Homemade Fruit Snacks

How to make homemade chewy fruit snacks

Yesterday my son walked through the doors of his elementary school for the first time. The milestone was bittersweet, of course. He had been going to daycare since he was three months old, but this was different. This was real.

Now that we have a baby in the house, it’s been startling to look at my firstborn. To see how his baby fat is melting away. To see how big his feet are getting as we buy yet another pair of shoes, the ones that take him into that big, unfamiliar school full of strangers.

My son inherited many of my traits, including my sensitivity. Kindergarten was a fraught-filled time for me, and while my son has more experience navigating the social world of children than I had, I want to do what I can to remind him that no matter what is going on during the day, he is loved.

One of the ways I express love is through food, and I thought his entry into elementary school would be the perfect time to expand my homemade snack repertoire. I’m trying to keep his packed lunches as healthy as possible, but we all deserve a treat now and then. These homemade fruit snacks fit both orders.

Homemade Fruit Snacks

These fruit snacks are pretty darn easy (if you’ve ever made jam or Jello, you’re set) and have less than a handful of ingredients. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t stashed a container away for my own snacking.

They do require a fair amount of plain gelatin, so if you don’t want to fiddle with multiple tiny packets, I recommend buying a bulk-sized jar from a natural foods store or Amazon. For this batch I used mixed berries and didn’t strain the seeds out of mine because we like the crunch, but you can strain the berries before adding the gelatin if you don’t want seeds. Or, just use another kind of fruit. My favorite to use are juicy peaches.

If you’re packing these for lunch, they do keep set at room temperature, but I recommend otherwise storing them in the fridge.

Homemade Chewy Fruit Snacks
3.0 from 5 reviews
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Recipe type: Snacks
Author:
Serves/Yield: 16
Homemade fruit snacks only take a few ingredients and less time than it takes to run to the store.
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups fruit
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons gelatin (3 Knox packets)
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, heat fruit, honey, and vanilla until fruit has softened and started to release juices.
  2. Turn off heat, pour mixture into a blender and puree (or use an immersion blender), then return to saucepan.
  3. Pour in gelatin slowly, whisking to incorporate. Continue to whisk until the gelatin is completely dissolved and incorporated into the fruit.
  4. Pour mixture into a glass, Pyrex, or silicon pan, and put in the refrigerator to cool for at least an hour to set.
  5. Once set, cut into individual pieces and store in an airtight container.
Notes
If using a glass or Pyrex pan, consider lining it with parchment paper to help the fruit snacks release from the pan.

What snacks are you sending off with your kids this year?

About Megan

Megan Myers is a copyeditor and spatula-wielding mom seeking out the simpler life in Texas. Her blog, Stetted, focuses on her family’s journey from junk food addiction to a diet of local, organic, and whole foods, while exploring the many options farmers provide.

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Comments

  1. So fun! And they look awesome!
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar’s last post: Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Zucchini, and Feta

  2. Yay! Going to pick up some gelatin today. My youngest started school today. These will make a great treat.

  3. R is such a lucky boy. I can’t decide if I’d leave the seeds in or not, but I have a whole bunch of peaches and nectarines hanging out in my fridge right now that would make perfect fruit snacks. Since we don’t have any kindergartners around here, they’ll be just for me. :)
    Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies’s last post: Mojito Mocktail

  4. This looks wonderful, can’t wait to try this. My daughter started kindergarten yesterday.

  5. Yum! And I love the simplicity of the recipe!

  6. I saw something similar on pinterest and gave it a try…they turned out very strange. I’m going to give your recipe a try, which has less ingredients, and the outcome looks a little better!
    Sarah M
    Sarah M’s last post: Playful Learning “Around the World” Interview

  7. love these- what a fun (and healthy) way to make these for my kids!

  8. Making your own sounds like so much fun!
    Kevin @ Closet Cooking’s last post: Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Zucchini topped with Melted Cheddar, Bacon and an Avocado Blue Cheese Dressing

  9. I would love loved getting these in my school lunches as a kid! I bet kids are going to be asking him for some of his fab homemade snacks all the time :)
    Gaby’s last post: Chocolate Chip S’mookies

  10. I love that first day moment when they leave and come home – as you said, bittersweet. And I love this recipe – so much healthier and I bet tastier than the package stuff!
    naomi’s last post: Pink Ruffle Cake

  11. My oldest is heading off to kindergarten next week. We have full-time kindergarten where we live and I feel it will be a big transition.

    I want to make these for him and I already have a fruit/honey puree I had leftover from a previous recipe. Any idea what the approximate volume is of puree before you add the gelatin? Thanks!

    • Lisa, does he do full days right away? My Mateo starts with half days for a few weeks.

      It certainly is a big transition; I found it hard for the first child, but of course he loved it! Good luck.

      • Aimee, the transition to full time isn’t as gradual for us, but I’m hoping his excitement for kindergarten carries him through. It’s reassuring that it worked out well for you the first time around!

  12. I’m sharing this for my friends, but I’m wondering if I could substitute agar with similar results, as I don’t eat gelatin. I think it might be worth my doing some tinkering with the recipe to see.

    • I’ve never used agar, so I don’t know what the results would be like, but I hope you try it! Please let us know how it goes :)

    • This would work with agar-agar, Denise, just use a little less as it sets up firmer than gelatine. (We played a lot with agar-agar back in those restaurant days) You don’t want it too rubbery!

  13. So I tried this today with my little ones and made 3 batches we loved making them but they didn’t turn out that fruity tasting. We used blueberries is there a better fruit to use that gives it a nicer taste? I will try again but what is the best fruit to use? Thanks so much

  14. I think all parents need this recipe ~ keep us from purchasing over priced, sugary fruity snacks. Great post!

  15. Wow! Totally going to make this for Little One :) Love that you mentioned agar-agar, Aimee. My mom uses that. Common ingredient in Filipino desserts like Filipino fruit salad with coconut, nata de coco, fruits and gelatin (agar-agar).
    Christine’s last post: Bourbon Molasses Salmon @CrosbysMolasses #recipe

  16. Those look better than the goopy stuff that falls out of the ‘Gushers’ fruit snack bag. Must try because for all my “sophisticated” quinoa with kale eating, I’m still like a kid who’s happy to see some fruit snacks in her lunchbox.
    Tiare’s last post: Nurture Your Child and Yourself (At The Same Time)

  17. This is a great way to use a bunch of the blue grapes I just bought! Yum! How long do you think they will keep in the fridge?
    Danielle’s last post: Apple Crumble

  18. After these have set and you cut them and put them in airtight containers, do they have to be refrigerated?

  19. Do these have to be refrigerated?

  20. Good article , it is very interesting , thanks so much .

  21. love these- what a fun (and healthy) way to make these for my kids!

  22. thanks! this looks so easy and tasty! my little one has just discovered that she loves fruit snacks, so I will be very excited to try these out. I had also seen recently little cookie cutters (like one can use for animal crackers or whatever) at a craft store so I’m thinking those cutters will work for these as well and I can make little shapes for her to make her more likely to be willing to eat these instead of store bought.

  23. You just opened up a whole new healthy snack world for me! I made this today with watermelon. Super yummy and simple.

    Do you store it in the refrigerator or at room temperature?
    Larissa’s last post: Watermelon Agua Fresca

  24. YUM!! I can’t wait to make these for myself :) they look perfectly sweet

  25. I loved how easy these were to make. However, I think the amount of honey is WAY too much. We made them with nectarines, and all you could taste was this overwhelming honey taste, and paired with the vanilla, was almost medicinal. We had to dump the whole pan. I think I’ll be looking for another recipe.

  26. Have you tried mixing any veggies in? I’m curious if I could sneak in some squash or carrots.

  27. I made these yesterday and they are horrible! They’re like tasteless pieces of rubber. I do not recommend this recipe.

  28. First, it’s important to note that any recipe you make will not have the exact texture of a store bough commercial fruit snack. So get that out of your minds now. That still doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a real fruit snack! Also note, playing with the amounts of gelatin you use can get you closer to a texture you can live with as long as they taste good :) Also, some fruits, like oranges for example don’t taste good in these recipes, for us anyway. Never use pineapple as it won’t set. Which is unfortunate because I love pineapple!! I guess I’ll live with my dehydrated ones instead. I would only increase or decrease your amount of gelatin by 1tbs at a time while playing with texture. Now, I will be the first to say that I struggled finding a fruit snack recipe using gelatin that I and my kids liked. I tried the pectin and totally didn’t work. I thought we were only stuck with fruit leathers. The reason we probably like this version is because it’s similar to my fruit leather recipe sans the gelatin. It’s exactly the same…hmm..now my wheels are turning…maybe I take my leather mix and put it in the molds and dehydrate it that way! Huh! Anyway, alas I found one for gummies! The recipe I found that I like is similar to this with a couple exceptions. Try it out!! 1 cup pureed fruit, 5-6 tbls gelatin, 5 tablespoons of honey (more or less, sweeten to taste its only optional), no vanilla. For apples..use applesauce or cook down the apples first. Puree fruit in blender or processor first. If you like, you can also add the gelatin at this point and process for about a minute (makes things easier). Mixture will be fluffy, this is okay it will liquefy in saucepan. Heat the mixture up enough until your marshmallowy mixture turns into more of a liquid, spoon in molds or pan. Pop in freezer for quicker setting. I was eating mine within 5 minutes :) Was very yummy! Keep in mind the fruit you are using will give different flavors. Again orange is gross, or you could try an orange extract if you wish with another fruit that meshes well with orange. Experiment! Strawberry, cherry and peaches make yummy snacks! I will try to incorporate a veggie somewhere in there in the near future, too. I have also found making recipes using juice instead of real fruit don’t taste well at all. To each his own I guess :) Happy experimenting!

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