Jello Salad – A Stunning Mess


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Once I consider Jello salad, that is the recipe that involves thoughts. This Jello salad is one thing my late great-aunt Ina used to make for giant household dinners.

To me, this feels just like the quintessential Thanksgiving (or Christmas) facet dish, because it simply feels very retro and Midwest to me. And talking of retro by still-delicious facet dishes, have you ever made my Ambrosia Salad but?

There are various variations of Jello salad, so here’s what you possibly can count on from this recipe. This can be a dessert OR candy facet dish in three layers: pretzel crust, cream cheese middle, and a strawberry-cranberry Jello prime.

I like so as to add a sugared cranberries garnish alongside the sting only for a festive look, however it’s not vital.

As I discussed, that is my great-aunt Ina’s recipe. I needed to get it from my grandmother who delivered it to me as a handwritten photocopy, which I cherished. I just about persist with her Jello salad recipe with one main variation which I’ll share beneath.

Jello Salad Components:

The right way to Make Jello Salad:

This can be a layered dessert that requires some setting time. So, it’s greatest to make this the day earlier than you propose to serve it. Personally, I really like a make forward recipe, particularly once I’m prepping for an enormous meal.

Layer 1 = Crushed pretzels and melted butter that get baked right into a crust.

Layer 2 = Softened cream cheese, Cool Whip, and sugar get blended collectively after which layered over the cooled crust.

Layer 3 = Strawberry Jello combine made with cranberry juice and frozen strawberries are added to the highest layer. Then, enable the dessert to completely set (coated within the fridge) earlier than serving.

Ideas for Making Jello Salad:

  • For the strawberry Jello, I observe the instructions on the field, substituting the chilly water for chilly cranberry juice as a substitute. This provides extra taste and a tartness to this candy facet dish.
  • I wish to pulse the frozen strawberries in a meals processor a pair instances earlier than including to the Jello combine. My intention is to not utterly puree them, however go away some variance in texture, as you possibly can see within the photographs right here.
  • This recipe is greatest made in a 9×13 pan. Nevertheless, as you possibly can see, I made it in a barely smaller dish as pictured right here. That is completely wonderful—it simply means your layers will probably be just a little thicker and it might take just a little longer for the Jello to completely set.

Serving Strategies

Is Jello salad a facet dish or dessert? Actually, I’ve had it served each methods earlier than, so it’s fully as much as you. Listed here are another vacation desserts you may like:


How lengthy does Jello salad final within the fridge?

This Jello salad recipe will final a minimum of 3-5 days within the fridge. After round 5 days, the Jello layer will start to run into the cream cheese layer, making it pink, and the crust will probably be grow to be soggy.

Can I make Jello salad forward?

Sure. In reality it’s greatest to make this Jello salad recipe the day earlier than you propose to serve it.

Is Jello salad a dessert or facet dish?

It relies upon! I’ve had this Jello salad recipe served as each a facet dish and a dessert at completely different meals. I truly assume the cranberry strawberry Jello tastes nice alongside turkey, however this recipe most carefully resembles a dessert by the substances.

get the recipe
Get the Recipe

a candy dessert salad made in three layers

Yield 12

Prep 10 minutes

Set Time 4 hrs

Cook dinner 25 minutes

Complete 4 hrs 35 minutes


  • To make the crust, crush the pretzels. That is straightforward to do in a meals processor.

  • Add the pretzels and melted butter to a medium-sized mixing bowl and stir to mix.

  • Press the combination into the underside of a 9×13 baking dish.

  • Bake at 375°F for 25 minutes. Enable to completely cool.

  • To make the cream cheese layer, whip collectively the softened cream cheese, Cool Whip, and sugar.

  • Spoon this combination over the cooled crust and seal the edges utterly.

  • To make the Jello layer, chop up the frozen strawberries. I do that by pulsing just a few instances within the meals processor.

  • Observe the field directions to make the Jello. This may embrace boiling two cups of water and likewise including two cups of chilly water, which you must substitute for chilly cranberry juice as a substitute. Then, add the frozen strawberries.

  • Let the Jello partially set earlier than including to the highest of the cream cheese layer.

  • Cowl and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours so the Jello totally units. I often make this the night time earlier than I plan to serve it.

  • Elective: Toss recent cranberries in just a little water after which toss in 1/4 cup granulated white sugar to make fast sugared cranberries for a garnished edge.