What is unflavored gelatin?

Updated April 17, 2017

Unflavored gelatin, also known as granular gelatin, is a stabilising substance used in cooking. It can be used to thicken liquids and can be combined with other ingredients to form gelatin desserts or moulded shapes.

What It's Made Of

Unflavored gelatin is made from animal collagen, a protein derived from cartilage, bones, skin, connective tissues and tendons. The collagen is processed into a yellow, odourless, unflavored material.


Gelatin is most often found in powdered form. It also available in sheets, called leaves, commonly used in Europe or by professional chefs.

How It Works

Powdered gelatin needs to soak in cold water for three to five minutes to dissolve and soften, while gelatin leaves soak for 15 minutes. When the dissolved gelatin is heated, it develops a gel-like consistency.


Unflavored gelatin adds substance and body to cream fillings and produces a sheen when mixed with icings. When combined with fruit juices and refrigerated, it becomes the well-known flavoured gelatin dessert.


A vegetarian substitute for unflavored gelatin is agar (also known as agar). Made from processed seaweed, it comes in long strands, blocks or powder. Pectin, arrowroot and guar gum can also replace traditional unflavored gelatin.

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About the Author

Allison Boelcke graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor's in English and a minor in psychology. She worked in print journalism for three years before deciding to pursue Internet writing. She is now a contributing web writer for Demand Studios and Conjecture Corporation.