What Is Gelatin Made Of? Hint: Its Not Vegan

gummy bears animal bones non vegan ingredient

Gelatin is a sneaky ingredient for vegans. There are lots of ingredients that have names which don’t tell you what it’s made of, gelatin is one of them, and it’s not vegan. What is gelatin made of?

Gelatin is a common ingredient used as a thickener to make things like gummy bears/worms, skittles and other candies, jello, and marshmallows. Vegans can’t eat gelatin cause it’s not vegan, it comes from the skin, bones, and tendons of cows and pigs. When vegans buy things they have to be careful because gelatin is everywhere. Not only are they in many foods, they’re also used to make vitamin pills, shampoos, hand lotions, creams, and even some medical equipment! 

But there are good news too, vegans don’t need gelatin. Vegans are good at finding alternatives. We have vegan faux meats, fake cheese, vegan milk, vegan everything…including gelatin. Well, what I mean is there are lots of gelatin alternatives that are 100% plant-based. Here are a few of them:

Vegan Gelatin Alternatives

1. Agar-Agar

  • Also known as kanten.
  • Made of protein from seaweed
  • Can be used as a gelatin replacement
  • Used at a 1-to-1 ratio as gelatin. (Ex. 1 tbs of agar-agar to replace 1tbs of gelatin)
  • Often sold in powder form in health food stores

2. Carrageenan

  • Another plant-based gelatin alternative made with seaweed
  • Works at a 2-to-1 ratio as gelatin. (Ex. 2tbs of carrageenan to replace 1tbs of gelatin)
  • Doesn’t set as firm as gelatin, therefore more suitable for softer foods like jello and pudding.

3. Pectin

  • Found naturally in many fruits including apples, plums, and citrus fruits.
  • Often made from boiling the peels of citrus fruits
  • Used as a gelatin alternative to thicken foods
  • Often found in jams and jellies
  • Is high in soluble fiber (9g of fiber per 100g)
  • Helps with weight loss because it slows down your body’s ability to absorb fat

I’m sure there are plenty more gelatin alternatives. There are so many plant-based foods out there that are unique and have useful properties. If you know other gelatin alternatives, please share down below in the comments. 

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