This beautiful chocolate jello is so delicious and easy to make! Keto friendly and packed with protein, this chocolate gelatin is the best excuse for having dessert as a pre or post-workout!
This sugar-free jello takes very few, simple ingredients and it’s a breeze to make! You don’t need to melt chocolate – just use cocoa powder and milk! (Low-carb, of course!)
This recipe makes gelatin that tastes like hot chocolate, but in a solid form: it takes you by surprise, when your brain expects jello to have a fruity flavor.
The first bite feels weird, the second intriguing… by the third I was hooked! It’s impossible to stop!
Benefits of gelatin on keto
Gelatin is a natural ingredient derived from collagen that’s completely free of sugar and carbs! It’s one of the best completely guilt-free foods that you can eat on a keto or low-carb diet.
Studies show that gelatin has a powerful hunger-suppressing effect, so it’s a delicious way to feel satiated without going over the board in calories.
Managing protein intake on keto can be difficult. Gelatin is an easy and delicious way to get protein in, while being low-calorie and filling at the same time!
Chocolate protein jello ingredients
To make the easy LikeHotKeto chocolate protein gelatin recipe you’ll need: (specific quantities are in the printable recipe summary at the bottom of the post)
- Gelatin, any type (it can be grass-feed beef gelatin or simply Knox)
- Low-carb milk (i.e., almond, hemp, coconut)
- Heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
- Unflavored whey protein isolate (for variations, see below!)
- Cocoa powder
- Vanilla extract (optional)
- Sugar-free sweetener
Ingredients notes and substitutions
I usually make my recipes with unflavored whey protein isolate. It’s very low-carb and the most versatile protein powder, due to its bland flavor. It can be used to pump up the protein content in both sweet and savory recipes.
But you can also use vanilla or chocolate flavor protein powder. Or even other flavors that go with chocolate, like caramel, cappuccino, peanut butter, etc. You also don’t need to use whey, specifically.
Any protein powder you like the taste will work for this keto jello. The protein is not a structural component of the recipe. I add it because, you know. Bodybuilding.
If using, for example, vanilla flavor protein powder, you could leave out the vanilla extract. If using chocolate, you could use less cocoa powder.
As for the keto sweetener, depending on how sweet the protein powder (or your tooth) is, you might need less or not at all.
Unsweetened almond milk is easy to find and a good choice, but you can substitute it for any low-carb milk you prefer.
Hemp milk, macadamia milk, or coconut milk are also great. Just be aware that the taste of the milk will influence the flavor of the jello dessert.
If doing low-carb and/or if it fits your macros (IIFYM), you can just go ahead and use regular milk if you prefer.
You can use any keto sweetener you have at hand! I used liquid monk fruit, and added the drops as the last step after incorporating the softened gelatin and hot chocolate and protein mixture.
If using a granulated sweetener, adding it before heating up the hot chocolate mixture on the stove will make it easier to dissolve the granules.
Variations to fit your macros and diet
PSMF or cutting
You can totally enjoy a decadent chocolate dessert even while doing PSMF or cutting, with a simple adaptation to the recipe.
This jello protein dessert is already low-carb. To make it also low-calorie and low-fat, just substitute the heavy cream for an equal amount of unsweetened almond milk or water.
Traditional keto, higher fat
Good news: you can go to town on the heavy cream. It will make this chocolate jello even more decadent! You can double or triple the heavy cream, cutting back on the milk by the same amount.
Also, you can just leave the protein powder out of the recipe if that’s best for your macro goals.
Instead of heavy cream, you can use coconut cream. The canned type is creamier, and it will make the chocolate jello richer.
Whey protein isolate is very low in lactose, but if you prefer you can use any non-milk derived protein powder that you enjoy.
Especially if using plant-based protein powders, it’s best to choose a flavored one (like chocolate or vanilla). Their unflavored versions tend to taste a bit “savory” for this recipe.
How to make step by step
Choose the jello mold
I used an 8.5″ (22 cm) x 2″ (5 cm) silicone fluted pan as a jello mold. Silicone pans are great for making jello because the non-stick surface makes it so easy to unmold!
If using a metal mold, add a thin layer of coconut oil (or cooking spray) and spread it evenly inside the mold, using a paper towel to remove the excess. This should prevent the jello from sticking.
This recipe makes a fairly firm jello. This is to keep the sharp shape after unmolding, and makes it easy so slice and serve.
If you prefer a soft set jello, reduce the amount of gelatin (from 2 tablespoons to 1 1/2) and make individual servings instead.
For individual servings, pour the chocolate gelatin into 6 small glasses or bowls (the whole recipe makes a little over 4 cups of liquid).
Soften/bloom the gelatin
Add 1/2 cup of the low-carb milk to a heat-resistant jar (large enough to fit all ingredients) and evenly sprinkle the gelatin on top. In a few minutes, the gelatin will absorb the water.
(In the photos above I used a small bowl to bloom the gelatin, but then I had to transfer it to a jar to add the hot chocolate and protein).
Make the protein hot chocolate
In a deep saucepan, whisk together the cocoa powder and whey isolate (or your choice of protein powder).
Add the milk starting with about half a cup, just enough to mix it until it forms a clump-free thick paste. Then, finish adding all of the remaining milk.
Place the saucepan on medium-low heat and whisk while heating to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Remove when it’s about to start simmering (Do not let it come to a boil).
Pour the hot cocoa over the softened gelatin, and mix it well for the gelatin to dissolve completely.
Add heavy cream, vanilla extract, and sweetener to taste – if you used a flavored protein powder, you might not need any!
Transfer the keto chocolate gelatin into the jello mold. Wait until it’s cooled down to room temperature, then refrigerate until set. It will take about 3-4 hours.
To unmold the protein jello, gently run the tip of a dinner knife to separate the edges from the mold.
If using a metal mold, gently shake it to loosen the gelatin. If it’s silicone, you can pull the sides to release, then turn the gelatin over a serving dish.
How to serve and store
Here are some ideas to elevate your chocolate protein jello:
- Add a dusting of cocoa powder
- Sprinkle some cacao nibs
- Cover with chocolate shavings
- Add dollops of whipped cream
- Serve along with fresh berries
You can store leftovers refrigerated for up to 3 days. Keeping the keto jello in an airtight container will help prevent it from drying out and getting rubbery.
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