Edible Plastic Pouches




About: Inspired by my cat Chili, who is full of fun and energy, I like to share about food and other home crafts with a new twist of 'chili'-fun. (This user was previously called Snowball10)

I have the most amazing life hack for you guys!

Have you ever tried being on a hike and trying to stuff a handful of trail mix into your mouth, hands dirty and all, while dropping way too much of the precious nibbles along the way? Or have you tried letting the kids eat snacks in the car and then found half of it scattered all over the back seat afterwards?

I have the perfect solution! Welcome: edible plastic pouches containing trail mix (or whatever else you like)! They are perfectly pocket-sized and spill-free.

Gone are the days when edible plastic was only a fun and tasteless decorating addition on fancy cakes. Now, this science hack can actually be used for something useful.

The idea behind this edible plastic is actually quite simple. First, we gel water using agar or gelatine, and then, this gel is dehydrated to create an edible, plastic-like sheet that can be used for a variety of purposes.

Sounds good? If you don't care about the nerdy science behind this, go straight to the next step. Otherwise, keep reading.

Agar and gelatine can both be used to solidify a liquid, but they are structurally quite different. Agar is a carbohydrate, and gelatin is a protein. While gelatin is derived from animal collagen, agar comes from algae and is thus plant based (and vegan). Agar melts around 85 degrees C (185 F) whereas gelatin melts at 35 degrees C (95 F), making it less stable. This also means that gelatin will melt in your mouth while agar will not.


Step 1: Ingredients

To make enough plastic for a baking sheet (about 6 pouches -- the plastic shrinks as it dries), you will need

- 1 tsp. agar powder

- 2 dl. water

I chose to fill the plastic pockets with trail mix, but you could potentially use anything, like spice blends, tea, etc. (just throw the bag into the pot of hot soup or tea water, and it will melt!)

NOTE: For a recipe using gelatine instead of agar, click here .

Step 2: Boil

Mix the water and agar in a pot, bring it to a boil, and let it boil for 30 seconds. Take the pot off the heat, and let the bubbles escape. Skim off any foam from the top.

Let the liquid cool till it stops steaming. This will make it easier to coat the parchment paper evenly. Pour the liquid onto a baking sheet with parchment paper and quickly tilt it to distribute the liquid in an even, thin layer.

Set the baking sheet aside, and let the plastic dry for at least 24 hours or more.

NOTE: I have tried both pouring the plastic onto aluminum foil and directly onto a plate, and neither worked as the plastic stuck. Parchment paper is the way to go.

Step 3: Cut

When the plastic is completely dry, it should peel off easily. Carefully remove it from the parchment paper. Trim the edges, and cut the plastic into appropriately sized squares.

Step 4: Fill

Put your desired filling (I used trail mix) onto one half of a piece of plastic, and check to see that the other half can be folded over to close the pocket.

Brush some water around the edges of one half of the plastic, and fold over the other half, pressing on the edges to adhere. If the edges do not adhere very well, try folding the edges to secure the filling better.

Let the seams dry for half an hour before packing and enjoying the little pouches.

Step 5: Verdict


Taste: I think these trail mix pouches actually taste quite good, even though they challenge the sensory experience of eating trail mix a bit. The first impression is that you are stuffing, well, plastic in your mouth, and the plastic can have a very slight salty flavor from the agar, but as soon as you start chewing, the plastic disappears, and you get all the goodness from the trail mix. If you really think about it, the edible plastic adds a slight, chewy gummy-bear texture in the background, but it goes perfectly with the dried fruit.

Durability: The plastic holds up pretty well to scrunching, even though it may rip in areas that are very thin. However, the seams are a bit fragile and can easily open so that trail mix falls out. Also, the plastic is sensitive to humidity. So I probably wouldn't stuff these goodie bags in the kids' pockets if I knew they were going to play in the rain or stick their hands in the pocket a thousand times to feel if the treat is still there (even though I think I might actually slip one of these in my own pocket, hmmm, but for the kids, maybe put it as a surprise in the sack lunch for school). I think the best way to store and carry these plastic pockets with trail mix would be in a real food-grade plastic bag or container.

I hope you liked this instructable! If you did, please vote for me in the Science of Cooking contest and Pocket-Sized contest. Thank you! Also, if you try this out, please share the result and any modifications in the comments!

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    57 Discussions


    Question 6 weeks ago on Step 2

    Which type of agar agar can we use for this because I found a lot of types for example there is a molecular gastronomy agar or a bacteriology grade agar etc. Pleaseee helllppp

    2 answers

    Answer 6 weeks ago

    Molecular gastronomy agar agar should be fine, and otherwise just food grade agar agar.


    7 months ago

    You should add the U.S.measurements too. Some don't know what 'dl' means (1/10 liter).


    1 year ago

    Great idea, I have been wanting to pack some of my coffee with the raw sugar I use when going out as not all places have the coffee I like plus sometimes I am not in the mood for a flat white when at McDonalds this way I could make up a few pouches and place in my tea tin for a choice of tea or coffee now :-) this is a brilliant idea and I already have some in the cupboard as I do a lot of Asian cooking so always keep it on hand.

    I do like the idea for making my own protine bars as I am not able to eat the shop bought ones due to allergies this way I can make my own and never have to worry about an allergie attack :-)

    Thanks for sharing this going to make some up when the sun comes up lolo I think 5:30 am is a little to early to start cooking :-)

    2 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    Haha, yeah 5:30 is a bit early, but I have done it once when I was going to bring a cake to work that I didn't finish the night before. You know, DIY people can be a bit crazy once in a while! :D

    What a great idea to make personal coffee pouches! I have thought about the same but with sugar-free hot cocoa, as I don't drink coffee and can't have the sugar sweet cocoas served everywhere.


    Reply 9 months ago

    Sounds like a great idea for the coco never thought of that one me I’m hooked on coffee lol been having trouble getting the stuff to make the pouches at the moment so will have to use the second best idea on the pouches until I can find the good stuff :-) I don’t like my hot coco sweet either it has enough within the coco without having added sugars to it... but then I’m not into sweet drinks even my coffee has just enough sugar to,take off the bitter taste to it


    Answer 11 months ago

    I think so. Even though the moisture from the bread might make the plastic slowly disintegrate over time. You just have to try it and see how it goes...


    1 year ago

    This is April Fools' material. :D

    Thanks for the idea!

    1 reply

    Question 1 year ago

    Question unrelated. But Does anyone know how to favorite this one? I cant find the button after the new interface.

    1 answer
    Elaina Mmarvelmx

    Answer 1 year ago

    hey Marvelmx. If you scroll down from the top of the instructable, a hover bar should appear at the top of the page with a "favorite" option :)

    Screen Shot 2018-05-09 at 1.27.01 PM.png

    1 year ago

    I am wondering if this method will work using sodium alginate and calcium chloride/lactate? Will have to think when/how to mix the two solutions but the advantage will be that it can be done cold. It might also produce a thicker/stronger pouch...

    2 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    That would be great kids could help make


    Reply 1 year ago

    Interesting idea... I have never worked with sodium alginate, so I don't know if it would work. Please share if you try it out!