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This homemade gummy fruit snacks recipe is easy to make and is a big hit with kids – without all the unhealthy additives you’ll find in store-bought fruit snacks!

My kids love fruit snacks. But, with 7 kids, they don’t last long in our home. 

And, despite their name, commercial fruit snacks are filled with not-so-healthy ingredients, from corn syrup to artificial flavors. 

So, I set out to create a more nutritious and homemade version. It took a few tries to get the recipe right, but after some experimenting, these homemade gummy fruit snacks are perfect and kid-approved.

Do your kids love fruit snacks as much as mine? Give this healthy fruit snacks recipe a try! 

Why make homemade fruit snacks? 

The biggest benefit of making homemade gummy fruit snacks is that you’re in full control of the ingredients that go into them. 

Unlike store-bought fruit snacks, the amount of sugar can be adjusted. Plus, you can opt to use a natural sweetener like honey instead of refined sugar or corn syrup. 

This recipe is also ridiculously easy to make, using just a few simple ingredients: fruit juice, gelatin, and honey. 

I used orange juice, grape juice, and pineapple juice that I purchased from the store but I plan to can my own juices for recipes like this in the future. There are many possibilities when it comes to juice flavors.

And, of course, kids love them. Mine actually say: “Mom, make these every day!” These fruit snacks have been the perfect addition to my repertoire of healthy homemade snacks for kids. 

The problem with store-bought fruit snacks

Let’s face it: commercial fruit snacks taste pretty darn good – especially to young kids whose palettes are wired to prefer sweets. 

Unfortunately, even though their name would have you believe otherwise, they’re also chock full of ingredients that can hardly be described as healthy. 

While the sugars in conventional fruit snacks may have started out in fruit form – be it from corn, cane, or beet – what kids are actually consuming when they eat the fruit snacks is sugar.

In fact, when you compare labels, the ingredients are similar to soft gummy candies. 

On top of high sugar content, these appealing but misleading packages also contain several synthetic ingredients that don’t have much nutritional value, like food dyes.

The solution? Homemade, healthy fruit snacks

Not only do these homemade gummy fruit snacks contain just a few natural ingredients, one ingredient in particular packs a big nutritional punch: gelatin. 

The first step is choosing a high-quality gelatin powder. The gelatin powder I use is called 100% beef gelatin and I buy it from Azure Standard. It’s a protein source that’s made from beef hide and it’s been linked to a healthier digestive tract, as well as joint, skin, nail, and hair health. 

Gelatin powder is also sugar-free, preservative-free, and free of artificial colors and flavors. It’s completely flavorless and dissolves easily in warm or cold liquids – perfect for gummy fruit snacks. 

The result? Delicious and healthy homemade snacks for kids!

What do you need to make homemade gummy fruit snacks?

  • 1 cup fruit juice. I used orange juice, grape juice, and pineapple juice, which delivered great flavors, but any smooth fruit juice will work
  • 2.5 tablespoons gelatin powder
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • A couple candy molds
  • A pot
  • A whisk

Steps to Make Healthy Fruit Snacks

  1. Measure 1 cup of juice into your pot.
  2. Sprinkle 2.5 tablespoons of gelatin powder over the juice. The more you can spread it out, the better.
  3. Let it sit for a few minutes, then stir. Allowing it to sit with no heat lets the gelatin bloom. This means the gelatin is absorbing the liquid, which allows it to dissolve evenly when you heat it up. 
  4. Now, turn the heat to medium-low to slowly heat the mixture, making sure to stir every few minutes. Keep an eye on it and as soon as you notice signs of boiling, remove from the heat.
  5. Add ⅛ cup honey (or your sweetener of choice)
  6. Once the honey is fully dissolved, check that the mixture is completely clear. There should be no grittiness left. If you need to warm it up a bit more to dissolve the honey or sugar, do so until it looks clear.
  7. Fill your molds. Keep in mind that as the mixture cools, it will begin to harden. If you’re making more than one batch, I recommend only removing one pot from the stove at a time and recruiting another set of hands to help make the homemade gummy fruit snacks. 
  8. Place the filled molds into the refrigerator for about 2 hours. 
  9. Remove from the refrigerator, take the healthy fruit snacks out of the molds, and enjoy!

Tips for Making Homemade Gummy Fruit Snacks 

Some molds, like the gummy bear molds I used, have a bit of a learning curve. They come with droppers, but it’s a bit tedious. Here are some tips to fill them more easily: 

  • Keep the dropper facing down at all times. As soon as you tilt it, the pressure from the hot liquid will cause it to spill out everywhere. Trust me on this one. 
  • Refill your dropper before it’s completely empty. Emptying it completely causes air bubbles.

Another option that I tried is to simply use a non-stick pan, such as a bread pan or a 9×9 glass pan. This was much easier than filling the molds but, of course, the end result wasn’t quite as pretty. 

If you try this method for your homemade gummy fruit snacks, I recommend ensuring you have a nice even layer of liquid before putting the mixture in the fridge to set. The finished product is much easier to handle this way! Simply use a pizza cutter to cut into bite-sized square pieces to serve. 

homemade gummy fruit snacks for kids using fruit juice and honey

Healthy Homemade Fruit Snacks

This homemade gummy fruit snacks recipe is easy to make and is a big hit with kids - without all the unhealthy additives you’ll find in store-bought fruit snacks!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of your fruit juice of choice
  • 2.5 tablespoons gelatin powder
  • 1/8 cup honey

Instructions

  1. Measure 1 cup of juice into a pot.
  1. Sprinkle 2.5 tablespoons of gelatin powder over the juice. The more you can spread it out, the better.
  2. Let it sit for a few minutes, then stir.  Allowing it to sit with no heat lets the gelatin bloom. In other words, the gelatin is absorbing the liquid, which allows it to dissolve evenly when you heat it up. 
  3. Now, turn the heat to medium-low to slowly heat the mixture, making sure to stir every few minutes. Keep an eye on it; as soon as you notice signs of boiling, remove from the heat.
  4. Add ⅛ cup honey (or your sweetener of choice)
  5. Once the honey is fully dissolved, check that the mixture is completely clear. There should be no grittiness left. If you need to warm it up a bit more to dissolve the honey or sugar, do so until it looks clear.
  6. Fill your molds. Keep in mind that as the mixture cools, it will begin to harden. If you’re making more than one batch, I recommend only removing one pot from the stove at a time and recruiting another set of hands to help make the homemade gummy fruit snacks. 
  7. Place the filled molds into the refrigerator for about 2 hours. 
  8. Remove from the refrigerator, take the healthy fruit snacks out of the molds, and enjoy!

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