Gummy bears are the most popular gummy on the planet. Make your own at home with just 4 simple steps and fresh fruit juice, and honey.
It’s impossible to stop eating gummy candies once you’ve eaten one – once you’ve had one, it’s hard to stop! You can make your own gummy bears (or any shaped gummy candies) by using four simple steps with fruit juice.
Gelatin or agar — take your pick!
Frugal, easy, and healthy!
The majority of gummy candies are made using gelatin, but there is a vegetarian and vegan alternative: agar! It’s a thickening agent like gelatin, but it is made of seaweed and has no taste.
Obviously, the textures are different – agar gummies aren’t as “bouncy” when you chew them, but having this alternative is definitely convenient.
Sweet, natural flavors:
Fruit juice is another key ingredient. You can use almost any fruit juice or juice concentrate, with the exception of pineapple and mango juices, which contain enzymes (bromelain) that prevent gelatin from setting properly.
Using these juices with gelatin requires boiling the liquid first to break down the enzymes. I kept these juices and fruity drinks in my refrigerator for experimenting. This Calpico drink’s flavor is mango. It’s OK to use as is since the mango has already been processed. One thing to remember is that the deeper and/or sweeter the flavor, the better!
You may want to boost the flavor of the juice with a tablespoon or two of honey or sugar – this is entirely up to you. I add sweeteners to lighter, less opaque juices made with less ripe fruit. For example, honey and sugar were added to the pink lemonade and coconut beverage above. Darker juices, such as cranberry-cherry and grape juice, have naturally intense flavors, so adding additional sweetener is not necessary.
Shaping your gummies:
Before we move on to these recipes, let’s talk about molds. If you don’t have fancy-schmancy molds, you can still make delicious gummies with a greased pan. No molds? No problem – just cut them into cubes after they have set.
Using a chocolate mold, hard candy mold and silicone heart mold, I found silicone to be the best to use since the candies come out of it easily. However, you can use any of these three. It’s important to choose molds that have larger cavities if you’re going with a chocolate or hard candy mold. Usually they won’t just fall out, and it’s harder to take them out of small cavities.
I was able to fill all three molds with the liquid these recipes yield.
How to make gummy bears using gelatin:
- 1 cup fruit juice
- 3 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1-2 tablespoons sugar or honey (optional)
Whisk juice, gelatin, and fresh lemon juice in a small saucepan until lumps have disappeared. You can also add honey or sugar now if desired.
The liquid should look glassy and smooth after it has melted the gelatin, so be careful not to let it boil! Heat the liquid over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until all the gelatin has melted.
Carefully pour the liquid into your molds from a measuring cup with a spout.
Depending on the size of your mold cavities, place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes after cooling for 5 minutes at room temperature. After they have dried out a bit more in the molds I like to let them dry at room temperature for about an hour. Then I store them in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to two weeks.
To remove excessive cornstarch from gummy bears, sprinkle a little cornstarch over them in a colander and shake them around.
How to make vegan gummy bears using agar:
- 1 cup fruit juice
- 2 tablespoons agar powder
- 1-2 tablespoons sweetener like honey, cane sugar or agave nectar for vegan/vegetarian (optional)
Blend juice and agar together in a small saucepan and let sit for five minutes before heating.
Heat the liquid over medium heat, whisking frequently. Add your sugar or honey (if desired) when the mixture begins to thicken. Let the mixture simmer until it thickens to the consistency of paint, stirring constantly. This will take a few minutes.
Pour the hot liquid into a measuring cup with a spout and carefully pour the liquid into your molds.
Let cool for 5 minutes at room temperature, then freeze for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of your mold cavities. Remove from the molds carefully. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
Nothing is quite as satisfying or delicious as homemade gummy bears with honey. And they’re so easy to make! Believe me you will love them.