As usual, TikTok has manifested a food concept that is both horrifying and intriguing. Maybe you’ve already heard of frozen Jell-O grapes, but these didn’t roll across my desk until last week. I admit, I was excited to try it out. Some TikTok food “hacks” are absolutely worth trying—ramen carbonara is great and crookies are pretty damn good too—but in case you didn’t already know, you can’t always trust TikTok.

Frozen Jell-O grapes suck. Here’s how to make them suck less.

What are frozen Jell-O grapes?

I don’t like to yuck yums, but if I take issue with the method and the flavor results then it’s hard to find the bright side. Frozen Jell-O grapes are fresh grapes, dipped in water and rolled in straight-up powdered Jell-O. Freeze them solid, and then eat them out of the freezer for an icy, sugary snack. 

The trouble is the amount of work you have to do just to make an already perfect fruit worse. Most recipes I came across instruct you to remove the grapes from the stem, rinse them in water and then, working one at a time, insert a toothpick into each grape to roll it around in Jell-O powder. The powder is meant to stick to the wet spots on the fruit. I did about seven like this. It is a waste of time. (Read my tips to make the process easier and faster.)

Once you’ve dusted them with the Jell-O powder and given them a good hour or two to freeze, the grapes are supposed to taste like cold candy. I thought maybe the frozen concentrated Jell-O spots would change somehow; maybe they would become chewy like gummies. Nope, it tastes like you’re eating Jell-O powder, and undiluted like this, the flavor of powdered gelatin is more prominent than even the artificial strawberry flavoring.

Improve them with acid

Suddenly I was faced with a cluster of frozen organic grapes covered in red powdered disappointment, but I refused to throw them out. The only fix I could think of was that I needed to make them sour. Artificial berry flavoring lends itself well to a sour kick (as do dry fruits) with most candies, so why not lean in? I didn’t have any citric acid around, so I did what any responsible adult would do and I bought a share-size pack of Sour Patch Kids. I poured them through a sieve and caught the loose powdered acids and sugar in a bowl. I dipped the frozen grapes in the tangy dust, and lo—they were improved. The gelatin’s flavor was considerably diminished, and the grapes were fun to snack on in the way that sour powder makes everything fun to snack on.

I will never make these again, but if you must try frozen Jell-O grapes, make your experience better with these tips:

Keep them on the stem. There is no need to dip each grape one at a time. Pour half the packet of Jell-O into a wide bowl. Keep the grapes on the stem and rinse them with water or dip them in a bowl of water. Without shaking off the excess water, place the cluster of grapes into the bowl of powder and use the other half of the packet to pour the powder over the top, tilting the cluster to get the sides. Place the entire cluster onto a parchment lined sheet tray in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat them, just pull them off the stem.

A small dip in citric acid goes a long way.
Credit: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

Use citric acid to improve the flavor. You can buy a pouch of citric acid, or do what I did and use the excess that gathers on the bottom of a bag of sour candy. Pour the citric acid into a small bowl as a side car while you eat. After the grapes have frozen, dip the grape you’re about to eat in the powder before popping it in your mouth. Even if you’re a big fan of the regular Jell-O grapes, you’ll still enjoy the sour kick. 

Try a different liquid. Besides rinsing off any stray leaves and dust, the water is there to help give the powder something to absorb into, but you don’t have to use water. You can add flavor by using any drink you like. Try apple juice, lemon juice, Gatorade, or Diet Coke, if you want to. Only a bit will make it to the end, but you might enjoy the extra undertone of flavor.