Healthy Gummy Bear Recipe (using fruit & honey)

Healthy Gummy Bear Recipe? Really?! Yes!

One of my passions is switching out unhealthy recipes for healthy ones. Eating a real food diet does not have to be boring or feel like deprivation (I would never last!)

Do you love Starbuck’s PSLs? Great, natural pumpkin spice latte recipe that’s healthy and tastes like the real thing!

Love traditional breakfast foods on weekend mornings? Me too! Here’s a delicious grain free waffle recipe that kids of all ages just love.

Now that my kids are entering the real world and learning about pixie sticks and cotton candy (gasp!), they have stumbled upon the adorable Haribo Gummy Bear package in the checkout line. I remember munching on these as a kid myself. But, when I recently looked at the package’s ingredients, I knew there had to be a better way!

Haribo Gummy Bear Ingredients in U.S.

Glucose syrup (from wheat or corn), sugar, gelatin, dextrose (from wheat or corn), citric acid, corn starch, artificial and natural flavors, palm kernel oil, carnauba wax, white beeswax, yellow beeswax, yellow 5, red 40, and blue 1

😳

But if you break it down, it’s really about:

  • some form of sugar (not all are bad)
  • some type of fruit flavoring (could use the real thing)
  • and gelatin.

I’ve talked about the many benefits of gelatin before. So, in the scheme of things, these gummy bears could actually be a healthy “treat” when compared with others.

Haribo Gummy Bear Ingredients in Germany

Interesting to note: in Germany, where Haribo is headquartered, they don’t use food dyes for color. Instead they use plant and herbal extracts. (Europeans always get the food right!) Here’s a list of their ingredients:

Glucose syrup; sugar; gelatin; dextrose; fruit juice from concentrate: apple, strawberry, raspberry, orange, lemon, pineapple; citric acid, lemon, pineapple; citric acid; fruit and plant concentrates: nettle, apple, spinach, kiwi, orange, elderberry, lemon, mango, passionfruit, blackcurrant, aronia, grape; flavorings; glazing agents: white and yellow beeswax; carnauba wax; elderberry extract; fruit extract from carob; invert sugar syrup

So, my recipe takes the more German approach: fruit concentrates (juice), gelatin, and sugar (in the form of honey.)

Note: This is a slightly “higher maintenance” recipe than most of the ones you’ll find on this site. I had a fun time making these with my kids, but I certainly wouldn’t be making these on a regular basis. Too much work! 🙂 But, for a road trip, Halloween, a birthday party, or just a fun activity to do with the family, this gummy bear recipe is great.

Here's a healthy gummy bear recipe that uses just fruit, honey, gelatin, and love. A tasty take on the classic (but kinda junky) kid's candy.

Healthy Gummy Bear Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic juice for each color
    • For the red gummy bear: pomegranate or cherry juice (100% juice not diluted with sugar and water)
    • For the orange gummy bear: I used peach/carrot juice combo. You can also use apricot nectar juice. I also added in 4-5 drops of Orange essential oil before adding to molds. This gives them a great flavor!
    • For the yellow gummy bear: I used a combo of orange and pineapple juices. You can add Lemon essential oil before adding to mold for an authentic lemon-y flavor.
  • For the clear gummy bear: I used a mix of pineapple juice and lemonade.
  • 1/3 cup Vital Proteins beef gelatin
  • 2 TB lemon juice
  • 1/2 raw cup honey
  • Gummy bear molds with droppers (where to buy)

Here's a healthy gummy bear recipe that uses just fruit, honey, gelatin, and love. A tasty take on the classic (but kinda junky) kid's candy.

Directions:

  1. Put your cold juice into a sauce pan.
  2. Add your 1/3 cup of gelatin.
  3. Let it sit for a minute or two so the gelatin can “bloom”. (This will help prevent a clumpy or gritty finished product!)
  4. Turn on the heat to low to medium till the gelatin dissolves.
  5. Turn off heat and let sit for a few minutes to cool down.
  6. Add your lemon juice and raw honey. Stir well.
  7. Use a syringe and suck up your juice concoction and push out into your gummy bear mold.
  8. Let sit for 5 minutes so it sets and then put in fridge for one hour. Remove bears and enjoy!

Final notes:

This gummy bear recipe will make at least 100 bears of each color and last in the fridge for at least one week. You can also leave out in room temperature for a few days (just don’t let them get above, say, 85° F or you’ll have a big bear meltdown.)

How about you?

Do you like gummy bears? Would you ever make a treat like this for your kids? Share with us in the comments below.

36 Comments

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  1. Perhaps a note about fresh vs canned pineapple juice would be helpful?? Fresh won’t set up properly due to its enzymes. Canned works because it’s been cooked. 😳

  2. How do I prevent my gummies from going rubbery? They are fine when I first make them but after an hour in the fridge, they are very rubbery.

  3. Hi!

    Do you need to heat a gelatin/juice mixture for each flavor? Thank you!

  4. I’m going to try these; they sound delicious! Also, has anyone tried the Black Forest Organic gummy bears (or worms). They have them at Walgreens and CVS pharmacies and Kroger’s. I tried them and love that they are not as sweet as other brands. I also like that they are organic.

    • Yes! I LOVE the black.forest organic gummies the best of all! Best flavor and gluten free, non GMO, for me having celiac disease, and knowing i”m able to grab a fairly healthy sweet treat quickly.

  5. Any way to make these Vegan? – I’m fine with tracking down a honey sub – it’s the gelatin substitute that’s the challenge…

  6. I hadn’t worked with gelatin before but I knew it smelled bed. However, after fully making the gummies and having them in the fridge for a couple hours they still smell like death. Does that smell ever go away?

  7. Oh my!!!! I ate them all then went to store for more ingredients!! I’m a “kid” who is 66!!!!!!!!

  8. These are so delicious! My kids love them, and I like to mix up flavors and try some new ones. One question: can you make them without honey or with another healthy substitute? I would love to hear a couple alternatives for honey.

  9. I made these today and it was very easy! Thank you for posting the recipe. I was just wondering if you notice a very strong honey flavor. I used a pomegranate plum juice but I taste quite a bit of the honey. You added 1/2 C. right? Did I read that correctly? I plan to try again with another flavor :).

    • Hi Jana, I agree with your comment that 1/2 cup of honey seems like too much. I used a wildflower honey, which has a bold, floral flavor and it overwhelmed the taste of the fruit juice, for my preference. Another problem I encountered was the honey didn’t mix evenly into the gelatin, and some of the gummies came out too sticky. In my opinion, If you don’t want the gummies to taste like honey, use something milder, like clover honey, or substitute it out for a different sweetener.

      • I find that I don’t enjoy the bolder tasting honey when added to treats. But I do enjoy it when I use Orange blossom. It seems sweeter and more mild.

  10. Are the gummies firm?

    • Yep, pretty firm. Firmer than normal jello. But not plastic-y solid like the store bought ones.

  11. Eek! What did I do wrong?!? I’m trying to make the white bears, so I have half cup lemonade and half cup pineapple juice. When I add the 1/3 cup beef gelatin (green Vital Proteins tub), and mix wisk together, I get a very thick paste! Isn’t it supposed to be liquid? Should I add more juice? Was I not supposed to wisk? Help!

    • UPDATE! The paste melted into a liquid when heated, so they turned out great. Another question though, how many bears would you say the recipe yields? The molds you linked to make 100 bears at a time, but I figure I got about 10x that amount and ended up using other molds I had in my cupboards for the extra because the syrup sets pretty fast and I didn’t want to let it go to waste in the saucepan. If I only want to make bear molds with the set of 100 that I have, could re-heat the syrup in the saucepan? Will it liquify again? Could I do that a few times over or does something happen to the gelatin after all that reheating? Thanks!

    • You need to cook that paste over medium heat till it’s a liquid.

  12. Can you use any brand gelatin or does it have to be that specific brand due to chemistry? Just wondering how interchangeable the recipe is. Awesome idea…I can’t wait to make them with my kiddos!

    • You could use a different brand but I recommend sticking with grass fed.

    • U can use any gelatin. The beef is more healthy.( can’t taste beef) 🙂

  13. Hi, Mama Natural.

    Did you try to pour liquid without the droppers. I do have the mold, but sadly no droppers.

    • You could try with a child’s spoon. You can pick up droppers at your local drugstore.

    • I just used a mini muffin pan w silicon muffin holders. Not Bears , but tasty cute colorful circles w crimped sides!:-)

  14. Do you have to use the recipe for each color?
    Meaning do you have to make 3-4 batches of the whole recipe?

    • No. You can make just one color or use whatever juice you want. Just be sure your ratios are right with juice, sweetener, and gelatin.

  15. if these last 1 week in the fridge but it makes 100, how many are you giving your kids each day?

    can they freeze and last longer?

    • Keep in mind they are very small. A handful is probably 25 bears so they can easily be used up in a week. I have eaten them 2-3 weeks later (stored in fridge) and they were perfectly fine but I always like to be conservative with recommendations 🙂

  16. Could you pour your liquid into a shallow pan and then cut it into pieces when cool instead of using a mold?

  17. Thanks Genevieve! I love Gummy bear…This recipe is simple, healthy and yum(obviously)…So excited to try it..

  18. I bet you could make a green color by adding some super food green powder mix (always turns my smoothies bright green!) and maybe a few drops of lime EO. 🙂

    • They turn brown for me 🙁 Let me know if you have better luck.

  19. Mmm! These gummies are so much better for you than store-bought. I bet kids go crazy for them, too!

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