Can I Use Gelatin Instead of Pectin? How To Substitute

Can I Use Gelatin Instead of Pectin

Cooking with your family over the holidays is really adorable. However, there are likely to be differences in preferences of diet. For that teenage girl, you may probably notice she wants to take less carbohydrates to maintain that flat tummy.

Protein-filled food would play a great supplement to her daily dietary requirement for optimum functioning. On the other hand, your son who probably spends most of his time running up and down, handling family errands or playing soccer with his friends may need his diet with a greater carbohydrate intake than anyone else.

Pectin and Gelatin provide you with an alternative that ensures the same meal is enjoyed in different nutrient proportions.

Pectin is a naturally occurring carbohydrate found in fruits and vegetables, and is used in jam making to help the mixture set and thicken. It is also considered to be of benefit to the health of the gut.

Gelatin, on the other hand, is a protein derived from collagen, and is often used as a thickener in desserts and other foods. Pectin and gelatin are both used as thickeners in food preservation, but they have different properties and uses.

The role that gelatin or pectin plays in jam making is to help gel together the solution, which allows it to thicken and ultimately, acquire a favorable consistency and texture for its use.

Stirring in sugar and pectin while making peach jam

Differences Between Gelatin and Pectin

Gelatin and Pectin can be used interchangeably in the preparation of jam, cooking as well as preservation of food. However, these two possess some pronounced differences in terms of properties, source and uses. Some of the differences are:


Gelatin and pectin have different characteristics. They have distinct differences in their chemical composition as well as their physical composition. These differences are:

  • Gelatin consists of protein that is obtained from collagen that has been extracted through boiling of skin, bones and other cartilage. This means that the main component of gelatin is made of peptides that build into protein. Pectin, on the other hand, consists of naturally occurring carbohydrates, better known as polysaccharides.
  • Gelatin requires a cooler temperature to set as compared to pectin, which may require very high degrees during preparation.
  • Gelatin has a high viscosity when it is moist, but when it is dry, it appears to be a translucent solid sheet. Pectin, on the flipside, appears to be an off-white color, leaning towards brown powder.
  • Gelatin may have very little to no flavor. Pectin, on the other hand, may have a bitter taste to it.


Gelatin is mostly obtained from cows or pigs. Their skin, bone and ligaments are crushed and then boiled under high temperatures with water. It is obtained through an industrial process to evaporate excess water, remaining with the solid, which is gelatin. On the flipside, Pectin occurs naturally as a carbohydrate that is contained on the walls of the fruit and may be extracted through the process of hydrolysis, for example, from citrus fruits.


Gelatin and pectin, apart from being widely used for the preparation of sweet things, have different uses. Alongside being used in the food industry for the purpose of jam making, some of the other of the uses of gelatin include:

  • Preparation of soups. Gelatin plays the role of thickening soups in the culinary industry.
  • Preparation of cosmetics and capsules. Gelatin is used in the pharmaceutical industry to prepare powdered or granulated medication by use of capsules. It also preserves medication, thus increasing its shelf life.

Pectin is also mainly used in the confectionary industry. It, however, has some different uses than gelatin. Some of the other uses are:

  • It helps maintain the shape of gummies. This is because it is firm by nature.
  • Preparation of lozenges that help in the treatment of sore throats
  • It acts as a preservative for food. It may be used alongside sugar to help in the preservation of fruits that are used for presentation in the pastry industry.

Can I Use Gelatin Instead of Pectin

Gelatin and pectin can both be used in jam making and thickening during preparation of homemade meals. While it is possible to use gelatin as a substitute for pectin in jam making, it may result in a different texture and taste. However, where gelatin may be the preference as the only available option, it is important that you pay attention to the timing to maintain consistency.

There may be a number of considerations you need to make during preparation of your meals in the event that you are replacing the use of pectin with gelatin.

  • The amount of heat that is used.

While using gelatin, it is important to consider the temperature that has been used in its preparation. When using gelatin, it is important to ensure that you use cooler temperatures as compared to when pectin is being used.

  • Time used for preparation

Gelatin requires some time to sit so that it can be held together. If you are in a rush, you want to put the solution in the fridge for some time. Pectin, on the other hand, may not need to sit for a long time after its preparation so as to have the desired firmness.

  • Concentration of the solution

To acquire the desired thickness, which may act as a replacement for pectin, you may need to use a larger amount of gelatin powder as compared to pectin. You will also need to add some distilled water to make the gelatin viscous.


If you are considering replacing pectin with gelatin, not only will it serve the purpose that pectin would have met, but it is also known to carry a number of benefits. These are:

  • Gelatin is associated with improved gut health. This is because of the glutamic acid it contains, which is important for digestion.
  • Correcting sleep related problems, Glycine, which is contained in gelatin, plays a role in improving the quality of sleep.
  • Gelatin has been widely used in the cosmetic industry in the preparation of products like peeled masks that help with exfoliation of the skin, protecting it from the building up of dirt in the pores.
  • Treating osteoarthritis. Gelatin is drawn from collagen. Consuming gelatin will therefore play a role in strengthening of bones and joints.

It is important to note, however, that the result of the substitute may not be exactly the same. Some of the ways that gelatin instead of pectin are likely to affect your end product are:

  • Gelatin is known to have a subtle taste, while pectin has a bitter taste as it is drawn from citrus fruits. Even with the addition of sugar, you are likely to feel a difference in taste.
  • Pectin will naturally acquire a firmness and texture that may not be easily achieved by gelatin. A substitute for gluten may therefore affect the firmness of your product and cause it to appear more runny.

Factors such as the type of fruit used and the desired consistency of the final product should be considered when deciding whether to use gelatin or pectin. It is also useful to pay attention to the nutritional preferences of the potential consumers. This will help the whole family to share in enjoying the meal.