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What kind of candy do you remember from your childhood? My favorites used to be a tie between chocolate and gummy bears. Needless to say, those were nowhere near as nutritious as the types of sugar-free gummy bears I like to make now.
Pink Gummy Bear Ingredients
Have you ever seen the ingredients in gummy bears that are in stores? Oh my goodness. They are basically sugar, sugar, and more sugar.
The package of gummy bears I glanced at while grocery shopping had sugar, glucose syrup, starch, artificial flavors, artificial colors, citric acid, and – last! – gelatin.
That’s pretty sad. When I think of, “what are gummy bears made of?”, I don’t expect to see their key ingredient (gelatin) last on the list.
Sigh. It was a little bit like watching my childhood memories shatter to pieces. Even though I knew that would probably be what I’d see, it was still disappointing.
They have sugar-free gummy bears in stores now, but those are not any better. They are still full of artificial flavors and colors.
The main ingredient in store bought gummy bears is maltitol syrup, which is pretty much the worst kind of sugar alcohol. It causes stomach distress easily and spikes blood sugar. In fact, the Internet is full of funny stories about sugar-free gummy bears and their, ahem, side effects.
How To Make Gummy Bears Sugar-Free
Needless to say, it was time to make my own homemade sugar-free gummy bears! And since Vital Proteins sent me some of their amazing grass-fed gelatin powder recently, it was the perfect opportunity.
Strawberry has always been one of my favorite flavors for candy. So, I knew these would have to be strawberry pink gummy bears!
Unlike those yucky ingredients, the ones in my recipe are all natural. No artificial colors or flavors here. These pink gummy bears get their color from actual, real strawberries!
In fact, you only need three basic ingredients to make strawberry sugar-free gummy bears – strawberries, powdered sweetener, and grass-fed gelatin powder. Oh, and water, if you want to count that as an ingredient.
I like to include strawberry extract as well, which is optional. It just gives the homemade gummy bears a stronger strawberry flavor. If you love strawberries, I highly recommend it. But, you can skip it if you don’t have any.
Inevitably, the question will come up about alternative sweeteners. But honestly, a sugar-free gummy bears recipe doesn’t do very well with substitutions. The powdered erythritol provides both bulk and sweetness. You don’t want to replace that with a liquid sweetener, which will make the gummy bears too runny, or with a granulated one, which will make them grainy.
If you really want to replace the erythritol with a different sweetener, make sure that it’s a fine powder inconsistency. And, it can’t be too concentrated (i.e. not pure stevia powder), so that you can use a similar amount.
Benefits of Healthy Gummy Bears with Gelatin
Grass-fed gelatin has lots of benefits! Some of the most prominent ones include gut health, improved skin and nails, and joint support. If you want the full list, check out my benefits of collagen article.
Wait a minute – is gelatin the same as collagen? Nope! But, nutritionally they are the same. They just behave differently, so the uses are different. Gelatin acts as a thickening agent, and will gel when cool.
I’m a big fan of Vital Proteins gelatin. It comes from grass-fed, pasture raised bovine hides, just like their collagen peptides. It was so easy to use when making these sugar-free gummy bears!
An Easy Homemade Gummy Bears Recipe
So, how do you make gummy bears with just three ingredients, plus some water? It’s super easy.
The hardest part was getting the ratios right, but I did that testing for you. Other than that, making gummy bears is straightforward. And, the hands-on time doesn’t take long at all.
Start the homemade gummy bears recipe by simmering strawberries and water, until they are soft. Then, puree them in a blender until smooth. The goal is to make a liquid strawberry puree that will be used for setting the gelatin and providing flavor.
At this point, you have two options. For the lazy version, which is what I usually do, you can just pour the puree back into the saucepan.
If you want the texture to be the closest to regular gummies, there’s a different way. Simply press the puree through a mesh sieve over the pan. This will catch the seeds and pulp, so you’ll have a thinner liquid, and the final gummies will have a better texture.
I usually skip this step, because it takes more effort and time. My kids still love the pink gummy bears recipe either way!
Okay, what’s next? Add the powdered sweetener and gently heat as you stir, until it dissolves. Do not boil it, because we want to avoid getting the mixture that hot. You can add a little more or less sweetener to taste, if you’d like.
If you are using the optional strawberry extract, now is the time to add it in. Do this over low heat so that it does not evaporate. This ingredient is optional, but I highly recommend it for the best flavor.
Finally, sprinkle in the gelatin, about 1/2 a tablespoon at a time. Whisk constantly as you sprinkle it in, and wait for it to dissolve before adding more. It’s not the end of the world if you have a few lumps left, but the goal is to get rid of almost all of them.
Pour the mixture into gummy bear molds, if you have them. I use a dropper to avoid making a mess. If you don’t have molds, line a pan with parchment paper and pour in there instead.
Refrigerate your sugar-free gummy bears until they are set, which usually takes 1-2 hours. It may take longer if you use a pan instead of molds. Once set, you can pop out the candy, or cut into pieces if using a pan.
Now that you know how to make gummy bears, how do you store them? They are okay at room temperature for several hours, but overall it’s best to keep them refrigerated.
Grab a handful of homemade gummy bears whenever you’re craving a low carb treat or snack! You’ll never go back to the artificial stuff after these.
Tools To Make Sugar-Free Gummy Bears:
Click the links below to see the items used to make this recipe.
- Saucepan – This is a good size for simmering the strawberries.
- Blender – For pureeing the strawberries. This one is powerful, but affordable.
- Silicone gummy bear molds – You need a mold for sugar-free gummy bears, right?!
How To Make Pink Homemade Sugar-free Gummy Bears (Recipe):
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How To Make Pink Homemade Sugar-free Gummy Bears (Recipe)
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Click on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
- Place the strawberries and water into a saucepan. Simmer over medium heat, until water turns red and strawberries very soft (somewhat mushy) and pale in color.
- Transfer the strawberries and liquid to a blender. Puree for a while until as smooth as possible.
- Wipe any pieces out of the saucepan. Pour the strawberry puree back into the pan.
(Optional version: For closest texture to regular gummies, press the puree through a fine mesh sieve to catch any seeds and most of the pulp. This takes some effort and time, so you can easily skip it and just pour all the puree into the pan instead.)
- Add the powdered sweetener to the pan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the sweetener dissolves. Do not boil. Taste and adjust sweetener if you want the end result sweeter.
Reduce heat to low. Stir in the strawberry extract, if using. Gradually sprinkle the gelatin into the pan, 1/2 or 1 tablespoon (7 to 14 g) at a time, while whisking constantly. Let the gelatin fully dissolve before adding the next tablespoon. Continue whisking until fully dissolved.
Pour the liquid into molds, or into a parchment lined pan (to slice later) if you don't have molds. You can use a dropper if you have one. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours (depending on the size of the molds), until set.
- Pop the gummy bears out of the molds, or slice if you used a pan. Store in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
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As written, these sugar-free gummy bears are not super sweet. If you want them sweeter, a little more sweetener is fine to add.
Serving size: 10 gummy bears, or 1/10 of entire recipe
Video Showing How To Make Gummy Bears:
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Nutrition Information Per Serving
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database. You can find individual ingredient carb counts we use in the Low Carb & Keto Food List. Net carb count excludes fiber, erythritol, and allulose, because these do not affect blood sugar in most people. (Learn about net carbs here.) We try to be accurate, but feel free to make your own calculations.
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