Agar- or Agar-Agar is a vegetarian subsitutute for gelatin. The name is derived from Red Algae.
It is white and semi-translucent made from cooked and pressed seaweed, is available flaked, powdered, or in bars. For best results, grind the agar-agar in a coffee grinder or food processor and then cook it.
Similar to gelatin sheets, the flaked or bar for of agar must be broken into pieces and softened by soaking in cold water for about 10-15 minutes.

I will be using powdered Agar as this is more readily available and easier to use in recipes.

1 Tbsp. of agar-agar flakes is equal to 1 tsp. of agar-agar powder. So as you can see the powdered form is a more concentrated, powerful gelling agent than the 2 other forms

To set 2 cups of liquid: Use 2 teaspoons of agar-agar powder

Agar does not set at the same temperatures as gelatin, hence people tend to assume it doesn’t work. However, it does if it is handled correctly.
For example, agar agar requires a rapid boil and not a mere simmer in order to activate when added to a recipe requiring heating.
And, agar agar gels at room temperature whereas gelatin requires chilling.


*Highly acidic ingredients, such as lemons, strawberries, oranges, and other citrus fruits, may require more agar-agar than the recipe calls for. Also, enzymes in fresh mangoes, papaya, and pineapple break down the gelling ability of the agar-agar so that it will not set. Cooking these fruits before adding them to a recipe, however, neutralizes the enzymes so that the agar-agar can set.


2 tablespoons of powder will set 2 cups of liquid to produce a firm jelly.
  • General Instructions for cooking agar:
  • Bloom agar powder in hot water for 5 minutes (common ratio for blooming is 2Tbs Water or Liquid : ½ teaspoon agar) set aside for 5 minutes
  • Once it has been bloomed bring to a boil & boil for 1 minute to activate
  • Add to hot liquid in the recipe

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  1. Hi Gretchen:

    My question is – so how would you use the agar if it’s to stabilize whip cream? The mixture has to be added to something hot, hence some warmed heavy cream. However, do you than add the agar/hvy cream mixture to the cold cream that is being beat in the mixer like with gelatin?

    p.s. I loved watching Woodland Bakery Blog, and look forward to seeing more of your videos and recipes. Hope Florida is treating you well!

    1. Yes right – since agar is handled differently and has to be added hot- I would try to add it to the hot water and also take out about ¼ cup cream (before whipping) and get that boiled with the water, then add it fast like I show you to the whipping cream

  2. Hi Gretchen

    I’m confused with agar! I don’t like using gelatine and thought this would be a good substitute but I have not used it. I mainly want it for making chocolate mousse so how do I add it hot to chocolate?
    Do I heat/boil it up with the cream before adding to chocolate in the same way as when we make ganache? Thank you for everything that you share with all of us!

  3. Can we directly add 1 tsp agar to 1 cup whip cream to get stiff peaks of whip cream or add it in hot water first, add in cream simmer and then add to cream. Will it give different resulta with above 2 process or will it b the same

    1. The thing about agar is that is has to be boiled, then added to a warmed liquid since it sets almost immediately upon interacting with cold liquids
      the trouble with whipped cream is we never want the heavy cream to be warmed (at least not in large quantities) so it is a delicate balance to warm a small amount of cream to add the boiled agar to, then add it back to the main mix and get it whipped fast enough before it sets

    2. Do we add hot agar cream mix to cream or cool it and then add to cream and whip it high speed.also the proportion fr 1 cup cream 1 tsp agar dissolved in 4 tbsp hot water correct?

      1. its such a small amount that I have added it hot, (even on the gelatin version) not like boiling hot, but warm…. the thing abotu agar is that it gets firm when it starts to cool (well so does gelatin) so its the same method really, its a small amount so just add it really fast to the large amount of COLD whipping cream, will be fine

  4. Hi Gretchen,
    I came across your post here and hope you can help me. 🙂 3 years ago I made mustang grape jelly using agar powder. I tried this year and I’ve processed it twice and it’s still juice. I realized I didn’t let it boil rapidly, just dissolved the agar. So I reprocessed and added half the agar I added the first time. But it wasn’t a rapid boil. Just kinda bubbling. Still juice. How can I fix this? Since it didn’t rapidly boil, is the agar not activated? Can I just rapidly boil it or do I need to add the agar again? I don’t want gummy snacks, I want spreadable jelly. LoL So I’m afraid to add more.

  5. hi.Gretchen. i want to learn to decorate jello. I want to use agar agar to make base how firm it would be if you tell me the ratio of agar agar for 2 cups of water and for decoration liquid it would be the same or different and how to keep the decoration liquid not turn in gel and remain liquid at what temperature. I will appreciate for your help. Thanks

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