Red Hot Jello

Magpie’s comment to my pie disaster caused me to look for the red hot jello recipe. It doesn’t appear to be here. How can that be? It is the family FAVORITE. Even the vegetarian child who knows gelatin has animal products in it makes an exception here. It is his ONLY exception.

I have eaten this since a child and served it on holidays my entire life. This was the last food requested (and I believe the last meal eaten) by a woman whose child I cared for as her nanny. She passed away in her early 40s from breast cancer after a horrible last couple of years. Mostly though, I associate this with my kids, holidays, and gathering together in joy.

Red Hot Jell-o

1/4 to 1/2 cup cinnamon imperials/red hots-I encourage the kind from the candy section-the ones in the decor/baking section do not reliably dissolve perfectly and cost more. On the night before Christmas-I will take them in any form whatsoever if for some reason we are out.
2 cups water
1 packet Knox Gelatin
1 large box strawberry banana Jell-o
1 jar applesauce-unsweetened (but if you get sweetened it won’t be the end of the world)

Set water to boil on stove with candies in it. Stir and wait for all candies to dissolve and rolling boil to be reached. While doing this mix the dry gelatin with box of strawberry gelatin. (Yeah you can do the soften gelatin in a few tablespoons of water thing-but I end up with lumps and why bother if you can mix it together dry.) When candies dissolve and you have a good boil (usually boil comes first) dump that into the gelatin combo. Stir until all gelatin is dissolved. Add one cup cold water and the jar of applesauce. Stir. Now…here is the thing about this…if you let the gelatin partially set before you add the applesauce or if you stir while the gelatin sets-you will get a more even distribution of applesauce. Otherwise, you end up with about 1/4-1 inch of non textured jello. This really doesn’t matter to anyone but me. I often forget to do this because I am too busy making other things on holidays. If you don’t add the Knox-no worries-it won’t come out as firm and I wouldn’t flip it on a plate but it is still yummy. Add another cup of cold water, more applesauce, more red hots. It is a forgiving recipe. It also doubles well.


  1. Wow, I’d forgotten all about this, but as soon as I read the post title, I remembered.

    My mom made this, tho it wasn’t my favorite of her jello recipes. My favorite had the mini marshmallows in the jello. But this was a close second.

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