enjoy this jelly any time of day, from morning to night, as a dessert or as a snack on its own. This is a perfect treat to enjoy after traditional or modern Japanese recipes. It can also be served boba-style, in a glass of creamy cold coffee.

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Risa Lichtman
Risa Lichtman is a chef and writer living in Portland, Oregon. She is the owner/chef of Lepage Food & Drinks, a small food company featuring Jewish seasonal foods, providing takeaway all around Portland. She has previously published poems in Poetica Magazine, the anthology The Art of Bicycling, Maggid: A Journal of Jewish Literature, and The Dos Passos Review. She lives with her wife Jamie, their dog Isaac, and their cat Sylvia. Follow her at @risaexpizza, or find her delicious food offerings on @lepagefoodanddrinks.