Is Jelly Vegan?

Yes, jelly can be vegan or non-vegan depending on the ingredients used to make it.

1. Gelatin in Jelly

One common ingredient used in traditional jelly recipes is gelatin. Gelatin is derived from animal collagen, which is found in the bones, cartilage, and skin of animals. Unfortunately, this means that jelly made with gelatin is not vegan-friendly.

If you follow a vegan diet, you’ll need to avoid jelly products that list gelatin as an ingredient. Gelatin is commonly found in many commercial jellies, including flavored gelatin desserts, gummy candies, and marshmallows. Instead, look for plant-based alternatives that do not use gelatin.

2. Pectin, a Vegan Alternative

For those who prefer a vegan option, pectin is a great alternative to gelatin in jelly making. Pectin is a plant-based substance found in the cell walls of fruits, particularly in citrus fruits and apples. It has a natural gelling property that makes it a suitable ingredient for setting jelly.

When making vegan jelly, you can use pectin instead of gelatin. Pectin-based jellies are widely available in stores, and you can also make your own at home using fruit juices and pectin powder. These jellies offer a vegan-friendly option without compromising on taste or texture.

3. Other Vegan Ingredients in Jelly

While gelatin is the most common non-vegan ingredient in jelly, there are other animal-based ingredients to watch out for as well. Some jellies may contain additives that are not suitable for vegans. Here are a few ingredients to be aware of:

  • Honey: Some fruit jellies may contain honey as a sweetener. As honey is produced by bees, it is not considered vegan.
  • Carmine: Carmine is a red pigment derived from crushed cochineal insects. It is used as a coloring agent in some jellies and is not vegan-friendly.
  • Shellac: Shellac, also known as confectioner’s glaze, is derived from lac beetles. It is sometimes used as a coating on jelly candies and is not suitable for vegans.

Always make sure to read the ingredient labels carefully when purchasing jelly to ensure that it is vegan-friendly.

4. Vegan Alternatives to Store-Bought Jelly

If you’re unable to find a vegan jelly at your local store or simply prefer homemade options, you can easily make your own vegan jelly. Here are a few ingredients often used to create vegan jellies:

  • Agar-Agar: Agar-agar is a gelatinous substance derived from seaweed. It is a popular vegan alternative to gelatin and can be used to set jellies.
  • Carrageenan: Carrageenan is another seaweed-based ingredient often used in vegan jellies. It helps create a gel-like texture.
  • Arrowroot starch: Arrowroot starch is a plant-based starch that can be used as a thickening agent in vegan jellies.

Experimenting with these ingredients can lead to delicious vegan jelly creations tailored to your own preferences.

5. Considering Allergens in Jelly

While jelly can be vegan, it’s essential to be mindful of potential allergens associated with jellies. Some individuals may have allergies or sensitivities to certain fruits or additives commonly found in jelly. Always check the ingredient labels for potential allergens to ensure the jelly is safe for consumption.


Jelly can be vegan or non-vegan depending on the ingredients used. Traditional jelly recipes containing gelatin are not vegan-friendly, while those made with plant-based alternatives like pectin, agar-agar, or carrageenan are suitable options for vegans. It’s important to read the ingredient labels carefully and consider any potential allergens before consuming jelly to ensure it aligns with your dietary preferences.