Non-Melting Jelly Recipe

Jelly is a classic dish enjoyed by all ages for its ‘wobble’ and melting mouth-feel. This melting in the mouth makes it a transitional food and therefore may not be suitable for many people with dysphagia. So we’ve developed a non-melting jelly recipe for you to use and serve that fits the IDDSI Framework

Making foods for dysphagia diets

The challenges of making foods that fit the IDDSI Framework can seem confusing and daunting at the same time. This is why we catalogued a multitude of ingredients and cooking processes to make things easier. We came up with ORAL.

There are certain considerations needed when making foods for dysphagia diets. In the past it has been simpler to suggest types of food that fit the descriptive recommendations made by clinicians or to restrict certain foods completely.


The IDDSI Framework has made the testing of suitable foods far easier. However, by using the IDDSI Testing Methods before serving, it does bring into clear focus whether the requirements of cohesiveness, stickiness, tenderness and size have been fully achieved.

Unless designed and made expressly for the purpose of dysphagia diets, there are no foods that perfectly fit the IDDSI Framework. This is where ORAL – Observe, Reform, Audit and Label comes in to make the required modifications easy to achieve.

Misfitting regular foods into dysphagia diets

Here are some examples of foods that we see being served from regular diets, to people with dysphagia, because of their similarity to the descriptions of suitable foods.

IDDSI Level 4 – Mashed Potato

This is a classic example of a dish that can be served as an IDDSI Level 4 – Pureed diet. It is assumed that mash is smooth, lump free and therefore perfect for this recommendation.

However, recipes for mash that are perfect for regular diets are very thick and sticky and are far removed from the requirements of IDDSI Level 4 – Pureed.

IDDSI Level 5 – Cottage Pie

This recipe generally uses minced beef and small cut vegetables bound with gravy, which at first sight suggests its natural fit for IDDSI Level 5 – Minced and Moist.

However, the size, tenderness, cohesiveness of the dish will invariably fail the IDDSI testing methods unless attention is given to the ingredients and processes being used.

IDDSI Level 6 – Chicken Breast

This is just an example of a food that, without its skin, would seem quite suitable for IDDSI Level 6 – Soft and Bite Sized when cut to the required size.

However, chicken breast is quite firm and may not pass the IDDSI pressure test for tenderness. When overcooked it may break down more easily but becomes very dry, where moistness is essential.

By knowing how to use ORAL assessing these ingredients becomes a simple process to follow. With experience, you can guarantee success. This makes menu and recipe development easy and allows the effective selection of equipment and operational processes that are required.

Transitional foods are no different and ORAL can be applied to give you the results you want.


Jellies can be delicious and colourful desserts and snacks! This is especially so when made from fresh fruit juices and purees or lifted further with the addition of alcoholic drinks like Champagne or  Claret.

With the vast array of flavours and colours to choose from the commonality is the ‘wobble’. The perfectly set gelling of the ingredients gives a stable but fragile solid structure. That is as entertaining as it is appetising.

Traditionally the gelling agent is gelatine, an ingredient derived from animals. It is has strong gelling properties but can give a wonderfully soft mouth-feel and melting texture.

These properties have, wrongly, led to jellies being served to people suffering with dysphagia. However there are severe safety issues with doing this.

  • The set jelly is a solid
    • However light the setting of the jelly is it is a solid. The jelly needs to be processed in the mouth in order to be swallowed safely.
  • The jelly will melt in the mouth
    • This makes jelly a transitional food and will result in mixed textures as the jelly starts to melt.

Non-melting jelly recipe

With this in mind we have looked at these characteristics and found substitute ingredients and appropriate methods that will allow you to serve jellies at ALL of the IDDSI Levels for food.

For this non-melting jelly recipe we have used McDougall’s Vegetarian Strawberry Jelly Crystals as the base so that the flavour profile is that of a classic jelly that we have all made and eaten.




Base Method

  1. Add all the ingredients together in a pan
  2. Heat the pan on the stove while stirring and bring to the boil
  3. Remove from heat and immediately pour into a dish
  4. Allow to cool fully before modifying into a specific IDDSI level

IDDSI Level 6 – Soft and Bite Sized

  1. Cut the set jelly into 15 x 15 mm (8 x 8 mm paediatrics) pieces and set aside. Reserve any off cuts for the next step
  2. Add the off cuts of jelly to a blender and process until smooth
  3. In a bowl add the jelly cubes and bind with some of the smooth jelly
  4. Complete IDDSI Level 6 audit checks for compliance

IDDSI Level 5 – Minced and Moist

  1. Cut the set jelly into 4 x 4 x 15 mm (2 x 2 x 8 mm for paediatrics) pieces and set aside. Reserve any off cuts for the next step
  2. Add the off cuts of jelly to a blender and process until smooth
  3. In a bowl add the jelly bits and bind with the smooth jelly in a 60:40 ratio
  4. Complete IDDSI Level 5 audit checks for compliance

IDDSI Level 4 – Pureed

  1. Add the set jelly to a blender and blend until smooth
  2. Pass through a sieve to remove any lumps
  3. Measure 100g of the smooth jelly in a bowl
  4. Add 1 scoop (1.25g) Nutilis Clear and whisk to disperse the powder
  5. Allow to stand for 5 minutes then complete IDDSI Level 4 audit checks for compliance

IDDSI Level 3 – Liquidised

  1. Add the set jelly to a blender and blend until smooth
  2. Pass through a sieve to remove any lumps
  3. Measure 80g of the smooth jelly in a bowl
  4. Add 20g fruit juice (strawberry) and whisk together until combined
  5. Complete the IDDSI Level 3 audits and Flow Test for compliance