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How to Make Gummy Worms: An All-Natural Recipe

Working in a small biotechnology company, Leah enjoys gardening and raising chickens in Western New York.

Reasons to Make All-Natural Gummy Worms

This recipe set includes three recipes for making gummy worms: the first two are all-natural, and the third recipe uses flavored Jello, which contains artificial dyes and colors. Many parents desire healthy food for their children, and the first two recipes are acceptable for children who follow the Feingold diet. The third recipe would not be acceptable for Feingold, but it is still better than store-bought candies laden with high fructose corn syrup.

Gummy candies are easy to make, store well, and are flavorful. You can alter the flavors and colors by using different fruit juices, and the shapes by using candy molds. In the video, I show two ways to achieve a worm-like shape using materials around the house, though there are candy molds that will make this process easier.

Cook Time

Prep timeReady inYields

15 min

15 min

Approximately 20 gummy worms

Homemade Gummy Worms

Homemade gummy worms made with all-natural ingredients.

Homemade gummy worms made with all-natural ingredients.

All-Natural Fruit Juice Gummy Candy Recipe

The first recipe is all-natural and contains no artificial colors or dyes.

You will need:

  • 3 packets of Knox Gelatin
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup fruit juice
  • 1 box flexible straws
  • 1 cup

Instructions:

  1. Cut the straws in half and fill a small cup with straws. Use a narrow cup with straight sides for the best results.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the gelatin, sugar, and fruit juice. Cook over medium heat until the gelatin completely dissolves and the solution is heated through. Carefully pour the gelatin mixture into the straws. Some fluid will surround the outside of the straws—don't worry about this as it will not affect the outcome of the final product. If you want longer worms, make a double batch to ensure the cup is filled to a higher level.
  3. Place the cup in the freezer for 5–30 minutes, until set. Wider cups will take longer to set, as the gelatin in the middle of the cup will take longer to cool. After approximately 30 minutes, remove the straws from the cup and squeeze out the worms.

Note: For the worms in the picture, I used blueberry juice. Grape juice would yield a similar color.

Get the Gummy Worm out of the Straw

Use a rolling pin to force the gummy worm out of the straw.

Use a rolling pin to force the gummy worm out of the straw.

How to Squeeze Out the Gummy Worms

Getting the gelatin candy out of the straws is the most difficult part of this process. There are three ways to do this:

  1. Run the straws under hot water briefly to release the gummy worm.
  2. Squeeze the straw tightly to extrude the worm from the straw.
  3. Use a rolling pin to extrude the worm from the straw.

This process can take a bit of time: this is one of the drawbacks of using straws. To create great looking worms with less work, consider buying a candy mold. Alternatively, use the "cutting into strips" method outlined below. The worms cut from strips of candy look less like worms than those molded in the straws, but the taste is the same.

To make the extrusion process easier, use short straws (cut in half) rather than full-length straws. It is easier to squeeze the candy out of a 2 1/2" straw—it will probably break if it is pulled out of a whole straw. If you mold the candy into whole straws, consider cutting the straw in half before you attempt to squeeze the gummy candy out.

Root Beer Gummy Worm Recipe

This recipe uses the exact same methodology as the fruit juice recipe. Use an all-natural root beer instead of fruit juice.

You will need:

  • 3 packets of Knox gelatin
  • 1/2 cup all-natural root beer
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Instructions:

  1. Place all of the ingredients into a saucepan and stir to combine.
  2. Heat until the gelatin is completely dissolved and pour the gelatin into straws or a baking pan.

Note: For a second example of how to make gummy worms, I poured this batch into an 8"x8" glass baking dish and submerged straws into the solution. Make sure the gelatin solution completely covers the straws if you use this method to cast gummy worms. You may need to use a butter knife to hold the straws under the gelatin solution.

An alternate method is to cut the set gummy candy into long, thin strips to resemble worms. This is much faster than using straws as a candy mold, as there is no need to extrude the candy!

Candy Mold for Gummy Worms

Jello Gummy Worm Recipe

This recipe is not all-natural, as the flavored Jello includes artificial dyes and colors. This recipe is better than store-bought gummies made with high fructose corn syrup, but it is not appropriate for families who follow the Feingold diet. I am including it as an alternate method; this recipe results in the most intensely flavored gummy worms.

You will need:

  • 1 (3-oz.) package Jello, any flavor
  • 2 packets Knox gelatin
  • 1/3 cup fruit juice
  • Cornstarch

Instructions:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan, stir, and pour into the straws, candy mold, or a baking dish.
  2. Freeze or refrigerate until set—this will take approximately 10 minutes and is slightly faster than the other methods. The gummy candy will be sticky on the surface, even when completely set.
  3. Cut the candy into strips or release it from the straw molds, then roll each piece of candy in cornstarch. The candy will not be sticky after it has been coated in cornstarch: dust off the excess and store in a jar.

Note: The finished gummy worms will have the color and flavor of the Jello: the color of the fruit juice will not influence the color in any way. I attempted to use blueberry juice to turn the mixture brown, but the candy retained the lime-green color of the Jello.

Three Gummy Worm Recipes

Three types of gummy worms: Fruit Juice, Root Beer, and Jello recipes.

Three types of gummy worms: Fruit Juice, Root Beer, and Jello recipes.

A Summary of All Three Recipes

There are pros and cons to each gummy worm recipe:

Fruit Juice Worms

  • Pros: These gummy candies are completely natural and obtain their color and flavor from real fruit juice. The recipe is extremely flexible, as various fruit juices can be used to obtain many colors or flavors.
  • Cons: These candies are not as flavorful as the Jello worms, and are not as brightly colored.

Root Beer Worms

  • Pros: These candies are all-natural. The color and flavor are obtained from an all-natural root beer. The flavor is wonderful and the color is perfect for creating realistic worms.
  • Cons: These candies lack the health benefits of those made with real fruit juice, and are not as colorful or flavorful as the Jello worms.

Jello Gummy Worms

  • Pros: These gummy worms have a very intense, bright flavor and are brightly colored. They do not have any high fructose corn syrup, and use fruit juice and sugar as sweeteners.
  • Cons: These gummy worms contain artificial dyes and colors, and will be sticky after setting. Cornstarch is required to coat the finished candy.

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© 2012 Leah Lefler

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