Rainbow Jelly Square Delights | Recipe

Rainbow Jelly Squares recipe

How to make Rainbow Layered Jelly Squares

Rainbow Jelly Squares are little bundles of colour and joy (oh, and sugar)! So as you can imagine, they are always a hit at parties. You can pop them in your mouth or peel each layer at a time.

Yes, there are 11 layers (!!) but it’s not as hard to make as you think. Also you don’t have to do the whole 11 layers, you can do less and you can choose whatever colours you like, to go with your theme. The trick to this recipe is adding extra gelatine to the jelly to help it set quicker and faster PLUS using your freezer for quick setting. There’s no waiting for hours for each layer of jelly to set!

What You Need:

6 Packets Jelly – any colours/flavours you like

1 Can of Condensed Milk

3 Cups of Hot Water

8 1/2 Packets/Envelopes (or the equivalent approx 8 1/2 Tablespoons of Gelatine). I think the Davis brand Gelatine in individual Packets/Envelopes is slightly easier to dissolve than the Wards brand.

Plus Hot Water & Cold Water as per Jelly packet instructions.

2 x Pyrex/glass/ceramic dishes either 2 of 9 x 13 (22.5 x 33cm) size lasagne dish or 1 of 9 x 13 and 1 of 10 x 10 (which is what I happened to have).

Make enough space in your freezer to fit both dishes.

***Spray your dishes with a light layer of oil (we use a can of Canola oil)*** – this will help the jelly to not stick to the dish.

White Condensed Milk Layer

In a jug, mix 2 1/2 packets of Gelatine with 1 1/2 Cups of Hot Water until dissolved.

Add the can of Condensed Milk plus another 1 1/2 Cups of Hot Water (or enough hot water to make it up to 1 litre milk mixture in total). Mix to combine together, then set aside.

Colour Jelly

Put your first Colour Jelly Crystals into a jug, and sprinkle 1 envelope/packet of Gelatine over this. Add hot water according to jelly packet instructions. Mix together with a fork or spoon to dissolve the Jelly Crystals and Gelatine. Add cold water according to jelly packet instructions.

Pour half the jelly mixture into each dish (250ml per dish).

Use a spoon to break up any bubbles.  Place into the freezer for 15 minutes or until firm.

Make your 2nd Colour Jelly now so it has time to cool before you need it. Make it in exactly the same way as above, remembering to add the Gelatine.

After about 15 minutes, once your first layer of jelly has set in the freezer, take out the dishes.

Measure out and pour 100ml of the White Condensed Milk mixture over each jelly layer. From experience we found that pouring onto the jelly like the picture below can cause dents to the jelly layer. Instead we found that pouring carefully along the side edges of the dish, rather than in the middle, prevents dents to the jelly layer.

Pick up the dish and tip it from side to side to spread the mixture evenly. Place into the freezer to set. This can take from about 7 minutes to 15 minutes depending on your freezer. However we found that as you progress through layers, the dishes get colder from being in the freezer so the layers do start to set faster. After a couple of layers they should generally only take about 8 to 10 minutes for each layer to set. Tip: don’t leave too long that it freezes or sets completely or your layers won’t stick together.

Once milk layer is set pour the 2nd Colour Jelly over the top (250ml per dish).

Make your 3rd Colour Jelly.

Continue to make the next Colour Jelly after you’ve poured the last Colour layer.  Pour the Milk Mixture (100ml each dish) in between your colours and continue this process until you finish with your last Colour Jelly layer on top.

If the Milk Mixture in the jug starts to get a bit gluggy, put it into the microwave for about 10 seconds to liquify it again.

Once you pour your last layer on top, you can put into the fridge until you are ready for cutting.

Cut into squares to serve. You can use your fingers to pull from the edges and also use a small flat spatula (eg a cake icing spatula/knife works well).

rainbow jelly square recipe

Below I have served in cupcake wrappers with a mini meringue on top.

Or straight onto a plate works fine too.

Please note that in the photos above we are making the Jelly Squares with the blue top. The photos of the Jelly Squares with the pink top was a batch made previously.

We cheated with the blue top Jelly Squares and only did 5 colours (as we had to race off for school pick-up) – in fact you can do however many layers you like and with whatever colour combination. With the pink top Jelly Squares you may notice that the white layers were not even – this is because I did not measure out the quantity. If you stick to 100ml per dish per white layer you will get an even layer which is not too thick so that your colours stand out.

The best thing about these Jelly Squares is that they can be out of the fridge for a long time. You can serve them up and leave them out for hours and the jelly won’t melt (because of the added gelatine). You can also make them a couple of days before an event. They are a bit fiddly to plate up though so leave yourself enough time to do this – plating up just before the party starts can be a bit stressful… I have found from experience!!

The recipe is based on this Crafty Corner blog post. She has great photos and tips too.

Pink themed jelly squares were used to make a sweet 16th Birthday cake.

It’s a great easy option for a party where guests can just take a piece and go – there’s no need to spend time cutting up and plating all the pieces of a cake and distributing to everyone during the party. We’ve found them to be popular for all ages – we’ve served them at parties since my kids were little and revived it for my daughter’s sixteenth birthday. Teens still love it – and so do the adults! 

Jelly Square birthday cake

rainbow layered jelly squares






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56 Responses to “Rainbow Jelly Square Delights | Recipe”

  1. September 10, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    Looks great, how long will they last in the fridge

  2. September 10, 2013 at 10:24 pm #

    Hi Kelly
    It should last at least 2 to 3 days in the fridge.

  3. September 11, 2013 at 4:46 pm #


  4. September 25, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Have you heard of Agar Agar? It would work fantastically here. No gelatin required and sets at room temp. You can buy it at asian grocers.

  5. September 25, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    Yes a friend has made it with Agar Agar. She found that she had to tweak it a bit to get it right. It set a bit too firm and rubbery.

  6. September 26, 2013 at 1:25 am #

    Would this work if you added vodka? (Adult version!!!) replacing cold water in jelly mix with some vodka?

  7. September 27, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

    Yes, it should work fine.

  8. September 28, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

    They look so pretty.
    I made these today & I’m just wondering if you have any tips for the bottom layer not getting stuck to the dish when getting the pieces out.
    I think my bottom layer was too thin so maybe that’s why it didn’t come out easily.
    Any tips you have would be greatly appreciated.

  9. September 28, 2013 at 10:52 pm #

    I have had that happen before and it’s very frustrating! I think making sure the dishes are cold ie at least 15 min freezer before you start helps. I know some people spray a fine layer of oil to jelly moulds so this would help I imagine but I haven’t tried myself.

  10. November 1, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

    In regards to the jelly getting stuck at the bottom, would cling wrap help. Like line the dish first, before pouring the bottom layer? Thought of asking before i do try it.

  11. November 1, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    Hi Jennifer
    I haven’t tried using cling wrap – could work. I’ve made it a few times now and only one time I had trouble with it sticking a bit to the dish (and I’m not quite sure what I did wrong – maybe forgot to freeze the dish for 15 minutes beforehand). If you try it with cling wrap and it helps, please let us know! Cheers, Linda

  12. January 2, 2014 at 10:39 pm #

    Just wondering how you manage to cut such perfect squares? Also, would a cooking spray help with the jelly not sticking onto the bottom of the dish? Or would it affect the jelly? Your ideas are simply gorgeous. Have you any ideas for a pool party? Thanks for the inspirations!

  13. January 2, 2014 at 11:12 pm #

    Hi Suzanne,
    Thanks for your lovely words. Oh the squares are not so perfect unfortunately. I usually cut in quarters first and then try and cut even lines using those lines as a guide. If you like you can put a ruler across the top of the dish and then run your knife along using the ruler as a guide to keep your knife straight. I haven’t used cooking spray myself but I know others have and I don’t think it affects the jelly. For a pool party I would consider making frogs in a pond ie put blue jelly in plastic cups (the wine stem ones look nice) and stick a freddo frog in the middle or have tiny teddies lying on a lolly strap, looking like they are floating on top of a pool. Have fun with it 🙂 Cheers, Linda

  14. April 20, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

    Hi, can this be made without the milk layer?

  15. April 28, 2014 at 9:35 pm #

    Hi Fiona
    Without the milk layers in between the colours are not as well defined and can run into each other, which is fine if you don’t mind that effect.

  16. June 1, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

    I couldnt get the extra gelitin to mix in??? my jelly had lots of bits in it and then wouldnt set??? What am i doing wrong????

  17. June 1, 2014 at 6:53 pm #

    Hi Stevie, I wonder if it’s the brand of gelatin – I do remember once using one which was very difficult to dissolve. As long as the water is hot and it’s sprinkled in, it usually dissolves when agitating with a fork.

  18. June 1, 2014 at 10:16 pm #

    Wow! Looks stunning. Just wondering instead of milk layer could you use junket? Thanks and live all your ideas 🙂

  19. June 1, 2014 at 10:54 pm #

    Hi Samantha, I’m not familiar with junket and haven’t used it before so not sure. Perhaps try it out to see if adding gelatine to it sets the same as jelly. 🙂

  20. June 1, 2014 at 11:08 pm #

    I’ve just thought of something. I think sprinkling the gelatine over the jelly mixture, instead of putting the gelatine at the bottom of the jug with the jelly mixture, may be better. ie add the jelly, pour in the hot water and then sprinkle the gelatine over the top, before agitating with fork to dissolve.

  21. June 2, 2014 at 5:05 am #

    Ok thanks. Junket is like a milk based jelly. Very yummy!!

  22. June 7, 2014 at 11:46 am #

    When pouring the milk in you can run it over the back of the spoon so it won’t dent the jelly.
    These look great.

  23. June 11, 2014 at 7:51 pm #

    Tried again today, using the Davis brand gelatine. Worked perfectly.
    I think you were right it must have been the brand I used last time 🙂
    Thanks for the help, the kids loved them!!!

  24. June 11, 2014 at 7:52 pm #

    Oh I’m so glad to hear that! 🙂

  25. October 30, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

    Just a small tip when adding the extra gelatine, mix it into the jelly crystals before putting in the hot water. It mixes much better than when you sprinkle it on top of the hot water.

  26. November 19, 2014 at 7:35 am #

    I think this would be great for Christmas – Green, Red, Green, Red, Green, Red, and White

  27. November 20, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

    Thanks so much Karen. I will definitely try that next time 🙂

  28. December 16, 2014 at 11:51 pm #

    Hi, I will be doing this now and I would like to know if adding an all purpose cream into the condensed milk is fine? Like what we do in making fruit salad. And if, what will be the result? Thanks. ☺

  29. January 6, 2015 at 2:52 am #

    Hi Iya, I’ve never tried adding cream before so can’t tell you what the result will be. I’ve always just stuck to this recipe.

  30. February 11, 2015 at 12:45 pm #

    The best way to keep from sticking is to fill the sink with hot water about a 1/2 inch deep. Lay the dish in the water being sure the water does not get into the jello. The warm water should loosen the jello just enough to get it free without sticking within just a few minutes.

  31. March 4, 2015 at 8:31 pm #

    I am trying to make a jelly mould jelly for my son’s first birthday and having trouble getting the jelly to hold its shape when it comes out of the mould, or even to come out at all. Would adding the extra gelatine help? And also would this recipe work in a mould?

  32. March 12, 2015 at 12:40 am #

    I’ve had trouble getting jelly out of a mould myself. I think spraying a thin coat of oil in the mould helps. I have never tried doing the rainbow jelly recipe in a mould myself for this reason – I’d be worried it won’t come out of the mould cleanly. I have seen pics of it being done before though and it does look spectacular. Good luck 🙂

  33. April 18, 2015 at 8:46 pm #

    hi I can only get the davis brand gelatin in an 125g packet not the individual packets so what would the ratio be as in how many tablespoons should I use for both the milk mixture and the jellies

  34. April 20, 2015 at 6:23 pm #

    Hi Sharn, I would go with the directions on the packet as to how much gelatin for how many mls. Each packet of jelly makes 500ml so add the amount of gelatin they recommend for 500ml.

  35. May 3, 2015 at 6:58 pm #

    Hi Linda, Could you please explain why the extra gelatine goes in the Jelly rather than the Milk mix? What sets the milk mix? I have visions of lovely firm jelly with milk layer running out between the layers!! LOL.

  36. May 6, 2015 at 8:01 pm #

    Hello Mirabella, there is extra gelatine in both the jelly and the milk mix. It helps the jelly to set firmer so it keeps its shape when you cut it and it also means the jelly doesn’t melt (which is a bonus as you can keep it out of the fridge for a long time).

  37. May 22, 2015 at 12:10 am #

    Hi Mirabella, you need to add the extra gelatine into the milk mix too. Sorry if it’s unclear. Here are the instructions in the recipe:
    White Condensed Milk Layer
    In a jug, mix 2 1/2 packets of Gelatine with 1 1/2 Cups of Hot Water until dissolved.
    Add the can of Condensed Milk plus another 1 1/2 Cups of Hot Water (or enough hot water to make it up to 1 litre milk mixture in total). Mix to combine together, then set aside. Cheers, Linda
    P.S. sorry, I’ve only just seen your comment now.

  38. May 30, 2015 at 9:08 pm #

    Hi, do you put any spray oil on the dish before you pour the jelly? Just wondering if it get stick on the dish. Cheers

  39. May 31, 2015 at 1:53 am #

    Hi. I tried to make this in a bundt tin for a dessert. Unfortunately it stuck to the sides of the bundt tin. Also, the condensed milk mix didn’t stay set, and “melted” after a bit. I will get a new bundt tin and make sure I add a lot more gelatine to it. I also was only able to get the Wards gelatine. Are you in Australia? And where did you get the Davis gelatine?

  40. May 31, 2015 at 9:00 pm #

    Yes, we are in South Australia. I got the Davis gelatine in Foodland. Did you spray the bundt tin with oil? That may help. The milk mixture should stay set with 2 1/2 packets of gelatine or if using another brand, use a bit more than the amount specified to set 1 litre of liquid.

  41. May 31, 2015 at 9:02 pm #

    I tried spraying one dish and not spraying the other dish with oil and it didn’t seem to make a difference. It certainly doesn’t hurt it.

  42. July 17, 2015 at 3:39 pm #

    Hi Linda – I know this is an old post and you are probably tired of answering questions on it, so I apologise BUT I have a party tomorrow afternoon. I have just finished assembling it and I was wondering should I wait till tomorrow before I cut it into squares? Or can I cut and plate it up now and it will stay together?

  43. July 17, 2015 at 10:22 pm #

    Hi Jessica, sorry for late reply, I didn’t see this comment until now. It’s probably best to plate it up tomorrow, only because it’s hard to plate and then glad wrap, unless you’ve got some sort of cover you can put over it, I’m always a bit nervous having it all plated and something happening to it in the fridge. If you are putting each piece inside a cupcake liner then that would be fine as you could put them inside a big container. The pieces will stay together if you cut up and plate now – it’s just protecting them until you serve up tomorrow. Have a great party 🙂 Cheers, Linda

  44. December 13, 2015 at 1:11 pm #

    I usually make my milk layers with jelly mixed with evaporated milk. Why is condensed milk used in this recipe? Is it just for flavour?

  45. December 17, 2015 at 12:49 am #

    This is just the recipe I’ve always used. I hadn’t thought to use evaporated milk. Condensed milk is sweeter and richer but I guess either would work fine.

  46. March 31, 2016 at 9:11 am #

    We have a birthday party Sunday afternoon. Could I make these today (on Thursday) and keep in fridge until then?

  47. March 31, 2016 at 5:52 pm #

    Yes, we have made them a few days before a party and they have been fine. Have fun!

  48. April 21, 2016 at 10:16 pm #

    I rubbed a little coconut oil in the dish, and warmed jelly mold in warm water-came out clean 🙂
    And made a adult tropical version with mango, orange, lime jelly and used coconut milk and coconut rum in the milk layers in between…soooo good!

  49. April 30, 2016 at 11:18 pm #


  50. July 21, 2016 at 9:04 am #

    4questions plz
    1.why u need 2 dishes?is the amount too much for one dish or is it to speed up the process and u sort of put them together at a certain stage?
    2.u r saying packets for gelatine how much a packet weigh?
    3.table spoon I have 2 measuring ones one is 15ml for TBsp and one is 20ml…which one have u used?
    4.wats the size of ur condensed milk?
    I need to make this tomorrow plz help.

  51. July 25, 2016 at 8:12 pm #

    The amount is too much for 1 dish. 🙂

  52. September 17, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

    Hi I’m looking to make rainbow jelly for my daughters birthday party next week, but doing them in individual cups, would you still use extra gelatine to stop melting or will they be fine in the cups?

  53. September 19, 2016 at 5:08 pm #

    Hi Kylie, if you are doing in cups you won’t need the gelatine to hold the jelly into shape, however, the extra gelatine does mean that you can leave the jelly out of the fridge for longer without it melting. It also makes it quicker to set each layer when making. Would love to see how they go.

  54. December 7, 2016 at 1:51 pm #

    Would it matter if I substitute milk mixture with coconut milk+ gelatin? May not be so sweet but the jelly itself is sweet right?

  55. December 15, 2016 at 5:48 pm #

    I’m pretty sure this works fine – I remember a friend doing this. 🙂

  56. March 12, 2020 at 8:38 am #

    Fae, these look so adorable! I am sure my kids would absolutely love it! You have explained the process so well too! thanks for bringing these rainbows to Fiesta Friday! ??

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