Australian/ Christmas/ Dessert/ Recipes

Aunty Glenda’s Famous Jelly Slice

08/11/2021

Jelly Slice is an amazing treat at parties, gatherings and the Aussie Christmas table – fair warning – it won’t last long! A super easy three layer slice complete with biscuit base, condensed milk and jelly, only 7 ingredients required.

Three small plates with pieces of jelly slice ready to eat.

Why We Love This

Jelly slice brings all the nostalgia of growing up in Australia at Christmas time. The bright red and white jelly layers are sweet with that perfect jelly texture set on a crumbly biscuit base. 

For a dessert that looks so impressive, it really is super easy to make. Customise it with your favourite jelly flavours or colours to suit your celebration.

With a little patience, each layer is set to perfection for easy slicing into perfect bite size pieces ready for sharing!

Close up of jelly slice layers - biscuit, condensed milk and jelly.

What is Jelly Slice? 

Jelly slice is a traditional Australian no bake dessert usually consisting of three layers:

  • 1st Layer: Crushed biscuits blended with butter.
  • 2nd Layer: Milk jelly made with sweetened condensed milk and gelatine.
  • 3rd Layer: Regular jelly – usually bright red raspberry or green lime jelly. 

This sweet treat is most popular at Christmas and Easter celebrations, alongside classic recipes like pavlova roll, choc ripple log and trifle. That said, it really can be served for any celebration or get-together. It’s the old school recipe our mums and grandmas used to make (in Laura’s family, her Aunty Glenda is the jelly slice queen!)

While the traditional dessert is made with gelatine, you can make a vegetarian friendly version by using clear agar agar powder for the middle layer, and a coloured agar agar jelly for the top layer.

What You’ll Need

  • Jelly – For the traditional bright red colour, use raspberry jelly. Other popular flavours are port wine and grape. Sub with your favourite colour or flavour to make it your own. 
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk – Sub with regular condensed milk for a less sweet slice or plant based alternative condensed milk to make it vegan (alongside agar agar).
  • Gelatine / Gelatin – For a vegetarian version, sub with agar agar. 
  • Lemon Juice – Either fresh or reconstituted, both are fine. 
  • Biscuits – We use ‘nice’ biscuits, sub with arrowroot biscuits for less sweetness. It also works well with marie biscuits, digestives or butternut snap cookies. Crush them with a rolling pin, mortar and pestle or use a food processor for less effort!
  • Butter – Both salted or unsalted work well – we tend to use salted butter for a little extra zing.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Use Less Water – This recipe intentionally uses less water than usual when making the jelly layers. This helps makes the jelly firmer, resulting in a better final structure for cutting.
  • Let It Set – Wait for each layer to fully set before pouring in the next, otherwise they will blend into each other and you won’t end up with those lovely, clearly defined layers. You can try pouring the liquid over the back of a spoon to help disperse it softly over the surface to prevent holes forming in the preceding layer. 
  • Handle Carefully – It can be easy to spill the white or red layers, so be careful transferring the tray back and forth from the fridge.
  • Square Tin – This recipe works perfectly with a 24 cm or 9 inch square baking tray. Line it with cling wrap or baking paper first so you can easily pull the slice out of the tray once fully set.

FAQs

How long does jelly slice last?

It will last for a few days up to one week in the fridge. However, the jelly colour will start to leach into the condensed milk layer over time.

Can it be frozen?

No, unfortunately you can’t freeze jelly slice as it will lose its shape when you try to defrost it.

Can I make it without the biscuit base?

The biscuit base is what makes the jelly slice easy to pick up and eat. While you can make the slice without the biscuit base, it will be harder to work with. If you really don’t want to include the biscuit base, make sure to swap the gelatine for agar agar powder as this will result in much firmer jelly layers that can be handled more easily and don’t need to be refrigerated to set.

My jelly layers didn’t set, what went wrong?

Make sure the gelatine crystals have fully dissolved in the boiling water before adding any other ingredients. If you don’t, the jelly layers won’t fully set and will blend together.

Variations & Substitutes

  • Extra Layer(s) – You can double or triple the jelly layers with different colours and flavours – just make sure to set it between each and pour very gently. Why not make it a Festive Christmas Jelly Slice with an extra layer of green jelly?
  • Extra Fun – Mix sprinkles through the white layer for a fairy bread version of jelly slice!
  • Chocolate – Swap the biscuits for chocolate tim tams for extra decadence.
Jelly slice cut into squares with dessert forks.

Classic Australian dishes ready to impress:

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Square piece of jelly slice on a small plate.

Aunty Glenda’s Famous Jelly Slice

Jelly Slice is an amazing treat at parties, gatherings and the Aussie Christmas table – fair warning – it won't last long! A super easy three layer slice complete with biscuit base, condensed milk and jelly, only 7 ingredients required.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Setting Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 45 minutes
Course: Cake, Dessert
Cuisine: Australian
Servings: 36 mini bites
Calories: 108kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $5

Equipment

Ingredients

1st layer:

  • 250 g nice biscuits 8.8 oz (1 packet), sub arrowroot biscuits or marie biscuits
  • 150 g butter 5.3 oz, sub margarine

2nd layer:

  • 3 tsp gelatine powder
  • ¾ cup boiling water 188 g / 6.3 oz
  • 400 g condensed milk 14 oz (1 tin)
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice

3rd layer:

  • 85 g raspberry jelly 3 oz (1 pack), sub with any flavour you like!
  • 125 ml boiling water 4.2 oz
  • 100 ml cold water 3.3 oz

Instructions

1st layer:

  • Crush the nice biscuits using a food processor, mortar and pestle or even a potato masher in a mixing bowl. Transfer to a medium bowl.
    250 g nice biscuits
  • Melt the butter in 30 second bursts in the microwave until melted (around 1½ minutes). Pour the melted butter over the crushed biscuits and stir until combined.
    150 g butter
  • Line a square tin (9 inch / 24cm) with baking paper or cling wrap. Pour in the crushed biscuit base and press into a flat layer using the back of a spoon.
  • Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

2nd layer:

  • Dissolve the gelatine powder in the boiling water, stirring until there’s no lumps.
    3 tsp gelatine powder, ¾ cup boiling water
  • Mix the condensed milk and lemon juice in a medium mixing bowl, then pour over the gelatine mix.
    400 g condensed milk, 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • Beat together using a spoon or whisk, then pour over the biscuit base.
  • Refrigerate until firm, around 30 minutes to one hour.

3rd layer:

  • In a small bowl dissolve the raspberry jelly crystals in boiling water.
    85 g raspberry jelly, 125 ml boiling water
  • Keep stirring until all the sugar crystals in the jelly have dissolved. Pour in the cold water, give it a quick stir, then carefully pour over the condensed milk layer. Note: If holes start to appear in the milk layer, it’s not set yet!
    100 ml cold water
  • Pop in the fridge to set for at least 3 hours.

To serve:

  • Gently pull the slice out of the tray using the edges of the baking paper or cling wrap and transfer to a cutting board. Slice into squares or fingers and serve! Note: Clean knife between each slice for neat and even squares.

Recipe Notes

  • Storage – Good in the fridge for a week, but it doesn’t freeze well.
  • Jelly – Sub with your favourite colour or flavour to make it your own. 
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk – Sub with regular condensed milk for a less sweet slice or plant based alternative condensed milk to make it vegan (alongside agar agar).
  • Gelatine / Gelatin – For a vegetarian version, sub with agar agar. 
  • Lemon Juice – Either fresh or reconstituted, both are fine. 
  • Biscuits – We use ‘nice’ biscuits, sub with arrowroot biscuits for less sweetness. It also works well with marie biscuits, digestives or butternut snap cookies. Crush them with a rolling pin, mortar and pestle or use a food processor for less effort!
  • Use Less Water – This recipe intentionally uses less water than usual when making the jelly layers. This helps makes the jelly firmer, resulting in a better final structure for cutting.
  • Let It Set – Wait for each layer to fully set before pouring in the next, otherwise they will blend into each other and you won’t end up with those lovely, clearly defined layers. You can try pouring the liquid over the back of a spoon to help disperse it softly over the surface to prevent holes forming in the preceding layer. 
  • Handle Carefully – It can be easy to spill the white or red layers, so be careful transferring the tray back and forth from the fridge.
  • Square Tin – This recipe works perfectly with a 24 cm or 9 inch square baking tray. Line it with cling wrap or baking paper first so you can easily pull the slice out of the tray once fully set.

    Nutrition

    Nutrition Facts
    Aunty Glenda's Famous Jelly Slice
    Amount per Serving
    Calories
    108
    % Daily Value*
    Fat
     
    6
    g
    9
    %
    Saturated Fat
     
    3
    g
    19
    %
    Trans Fat
     
    1
    g
    Polyunsaturated Fat
     
    1
    g
    Monounsaturated Fat
     
    2
    g
    Cholesterol
     
    14
    mg
    5
    %
    Sodium
     
    82
    mg
    4
    %
    Potassium
     
    51
    mg
    1
    %
    Carbohydrates
     
    12
    g
    4
    %
    Fiber
     
    1
    g
    4
    %
    Sugar
     
    8
    g
    9
    %
    Protein
     
    2
    g
    4
    %
    Vitamin A
     
    140
    IU
    3
    %
    Vitamin C
     
    1
    mg
    1
    %
    Calcium
     
    36
    mg
    4
    %
    Iron
     
    1
    mg
    6
    %
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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    Aunty Glenda\'s Famous Jelly Slice

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