Easy and healthy rainbow jelly recipe with easy-to-find ingredients
Rainbow jelly tea isn’t the cheapest (like any other kind of tea from boba shops). And although you can find rainbow jelly online, I don’t love how many additives these store-bought jellies have.
The good news is that it’s quite easy to recreate this topping at home: my version is made from healthy ingredients that are quite common.
And most importantly, it tastes delicious!
So, if you’re curious about how to make your own rainbow jelly tea from scratch, this easy rainbow jelly recipe is for you.
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Is this recipe as good as store-bought rainbow jelly?
I’ve only tried rainbow jelly from the chain Tea One, and unfortunately, my recipe doesn’t have the same firmness that I love in their jelly tea.
However, in other aspects, my recipe is better – it tastes superior, costs less, and is likely healthier.
And by the way, while the texture isn’t quite the same, it still has an irresistibly bingeable quality that will keep you coming back for more!
What is rainbow jelly?
Before we go further, let me make a quick recap of what this is about.
Rainbow jelly is one of the toppings you can find at some boba tea parlors.
You may have also seen it in frozen yogurt or ice cream shops.
Rainbow jelly looks like small cubes or rectangles in white, orange, and red colors.
The idea is to add texture to the drink, giving you something to bite.
However, its chewiness is different from that of tapioca pearls.
Tapioca pearls are starchier, while rainbow jelly has a texture between konjac and agar-agar.
Unlike tapioca boba pearls (which can sometimes feel sticky), rainbow jelly is easier to bite even though it initially may feel firmer.
It has a fruity flavor with some hints of coconut.
What is rainbow jelly made of?
Each brand has its recipe for rainbow jelly.
However, most use one of these ingredients (or a combination of a couple of them) to get that characteristic chewy and gelatinous texture:
- agar agar
- locust bean gum
- coconut meat
- nata de coco
In addition, rainbow jelly contains sugar and some additives to color, flavor and preserve.
What you’ll need
*A note on coconut milk: for this recipe, I find boxed milk works better that canned coconut milk.
If using coconut milk from a can, I recommend trying to only use the liquid, avoiding the cream.
This way, the jelly won’t have two separate layers.
It will also keep your drink free of a greasy film that may come from the coconut cream.
But don’t worry too much: even if your coconut jelly has a cream layer, it will still taste great.
Alternatives and ingredient swaps
Juice & tea
Feel free to use the juice or tea you like best.
Alternatives to coconut milk
You may use nata de coco or coconut meat instead of making coconut agar jelly.
If you don’t have coconut milk, and you don’t mind your jelly being without the coconut flavor (in case you’re just aiming for the color), you can just use regular milk.
For a bouncier texture
I suspect many store-bought jellies get their gummy-like texture from the a combination of konjac with agar.
So, if you want your jelly to be chewier, using konjakglucomannane could help.
While I really enjoy bouncy jelly, I decided not to use konjac (aka konnyaku) for now because:
- it’s not as easy to come by as Agar-Agar – I could buy the latter in a neighborhood shop, while I could only find konjak powder online
- probably I’m someone that exaggerates, but I have this idea that konjac could pose choking risks (specially for small children), so I’d prefer to avoid it.
I’ll consider trying it out in the future when my children are older and see how it goes.
Time needed: 2 hours and 15 minutes
How to make rainbow jelly at home
- Prepare 3 types agar jelly: white, orange and red
Prepare agar jelly following package’s instructions.
Usually you’ll need 1 teaspoon of agar powder (5 gr.) per cup of liquid (250 ml).
Bring you juice/coconut milk/tea to a boil, add the (optional) sugar and agar. Let simmer for around 2-5 minutes, while stirring regularly.
- Let it firm
Once the agar has dissolved completely, pour the mixture into a mold or container and let it cool down until it firms up. It usually takes around one hour at room temperature.
Once it has cooled down, you can* then place the container in the fridge. Your agar jelly will be firm already, since it begins to firm up as soon as it starts to cool.
*you don’t need to put the agar in the fridge for it to jellify
- Cut into small pieces
Cut your jelly into pieces that will come through your boba straw (you can also eat them with a spoon).
Tricks and tips
- The ratio of agar agar to liquid will vary depending on the form of agar agar you use. There is agar in strips, flakes and powder (this one is the easiest to work with and the one I use).
- The juice of some fresh fruits (like mango, kiwi, pineapple, peaches or papaya) won’t set unless you cook them first. Canned or pasteurized juice doesn’t have this problem.
- Allow the agar and liquid mixture to simmer: this will hydrate the Agar, activating its jellifying properties
- Don’t grease your mold
- Try not to shake your agar before it’s set. It firms as soon as the liquid falls bellow 113 °F (45 °C).
- If your agar jelly doesn’t turn out good, don’t worry! You can reheat and remelt agar agar.
What is rainbow jelly good in?
Rainbow jelly is a super versatile topping: you can add it to any imaginable drink and dessert.
It’s commonly used as a topping in bubble tea or boba tea, but it also goes great with yogurt or ice cream, just to name some combinations.
As for what drinks go best with rainbow jelly, you can really get creative.
Since rainbow jelly reminds me of a tropical tutti frutti, my first choice was to have it with mango milk tea.
But, I’ve realized it also makes a great addition to almost any kind of tea, milk tea or even lemonade. I encourage to experiment for yourself!
I for example enjoy it a lot with unsweetened green tea: the slight bitterness of the tea bring out the decent sweetness and fruitiness of the rainbow jelly beautifully!
You will get around three cups of rainbow jelly (cut in small pieces). That would probably give you around 10 servings.
That is of course if you (and your family) don’t keep popping them into your mouth as a snack on their own (as we do).
Keep refrigerated in an airtight container.
There is no need to keep them in syrup or something similar (although you can). As days pass, the edges may get a little bit dry, but if you pop the jelly bits in a drink, you won’t probably notice.
You can keep this agar jelly in the fridge in and airtight container for up to 3-4 days. However, I wouldn’t expect this rainbow jelly to last more than a couple of days. It’s too delicious to resist!
If you store it in syrup, it will last longer.
Rainbow jelly recipe
- 1 small pot
- 3 molds or container
- 1 knife
Orange colored jelly
- ½ Cup Fruit juice or nectar with orange color (I used pasteurized mango-apple juice)
- 1-2 tsp. Sugar (optional, depending on how sweet your juice or nectar is)
- 1 tsp. Agar agar
- ½ Cup Juice or nectar with red color Feel free to use fruit tea with red color (blends with hibiscus are usually red-ish)
- 1-2 tsp. Sugar
- 1 tsp. Agar agar
- Prepare agar according to package.Usually, you can just combine agar powder with the liquid (and optional sugar) and simmer for around 5 minutes, while stirring.
- Once the agar is melt and hydrated (hence activated), pour your mixture in a mold or container.Let cool down at room temperature.It will set as soon as the agar reaches 104–113 °F (40–45 °C).
- Once it’s firm, cut into small pieces.
- Feel free to swap the sugar for your preferred sweetener (I usually use erythritol for this recipe).
- For more detail on how to make agar jelly correctly, please check above in the post under “Tricks and tips”.
Other delicious and easy-to-make toppings for homemade milk tea: