Lychee Jelly is a jiggly Chinese dessert that’s made with coconut water, lychee fruits, and agar agar. These delightful vegan sweet cubes are a lovely treat on a hot summer day. You can use gelatin for a non-vegan option. Add it to your iced tea for a fruity alternative to boba bubble tea!
Lychee jelly is a refreshing dessert that is popular in Asian countries. This recipe uses agar agar powder instead of gelatin to make it vegetarian-friendly. It creates a really vibrant and nice flavor that’s great for lighter desserts.
Ingredients and Substitutes
- Lychee: If you have access to fresh lychees, they will work great in this recipe. Look for lychees that are bright in color, then peel them like an orange and pit them. But if you’re new to lychees, or can’t find fresh ones in the store, canned lychee also works perfectly.
- Coconut Water: Coconut water will be the base of this recipe. Be careful not to buy a flavored version unless you want that flavor to come through in your jelly.
- Agar Agar: It’s from seaweed and is a great vegan substitute for gelatin. Agar-agar comes in 3 main forms: powder, strands, or flakes. We use agar agar powder for this recipe. You can easily swap it with gelatin in this recipe, but make sure to read my instructions for substituting thoroughly beforehand.
- Sugar: Plain white sugar works best for this recipe as it will dissolve smoothly with no added taste beyond sweetness.
How to Make Lychee Jelly
1. Sprinkle agar agar powder over 3 cups of cold coconut water. Stir to mix.
2. Heat up the mixture and bring to a boil. Once boiled, turn the heat to the lowest, and continue to stir until the agar agar is thoroughly dissolved. Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
3. Transfer the liquid to a baking dish or large container. Add 1 cup of coconut water to help the mixture to cool down faster.
4. Add lychee to the jelly mixture. Let the jelly chill for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.
5. Turn the baking pan upside down on a cutting board. Lift the pan.
6. Cut the edges and then cut the jelly into small cubes.
Tips for the Best Lychee Coconut Jelly
- Avoiding clumps: In order to get a perfectly smooth jelly, make sure to add your agar agar to your coconut water BEFORE turning on the heat. Mix it thoroughly into the cold water and then turn on the burner.
- Getting the perfect taste: Make sure to add your sugar a tablespoon at a time, dissolving it fully before giving it a quick taste. This way, your jelly will be made exactly to your preferred level of sweetness.
- Use an 8-inch square baking pan: You’ll need enough water to cover your lychee, otherwise your jelly can easily fall apart. We used an 8-inch square baking pan that covers the whole lychee perfectly. If you find your water too shallow, you can cut your lychee into halves.
- Unmolding: Give your jelly a full two hours to set. You’ll know it’s ready when it has a firm texture similar to jello.
What Does Lychee Jelly Taste Like?
Lychee Jelly tastes pleasantly refreshing and smooth with a nice lychee fruit flavor. It’s sweet, slightly citrusy, with a floral scent.
Can I Use Gelatin?
You can definitely use gelatin instead of agar agar in your jelly, though this recipe will no longer be suitable for vegetarians or vegans.
You’ll need about 1 cup of gelatin if you decide to use it instead of agar agar. You can adjust this slightly to your preference though. Add a little more for a firmer jelly and a little less for a softer one.
Ways to Enjoy Lychee Coconut Jelly
This lychee coconut jelly can be enjoyed as a snack, a dessert, or even added into bubble tea! Whether you’re a lychee fanatic, or you’ve never had it before, you’re going to want to give this recipe a try.
- Lychee Jelly Cups: For a great ready-to-go snack, pour the jelly into disposable plastic cups and pop it in the fridge to chill. You can even add cubed fruit if you would like. You’ll be able to eat the jelly with a spoon, or even just squeeze the bottom of the cups to get it out.
- Lychee Jelly Boba Bubble Tea: Lychee Jelly is a great substitute for boba pearls in bubble tea! Especially for a brighter, fruitier taste. Brew your favourite tea and add sweetener. Add your Lychee Jelly cubes to a cup of ice, pour over your steeped tea and enjoy!
Where to Buy Lychee Jelly?
You will be able to find Lychee Jelly in many forms at most Asian grocery stores and maybe even in the International Foods section of your local grocery store. You can buy it in a jar, or get lychee jelly cups for a fun on-the-go snack.
Is Lychee Fruit Jelly Healthier Than Boba?
In terms of calorie content, opting for Lychee Jelly in your bubble tea won’t be much different than getting boba pearls. However, because it comes from sea algae, instead of just being starch, you will get added vitamins and minerals when choosing Lychee Jelly for your drink.
If You Like This Recipe Try These Out
If you tried this recipe, let me know how your Lychee Jelly turns out in the comments below!
Easy Lychee Jelly Recipe
Prepare lychee fruit
- Strain the juice and rinse the lychee. Set aside.
Make the Jelly
- Add 3 cups of coconut water in a saucepan (no heat yet), and sprinkle agar agar powder on top. Stir to mix.
- Turn the heat on and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Once boiled, turn the heat to lowest, and continue to stir until the agar agar is thoroughly dissolved. (Make sure that there are no specks of agar agar powder remaining in the liquid.)
- Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
- Remove from the heat, and transfer the liquid to an 8-inch square baking pan. Add the remaining 1 cup of coconut water to help the mixture to cool down faster.
- Sprinkle the small lychee pieces on top of the jelly mixture. Use a spoon or fork to push them down slightly and distribute evenly. (Make sure the water covers the lychee completely. If your water is too shallow, you'll need to cut your lychee into halves.)
- Place the jelly in the fridge and chill for at least 2 hours to firm up.
- Turn the baking pan upside down on a cutting board. Lift the baking pan.
- Cut the edges and then cut the jelly into small cubes. Serve and enjoy!
- * If you use gelatin, you’ll need about 1 cup of gelatin powder. You can add slightly more for a firmer texture or less for a softer texture.
- Make sure to whisk the agar agar powder in the COLD liquid first. This will prevent any clumps from forming.
- It’s important to lower the heat immediately after the liquid hits a boil.
- Let the agar agar and sugar completely dissolve before removing from heat.
- Add sugar gradually to your preference.