Difference Between Gelatin and Pectin

Gelatin vs Pectin

Gelatin and pectin are thickening agents used commonly for making food products such as jam and jelly. In some recipes, these products assume great importance as they provide structure to the finished product. People eat many types of desserts such as chocolate mousse, jams and jellies without knowing they are made using pectin or gelatin. Not many know that pectin is of plant origin while gelatin is of non vegetarian origin. However, there are many more differences between these two thickening products, which will be highlighted in this article.


Pectin is a thickening agent found in fruits and vegetables, and many would be surprised to know that the fibers of fruits are held together with pectin only. It is mostly obtained from peels of citrus fruits like apples. For this very reason, pectin is costly with a pound of pectin costing nearly $43. Pectin is a carbohydrate found in the cell walls of most of the fruits. It has a unique property of gelling when heated with sugar and water thus giving jams and jellies their standard thickness.


Gelatin is a protein obtained from animal skin and bones. Draining pigskin gives gelatin. At some places cowhides are also used to obtain gelatin. Gelatin is available in the market both in the powdered form and in sheet form. Pigskin gives gelatin with each processing, but the highest quality of gelatin is one that is obtained with first time processing of pigskin. This gelatin has a great gelling capacity and is almost clear. It also has a mild flavor.


What is the difference between Gelatin and Pectin?

• Gelatin is of non-vegetarian origin as it comes from skin and bones of animals like pig and cow. On the other hand, pectin is of vegetarian origin coming from fruit skin and vegetable skin. It is found in the cell walls of fruits and holds the fibers of the fruit.

• Gelatin is used as cake filling, pie filling, and as a stabilizer of whipped cream. Pectin is mainly used in making jams and jellies and other bakery items.

• With both gelatin and pectin, it has to be remembered that they have to be used in moderation or else the finished product is stiff.

• Substituting gelatin with pectin is not possible especially for vegans

• Gelatin is obtained in large quantities, whereas pectin is short in supply making it costlier than gelatin