Easy to make vegan gummy bears with fresh fruit juice and agar powder. Low sugar snack and perfect treat for all.
I’ve been running my sweet making courses for the last decade now and whilst we usually focus on very traditional recipes I often get asked for vegan versions of various sweets.
Such recipes require quite a bit of testing as you simply can’t replace the regular gelatine powder with vegan jelly and hope the recipe will work!
This is why I thought I’d share with you one of my favourite vegan gummy bears recipes. Hope you like it as much as me…
MORE VEGAN RECIPES – HOMEMADE SWEETS
Why make this recipe?
- Easy gummy bears recipe to make
- Made with fresh fruit juice
My top tips on making vegan gummy bears successfully
It’s important to boil and simmer the agar powder for 3-5 minutes for the gummy bears to set properly. Unlike gelatine, which doesn’t like to be heated (as it loses its ability to set), agar powder has to be boiled to be activated.
If you are using acid high fruit juice, you might need to increase the amount of agar powder in the recipe. This is because the acid reacts with the agar setting ability. High acid fruit juices are for example – lemon or lime, blueberry, grapefruit, grapes, pomegranate or cranberry juice.
Make sure that you use agar powder which has the right consistency for this recipe. If you use agar flakes you will need to increase the amount of agar in the recipe.
How do the vegan gummy bears taste like?
I often get to ask this question, because these do taste a bit different than the regular gelatine gummy bears. They are not as chewy and can fell slightly crumbly in your mouth. This is unfortunately the trade off for not using gelatine, but if you are used to vegan diet, you know that some foods just can’t taste exactly like the animal based products.
I’m still very happy with the way these turned up, but I just thought I’d let you know in case you though they don’t taste exactly like the gelatine based gummies!
Any specialist equipment needed?
I’ve used bear mould to make my gummy bears, but you can easily use different moulds or just pour the mixture in a tray and when set cut into smaller cubes.
In case you want to use the gummy bear mould, here is the one I’ve used. You also get a little pipet with the moulds, which makes the filling so much easier.
Depending on how quick you are with filling your moulds, you might find that the gummy bear mixture starts to set before you fill all your bears. I was probably a bit slow (because I was taking photos at the same time to show you how I’ve made this recipe) and the mixture has started to set.
If that happens, just place the saucepan back on a very low heat and gently warm it up. After that I was able to fill the rest of the moulds and everything set properly.
The main ingredients are fruit juice and agar powder. The rest of the ingredients are optional and what you use depends on what type of fruit juice you use. You might need other ingredients to sharpen the flavour or make it more interesting.
You are welcome to use any kind of fresh or fruit juice from concentrate and any kind of flavour. I’ve used grape juice for this recipe, but often use mango, apple, orange or mixed fruit flavours.
I’ve tested this recipe with agar powder, but if you are used to using other alternatives for vegan jelly, I’m sure you can use these too. Always read the recommended ratio for water/liquid to the setting agent, just in case you need to increase (or decrease) the amount.
Sugar syrup – agave, maple syrup etc.
This is usually not necessary, but in some cases you might like to add extra sweetener to your fruit juice.
I prefer to use agave or maple syrup, but you can also use regular white sugar, which doesn’t add to much flavour to the fruit juice, just makes it sweeter.
Make sure that any sugar you use gets properly dissolved before you start to boil the mixture.
I like sharp flavours, so I often add lemon juice, citric acid or malic acid to make the fruit juice flavours a bit more zingy.
Few grains of salt can sharpen the existing flavour without adding any more flavourings. I use salt in chocolate making and also with many of my traditional sweet recipes.
Warming Spices – Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg etc
There are lots of ways you can make homemade gummy bears a bit different and adding warming spices is definitely one of my favourite way! Here are my most popular flavour combinations:
- Orange Juice + Cinnamon
- Raspberry Juice + Anaseed
- Grape Juice + Cloves
- Pear Juice + Cardamom
The easiest way to add spice to your gummy bears is to use powdered version. If you don’t have that, then it’s probably best to add the whole spice, leave it to infuse whilst you are simmering the juice and then strain it through a very fine sieve.
If needed, gently warm up the mixture afterwards as the pouring in and out of another saucepan or a bowl will cool it down.
Notes on the instructions
Make sure that you place your gummy bears in the fridge to set. Unlike regular gelatine, I find that vegan jelly sets a lot quicker.
With my basic recipe, you’ll get a medium size bowl (like a very large handful) full of vegan gummy bears.
Can I scale up or down this recipe?
This recipe is what I’d call ‘small batch’, so I’d not advise you to make it any smaller. But you are welcome to double or triple the recipe if you want to make more gummy bears.
The boiling time might be slightly longer as there is going to be more liquid, so just bear that in mind!
Vegan gummy bears shelf life
These gummy bears will last for a few week, if you keep them in an air tight container.
There is nothing much that can really go off in these, but their texture might slightly deteriorate with time.
I’ve had them for up to 4 weeks and they were still fine to eat and tasted the same as on the first day. I’m sure they would last longer than that, but they never last too long in our house!
How to store gummy bears
Choose an airtight container, such as a clean jam jar with a lid or any plastic container with a lid. There is no need to keep your gummy bears in the fridge as they have a good shelf-life.
Why not stay in touch…
I hope you enjoy making this recipe and if you do, I’d love to know what you think! Let me know in the comments below or find me on Instagram or Facebook and add the hashtag #cocoaandheart so that I can see your post.
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Vegan Gummy Bears
- gummy bear mould optional or use ice cube trays or similar
- 150 ml fruit juice 2/3 cups
- 1 1/2 teaspoon agar powder or other vegan setting agent
- sugar syrup optional – see recipe write up
- spice optional – see recipe write up
- salt optional – see recipe write up
- lemon juice optional – see recipe write up
- Measure out the fruit juice of your choice into a smaller saucepan and add the agar powder. If using sugar add it now.
- Place the saucepan on very low heat and let the agar dissolve slowly. If using granulated sugar, make sure that's dissolved too before the next stage.
- Taste the fruit juice mixture and add any extra ingredients – such as lemon juice, any spices, salt etc.
- Bring the saucepan to a boil and carry on boiling for 5 minutes, whilst stirring slowly but constantly.
- Take the saucepan from the hob and pour into your moulds (or use a small pipet to fill the gummy bears). Make sure that you have your gummy bears (or any silicone moulds) on a firm tray first, so that you can move them without bending afterwards.
- Place the vegan gummy bears moulds into the fridge for a minimum of 15 minutes or until the gummy bears are set.
- Take from the moulds and keep in an airtight container for 1-4 weeks.