This milk jello recipe has all the richness and creaminess of traditional Mexican milk jello, minus the carbs and calories! Made with only a few simple ingredients, this jiggly gelatin cake with hints of caramel and cinnamon will shake for you. You can even make it sugar free if you want to and it offers over 8 grams of protein per serving!
I love milk jello so much that there’s also a “Milk Jello Variations” section, where you’ll find delicious Chocolate Milk Jello, Mexican-Chocolate Milk Jello and Chocolate-Kahlua Milk Jello.
Or try a silky, pink Strawberry Milk Gelatin Cake.
It was my Mexican father who revved my interest in milk jello. He’s from El Paso, Texas, and basically remembered it from his childhood days working at his grandmother’s grocery store. But he’s older now and very careful about what he eats, so I swapped the sugary condensed milk for evaporated milk which doesn’t contain added sugar. Then, I sweetened this jiggly treat with monk fruit, a natural, zero-calorie, sugar replacement. So, my version of this Mexican milk jello recipe has a lot less carbs and calories than the regular version – and it’s just as delicious.
Of course, if you aren’t diabetic or on a low-carb or sugar-free diet, you can make this recipe with your favorite sweetener.
You might also like Homemade Strawberry Jello.
So many reasons to love this Mexican milk jello recipe
If you haven’t tried it before, you really should, because Mexican milk jello is in a class of its own. Beautiful and delicious, it gets its unique flavor from evaporated milk which is a common ingredient in Mexican desserts. Moreover, it’s like an intensely creamy cross between Italian panna cotta, pudding, and vanilla ice cream. So, if you like those desserts as much as I do, you’re going to love soft-and-silky milk jello.
Or try Orange Milk Jello.
An excellent dessert to serve at special occasions
I serve this gelatin cake a lot at birthday parties. It’s definitely an attention-getter and people often don’t know what it is. Then they try it and are totally hooked. Whether you top it with fruit or serve it nude, it’s a mouthwatering creation.
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Evaporated milk vs. condensed milk
Milk jello is traditionally made with condensed milk which contains added sugar. Evaporated milk, on the other hand, is basically the same thing but without the added sugar. That’s why I opted to make this milk jello recipe with evaporated milk. I wanted control over the type of sugar added to the recipe. With evaporated milk, you can sweeten the recipe with your preferred sweetener. That means you can also sweeten this sweet treat with a diabetic- or keto-friendly sweetener such as monk fruit or erythritol. So, sugar-free Mexican milk jello was born.
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- Milk – Whole or lowfat milk.
- Cinnamon sticks
- White granulated sweetener of choice – To make sugar-free milk jello, use a zero-carb, zero-calorie sugar substitute such as monk fruit or erythritol.
- Evaporated milk – doesn’t contain added sugar, so there are fewer carbs and calories than condensed milk. You can use regular, low fat or non fat – or even some combo of these. The milk jello will, however, be a little less creamy if you use lowfat or nonfat evaporated milk.
- Vanilla extract
- Heavy whipping cream – adds to the creaminess and also helps keep the carbs down in the recipe. You can, however, replace some or all of the cream with milk. The milk jello is, of course, creamiest with the full amount of cream.
- Caramel flavor (optional) – adds a caramel nuance.
- Baking spray – Lightly spray the inside of the cake pan to ensure a smooth release.
- Raspberries (optional) – Jewel-toned raspberries look gorgeous on milk jello and lusciously complement the flavors.
- Berry sauce (optional) – Homemade: 2 cups (frozen) berries, cooked and puréed. Then, strain to remove seeds and add 3-4 tablespoons of sweetener of choice.
- Rompope liqueur (optional) – My dad loves pouring a little Rompope on his Mexican jello. Rompope definitely isn’t sugar free but a little goes a long way. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a cane liqueur from Mexico that comes in a bottle with a nun on it. After all, the nuns used to make it.
How to make this milk jello recipe
These photos show the full procedure, but the instructions with measurements are below in the Recipe Card. You can make milk jello in a jello mold, bundt pan, loaf pan, bowl or cups. I make mine in a bundt pan and these are the exact steps I follow.
Step 1: Put the gelatin in a small bowl and add a cup of water. In 5 minutes, it will thicken or “bloom.”
Step 2: Add milk to large saucepan.
Step 3: Add 2 cinnamon sticks. Snap them in half for a more pronounced cinnamon flavor.
Step 4: Add sweetener of choice.
Step 5: Add evaporated milk.
Step 6: Add vanilla extract.
Step 7: Add thickened gelatin.
Step 8: Stir at medium flame for 5-10 minutes until the sweetener and gelatin dissolves.
Step 9: Remove cinnamon sticks with slotted spoon.
Step 10: If you notice any remaining cinnamon pieces in the milk jello, then run it through a sieve.
Step 11: Spray a nonstick cake pan with baking spray and use a brush, if possible, to make sure the spray is evenly distributed.
Step 12: Pour milk jello into the cake pan and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
Step 13: Before releasing, use fingers to pull the milk jello away from the sides of the cake pan.
Step 14: Place a serving platter on top of the cake pan. Then flip and place the platter on your work surface and remove the cake pan.
Milk Jello Variations
Here is the chocolate milk jello or Mexican-chocolate milk jello recipe:
- Whisk 2/3 cup Dutched cacao powder into the heated milk – I use Hershey’s Special Dark 100% cacao. This is, by the way, the type of dark, mellow chocolate you find in American favorites such as Swiss Miss chocolate mix or Oreo cookies.
- Add the sugar after you add the cacao – I don’t change the amount of sugar. However, if you use a different cocoa brand or opt for non-Dutched cocoa, you might need more sugar.
- Cinnamon sticks, broken in half – I always include them since I love Mexican chocolate milk, but feel free to omit them. Before you pour the chocolate milk jello into the mold, be sure to strain it through a sieve to remove any remaining pieces of cinnamon.
To make yummy chocolate-Kahlua milk jello:
- Replace 1/4 cup of the heavy cream with Kahlua – Kahlua is a coffee liqueur that contains rum, coffee, and sugar. Since it contains sugar, I recommend sweetening your milk jello after you add the Kahlua. So, firstly add the cocoa powder and Kahlua. Then, sweeten the milk jello.
- Cinnamon sticks – I include them in this version.
You can add other spices or flavors as well. You could, for example, add a shot of espresso if you wanted a mocha flavor. Since the recipe contains gelatin, keep the quantities of liquid the same. In other words, pour a shot of espresso into a measuring cup. Then fill the rest with milk to make one cup of milk. I don’t recommend using more liquid than the recipe calls for.
You can also make this with a different liqueur. The sky’s the limit.
What to do if milk jello gets stuck in the pan
This happened to me once, but hasn’t happened since I started spraying the pan with baking spray. If, for any reason, the milk jello doesn’t release from the cake pan, put the pan in a pot of hot (not boiling) water for 5 seconds. Make sure that the water doesn’t splash into the cake pan. Don’t put it in hot water for longer than 5 seconds because you can melt the cake. The quick dunk simply helps the milk jello release from the sides of the pan.
FAQs for this gelatin cake recipe
I recommend making it the night before serving it. In fact, I usually let it set overnight in the refrigerator and flip it the next day about 3 hours before serving it.
30 minutes unrefrigerated.
Consume within 5 days, since it will eventually start to get watery.
Put a slice in the blender and add a shot of milk. It makes THE BEST milkshake. I’m not kidding.
It is traditionally made with milk and sweetened condensed milk. However, I use unsweetened evaporated milk. Then, I sweeten the milk jello with monk fruit, a natural, zero-calorie, sugar replacement, which makes the cake suitable for diabetics and people on a low-carb or keto diet.
Milk jello usually isn’t keto, but this recipe is definitely on the low-carb and keto side with 8.9 grams of carbs per serving. The sugar-free monk fruit and heavy cream help keep the carbs down in this recipe, and a slice only has 158 calories.
- Use a pretty nonstick cake pan. For example, pictured is the Nordic Ware Jubilee Cake Pan.
- Serve nude or topped with fruit such as jewel-toned raspberries which provide the perfect tangy counterpoint.
- Pour berry sauce on it. Mine is homemade: 2 cups (frozen) berries, cooked. Then, strain to remove seeds and add 3-4 tablespoons of sweetener of choice.
- Dye the gelatin cake with natural or artificial food dyes.
- Pour Rompope, an egg-noggy Mexican liqueur, over a slice. It contains sugar but a little goes a long way.
- 1 pot – to mix the ingredients in
- A sieve – You might need to strain the milk jello if pieces of cinnamon remain.
- A 10-12 cup nonstick cake pan or jello mold or bowl or cups
- A large plate to flip the milk jello onto. I’d like to point out that after you flip it, you can’t move the cake anymore. It has to stay on whatever plate it lands on, so select a nice plate.
To store it: Refrigeration is required. It’s not a good idea to leave it out for more than 30 minutes. It will, however, keep for 5 days in the refrigerator. Please note that gelatin cakes are not suitable for freezing.
Milk Jello Recipe with Sugar-Free Option
- 1 Large Pot
- 1 sieve
- 1 10-12 Cup Nonstick Cake Pan or Bowl or Cups
- 1 A Plate to flip the milk jello onto. After you flip it, you can't move the cake anymore. It has to stay on whatever plate it lands on, so select a nice plate.
- 4 envelopes Gelatin 4 Tbs gelatin
- 1 cup Water
- 3 cups Milk
- 2 Cinnamon Sticks
- 1.5 cups Granulated Sweetener of Choice
- 2 cans Evaporated Milk each can is 11.5 oz
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla
- 1.5 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1 teaspoon Caramel Flavor (optional) If you want a caramel flavor.
- 1 cup Raspberries or Other Berries (optional decoration) Berries taste really good with milk jello.
Milk jello: Note that the entire process is documented in photos in the post.
- Pour 4 envelopes of gelatin into small bowl. Then add 1 cup water and stir until no lumps remain in the gelatin. Give it 5-10 minutes to thicken.
- Gently heat 3 cups milk in a pan.
- Add 2 cinnamon sticks. Snap them in half for a more pronounced cinnamon flavor.
- Add 1½ cups sweetener.
- Add 2 cans evaporated milk.
- Add 2 teaspoons vanilla.
- Stir in the thickened gelatin mixture and stir at medium flame until sweetener and gelatin dissolve.
- Remove the cinnamon sticks with a slotted spoon.
- Turn off flame and add 1½ cups heavy cream.
- If you notice any stray pieces of cinnamon, then run the milk jello through a sieve.
- Spray a nonstick cake pan with baking spray.
- Pour the milk jello into the cake pan and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight, if possible.
Remove milk jello from cake pan
- Remove from refrigerator and use your fingers to gently pull the milk jello away from the sides of the pan. This will help it release easily.
- Next, put a plate or serving platter on top of the cake pan. Flip it and put the platter on your work surface. Then remove the cake pan. Note: Be sure to chose a plate you like, because you can't move the milk jello afterwards.
- If the milk jello doesn't release from the pan, put hot (not boiling) water in a large pot (a wok works great for this) and put the cake pan in the hot water for 5 seconds. If you put it in longer, you might melt the milk jello. The hot water loosens the milk jello from the sides of the pan. I make this recipe a lot and only had to do this once.
- Serve nude or top with raspberries or berries of choice.
- My dad is a fan of pouring Rompope, a Mexican liqueur, over a slice. Rompope is a Mexican vanilla liqueur that contains sugar, so it isn't ideal if you are on a low-carb diet. A little, however, goes a long way.