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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.

Rate this Recipe

Gummy Candy Recipe Poll

© 2012 Leah Lefler

Comments

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on June 14, 2018:

I am glad you find it helpful! We make a lot of all-natural recipes in our house, and my kids love the root-beer flavored gummy worms!

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on April 21, 2013:

I haven't tried a cola flavor, BStoneBlog - they would probably taste great! Any soda would work - we're particularly fond of root beer, so we usually use that flavor. Try it and let me know how you like it!

Jay Dickens on April 20, 2013:

These look like so much fun! Wonder how they'd taste with Coke?

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on August 15, 2012:

Definitely give them a try, CassyLu! My kids absolutely love making them, and they are so easy to do!

CassyLu1981 from Spring Lake, NC on August 08, 2012:

Love the video :) I might have to try making these with my kids for sure! Thanks for the great ideas :) Voted up, Shared and Pinned!!!

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on June 19, 2012:

Lindacee, these are fun to make (kids or no kids)! I really like the root beer ones, too - and if you buy an all natural root beer, you can avoid the artificial flavorings and dyes in that version, too!

Linda Chechar from Arizona on June 18, 2012:

Your videos are the best! I don't have any little ones around, but that won't stop me from trying one of these recipes! For some reason, the root beer gummy worms sound particularly yummy to me! :)

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on June 16, 2012:

Thanks, Riverfish! They're fun to make!

Riverfish24 from United States on June 16, 2012:

Awesome Hub! Great video guide.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on June 13, 2012:

My husband saw the gelatin boxes in the garbage and asked what I had made - I admitted it was gummy worms and he was upset that we ate them all! They are fun to make with kids, Simone, but as a warning to hungry adults- kids will eat them up as fast as you can make them! I don't worry about the kids eating these, though, as the fruit juice version is all natural and the sugar content isn't nearly as high as in store-bought candies.

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on June 13, 2012:

My word, I've never heard of making gummy worms at home before! THIS IS SO COOL!!! Love the video and the variations. This would be super fun to do with kids!

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on June 12, 2012:

It is a fun thing to do with kids, Peggy - the adults have to do the cooking steps, obviously, but the kids really love seeing how gummy candies are made!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 12, 2012:

This should be a hit for all the moms and dads out there with kids. Excellent hub and video showing the process. Up votes!

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on June 11, 2012:

Thanks, Rose! The recipes are extremely easy, and you can do just about anything with regard to the type of fruit juice - even orange juice will work! Thanks for the comment!

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on June 11, 2012:

Jackie, it is really fun! The root beer ones are really good - my kids love them since we don't allow them to have soda. They feel like they're getting away with something when they eat them, haha!

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 11, 2012:

Great recipes, Leah! This looks like so much fun and so simple. I love how you can customize the recipe so many different ways. Wonderful job with the video.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on June 11, 2012:

That looks like fun, bet I would love the root beer ones!

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on June 11, 2012:

The fruit juice ones are quite healthy, Om! Granted, they have sugar, but much less than the store-bought variety. The only ingredients are gelatin, fruit juice, and sugar - so there are no chemicals or artificial ingredients in that version!

Om Paramapoonya on June 11, 2012:

This is so cool! I used to LOVE gummy worms when I was a kid and started to hate them when I grew up and realized how unhealthy they are. Your homemade gummy worms (especially the fruit juice version) sound a lot healthier than the ones sold in supermarkets, though. Thanks a lot for sharing this!

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on June 11, 2012:

It is really easy, flightkeeper! I don't usually cast them into straws because it takes a great deal of work to get them OUT of the straws, but it is an option if you want realistic gummy worms and don't have candy molds. If you pour them into candy molds or cut them into strips, however, they're almost no work at all!

Flightkeeper from The East Coast on June 11, 2012:

This is a great! I had no idea it was so easy to make gummy worms.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on June 11, 2012:

It is fun to do with kids, moonlake - they can help add the dry ingredients and then use a butter knife to cut the gelatin in half. I really love the root beer version!

moonlake from America on June 11, 2012:

Very interesting love your video. If I had little grandchildren running around I would try this. Voted.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on June 11, 2012:

Thanks, Letitia! My boys love making gummy worms - any time they get to make candy, they're happy campers. Haha!

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on June 11, 2012:

They're pretty simple to make, Robert - and we like the all-natural versions for the kids (no petroleum-based dyes or artificial flavors). Using a candy mold is the easiest way to get the gummy worms, but you can make them with drinking straws, too!

LetitiaFT from Paris via California on June 11, 2012:

How clever! This looks like so much fun!

Robert Erich from California on June 11, 2012:

I love how much you are doing with the video template! I will have to give this a shot sometime soon. Great recipe idea. I love gummy worms. May have to try making them on my own sometime.