Grass jelly, with its enigmatic name and captivating texture, has held a prized spot in the pantheon of Asian desserts and beverages for centuries. This translucent, wobbly treat, has humble roots in traditional Asian kitchens. It is my favorite summer dessert too because it can help to keep the body cool.

We will cover how to make black and green grass jelly in this post with a traditional method, followed by an instant grass jelly powder way.

homemade grass jelly|

What’s grass jelly

Grass jelly (仙草烧) is a sweet dessert, popular in Hong Kong, Southern China, and Taiwan area.

Traditionally, we boil leaves and stalks from a plant named Mesona Chinensis with a small amount of starch or rice flour to make grass jelly. The harvested plant is boiled with water, and set into a dark jelly after cooling. This natural gelatinization process is a testament to nature’s culinary wonders. After cooling down, the liquid will firm into a jelly-like texture.

However, this method cannot be popular in our daily lives as it is quite time-consuming. In order to simplify the process, there are popular canned grass jelly (outside China) and powdered grass jelly (in and outside China).

Mesona Chinensis- The Plant

I would love to introduce the grass jelly plant a little bit more.

Mesona Chinensis, commonly referred to as the grass jelly plant, is a perennial herb belonging to the mint family, Lamiaceae. Native to Southeast Asia, this unique plant has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine and cuisine. It is mostly used for its cooling properties.

Some of the hot areas include Guangdong, Guangxi, and Hong Kong. People love to eat the grass jelly all year long to balance the heat of the temperature.

Both fresh Mesona Chinensis and dried Mesona Chinensis can be used to make grass jelly. You can see from the following picture, the left is dried Mesona Chinensis while the right is fresh ones.

grass jelly plant|

What does grass jelly taste like

Grass jelly boasts a subtle, mildly herbal taste, often described as slightly bitter yet refreshing. Its distinctive gelatinous texture, cool and silky, makes it a favorite, especially during hot seasons. Some liken it to certain seaweed-based jellies but with a more delicate flavor profile.

grass jelly |

How to make grass jelly from powder

The simplest way of making grass jelly is using grass jelly powder. The powder is a mix of grass jelly plant powder and sugar. It is the fastest and easiest way of making grass jelly at home.

Step one: Mix grass jelly powder with water.

grass jelly from powder|

Step two- heat the mixture: heat the mixture until boiling and then continue heating for 2-3 minutes. Stir from time to time.

Step three- set aside to cool. If you don’t care about the shape, simply leave the liquid in the pot to cool down. Or transfer it into a larger rectangle container. Set aside until firmed. This may take around 1 or 2 hours based on the temperature. You can place it in fridge.

grass jelly from powder|

Cut the grass jelly into small cubes. Now the grass jelly is ready to serve.

grass jelly |

How to use grass jelly

You can use the homemade grass jelly in lots of different ways. Following are some of my favorite options.

  1. Traditional Cold Dessert: Cut the grass jelly into small cubes and serve it chilled with coconut milk, a drizzle of honey, or condensed milk. I love the Taiwanese combination of adding sweetened red beans and taro balls.
  2. Refreshing Beverages: Grass jelly cubes can be added to various drinks, such as fruit teas, milk teas, and shaved ice desserts. My favorite ways are making grass jelly milk tea or grass jelly matcha latte.
grass jelly milk tea|
grass jelly milk tea
grass jelly matcha latte|
grass jelly matcha latte

grass jelly milk tea|

Grass Jelly from Powder

Grass jelly made from powder with a cold soaking milk tea. It can be also served with fresh fruits, usually mango and sweetened red beans in China.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Grass Jelly
Prep Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours
Servings: 2
Calories: 253kcal
Author: Elaine


For homemade grass jelly from powder (you can directly purchase canned ones)

Grass Jelly Milk tea

  • 1 black tea bags
  • 150 ml hot boiling water
  • 2 tbsp. sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup milk


To make the grass jelly from powder

  • Firstly disslove the grass jelly powder with cold water. Make sure the powder is competely dissloved.
  • Heat the mixture until boiling and continue cooking for 1 or 2 minutes.
  • Pour the liuqid to a large rectangular container and set aside to cool down. If there are bubbles or impurities floating on the surface, scoop them out.
  • It may take around 1 hour or 2 until the grass jelly is well-firmed. Cut the grass jelly into small cubes.

For grass jelly milk tea

  • Steep black tea in hot boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Remove the tea bag to cool down completely.
  • In a cup, add grass jelly cubes, sweetened condensed milk, and then pour in black tea base and milk. Stir well before serving.

For grass jelly Matcha Latte

  • Add 1 teaspoon of matcha powder and well whisk with 100ml warm water.
  • In a cup, add grass jelly cubes, ice cubes, and sweetened condensed milk, and then pour in milk and whisked matcha mixture.

Grass Jelly Dessert with coconut milk

  • In a serving bowl, add cubes grass jelly, sweetened red beans,and taro balls. Then pour in coconut milk. Mix well before serving. You can also add some mango cubes to this grass jelly dessert.


Calories: 253kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 92mg | Potassium: 198mg | Sugar: 44g | Vitamin A: 245IU | Calcium: 184mg
grass jelly milk tea|

How to make grass jelly from the plant

I also want to include my testing about making grass jelly from the plant. I know it might be quite hard to purchase but you can watch it and try in any case you can get some dried grass jelly plants from the market.

No matter using dried grass jelly or fresh ones, make sure you clean them completely.

Prepare a large pot, add cleaned grass jelly plant, and dietary alkali powder and pour in 3L water.

making grass jelly from the grass jelly plant|

Simmer for 1 hour and then transfer the dried leaves out.

making grass jelly from the grass jelly plant|

Strain the remeaning liquid with a cloth bag.

making grass jelly from the grass jelly plant|

Mix around 3 tablepsoons of cornstarch (depending on how many liquid you have at this stage), I get around 1L left.

making grass jelly from the grass jelly plant|

Re-boil the liquid and then pour in the starch water while stirring. You may find small bumps at first. Don’t stop ,continue stirring until the contnet becomes quite smooth.

making grass jelly from the grass jelly plant|
making grass jelly from the grass jelly plant|

Set aside and cool until the jelly is firmed. Cut into small cubes and that’s our grass jelly from the dried plants.

You may heard of green grass jelly which is made with fresh grass jelly plants. Just for information, I listed the steps too in the following section.

After wash and cleaning, blanch the green grass jelly plant in hot boiling water with dietary alkali powder for around 2 or 3 minutes until the leaf become softened. Transfer out the leave out and add 600ml cold water. Message the plant to make sure the content of the leaves is melting in the water

green grass jelly|

Strain the juice just like what we did for black grass jelly.

green grass jelly|

The following step is the same.

Re-boil the liqid, add sugar. Then stir in cornstarch water while stirring. Transfer to container and set aside until well cooled. Cut into small pieces and then we get green grass jelly.

grass jelly |

If you have any change of getting the fresh grass jelly plant, try to make the green version.

grass jelly |


Grass jelly can be made with dried or fresh Mesona Chinensis. It is a very popular jelly for desserts, milk teas or latte in Asian. Now, grass jelly powder is more convient and fast. But we include the methods of making black grass jelly and green grass jelly in this post. Happy cooking!

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  1. Hello Elsine,
    I have tried to make the black gtsss jelly but the final product is not chewy
    black grass jelly dried leaves
    lye water
    please help to varify the mistake

    1. Send me a picture via facebook or instagram if you have a picture. I will help to check. If you use dried leaves, the most possible reason is too much water contained.