The Real Food Guide

Almond gelatin recipe – Easy Chinese dessert


Almond Gelatin Recipe

Chinese New Year is coming! January 31st marks the Year of The Horse and one of my favorite Chinese desserts has always been almond jelly. Now honestly, it might be my favorite Chinese dessert only because in a ‘real’ Chinese meal (one that doesn’t include sweet & sour red sauce and fortune cookies), dessert is often just oranges, or if it’s a special meal, maybe you’ll get a red bean soup – so you can see why a kid might prefer the white jell-o over the hot red bean soup.

Almond gelatin is a staple you’ll find on dim sum carts, though typically it’s served with a syrup and the contents of a can of fruit cocktail with the near-fluorescent red maraschino cherries. I’ve never been a fan of fruit cocktail because the fruit all tastes like syrup. I just wanted the jelly. Lucky for me, almond jelly is an easy dessert recipe with few ingredients, that takes very little time to make, save for the time it takes to set, so there’s no reason not to make it yourself.

For a good gelatin, you’ll need to start with a good-quality gelatin powder. I highly recommend Great Lakes gelatin as it’s sourced from grass-fed animals. (Note: It’s been difficult to get in Canada, but you can order Great Lakes Gelatin from iHerb for a reasonable price. If it’s your first order, use the code HMP485 and you’ll even get $10 off!). Why gelatin? There are tons of benefits to eating gelatin, such as helping to strengthen nails, hair and improving skin, it can help improve digestion and support the joints. Want more reasons? Check out this list from the Wellness Mama. And, if you’re looking for more ways to get gelatin in your diet, I highly recommend the eBook Gelatin Secret.

“Traditionally” (I say in quotes, because I doubt this is an ancient recipe, but more likely a modern-era concoction), this Chinese dessert is made with regular milk, but because my family has dairy sensitivities (ironically, it’s not uncommon for those of Chinese descent to have issues with dairy) I’ve made this recipe as a coconut milk almond jelly. I’ve used full-fat coconut milk, which tends to separate easily, and for that reason, I recommend using an immersion blender to help the coconut milk emulsify. It also helps to put the jelly in the freezer for an hour first too, so that the fat doesn’t get a chance to separate much before setting. If you’ve got no issues with dairy, you can easily substitute the coconut milk for regular milk or almond milk.

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Almond gelatin dessert (dairy-free)

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours

Almond gelatin dessert (dairy-free)



  1. In a medium saucepan, boil the water and then reduce to medium-low heat. Add gelatin powder and stir until dissolved.
  2. Add coconut milk, sugar (or honey or maple syrup) and almond extract. Stir until sugar (if using) and gelatin are completely dissolved. Blend with an immersion hand blender to help emulsify the coconut milk.
  3. Pour mixture into a gelatin mold, or 8" x 8" dish. Allow to cool and then refrigerate (about 3-4 hours) until set. If you're using full-fat coconut milk, you can 'fast set' the gelatin in the freezer for about an hour first to prevent the coconut milk from separating too much. To serve, cut into cubes.

Vivian is the founder of the Real Food Guide and a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) who believes that each individual needs to go on their own Real Food Journey to find what works. While she herself eats a diet of real food (aka a paleo diet), some people may find that they can flourish on a vegetarian diet instead. However, universal to optimal health and well-being is good quality, nutrient-dense, Real Food.

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January 29 |

3 thoughts on “Almond gelatin recipe – Easy Chinese dessert

  1. Jackie Patti says:

    We don’t have issues with dairy here, but I’m thinking this would taste better with coconut milk anyway.

    • Hi Jackie! Sorry I didn’t see your comment earlier. When my mother made this for me as a child, she’d just use regular milk and top it with canned fruit cocktail… It tastes good with regular milk too, though of course it lacks that tropical coconut hint :)

  2. Nancy says:

    Hi dear I’m a Chinese Malaysian. Coming from south east Asia we use loads of coconut milk in cooking so we love it a lot :) Plus we get fresh coconut and coconut milk easily. Anyway to prevent coconut milk from separating, what my mom always does is adding it to the cooking in the last step and cook it to just boiling point (do not boil it too long). So maybe you can boil water, add gelatine, sugar until everything is dissolved, then only add coconut milk. Off the flame the moment it starts boiling again. Hope this works!

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