Jello Worms

Apparently, Halloween brings out the non-food-snob in me, since this is the first week in three years that has brought me to post a hot dog (cue husband cheering!) and now jello. I don’t really have anything against the stuff. I ate it nearly nightly growing up and remember loving it, but in my efforts to get away from processed foods, we haven’t enjoyed the jiggly stuff in years.

With the exception of our newfound love of jello worms, that is.

Jello Worms

Here’s the premise – you stuff as many bendy-neck straws that have been straightened out into a container that can hold at least 4 cups of liquid. Pack them in there as tight as can be (see the step-by-step pictures below). Then, pour the jello gently into and over the straws, refrigerate until set, and then delicately squeeze the worms out of the straws.

To say these jello worms were an absolute hit with my kids would be the understatement of the year. They went beserk. Shouting “Look, I’m eating a worm! Aaah!” didn’t get old, even after they had inhaled many, many of these squirmy little worms.

I’ll be perfectly honest. I couldn’t eat them. I tried. One. And I nearly gagged. Texture, cold sliminess, the fact that, except for the detail of my worms being more gray than brown, they really, really looked like worms – all of it culminated in me not being able to stomach the thought. Which ended up not being a problem because my boys made short work of these decomposers.

If you so choose to make these – may the force be with you. I hope your stomach is a bit stronger than mine.

Jello Worms {Seriously Gross}

Yield: Makes around 100 worms

Jello Worms {Seriously Gross}


  • 1 pkg. (6 oz) purple gelatin/jello
  • 3/4 ounce (3 envelopes) unflavored gelatin
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • green food coloring, as needed
  • 100+ plastic straws with bendable necks


  1. Choose a container that can hold at least 4 cups of liquid. It should be completely straight all the way up or have a slightly wider top than the bottom. Try to get a container as tall as it is wide and preferably even taller, otherwise the jello won’t fill the straws high enough. Extend each of the straws and pack the straws in as tightly as you can, adding more straws as needed to get a tight fit. Make sure that each straw is flush with the bottom of the container and that the bendable neck part (even though it is completely extended) is facing down. If your container is slightly wider on top than it is on the bottom, it may help, once the straws are packed tightly in, to rubberband the top of the straws to help when pouring in the jello.
  2. In a medium, heat safe mixing bowl, preferably with a pourable edge, stir together plain and flavored gelatin powders. Pour the boiling water over the gelatin, stirring until it is fully dissolved. Allow the gelatin to cool for about 15 minutes, until it is slightly warm but not beginning to set. Stir in the whipping cream. Stir in the green food coloring until you get the desired color. You can see my worms were more gray than brown and I think I added about 10 drops of green food coloring so you may need to play around with the colors a bit, possibly adding a few drops of red or some other color.
  3. Place your container of straws in a larger dish to catch any possible spills. With your container of straws prepped, gently pour the jello mixture over the straws. Don’t worry as you see the jello seeping up the sides of the container. If your straws are tightly packed in and flush with the bottom, they will still fill with jello.
  4. Chill the jello straws for at least 8 hours. When the jello is set, remove the container from the refrigerator and run the sides under warm water until you can pull the straws and jello blob out of the container. This is the messy part – gently extract each straw from the mess and holding the top of the straw tightly with one thumb and forefinger, use the other thumb and forefinger to tightly apply pressure down the entire length of the straw thereby propelling the jiggly little worm from the straw.
  5. Place the jello worms on a baking tray lined with wax paper and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve in a chilled bowl.

Click HERE for a PDF version of the step-by-step collage.

Recipe Source: inspired by this idea I saw on Pinterest

89 Responses to Jello Worms {Seriously Gross}

  1. Anna says:

    Thank you for the awesome recipe! I made these and they turned out great!

    Just a couple of tips for anyone wondering how to make them. First, to get them out of the straws, I used a rolling pin. Just place the straw on the counter (I put down a sheet of waxed paper) and roll, starting on the empty end. The worms just slid right out. It was a lot easier than squeezing them out with my fingers. And second, after a few minutes, a lot of them started breaking as they came out, and I realized that it was because they were getting a little warm. I put them all back in the fridge, and just got out small batches of straws at a time to squeeze out. Keeping them cold is totally the trick.

  2. angi says:

    love the look of these may sound like a dumb question but why the cream ?

  3. Angelica M says:

    I used peach jello to give it that nice worm-y color…they look like real worms!

  4. Kristin says:

    Couldn’t find unflavored , is Knox gelatin ok to use. Do any quantities or process, change if using Knox?

  5. Nechelle says:

    Hey Mel! these are amazing and i cant wait to make them in these next few weeks! So being that I dont have kids and my Halloween party is more grownup guests, how might i make these like jello shots?

  6. Mel says:

    Kesa – usually I find it on the top shelf above the jello.

  7. Kesa says:

    Mel, where did you find the unflavored gelatin? Next to the jello? I am making these for my son’s preschool since this week they are talking about the letter “w”. Does the extra gelatin make them sturdier? I am heading out to the store in a couple hours so I will be picking up whatever I can find. Thanks Mel!

  8. […] found the recipe off ( at the beginning of October and knew I had to make them for the kids. Essentially you fill straws […]

  9. Jello Worms says:

    […] followed the original recipe from Mels Kitchen Cafe and followed tips from The Craft Patch. Mel gives great directions and even has a step by step […]

  10. Nina says:

    Haha Mel, you are my #1 recipe book online, I love your recipes and live by them… but as I was looking for halloween recipes, I MUST say I saw this one and .. it is truly GROSS, for the life of me I couldn’t eat this if they pointed a gun to my head, and I don’t think my daughter could either, we hate worms and all the kind! LOL Would work GREAT for decorating a halloween table, though! So once again, good job!! 😀

  11. MELISSA says:


  12. […] to Mel’s Kitchen Cafe for the […]

  13. […] are some amazing treats I can’t wait to try out! Celery Zoo  Flowers Sushi Snakes Jello Worms Lady Bugs Caterpillars Butterflies I think that’s enough to keep us busy for… a […]

  14. Anna says:

    I have been reserching these worms a little but (this is by far the best recipe I’ve come across) but another site suggested laying the straws on a table after running them under warm water and using a rolling pin to get them out of the straw. Just a suggestion let me know how it works if anyone trys it

  15. Shirley says:

    I was thinking it would be a fun touch to crumble up some chocolate cookies, like Oreos minus the cream filling, and sprinkle them in the worm mass.

  16. […] Worms  from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe –  made with bendy straws – Jello […]

  17. Rita says:

    I know that I prefer whole and natural food and like you, jello was very commonly served in my home, usually as a dessert with fruit in it.

    Many people give jello a bad rap because of the color and the sugar involved. Actually, jello has good calcium for us. Have you ever put a whole chicken or a turkey carcass in water and cooked it and when the broth was cooled from the fridge, it set up in a gelatinous form? That is calcium from the bones. It is good for our teeth and bones. And that is the kind of stuff that is the base of jello.

    So if you serve it to your family or eat it yourself, you can forgive yourself because it is not totally decadent. It just seems like such weird food, doesn’t it?

  18. Jeannette says:

    I made these for my son’s 7th birthday party! They were a hit!
    When I was squeezing them out of the straw, my kids saw me doing this so I told them that I stuck all the straws in the dirt and the worms are attracted to straws and they climb up and get stuck. Now I was squeezing them out.
    *Definitely get the bigger straws instead of the 99cent store skinny flimsy straws.

  19. Steph says:

    Ok. Thanks a bunch!! 🙂

  20. Steph says:


    Ok, so this is gonna sound like a really dum question.
    Here in New Zealand, we only have one type of cream. By whipping cream, do you mean cream thats already whipped (clotted i think some people call it?) or liquid (pooring?) cream.

  21. Vicky says:

    Worms were ALOT of work to get out of the molds, but were a hit. I made 400 regular worms and 400 vodka worms. Only weird thing was the cream seemed to settle all at the top so every worm turned out perfect colored on one half and the end (tail) was a purply creamy color 😉

  22. Gina says:

    The kids loved these. The grown-ups were grossed out. It was great! I made two batches. One was with cherry jello and the other with lemon/lime. No color was added to the lemon/lime batch because the cherry batch was very creepy looking. I left the lemon/lime as a cute batch. Wish I could add a picturehere…very creepy gummy worms:) Thanks for the recipe!

  23. […] is something sooo clever that is meant for Halloween! Jell-O worms made from straws… so […]

  24. Kirsti says:

    I used the “Knox Blox” recipe (I think April M. had the same idea), using apple cider (the real stuff, not just apple juice labeled as “cider”) instead of juice, and without sweetener. After I added a dash — maybe a 1/4 C? — of cream, the color seemed perfect (perfectly disgusting, to be precise). I just put them in the fridge to chill, so no word yet on whether or not they’ll turn out, but I’m excited.

    I’ll be using these worms in a batch of “mud” (pudding & crushed cookies) for my boys’ Halloween treat. (Which I exchange for all the processed junk they get from trick-or-treating.)

  25. JessieMomma says:

    These are perfectly DISGUSTING!!!! I am with you though – I could never stomach the thought myself, but my kids would DIE for these! Thanks for the tute!

  26. KMW says:

    Ok these are so cute and I want to make them for my adult Halloween party. Any idea how much liquor I would substitute for the water when making these? Please let me know. Thanks!

  27. Cassandra says:

    These look great! My toddler will love them. I saw them one day and then when I came back it was tricky to find them because they aren’t linked to the Halloween section of the index. There is actually only one recipe there and I know you’ve got lots of Halloween ideas.

  28. Vicky says:

    hahahahah…I meant Vodka Jello Worms

  29. Vicky says:

    I have been waiting to make this…like a kid before xmas. I am starting my 1st match now and have another question….if this batch works out for the kids, I want to make these for an adult Halloween party too. Instead of Jello shots….I want to make Jello Worms 🙂 Has anyone tried it? If so any tips?

  30. OMigosh! THose look amazing! I am going to try them with tonic water so they’ll glow, too. Seriously cute and totally gross. 🙂

  31. Sandy says:

    this may be a crazy question, and I apologize in advance! Do you use a LARGE box of Jello (0.6) oz or two of the smaller ones (3 oz)…..I’m currently trying to make these with my four-year old, and he is so excited!

  32. […] Fingers – Eyeball Cakeballs: Strawberry Cake Recipe and Cakeball Technique – Jello Worms Technique and Vietnamese Coffee Jello Recipe – Shrunken Apple […]

  33. Jessica says:

    Definitely going to make these for my daughter’s preschool Halloween party!

  34. Jamie says:

    Tips that worked for us: We cut a 2 liter soda pop bottle in half and jammed two hundred straws in…I think the 100 straws fit too. The straws stuck up at different lengths since the bottom is not flat, but it still worked great and we didn’t need a rubber band, we just cut the excess off when it was solid. We also heated up a wide pan with hot water and just dipped the straws in one at a time with one quick dip and they slid out pretty easily. When they started getting a little tougher to squeeze out, we would heat up the water again.

  35. Jamie says:

    When I showed this recipe to my husband, he went crazy!! We made them for a family party last week. He was so excited because we were going to be famous with the nieces and nephews and he loves loves loves to get a reaction :). He has 9 siblings and 30 something nieces and nephews so we doubled the recipe. Our fingers were a little sore by the end, but we had sooo much fun making them together. To get the perfect worm color, we used strawberry jello and added green food coloring…they seriously looked real!! One of our nieces couldn’t eat it, but the rest of the kids had a ball scarfing them down. Thanks sooo much for your fun ideas. 🙂

  36. Jeannette says:

    I made some “caterpillars” this weekend. I made them bright green with lemon jello and green food coloring. I can send you pictures if you want. 🙂

  37. Jane, QOATM says:

    Hey Mel-
    I could not wait for Halloween to try these worms – my girls are 12 and 15 and definitely ‘over it’, but I work with young kids, so I know they’ll be a big hit on Halloween. Thanks for your awesome directions…they came out (nearly) perfect. The cream separated from the jello during cooling, but my husband says that it looks even more gross that way. I may try milk when I make them again next week. I took the prototypes to a soccer game today and the boys couldn’t get enough of them, but the girls were a little squeamish – very fun food! Oh by the way, I’m nibbling on your Brown Sugar/Ganache Bars as I type – delicious!

  38. Tami says:

    I made them and posted pics (credit to you!) on facebook. I have now grossed out my entire fb community! Yay! I kind of jiggled the bowl as I was serving them to my kids. One kid ran from the table in mock horror and the other dove in to the bowl with her hand. All in all, a great recipe! They came out perfectly.

    Wish there was a way to make them without wasting so many straws, tho’, or at least I wish there was something I could do with all of the leftover straws afterwards.

  39. auntiepatch says:

    UUUGGGHHH! These look sooooo disgusting! I can’t wait to make them for the neighborhood kids!

  40. Jill says:

    made these tonight for my kids and they loved them! a total hit. They turned out just like your pictures. Thank you!

  41. Kristen says:

    I just put them in the fridge. To get the brown color I added 10 green drops, 11 red drops, and 11 yellow drops of food coloring. It definitely looks like wormy-brown. Yuck! We have a circle party for the kids tonight and I think they will be a total hit. Thanks for all of your fab ideas!

  42. Sue says:

    I made these a couple of years ago for Halloween and they were a huge hit. I put them in a plastic container and wrote the word “Bait” on it as professionally as I could with a sharpie. Won a couple of prizes — but have to admit I couldn’t bring myself to eat them! They are worth the work.

  43. Alisa Blanchette says:

    I tried these and had trouble getting them out of the straws. They broke apart and were very short. They certainly didn’t look like yours in the picture. Any idea what I did wrong?

    • Mel says:

      Alisa – were the worms fully set up? That’s the main reason I think they would fall apart. I applied constant pressure to the straw without letting up until the worm was fully out of the straw. Sorry they didn’t quite work out!

  44. Missy says:

    Can’t wait Mel! These are awesome! One of my favorite things to make for Halloween parties is carrot fingers. You take a baby carrot and peel just one little slice off the tip. Then you take a slivered almon and “glue” it on peeled tip with a little cream cheese. I color some ranch dip red or green then make a veggie tray with the fingers. Thu look awesome!

  45. Patti says:

    Do you put the bendy part of the straw towards the bottom of the container? I don’t imagine that the Jell-O fills the entire straw, does it? Also, do you keep the bendy part collapsed or do you pull it to straighten it before putting all the straws in the container? I’m making these for my grandson on Saturday. He’s going to love them!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Patti – the process is explained in the recipe directions, but yes, you extend the straws fully and put the bendable part facing down in the container. Hope your grandson loves them!

  46. Maddie says:

    This is such a cool idea! I’d love to make it but I was wondering if I could make it without cream. Is the cream important?

    • Mel says:

      Maddie – the cream helps give the worms a bit more texture and opagueness (is that a word??) like regular earth worms. I suppose you could make it without, although the worms wouldn’t have any thicker, darker segments to them.

      • Stephanie says:

        I tried them without cream and I could not get the worms to release out of the straws at all. I may have messed up somewhere else but am guessing that was the problem.

  47. Jenn says:

    Can I ask a pretty pretty pretty please favor?

    Put all of your spooky and icky treats onto one blog entry?! 🙂

    THESE look disgustingly gross…

    which means, I must make them 😉

  48. Shauna VW says:

    I am loving all of these! So simple I can do them with my kiddos. They LOVED the moster pudding cups. Do you know if the worms will work with sugar free jello? I am kind of a stickler about that….guess I’ll try it out!

  49. Amy Weaver says:

    Okay, I have never seen anything like this before! Totally awesome. My boys (including Rob) will be in heaven.

  50. Jaqui Golding says:

    Love love love your site! Everything you post is genius! I was just wondering how long in advance you think I could make these. I would love to do them for Halloween night with your mummy dogs but I know that day is going to be crazy. Do you think I could make the worms and take them out of the straws say 1 or 2 days before I serve them? Thanks so much!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Jaqui – yes, I think these could easily be made 1-2 days before. After removing the worms from the straws, just make sure to keep them well covered in the refrigerator so they don’t absorb any odors. Have fun!

  51. delia says:

    The worms are hilarious!

  52. cara says:

    oh my word! that is definitely gross but I so need to do this for all of the boys!

  53. Kim says:

    Probably a dumb question, but how do you run water over the container without getting it in the jello? These look very fun!! My kids will DIE!

  54. Michaela says:

    these are soooooooooooooo cool!!

  55. oh my gosh, the look on his face is totally worth the time and effort that went in to making these 🙂

  56. jen says:

    These are awesome! Thanks for all of the great ideas. These would be great for an April fool’s joke, too.

  57. April M says:

    I bet these would work just as well with just the knox blocks (on the back of the Knox gelatin packet). Then you still wouldn’t need to use the processed stuff!

  58. Leslie says:

    These are crazy cool! My kids would love these!

  59. Leslie says:

    These are crazy cool! My kids would love these!

  60. Sue T says:

    OMG Mel, as soon as I saw the first pic I involuntarily shouted out “Ugh” at the screen! Gag inducing is right, but my boys will completely freak out when they see them! We’ve done the mummy dogs and the monster pudding this week and they are SO excited about “eating Halloween” as the 4 yr old put it. Thanks!!

  61. Stephanie says:

    Disgusting…my kids will love it! 🙂

  62. StephenC says:

    I hope this is not a duplicate.
    A favor is requested from you. Go to my blog: and check out my new book. Then do one or both of these: click on the link to purchase a copy and/or mention it on your blot. It would mean a lot to this fledgling author. Thanks.

  63. toni says:

    those are so gross! my middle son would so love them!!

  64. Connie K says:

    How have I not found your blog before?!?!?! My kids are all grown up now but you sure make me want to make some of these goodies for the grandkids! What cute Halloween ideas. And your recipes? Mmmmm…. I can’t wait to try some of them! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  65. Marnie says:

    Just make sure you use whipping cream NOT half and half. Don’t ask me how I know! LOL

  66. Jen M says:

    these look disgusting! I mean, I’m with you and there is no way I could put them in my mouth. My boys, on the other hand would definitely LOVE them.

  67. Kira says:

    Too life like for us I think! Awesome, but totally gross! I am not sure my three year old would believe me he was allowed to eat them 🙂

  68. Mary Jane says:

    When you say whipping cream, I’m assuming you mean a heavy cream and not Cool Whip. Is that correct?

  69. that is the nastiest thing I have seen in awhile! LOL I will have to try this for my halloween party! Grosser than brains! by the way there are some thick rice noodles that feel so gross if cooked a little long, just like brains.

  70. StephenC says:

    It’s been fun watching you have fun.

  71. Kim in MD says:

    How fun! I bet your boys loved these! I totally agree with you about the jello…I can’t eat the stuff. I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to eat these worms, but my children would snarf them up! 🙂 Thanks for a fun week filled with spooky treats, Mel!

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