This creamy, dreamy Cottage Cheese Jello Salad is one of my favorite treats once the weather turns warm in the spring and summer. It's perfect for potlucks, backyard barbecues, and family reunions!
Planning a summer cookout in the backyard? Be sure to check out these other reader favorites like Classic Potluck Broccoli Salad, Raspberry Pretzel Salad, and Classic Frog Eye Salad!
This recipe has the potential to be the most divisive one I've posted here on House of Nash Eats. It seems to be one of those things you either love or you hate. I love it. My husband can't stand the stuff. His loss, my gain, I say.
You will love Strawberry Jello Salad with Cottage Cheese!
I grew up with this cottage cheese jello salad at every family reunion and potluck. I don't remember it ever having a name - we just called it "the pink stuff" or "the orange stuff" depending on the color at the time. But it was always the offering I went back for over, and over, and over, loading up my plate with giant spoonfuls of the stuff.
I'm a HUGE fan of cottage cheese, especially with fruit. One of my favorite snacks since I was a kid was just a bowl of cottage cheese with sliced pears. It's so good and quick and easy! And healthy too!
This is a perfect sweet treat for your Easter dinner table, but it's great served all year long. We always had it for 4th of July, Labor Day BBQ's, and any other potluck or family reunion gathering in Idaho where all my mom's family is from.
Cottage Cheese Salad ingredients
- Cottage cheese
- Cool Whip - For the sake of convenience and because this is how we have always made it, we use a tub of thawed Cool Whip to make this recipe. But you can absolutely use a batch of my homemade whipped cream (Homemade Whipped Cream Recipe) instead if you like!
- Flavored gelatin powder - Any flavor will do, but strawberry or orange are our favorites. I get asked this question all the time but yes, you just use the powdered mix without adding any water or preparing it. Stir the powder in dry!
- Crushed pineapple
- Optional add-ins - Some people love to add marshmallows, chopped nuts, or fresh fruit like sliced strawberries, grapes, or a can of drained mandarin oranges to their jello salad.
How to make Strawberry Cottage Cheese Jello Salad
One of the best things about this quick and easy recipe is that you don't even need to measure anything.
- You literally just combine a can of drained crushed pineapple (don't forget to drain the juice off or your salad will end up soupy), a carton of cottage cheese, and a box of your favorite Jello flavor.
- Then fold in a tub of Cool Whip until combined and pop it in the fridge for an hour!
I would say it's a one-bowl recipe, except I always mix it in a larger bowl, then transfer it to a smaller serving bowl for a cleaner, prettier presentation. I think this is best alongside a burger, chips, and baked beans. It really goes with anything, but those flavors are forever entwined in my memory of summertime!
How to store this Cottage Cheese Dessert
Store your finished salad in a covered container in the fridge until ready to serve. If you are going to a picnic, be sure to bring along a cooler with ice since this salad shouldn't sit out for longer than 1-2 hours.
How to serve Strawberry Jello Salad with Cottage Cheese
You can serve this family style with a big spoon for scooping onto plates at a picnic or cookout, which is how we typically serve it. But for smaller gatherings it's fun to fill individual dessert cups with this cottage cheese jello salad and top them with a little whipped cream and a decorative piece of fresh fruit like a sliced strawberry or mandarin orange wedge.
Jello Salad with Cottage Cheese FAQ
If your jello salad gets watery, it's because the gelatin is separating. Usually this can be fixed by just giving the salad a good stir so everything comes back together again.
All kinds of fruit taste delicious with cottage cheese but some of our favorites are peaches, pears, strawberries, pineapple, mandarin oranges, cantaloupe, and cherries! Anything really juice and sweet or tart is fantastic. The ones I would avoid are more like watermelon and apples.
More Fun Jello Recipes Everybody Loves
- Lemon Pineapple Jello with Whipped Cream Topping
- Orange Jello Salad with Pudding Whipped Cream
- Layered Rainbow Jello
- Cranberry Jello Salad with Cream Cheese Topping
- Coca-Cola Jello Salad
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
More Favorites from House of Nash Eats
Strawberry Cottage Cheese Jello Salad
- 3 ounces jello, any flavor
- 15 ounces crushed pineapple, drained
- 16 ounces cottage cheese
- 8 ounces Cool Whip, thawed
- Combine cottage cheese, pineapple, and gelatin in a bowl, stirring well.
- Fold the Cool Whip in with the other ingredients until combined. Try not to overmix and deflate the Cool Whip.
- Transfer to a clean serving bowl, then cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
Reader questions and reviews
can you make a day ahead?
Yes, you can make it one day in advance.
Definitely! Just a little things we noticed, don't double dip if you take a spoonful. Lol....we found out my brother has been doing that as this year we noticed it stayed fluffy for days if you don't. Apparently the saliva on the double dip causes it to break down and get watery.
How many servings would you guess?
Sorry about that! Looks like some of the data didn't transfer when I updated my recipe card recently. It's 8 servings (and I've fixed the errors now!).
Can you use sugar free jello?
I used orange jello powder, half as much cottage cheese, and accidentally got pineapple tidbits rather than crushed, but it turned out amazing!
Made this dessert for our book club meeting. I used sugar free jello and lite cool Whip. It was a big hit.
My mom and I have both always made this with fruit cocktail. Love this stuff!
My mother-in-law makes this for every family potluck. However, she adds chopped pecans to it. My husband loves it and it is the ONLY way I will eat cottage cheese!
"Dump Salad" is the ever-so-glorious name my family called this stuff. And we alllll love it. Except for maybe my husband who did not grow up with it, either. Oh well. Their loss!
LOL - I love that name!
We call it orange fluff! Been eating it for years
So excited to include this in our Easter dinner tonight! I love your justification for this as salad 😂😂 sounds logical to me!! Whipped it all up and added fresh strawberries, with extra pieces on top as a garnish! SO delish!!!
Great recipe--it's a piece of cake to make!!!
We have always loved this! Now I want to make some!
Just made this tonight I can't wait for it to chill so I can have some . following you now thank you .
Jell-o reads point 3 oz
your directions read 3 oz?
Hmm, I just double checked and both the recipe and the box of jello in my cupboard say 3 ounces, not point 3 ounces.
The boxes that are 3 oz have sugar and the boxes with point 3 oz are sugar free, which work just fine. I use them all them all the time.
Make the jello first?, and let set before folding? cottage cheese, pineapple and cool whip
You just use the powdered jello like in the picture. Do NOT prepare it with water!
just made I've had it a long time ago at church potluck....loved it so much.. tks for the recipe
Have you ever combined 2 jello flavors ?
I have not, but that sounds like an interesting idea! Like a fruit punch flavored version or something!
This is the recipe I was looking for! My Mom put the cottage cheese in the blender and made it smooth before putting in the cool whip and the fruit! Totally yummy, and any jello works. My favorite is lime jello!
I used cut fresh strawberries and whipped heavy cream instead of cool whip. Turned out so good.
Do you mix the jello as the package direction are with water?
No, it's just the gelatin powder that gets added to the salad.
How long is it good for in the fridge?
About 3-4 days.
This is just like the recipe my grandmother used at our family holidays. She added chopped pecans. She passed away a few years ago and it's so special to make this and remember her. Thanks for posting it.
I'm glad it brings back such fond memories!
Make the jello first?, and let set before folding? cottage cheese, pineapple and cool whip
No, with this salad you don't make the jello according to the package directions. Instead, you pour the powdered gelatin mix in with the other ingredients and stir them together. That's it!
Yup that's all I do.
I can not seem to find my old time recipe for a jello salad. the 1st layer is lemon jello, dissolved later folding in cottage cheese with whipped cream. after it sets you add the dissolved and chilled til almost set fold in the pineapple. It comes out a very pleasing salad/dessert in a clear large bowl. My problem is I don't remember how much water is used to dissolve and slightly chill each layer before adding it's main ingredient. Any idea? I used the boiling pineapple juice which was 1.5 cups and cooled with 4 ice cubes. I don't know if it will set right yet.
I wonder if it would be all right to use fresh pineapple since it is not like jello that has to set up?
That's a great idea! I'm sure it would be fine to use fresh pineapple with this salad!
OMG, I lived on this my entire 60 years every family get together but with Lime Jello or Orange. I always called Green Stuff and I still make it to this day everything Thanksgiving.
Very interesting as I had made cottage cheese jello salad a bit differently, we used the same step pretty much, we mixed the cool whip, with a strawberry or raspberry, or a cherry flavor jello, we mixed the steps in with different berries not pineapples, we used raspberry, strawberries, and may add others such as blue berries and blackberries, and also marshmallows! Was a great holiday dessert!
I am so happy to find this recipe! My family has had this every Thanksgiving and Christmas all of my life. Now that my mother has Alzheimer's, I thought it was lost forever. I will make it and surprise my family at Christmas. Thanks!
My mother in law taught me this recipe but we make it using Apricot jello...even though it’s hard to find I found that Publix will order me a case at a time...if I am out of apricot I use peach...and we have it every holiday...it’s the only way I will eat cottage cheese too...I was wondering can u make fresh whipped cream and make it or will it not work the same as using cool whip? Thank you
I just found some apricot jello while visiting family in Utah over the holidays! I'm going to have to try it with one of the boxes I bought! Yes, you can absolutely use fresh whipped cream!
You can find a variety of interesting jello flavors at international grocery stores! I’ve yet to try one in this salad that I didn’t like!
Can you just add the heavy whipping cream without whipping? I'm wondering if it would expand a bit when added to the other ingredients and chilled? (looking to save a step) Maybe I'll experiment... Seems the Pioneer WOman had a recipe like this that combined yogurt and unwhipped whipping cream...
I am going to serve this for Easter dinner sounds like a fun salad
I make this often with sugar free jello. I usually use strawberries and if I have them, I throw in some blueberries. I've also drained Mandrian oranges and put them in the orange jello.
I've made this forever! We call it GOOP!
How large are the servings?
I just got done making this and it's in the fridge chillin! 😉 I bought a 24oz container of cottage cheese by accident and knew I couldn't eat all that just plain. So I found this recipe and it sounded perfect for the box of pineapple jello I found at Walmart. I've never seen that flavor before. So I used it along with the pineapple and threw a can of mandarin oranges in just to break up all the pineapple flavor. I was thinking that some shredded coconut would taste great in it but I was out. I'll try that next time and maybe use a different flavor of jello and other fruit. Thanks for a great recipe! I'm staying up late just to have some before I go to bed. Lol
We also called it, ‘Pink Stuff.’ Yum!
I use a can of fruit cocktail (light.. in juice so it isn't mushy), and LIME jello! I CRAVE it all the time! Can never wait for it to chill. And usually make myself sick on it! Lol!!!
Lol - I have definitely made myself sick on it before as well because I can't stop eating it!
My grandmother used to make this all the time but she would make it for huge family gatherings. She would add like 4 different flavors of refrigerated jello, chopped pecans and marchino cherries to the crushed pineapple, cool whip and cottage cheese. All time favorites of the family.
My sister in law and I loved this salad. We call it “Pink Sin”, because we only used red jello and it was so good it was sinful. I had forgotten all about this recipe until I stumbled across this one. Thank you for igniting lovely memories of a loved one who has passed on.
A friend gave me this recipe many years ago & it has been on most of our holiday tables since. I usually make a double recipe. I've used strawberry, orange, & lime jello. Strawberry is our favorite. We just call it pink stuff or dry jello salad. It's simple to make and can be made ahead of time.
A question plz. Do u just pour n the jello powder or do u actually make the jello? My girlfriend made this n it was excellent for a gathering. It was a hit. Not enough. I forgot to ask her n then she moved away
Just pour in the jello powder! So easy and surprising, right?
Can you add other fruits etc?
Absolutely! Strawberries, grapes, pineapple, mandarin oranges, raspberries, and other fruits are all fantastic in this salad!
Just a few comments. We LOVE this dish. We have it at almost every family gathering. We call it 'pink stuff' no matter what flavor we make.
We always use the crushed pineapple but if we use cherry or strawberry flavor jello, we add marashino cherries cut in half. If we use orange jello, we add canned mandarin oranges.
We drain the pineapple and squeeze it until as dry as we can get it, then sprinkle the jello on it and mix well. Then let it sit 5 minutes or so before adding the other ingredients. Makes it have a little more body when it's chilled.
Love love love this.
oh yea, we always use small curd cottage cheese.
"the pink stuff" or "the orange stuff" LOL! That was hilarious. I love this salad too and it's great to have the recipe. I added walnuts and once I added marshmallows. Thanks for sharing!
My family loves it! Some people are so hesitant to try it when they see the ingredient list but it really is so good! And it is easy to customize with your own additions. Yum!
is the jello just from the box? you don't need to add water and cook the jello 1st?
Correct! It's just the powder - no adding water or anything.
I have a friend who loves this abomination. She makes it for most of our gatherings since she loves it so much. I call it vomit in a bowl. It is as nasty as it sounds.
But how do you really feel about it, Sandra? LOL. Also, and I'm genuinely curious, if you already knew you hated this food so much, why take the time to look up a blog post about it, scroll to the comments section, and leave a nasty comment about something you don't like - not because you tried the recipe and it didn't work out for you, but just out of long-held personal dislike of the particular food itself? It's not very polite to be so unnecessarily rude and negative about something other people, like your friend, enjoy. You probably hurt her feelings a bit each time she brings this dish to one of your gatherings with your insensitive comment. Just a word of advice.
You're a sick puppy Sandra. I'm sure that all of your so called friends feel the same as I do about you.
Can I make fresh crushed pineapple using your instructions, then use the crushed pineapple in this creamy cottage cheese-jello-cool whip salad? Will the fresh pineapple affect the dry jello and make the salad runny???
I haven't tried it but since this salad doesn't set up quite the same as a regular Jello, I think it would probably be okay.
Why did it come out like soup?? What did I do wrong?
Maybe there was too much pineapple juice? Try draining the pineapple really well, using full fat cottage cheese, and giving the salad time to set up in the fridge.