How To Remove Stubborn Jell-O From Its Mold

Jell-O might just be as American as apple pie. The name-brand gelatin even went so far as to dub itself "America's Most Famous Dessert" with its 1904 catchphrase. With its bright, almost surreal colors, Jell-O molds are a nostalgic treat for many people. While they can be a lot of fun to make and decorate, they can also be a huge pain when the gelatin gets stuck and won't slide out like it's supposed to. Never fear — there's no need to risk breaking it in pieces with a too-vigorous shake. And you don't need to pry it out and piece it back together. Instead, use a quick warm water bath to coax it out while keeping it intact.

But won't the warm water melt the already-set Jell-O? Not if it's just warm — don't use hot water. And do it quickly. A mere 10 seconds will do the trick, loosening just enough of the outside to allow it to slide out. 

You're not going to submerge the entire thing, either. Only the sides should be dipped in the warm water; be sure to keep the actual gelatin nice and dry. Then give it a little jiggle, top it with a cold plate, and flip it over. Ta-da — your masterpiece will be set free from its mold.

Preventing a stuck Jell-O mold

There's also a step that you can take to prevent the dessert from sticking in the first place. And it all boils down to cooking spray. 

Give the mold a light coating before you pour the gelatin in. This will prevent it from getting stuck too badly. Be careful not to use too much, however, or you might end up with a funky aftertaste.

Of course, even with cooking spray, the Jell-O still might still stick a little, thanks to the lack of air between the sweet treat and its mold. That's okay, though — the warm water trick will set it free. A warm, wet butter knife can also help break the seal, but caution is encouraged with this method. The last thing you want to do is slice off a piece of that intricate design before you've got a chance to admire your work.

A new take on Jell-O molds

Jell-O molds may not be as in vogue as they once were, but that doesn't mean they can't make for a fun and modern treat. Their revival takes on new possibilities when you consider the popularity of the infamous Jell-O shot

Grown-up parties can benefit from the simultaneous notions of a throwback dessert from the 1950s and a revamped take on spiked punch. (Of course, you'll want to be clear with everyone that Jell-O shots do, indeed, contain alcohol (and keep it away from minors).)

But even without alcohol, there's plenty of potential for modernizing this old-school sweet. If anything, the sheer variety of colors and flavors offers more options than people might realize. Now that you know how to remove stubborn Jell-O from its mold, why not try using the classic treat to make something new and exciting for your next jiggly dessert?