Creamy Orange Jell-O Salad Recipe

Something novel is nearly always refreshing or at least interesting in the culinary world, but sometimes a blast from the delicious past can give older dishes just as much allure as their newer counterparts. Jell-O salads are a uniquely American recipe that was enormously popular in the 1960s, and American chef James Beard noted that they were particularly popular in suburban areas, per Serious Eats

A mix of the flavored gelatin product with fruit and vegetables might sound strange, but in the right hands, any recipe can hit the mark. So, it's no surprise that this retro product still has a market even after Jell-O's initial wave of popularity subsided.

With her focus on healthy and family-friendly meals, recipe developer Susan Olayinka of The Flexible Fridge has a creamy orange Jell-O salad recipe that is the perfect way to enjoy this unique meal. While the chilling time needed for this recipe means that you'll need to be patient, the cooking time is just 10 minutes. Let's take a look at how to get started making this light and sweet dessert.

Gather your orange Jell-O salad ingredients

To make this retro Jell-O salad, you'll need to purchase one 3-ounce box of orange Jell-O or another brand of gelatin mix with orange flavoring, as well as 2 cups of water (filtered or tap water is fine), ½ cup softened cream cheese, 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 1 cup mandarin orange slices, 4 tablespoons confectioners sugar, and 2 cups of mini marshmallows.

For anyone who wants a bit more variety, Olayinka recommends nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, and maraschino cherries as additional toppings for the finished dish. But at the end of the day, she maintains that the base recipe is just fine on its own. "Marshmallows and mandarin pieces are really best," she says.

Mix the Jell-O, cream cheese, and sugar

Start by making your Jell-O, which is very simple indeed, especially if you remember the process from your childhood. Follow the instructions on the package, which will guide you through the process of adding boiled and cold water to the mixture. Typically, you'll add around ¾ cup boiling water to your gelatin mix, followed by 1 ¼ cups of cold water.

When you're done making the Jell-O, don't put it in the refrigerator just yet. While the gelatin combination is still liquid, mix in the softened cream cheese and confectioners sugar. Then, whisk it all together until the mixture is uniform and the ingredients are evenly distributed. 

Now that your ingredients are all blended, place the Jell-O mixture into the refrigerator until it sets, which will take about 4 hours.

Whip the heavy whipping cream

As you wait for the Jell-O and cream cheese mixture to set, it's now time to get out your hand mixer. Set the speed to high and then whip the heavy whipping cream until it forms stiff peaks. Stiff peaks can be identified by points that stick straight up from the cream when you lift your whisk or beater attachment. The whipping process should generally take about 2 to 3 minutes. Keep an eye on the whipped cream, as you don't want to overwhip the mix and end up making the beginnings of butter.

If you don't have an electric hand mixer, you can also use a whisk if you're up for the arm workout. In this case, the bigger the whisk you use, the better. For the best results, keep your arm near your side and use your wrist to drive the whipping motion.  As with your whisk, a larger bowl will make the process much easier as it gives you more room to work.

Combine and mix the remaining ingredients

Once your whipped cream is looking good, remove the Jell-O mixture from the fridge. From here, combine the Jell-O with the whipped cream using a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Fold it in to help preserve the air you've incorporated while whipping the cream.

Once the mix is an even consistency, add the mandarin orange slices and mini marshmallows and gently fold them in. The final product should look uniform, with the exception of the marshmallow chunks that can be seen from the surface.

Serve your creamy orange Jell-O salad

When the creamy orange Jell-O salad is done, serve it in a bowl and top it with some more mandarin orange slices and marshmallows. Although Olayinka recommends sticking with these toppings, at least for your first Jell-O salad venture, there is always room for a bit of experimentation. "Readers are free to add a bit of texture and use nuts or seeds, chocolate chips, etc. Maraschino cherries are used too!" she says.

You can also consider pairing the orange Jell-O salad with your favorite meals to give yourself a nice final course and a way to satisfy your sweet tooth at the end of a meal. "This is great as a dessert!" says Olayinka. "People often praise it for being quite light — so this is a light dessert maybe after a heavier dinner."

This dish is definitely best enjoyed fresh. If you happen to have any extra Jell-O salad after a man, leftovers can be kept in the fridge for 1 to 2 days

Creamy Orange Jell-O Salad Recipe
5 from 30 ratings
This creamy orange Jell-O salad recipe is the perfect way to enjoy this unique, retro meal. Plus, its light and refreshing taste is just perfect for summertime.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Creamy Orange Jello Salad
Total time: 15 minutes
  • 1 (3-ounce) box of orange Jell-O mix
  • 2 cups of water
  • ½ cup cream cheese
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup mandarin orange slices
  • 4 tablespoons confectioners sugar
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  1. Mix the Jell-O according to the package instructions.
  2. Add cream cheese and confectioners sugar to liquid Jell-O combination. Whisk until the mixture is uniform.
  3. Chill the mixture for 4 hours, until it sets.
  4. Whip the heavy whipping cream on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes until it forms stiff peaks.
  5. Remove Jell-O from the fridge and fold it in with the whipped cream.
  6. Gently fold the mandarin orange slice and mini marshmallows into the Jell-O and whipped cream mixture.
  7. Serve in a bowl and top with more mandarin orange slices and mini marshmallows.
Calories per Serving 414
Total Fat 25.6 g
Saturated Fat 15.5 g
Trans Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 90.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 44.5 g
Dietary Fiber 0.9 g
Total Sugars 37.8 g
Sodium 202.0 mg
Protein 4.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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