Cara Cara Orange Jelly Dessert

2 servings
15 minutes cook time
Cara Cara Orange Jelly Dessert

Cara cara oranges: so nice you’ll want to say it twice! In this recipe we’ll pair cara caras with another ingredient that loves twinning, agar agar, to celebrate this rare orange’s exquisite flavor. Our cara cara jelly dessert is made with simple ingredients and contains no gelatin. Using the zest and juice of these pink fleshed beauties, you’ll create a bright and wiggly treat that sets much faster than gelatin desserts.

Sugar gets an overnight spa treatment in the fridge by tossing in curls of cara cara orange zest to impart zesty citrus oil into every granule. Then fresh squeezed and strained cara cara orange juice will solidify into a glittering gem of fruity goodness using agar agar.

Agar agar is a red algae extract with thickening superpowers. It’s also known as a vegan substitute for gelatin, making it a wonderful ingredient for jiggly dessert lovers who have plant-based diets. The agar agar powder imparts zero additional flavor, and has a clearer texture than gelatin when set. There is a lot of conflicting information about how much agar agar powder to use in recipes to solidify liquids, so it’s important to follow the recipe if you’re unfamiliar with this ingredient. Quickly you’ll learn how much agar agar to use to get the consistency you like best. Here, we’re using about one teaspoon of agar agar per cup of liquid, which will result in a classic, firm molded jelly dessert. 

We like using square silicone ice cube trays for glittering blocks of cara cara jellies, but you can use any mold you like. This recipe makes just over two cups of liquid, which you can pour into the orange peels as fun compostable cups, a shapely jelly mold, or a small, flat tray for hand-sliced jellies using cookie cutters.

These fresh, juicy jellies are great for kids, adults, parties, desserts and snacks. Eat them alone or pop into a parfait of jelly cubes and fresh cream. If you want to make these into a screwdriver-inspired jelly cocktail, cook in 1 extra teaspoon of agar and add an additional cup of vodka as the last step before pouring into a mould. 


  • Prep time: 20 minutes active, 8 hours inactive, 1-2 hour setting time
  • Servings: 4
  • Good for: kid friendly, gluten-free, vegan, parties, dessert, snacks 
  • Difficulty: easy

This jelly celebrates the color, flavor and versatility of the cara cara orange by using it two ways in one sun-shiney dessert. You’ll begin by infusing granulated sugar overnight with fragrant cara cara orange zest. Then, using the power of agar agar, fresh squeezed cara cara orange juice will set into a bright and bouncy citrus dessert everyone will adore. 


  • 2 ripe cara cara oranges, juiced (about 1 ⅓ cups)
  • ¼ cup granulated cara cara orange sugar (recipe to follow)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons agar agar


  • ½ cup sealed container
  • Paring knife
  • Chef Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Measuring cup
  • Mesh sieve
  • Citrus juicer or press
  • Spoon
  • Small saucepan
  • Whisk
  • Cooking spray
  • Mould suitable for about 2 cups of liquid


Prepare the cara cara orange sugar: 

  • Pare two, one inch thick curls of cara cara orange zest, being careful to avoid any white pith. Add the curls of zest and sugar to the sealed container and shake vigorously. Store in the refrigerator overnight. 

Prepare the cara cara orange jelly:

  • Juice two cara cara oranges, strain into a measuring cup and set aside. 
  • Take the sugar out of the refrigerator and remove the curls of zest. Set aside for garnish.
  • Prepare your mold by spraying it lightly with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Add agar agar and cold water to the saucepan (don’t add agar agar to hot water or it’ll clump) and whisk to combine. Turn on heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it boils, turn the heat down to medium low and cook until all of the agar agar powder has dissolved, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Pour the cara cara orange juice into the cooked agar agar mixture and stir to combine. Then, add the sugar and stir to combine until all sugar has dissolved.
  • Strain the hot mixture back into the measuring cup and immediately pour into the prepared mold. Set the filled mould in the refrigerator until completely cooled and firm, about one to two hours depending on the mould you use. 
  • Once the cara cara jelly is completely firm, remove it from the mould onto a serving tray. If using a non-silicone mold, loosen the sides by dipping the mold into very warm water for a few seconds. Finally, pop out the jellies from the mold and serve!
  • Cut the sugared cara cara zest into ¼ inch ribbons and use as garnish.

Cara cara jellies can be served on their own or with a fluffy scoop of fresh whipped cream for a twist on the creamsicle! Serve in a glass bowl or dessert dish for an impressive presentation.

Refrigerate leftover cara cara jelly dessert in a sealed container for up to three days.

Send us your slow motion cara cara jelly jiggles on Instagram @FruitStandcom to be featured in our stories! 

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