Yes, you can use milk instead of water when making jello. Using milk will create a creamier, richer jello with a softer set. However, there are some things to keep in mind when substituting milk for water in jello.
Can You Use Any Type of Milk for Jello?
You can use any type of milk when making jello including whole milk, 2% milk, 1% milk, skim milk, or non-dairy milks like almond milk or coconut milk. Whole milk will create the creamiest jello while skim or non-dairy milk will produce a lighter jello.
What Ratio of Milk to Substitute for Water in Jello?
The ratio of milk to use in place of water for jello is:
- 1 cup milk for every 1 cup water called for in the jello instructions
- So if the jello directions call for 2 cups water, use 2 cups milk
Stick to a 1:1 ratio for best results. Using more milk than water can prevent the jello from setting up properly.
Does Milk Jello Set Up Firmly?
Milk jello will have a softer, more delicate set than regular jello made with water. The proteins in milk interact with the gelatin, preventing a firm set. Milk jello will be wiggly and soft, with a creamier texture.
Tips for Making Milk Jello
Here are some tips for working with milk jello:
- Use milk that is very cold from the refrigerator for best results
- Make sure to bring the milk to a simmer when dissolving the jello initially – this denatures the proteins in the milk allowing the gelatin to set better
- Refrigerate milk jello for at least 4 hours to allow it to fully set up
- Whipped cream or sweetened whipped cream make a great topping for milk jelly
Does Milk Jello Taste Different Than Regular Jello?
Yes, milk jello will have a richer, creamier flavor than regular jello made with water. The milk adds a sweetness and a smooth, velvety texture. It enhances the flavor of the jello mix resulting in a dessert with more complex flavor.
Best Jello Flavors to Make with Milk
Some jello flavors that are especially good made with milk include:
- Vanilla – enriched with the flavor of milk
- Pistachio – nuanced, nutty flavor
- Lemon – creamy citrus flavor
- Strawberry – tastes like strawberry milk
- Cheesecake or Key Lime – enhances the creamy tang
- Coconut – richer coconut flavor
Basically any flavor pairs well with milk for a more creamy, indulgent jello treat.
Nutrition of Milk Jello vs Water Jello
Since milk has more protein, calcium, vitamins, and carbs than plain water, milk jello will be a bit more nutritious than regular water-based jello. Here is a nutrition comparison:
Nutrition per 1/2 cup serving:
As you can see, milk jello contains more protein and calcium than water-based jello. So its a bit more nutritious in addition to having a richer taste and texture.
Storing and Handling Milk Jello
Since milk is perishable, milk jello will not keep as long as regular jello. Make sure to store milk jello covered in the refrigerator and consume within 4-5 days. The milk causes it to be more prone to spoilage and weeping than regular jello.
To get the longest shelf life, use ultra-pasteurized milk which has been heat treated at higher temperatures. This kills more bacteria allowing it to keep longer. Or add a bit of liquor like rum or vodka to the mix as the alcohol helps prevent spoilage.
Can You Make Jello Shots with Milk?
Yes, you can substitute milk for water when making alcoholic jello shots. The milk gives the shots a smooth, creamy texture and prevents the alcohol from being too overpowering.
Use a 1:1 ratio of milk to whatever liquid the shot recipe calls for. Vodka, rum, whisky, and citrus flavored liquors complement the flavor of milk especially well in jello shots.
Be aware the milk proteins can inhibit setting up completely when high proof alcohol is used. Stick to no more than 1/2 cup liquor for every 1 cup milk to allow proper setting.
Can You Use Condensed or Evaporated Milk for Jello?
Sweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk can also be used to create luscious milk jello. Use:
- 1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk for every 3 cups water called for in jello
- 1 can (12oz) evaporated milk for every 2 cups water in jello
So if the jello recipe calls for 4 cups water, use 1 can condensed milk plus 1 cup water or 1 can evaporated milk plus 2 cups water.
This creates an ultra-rich, sweet jello perfect for dessert. Make sure to chill it thoroughly, as the sugar in the condensed/evaporated milk inhibits setting up. Top with whipped cream or crushed cookies for a over-the-top treat!
Can You Make Instant Pudding with Milk Instead of Water?
Yes, instant pudding is another item you can make with milk in place of water for a creamier texture.
Substitute milk 1:1 for the cold water called for in instant pudding recipes. So for 4 cups water, use 4 cups milk.
Let the pudding fully chill for 5-10 minutes in the refrigerator before serving for the richest, thickest consistency. The milk proteins will interfere with thickening if you don’t give it time to completely set up.
Troubleshooting Milk Jello
Here are some common problems that can occur when making jello with milk and how to fix them:
Problem: Jello Will Not Set Up
- Did not simmer milk sufficiently when dissolving jello initially – the milk proteins must be denatured by bringing milk to a boil for jello to set properly.
- Used more than a 1:1 ratio of milk to water – too much milk prevents setting. Stick to equal parts milk and what the recipe calls for.
- Did not chill jello for long enough before serving – milk jello needs 4+ hours refrigeration to fully set.
Problem: Jello is Weeping Liquid
- Stored jello for too long – milk jello only keeps for 4-5 days maximum before weeping occurs.
- Used warm milk – make sure milk is chilled before using for jello.
- Moved or shook jello before completely set – don’t disrupt the jello for at least 6 hours after making.
Problem: Jello has Strong Milk Taste
- Scalded the milk when heating initially – overheated milk develops a cooked flavor.
- Used old or spoiled milk – use fresh milk that hasn’t expired.
- Used whole milk – try 2% or skim milk for a less pronounced milk flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you use almond milk or coconut milk for jello?
Yes, non-dairy milks like almond and coconut milk can be substituted 1:1 for water when making jello. They produce a lighter, dairy-free jello. Make sure to bring non-dairy milk to a simmer as the initial heating step.
Is milk jello safe to eat if I used old milk?
No, do not use expired or sour milk to make jello as it can cause food poisoning. Always use fresh milk before the sell-by date. Properly stored milk jello only keeps for 4-5 days.
Can I flavor the milk used for jello?
Yes, you can add vanilla, cocoa powder, instant coffee, or other flavorings to the milk before using for jello. This adds another layer of flavor to the resulting dairy jello. Start with small amounts like 1 tsp and adjust to taste.
Why not use all milk for jello instead of only half?
Using all milk and no water prevents the jello from setting up properly. The proteins in the milk interact with gelatin, preventing a firm set. Stick to a 1:1 ratio of milk to water for the best texture.
Can I layer different colored milk jellos together?
Yes, layering differently flavored or colored milk jellos can create a stunning palette dessert. Pour each layer into individual pans or glasses and allow to fully set for 3-4 hours before assembling so the layers don’t mix together.
Milk can be substituted for water when making jello to create a rich, creamy version with delightful texture and flavor. Use a 1:1 ratio of milk to water called for in jello recipes for ideal results. Make sure to properly boil the milk then thoroughly chill the jello for at least 4 hours for the milk proteins to set up smoothly with the gelatin. Treat milk jello as a perishable item, consuming within 4-5 days for food safety. With the proper precautions, milk jello is sure to be a big hit at your next potluck or party!