Introduction: Energy Gel!

Picture of Energy Gel!

This is a quick, inexpensive alternative to commercial energy gels. If you run, bike, hike or otherwise play hard for over an hour, use this recipe for a shot of rapid energy.

Step 1: Tools + Ingredients

Picture of Tools + Ingredients

What you'll need:

A small pot for the stove, or a microwave-safe bowl and microwave
Measuring spoons: Tablespoon and teaspoon
Measuring cups: 1 cup glass (Pyrex) for liquid, and 1 cup dry cup
Strainer (optional, for citrus and berry flavors)
A container for the gel. I used a GoToob (available at REI) in the 1.25 oz. size.

Basic Ingredients:
Maltodextrin (I found it at the nutrition store, but check your Co-op)

Optional electrolytes:
Potassium salt (KCl) "Nu-Salt" pictured
Sodium salt (NaCl) Table salt pictured

Optional protein additives:
Whey protein powder
Soy protein powder

Optional Flavor ingredients:
Berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, etc.)
Citrus fruit (orange, lemon, lime etc.)
Citric acid (gives a "tart" taste to the fruity flavors, available at cheese-making supply shops, or in bulk in some stores)
Instant coffee granules

Step 2: Recipe

Picture of Recipe

Add to pot and whisk thoroughly over low heat:

1 cup maltodextrin
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup honey

--If using mint to flavor, add and crush slightly while heating, remove after 10 minutes.--

Add protein additives if using:
1-2 Tbs whey protein powder
1-2 Tbs soy protein powder

Add electrolytes, if using:
1/2 teaspoon potassium salt
1/2 teaspoon sodium (table) salt

Add flavorings if using: 
For berries, in a separate pan, heat 1/4 cup berries till they become watery, then press through sieve to remove seeds/skins. Add the sieved to gel. d 1/2 teaspoon citric acid if desired for tartness.
For citrus fruit, juice 1 fruit using the strainer to catch seeds/large pulp. Add 1/2 teaspoon citric acid if desired for tartness.
For coffee flavor, add 1 Tbs. granules.
For vanilla, add 1 Tbs vanilla.

***I've attached a gazillion pics of these steps, for any of you intimidated by the whole "cooking" thing. It's really easy, folks. ;) ***

Step 3: Voila!

Picture of Voila!

There you have it! Pour into a container of your choice. I like the GoToob - it has rave reviews, and it's made from food-safe silicone. It squirts out with a very gentle squeeze. 

This recipe made 1 2/3 cups, or 480 grams. Packaged up in the 1.25 oz tube, the contents weighed 32 grams - comparable to commercial energy gels. (There is space for a gram or two more.)

I took it on my run today. It fit well inside the zippered pouch of my water-bottle carrier, along with my keys. It worked great.



Appollo64 (author)2011-10-05

Great instructable! About how much does this stuff cost, and can it be found at a regular grocery store?

Anna W (author)Appollo642011-10-05

Thank-you! The cost for one batch of raspberry vanilla gel with 2 Tbs each of soy and whey powders, and electrolytes was $4.74 for about 15 servings, so a little less than 32 cents per serving. That doesnt include the GoToob, which retails for $6.45 at REI. I'll make back the up-front costs (the tube plus a 2-lb container of maltodextrin) and hit the break-even point for the remaining ingredients somewhere into my second batch. Beginning marathon training just became a little less costly. ;)

You're unlikely to find anything other than the honey, salt, vanilla, fruit etc. at a regular supermarket (although you might get lucky). I had good luck at both my local food Co-op and Whole Foods where I could get all but the maltodextrin (I found that at a nutrition store). You usually get a better price if you buy in bulk, and you can also buy as much, or as little, as you need. You can also order everything readily online (in the USA, that is). Hope that helps. :)

Madrigorne (author)Anna W2011-10-10

With the gel in it - the gootoob looks like a tongue, perfect for halloween.

Neselot (author)2017-02-15

Great idea. I'm an avid cyclist and use energy gels all the time.

Do you have a recipe for an energy drink? That would be a great I'ble too.

LesB (author)2011-10-09

Great idea. I'm an avid cyclist and use energy gels all the time.
Do you have a recipe for an energy drink? That would be a great I'ble too.

Osquar (author)LesB2013-01-07

Fungus amungus made this energy drink based on Gatorade

Haven't tried it myself since I have problem finding some of the ingredients in stores locally.

Anna W (author)LesB2011-10-10

Energy/electrolyte drink recipe *would* be great. I'll do a little more looking/experimenting - there are a lot out there based on cool-aid or juice and salts/baking soda, but I like mine to be comparable to performance drinks (CamelBak, Hammer, etc), so I've a bit more investigating to do first.

SIRJAMES09 (author)2011-10-31

not a problem Sir

balexander87 (author)2011-10-31

Using Sorghum Syrup is a great way to add potassium along with various B-Vitamins which are supposedly helpful. Not a nutrition expert, though, so take it or leave it!

camohat (author)2011-10-21

I LOVE gotoobs the only problem is that it is hard to clean the cap.

holyvision (author)2011-10-18

When you say crush the mint and slowly stir, then remove in 10 minutes. What do you mean? Do you mean remove the crushed mint and how would you go about that?

SIRJAMES09 (author)2011-10-17

your very welcome!

You don't need to thank me tho....
I'm just stating the's just one of my many quirks, or qualities, or whatever else you wish to call it...

If I thought you were an idiot I would tell you. LOL But Thank GOD you're not.....we have too many already of those in this world. :)

SIRJAMES09 (author)2011-10-11

that type of "lid" is called a Percutaneous Seal* The hinged lid is just to keep it clean more than anything.

this is where I got my information:

codongolev (author)SIRJAMES092011-10-12

great information, but I just have to mention.... when I read your comment, I had to imagine the penguin in your profile picture just wandering up and informing us all about the percutaneous seal.

SIRJAMES09 (author)codongolev2011-10-13

I have a Gastro-Intestinal tube with that kind of seal in it....that is how I knew about them. :)

Coincidentally, I love penguins. I'd have one for a pet if I could. 8-D

codongolev (author)SIRJAMES092011-10-14

and after it told us, it would just awkwardly stare at all of us for a couple seconds, then kind of shuffle away.

SIRJAMES09 (author)codongolev2011-10-14


This world needs more people like you. :-)

codongolev (author)SIRJAMES092011-10-17

thank you!

tellner (author)2011-10-12

You can find maltodextrin and citric acid at homebrew supply shops

SIRJAMES09 (author)2011-10-11

SO, what you're saying is that it looks more complicated than it really is...right?

jmartin12 (author)2011-10-11

Nicely done.

bowow0807 (author)2011-10-11

how long does this last? and can i also use liquid flavorings? im a swimmer and i would love to share this with my team during competitions.

riff raff (author)2011-10-10

Throw in about 300 mg of caffeine and you'll definitely have something! ;-)

Anna W (author)riff raff2011-10-10

Jeepers - all you who can handle caffeine, go for it! I'll be up all night if I have any more than my daily dose. And if you want the coffee flavor, I do recommend instant espresso powder.

HollyHarken (author)2011-10-09

All that whisking! I would use either an imersion blender or a counter top blender. That way everything would be blended. You don't say how long or hot to cook the gel. That would help.

Anna W (author)HollyHarken2011-10-10

By all means, if you have them, give it a whirl! I wanted people to see that it's quite possible to do so without (there are a lot of comments out there about not being able to get all the lumps out).

I put my heat on "low," and the length of time whisking will depend on your whisk. I didn't time it, but start to finish it took less than 10 minutes to make the recipe (and that's with many stops for photos). The first whisking, to incorporate the maltodextrin, took the longest (2-5 minutes?). Next time I whip up a batch, I'll time it and let you know. The gel doesn't need to get very hot; warming just speeds the incorporation/ makes it a bit less viscous while stirring.

richfox (author)2011-10-10

I'm a big fan of pure honey. Easy, super effective, economical, accessible and easily digestible. I'd read a study a few years ago suggesting that honey was very close in effectiveness to the leading gels. Just stick a 'honey bear' squeeze bottle in your jersey pocket (cyclists), or transfer from the jar to your favorite dispenser.

mvolf (author)2011-10-10

Heating honey over 40 °C breaks all the valuable enzymes and other parts of honey and leaves just mixture of monosacharides.
Such mixture can be replaced by (much cheaper) inverted sugar syrup.

Nachoman (author)2011-10-09

Rather than maltodextrine and honey I would use glucose and xantham gum, or even bring it down to a solid with sodium alginate and calcium chloride, but I still like your version.

BtheBike (author)2011-10-09

i like 'dateorade' . 15 Soaked super sweet dates , a little water.
Blended . Like 1000+ cals of fuel ,loads of potassium in a 8 oz bottle.
i can add soaked chia ,and a banana sometimes for longer hauls .

thrashermanTotalDIY (author)2011-10-09


wazzup105 (author)2011-10-05

I just dump my powders (maltodextrin and some unflavored protein) in fruit juice. (plus I add some "diet salt" (contains both potassium and sodium)). I might even add some caffein powder.

Anna W (author)wazzup1052011-10-05

Nice! I've seen people do that. I went with a basic "base" recipe for several reasons: 1) it's customizable (fruity or not), 2) sugar control, and 3) personal preference - I always have fruit around but not fruit juice. Similarly for the salt, I went with a recipe that allowed me to control the proportions of sodium:potassium - the sea/diet/combo salts I've seen were heavy on one or the other. You can certainly add caffeine in a powdered form if desired for a non-coffee caffeine jolt.

About This Instructable




Bio: I like to cook. I like to do lots of other things, but I also really like to cook. Organic and local, please. :)
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