Ghoulishly good Halloween gummy eyeballs! Here’s the scoop on how we made these layered gelatin gummy eyeball dog treats. Don’t be spooked, though. They’re much easier to make than you might think, and the technique can be easily adapted to make human Halloween eyeball gummies, too. Happy howloween!
Keeping an Eye on Fun
This last minute Halloween treat post was inspired by a challenge from our Instagram furfriends @PawsomeBites. Their challenge was to create a healthy spooky eyeball dog treat for Halloween. How could I resist? I’ve shared our eyeballs via our Instagram and stories, and here are the details for those of you who’d prefer a full step-by-step how to post with additional instructions and photos.
Making Layered Gelatin Gummies
To make layered gelatin gummies, whether for dog treats or human snacks, you need a extra little time and patience. Layered gelatin gummies are easy to make, they but do require careful timing. New layers are added when the preceding layer has set to a gentle touch so that the liquids don’t mix, but before it has fully set and cured in order to adhere the layers. Just like making layered jelly for humans. Too soon and they will melt into each other. Too late and they may not hold together in the finished treats. Don’t worry. It all tastes the same in the end, even if you miss the mark on looks.
Depending on your flavours, volumes, and ingredients, the gelatin base can be made in one batch and split, or prepared in separated batches. If splitting, the base will need to be kept warm enough not to gel before layering. All three of my layers here are the same chicken stock gelatin base, tinted and flavoured with different add-ins to create the layered gelatin gummy eyeballs.
Picking a Mould for Gelatin Gummy Eyeballs
Unlike most of our gelatin gummy dog treats, the mould is an important part of making eyeballs. Although food safe and round-ish will do, though! If you’re using a circular mould (like a flat bottomed ice-cube tray or mini-muffin pan) instead of a semi-spherical mould, you’ll can adapt the layering to use a large drop for the middle layer instead of building up the layers as shown here.
For my eyeball gummies, I used the bottom half (the side without the hole – you don’t want to make that mistake) of my cakepop mould. I’ve had it for years and have only made (very tragic looking!) cake pops a few times. With only furkids, pretty cakes and human sweets aren’t something I make very often. Now that I’ve discovered it’s potential for semi-spherical gummies, my mind is already plotting future gummies. Mooohhahaha….
Halloween Gelatin Gummy Dog Treat Recipe
Homemade Layered Gelatin Eyeball Gummies with Natural Colouring Ingredients
This recipe is an easy adaptation of our go-to simple stock and gelatin gummy dog treats, divided and tinted to make layered eyeball gummy treats. The recipe is written for a small batch of gummies, but volumes can be easily scaled up or down.
- 1 cup cool homemade (or ready-made unsalted unseasoned) chicken stock
- 3.5 tbsp quality powdered gelatin
- Natural tinting ingredients for the colourings. I used the following:
- Spirulina powder (pupil)
- Beetroot powder (pupil and red irises)
- Turmeric powder (yellow irises)
- Yogurt, kefir, or other milky add-in (white)
I usually work with 3tbsp of gelatin powder to 1 cup of liquid, but I used a little extra gelatin powder in my mixture here to make sure that my eyeballs set to firm even after adding a generous spoonful of thick-set-yogurt for the white part of the eyes. See the tips and tricks below for other ideas.
Making the Layered Gelatin Eyeball Gummy Treats:
My eyeball gummies were made by preparing a single base and splitting it for use in three layers. For the small quantities of base used in the pupil and irises, this was more efficient than preparing gelatin for each of the the layers separately. If you’d prefer truer colours or whiter whites (stock is slightly yellow-ish) you can split the prep instead. See our gingerbread jiggler dog treat recipe for an example.
If you aren’t confident bout eyeballing (hehehe…) quantities for each layer, you can have a spare pan at the ready for any leftovers. I used my mini bone pan to scrape the last of the prepared mixtures to as I layered my eyeballs.
Preparing the gelatin base mixture:
- Optional: pre-chill your mould(s) while preparing the base to help your first layers set faster.
- Measure the stock into a small pan.
- Sprinkle the surface with gelatin powder.
- Wait and let sit for approximately five minutes or longer for the gelatin powder to bloom / gel.
- Gently stir the mixture over low heat until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Take care not to shortcut with high temperatures or overheat. Heat can reduce the setting strength of gelatin.
- Reduce heat, but keep warm enough not to gel.
Preparing the pupil dot layer:
- Mix a small spoonful of the prepared liquefied gelatin with a small amount of beetroot and spirulina powders (or other tints as to your preferences) into a suitable container. Check your tint and adjust if/as needed to suit your preferences. It won’t be true black, but it will be close enough to look the part.
- Carefully drip one drop into the centre of each of your eyeballs.
- Chill to set while you prepare the next layer.
Preparing the iris layers:
I used turmeric (yellow) and beetroot (red) for my spooky Halloween monster eyeballs, but you can use any tints you like. See our post on natural colours for dog treats for more ideas as well as a note of caution on beetroot and its tendency to leech into its neighbouring layers. What ever colours and flavours you choose, I’d suggest aiming for contrast, if possible. The pupil dots were much clearer on the yellow than the dark red in my eyeball treats.
- In a suitable container, mix a small spoonful of the prepared liquefied gelatin with a small amount of your chosen tint to dissolve/mix with minimal lumps and clumps. Once mixed, add additional gelatin and stir to thoroughly combine. If using multiple colours, repeat this process using separate containers.
- Check that your existing pupil layer is ready for pouring. Wait if/as needed.
- When ready, carefully spoon or pour an iris layer over your existing pupil layer.
- Chill to set while you prepare the next layer. As noted above, it will need to be added when the this layer has set to a gentle touch so that the liquids don’t mix, but before it has fully set and cured in order to adhere the layers.
Preparing the white eyeball layer:
- In a suitable container, mix a spoonful of the prepared liquefied gelatin with your yogurt or kefir. Incrementally add more prepared gelatin to the container, continuing to mixing as you go to minimise lumps and clumps.
- Check that your iris layer is sufficiently set and ready for pouring. Wait if/as needed.
- When ready, carefully spoon or pour the white layer over your existing layers.
- Chill to set thoroughly before removing the gummy treats from the moulds.
Gummy Dog Treat Making Tips and Tricks
- See our comprehensive post on making and storing homemade gelatin gummy dog treats for additional information about making gummy treats including helpful gummy making tips, troubleshooting, and safe treat storage.
- These treats should be kept refrigerated and can be frozen for longer storage, although freezing can affect consistency.
Recipe and Ingredient Tips and Tricks
- My dogs like the smell of plain gelatin and will happily accept plain gummies (gelatin and water), but a little tasty boost of chicken stock never goes astray. Mine is homemade. You can read more in our FAQ post on stock for making homemade dog treats.
- In my experience, 3 tbsp of gelatin powder per cup of liquid makes firm gummies. If you prefer, you can use more gelatin for added supplementation or less for a jigglier jelly treat with lower gelatin content. Individual gelatin powders may be a little stronger / weaker. Find a ratio that works for your preferences and, of course, your dog.
- You can adjust the add-ins to suit your preferences on spooky eyeball colours and your pet’s preferences on scent and flavour. See our post on natural colouring ingredients for dog treats for more colour options and ideas.
As a note of caution, when using beetroot power as a gummy tint, I find it tends to bleed over time more than many of my other tints. If using it in a large area or adjacent to a vulnerable colour (like the white in these eyeballs), the gummies are best made and enjoyed fresh. The beetroot will start to spread tint into adjacent whites of the eyes. Perhaps even more monstrous, but not quite the look I was aiming for here. It’s a lesson I learned when making our Jelly Tip gummy dog treats and have seen several times in other beetroot tinted treats since.
Hungry for more tasty treats? There are all sorts of homemade dog treat ideas in our blog archives. You can also use the category and tag labels above/ below this post to find other recipes that might be of interest or use our internal search tools to find something specific. Remember, treats (bought or homemade) are for spoiling your pup in moderation. We share ideas from treats that we’ve made ourselves for our pets, but different animals have different preferences (likes/dislikes), just like people. Some pets may have special dietary requirements and/or food allergies/intolerances. If you are ever in doubt or have questions about what’s suitable for your pet, have a chat with your trusted vet.