How to Keep Jell-o From Melting

Updated February 22, 2018

Flavoured gelatin desserts have been made since the early 19th century, but required a great deal of work to clarify the gelatin and prepare it for use. The advent of Jell-O, around the turn of the 20th century, made gelatin desserts quick and easy enough for any home cook to undertake. Jell-O makes approximately a 3 per cent gelatin solution, enough gelatin to keep it firm in refrigeration or for a shorter time at room temperature. However, gelatin softens and melts at 35 degrees Celsius, so care must be taken on hot days.

Keep Jell-O in the refrigerator until it is served. This is also advisable from a food safety standpoint, since gelatin desserts are prone to spoilage, like other forms of protein.

Serve the Jell-O in frosted or refrigerated dishes, when possible, or on a chilled platter. The dishes or platter will slow the warming process.

Cool the Jell-O slowly, when it is first made. Slow cooling allows the gelatin molecules to form a stronger bond, which will also inhibit melting.

Add extra gelatin. Reinforcing the Jell-O with a small quantity of unflavored gelatin will make a stronger gel, which will resist melting.

Replace a portion of the water with alcohol, when you are making the Jell-O. Replacing one tbsp of water in each cup with vodka or white rum will help the Jell-O form stronger molecular bonds, which will help slow melting. Do not use this method if the Jell-O is to be served to children.

If refrigeration is not available, store the Jell-O in a picnic cooler with several frozen gel packs for chilling.

Things You'll Need

  • Frosted or refrigerated dessert dishes
  • Chilled platter
  • Unflavored gelatin
  • Vodka or white rum
  • Picnic cooler
  • Frozen gel packs
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About the Author

Fred Decker is a trained chef and certified food-safety trainer. Decker wrote for the Saint John, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, and has been published in Canada's Hospitality and Foodservice magazine. He's held positions selling computers, insurance and mutual funds, and was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.