The Hot Water Trick To Get Jell-O Out Of Any Mold

Playful, colorful, and deeply nostalgic, a Jell-O mold is an attractive inclusion on any dessert table. With molds coming in a variety of fun shapes, and recipes ranging from the classic to the elaborately layered and creatively flavored, it's certainly one of the top retro foods due for a comeback. But there's still always that nerve-racking moment before unmolding, especially if it's for a special occasion or party.

That signature Jell-O jiggle is one of the things that gives the whimsical dessert its unique charm. But it can also make getting it out of the mold a little daunting, even if it's perfectly set. Thankfully, you don't just have to hold your breath and hope for the best because there's a quick and simple trick, involving warm water, that will have you unmolding like a pro.

The key is to dip the mold into a bowl of warm water (not too hot, or it could begin to melt), and submerge it until it comes up to — but not over — the rim. Keep it there for 10 to 15 seconds, depending on the size of the mold, or just five seconds if it's an individual serving. Then wet your fingertips, and begin to very gently pull the edges of the gelatin away from the edge of the mold — or use a knife dipped in warm water to carefully run around the edge, if you prefer. This will loosen the gelatin, which should slide out without sticking.

Use warm water for the Jell-O mold – and cold for the plate

While the warm water helps the dessert to release from the mold more easily, it can be tricky to position it exactly where you want it on the serving plate. Water helps here, too — but cold rather than warm water.

To ensure the Jell-O is centered, rinse the plate under cold water before holding it over the top of the mold, then invert it to unmold, so the plate is underneath. The wet plate will help the dessert to slide more readily into the intended position, and the cold temperature stops it from melting too much. Then put the unmolded, plated Jell-O back into the refrigerator for around 20 minutes, so it can firm up again before serving.

If you want to give the gelatin even more of a helping hand when it comes to unmolding, another trick is to lightly spray the empty mold with cooking spray before you pour in the Jell-O mixture. To avoid the dessert being tainted by any taste, or the appearance of the finished creation being spoiled by an oily film, use a clean paper towel to wipe off any excess inside the mold or rinse it under cold water before you begin to fill it. Then, using warm water for the mold and cold water for the plate, unmold your finished creation with confidence, rather than trepidation.