10 Genius Tricks for Cooking with Gelatin

From using gelatin to flavor sugar cookies to keeping your Jell-O mold from sliding off the plate, here are our best tips for wiggly, jiggly success.

1 / 10
A platter holding a Sangria Gelatin Ring Salad
Taste of Home

Unmold with Ease

No more struggling to get your gelatin salad out of the mold (isn’t this one pretty?)! Simply loosen the gelatin from the top edge of the mold by gently pulling it away from the edge with a moistened finger. Then dip the mold up to its rim in a sink or large pan of warm water for a few seconds or until the edges begin to release from the side. Place a plate over the mold and invert, setting it on a flat surface. Carefully lift the mold off of the salad. (But don’t forget the tip on the next slide!)

You’ll want to use this technique when unmolding this Sangria Gelatin Ring.

2 / 10
Peach Bavarian Gelatin Salad with fresh cut peaches
Taste of Home

Stop the Slip & Slide

Have trouble getting your gelatin salad centered on the plate? Not to worry. Before inverting a gelatin mold onto a serving plate, wet the surface of the plate. This allows the gelatin to slide and makes it easier to center on the plate. Blot up any excess moisture on the plate with a paper towel.

Get the recipe for this delicious Peach Bavarian.

3 / 10
Amish sugar cookies
Taste of Home

Sprinkle a Sugar Cookie

It’s easy to add sparkle to your favorite sugar cookies. As they come out of the oven, brush them lightly with corn syrup and sprinkle with your favorite flavor of gelatin right from the box. Instant color and shine!

Try it on these Amish Sugar Cookies.

4 / 10
A plate with a molded red, white and blue layered gelatin salad.
Taste of Home

Layer It On

When making a layered gelatin salad, gently spoon (rather than pour) each layer onto the previous layer of gelatin so it doesn’t break through the other layers. Chill each layer until just set, but not firm, about 15 to 20 minutes, before adding the next layer. This prevents the layers from sliding off one another.

Practice this layering method with Patriotic Gelatin Salad.

5 / 10
Sweet Macaroni Salad in a bowl
Taste of Home

Shape It Up

When making potato or macaroni salad, dissolve a little unflavored gelatin in a small amount of water and mix with the mayonnaise before adding to the salad. Spread the salad in a mold and chill. When turned out, the salad will hold its shape.

See how it works with one our top 10 pasta salads.

6 / 10
Opened tin can of canned pineapple pieces.
giedre vaitekune/Shutterstock

Pineapple Pointer

Fresh pineapple contains an enzyme that prevents gelatin from setting. When you’re making a Jell-O salad, be sure to use canned pineapple instead.

7 / 10
Tart Cherry Lattice Pie on a pink tablecloth.
Taste of Home

Try It in Pie

Give your cherry pie extra flavor and a rich, appetizing color by mixing a small package of cherry gelatin into the filling. Use raspberry gelatin for raspberry pie, and so on.

Add gelatin to this recipe for Tart Cherry Lattice Pie.

8 / 10
Makeover Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake on a platter.
Taste of Home

Stand Firm

If you’re counting calories and want to make cheesecake with fat-free cream cheese, mix in one envelope of unflavored gelatin for every 8 ounces of fat-free cream cheese. The gelatin adds no flavor but helps the cheesecake firm up nicely.

Use this gelatin trick the next time you bake Makeover Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake.

9 / 10
Champagne glasses with Jellied Champagne Dessert on a side table.
Taste of Home

Savvy Substitutions

Boost the flavor and color of your gelatin by replacing the water with canned fruit juice.

Or use white grape juice and champagne or club soda as in this Jellied Champagne Dessert recipe.

10 / 10
Open Refrigerator Filled With Fresh Fruits And Vegetable

Avoid Spills

When making gelatin, place the mold in the refrigerator before pouring in the last cup of liquid or fruit. This helps prevent spills when transferring a full mold into the fridge.

Dana Meredith
Dana is an editor and writer who shares her passion for travel, food and the beauty of American landscapes. When she's not wielding her red pen, she can be found tending her flower gardens, remodeling her house, creating one-of-a-kind jewelry or dancing to "Uptown Funk."