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!

creamy strawberry cottage cheese jello in a cup and in a bowl with fresh strawberries

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.

An image of a bowl of fluffy pink cottage cheese jello salad.

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.

An image of a bowl of strawberry jello salad with cottage cheese, garnished with strawberry halves.
An image of a bowl of fluffy pink strawberry jello salad, garnished with strawberry halves.

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.
An image of the ingredients for making cool, creamy cottage cheese 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.

  1. 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.
  2. Then fold in a tub of Cool Whip until combined and pop it in the fridge for an hour!
An image of cottage cheese, crushed pineapple, and strawberry jello gelatin in a bowl.
An image of cool whip being added to a bowl of cottage cheese, jello, and pineapple for an easy summer dessert salad.

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

Why does my jello salad get watery?

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.

What fruits go best with cottage cheese?

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

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Strawberry Cottage Cheese Jello Salad

4.79 from 79 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 5 minutes
Chilling Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
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!


  • 1 small (3-ounce) box powdered jello, any flavor
  • 1 (15-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 (16-ounce) carton cottage cheese
  • 1 (8-ounce) container 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.


Calories: 170kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 277mg | Potassium: 156mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 156IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 87mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. linda l neece says:

    can you make a day ahead?

    1. Amy says:

      Yes, you can make it one day in advance.

    2. Jasmine Maher says:

      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.

  2. Elaine says:

    How many servings would you guess?

    1. Amy says:

      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!).

  3. MaryAnn says:

    Can you use sugar free jello?

    1. Amy says:


  4. Rachael says:

    I used orange jello powder, half as much cottage cheese, and accidentally got pineapple tidbits rather than crushed, but it turned out amazing!

  5. Edie says:

    Made this dessert for our book club meeting. I used sugar free jello and lite cool Whip. It was a big hit. 

  6. Jb says:

    My mom and I have both always made this with fruit cocktail. Love this stuff!

  7. Bonnie B. says:

    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!

  8. Michelle says:

    "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!

    1. Amy says:

      LOL - I love that name!

    2. Jasmine Maher says:

      We call it orange fluff!  Been eating it for years 

  9. Meredith says:

    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!!!

    1. Nancy Straley says:

      Great recipe--it's a piece of cake to make!!!

      1. Sherrie says:

        5 stars
        We have always loved this! Now I want to make some!

  10. Laureen Cortese says:

    Just made this tonight I can't wait for it to chill so I can have some . following you now thank you .

  11. roger says:

    Jell-o reads point 3 oz

    your directions read 3 oz?

    1. Amy says:

      Hmm, I just double checked and both the recipe and the box of jello in my cupboard say 3 ounces, not point 3 ounces.

    2. Patrice says:

      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.

      1. Stan Goddard says:

        Make the jello first?, and let set before folding? cottage cheese, pineapple and cool whip

        1. Emily says:

          You just use the powdered jello like in the picture. Do NOT prepare it with water!

  12. Angie chandler says:

    just made I've had it a long time ago at church potluck....loved it so much.. tks for the recipe

  13. Heath says:

    Have you ever combined 2 jello flavors ?

    1. Amy says:

      I have not, but that sounds like an interesting idea! Like a fruit punch flavored version or something!

  14. Carol says:

    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!

  15. Cindy says:

    I used cut fresh strawberries and whipped heavy cream instead of cool whip. Turned out so good.

  16. Sandra says:

    Do you mix the jello  as the package direction are with water?

    1. Amy says:

      No, it's just the gelatin powder that gets added to the salad.

  17. Anna says:

    How long is it good for in the fridge? 

    1. Amy says:

      About 3-4 days.

  18. Franci says:

    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.

    1. Amy says:

      I'm glad it brings back such fond memories!

  19. Stan Goddard says:

    Make the jello first?, and let set before folding? cottage cheese, pineapple and cool whip

    1. Amy says:

      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!

      1. Dan says:

        Yup that's all I do.

  20. Linda M Gavin says:

    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.

  21. Norma says:

    I wonder if it would be all right to use fresh pineapple since it is not like jello that has to set up?

    1. Amy says:

      That's a great idea! I'm sure it would be fine to use fresh pineapple with this salad!

  22. Dan says:

    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.

  23. Keith Clinton Green Jr says:

    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!

  24. Scarlette says:

    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!

  25. Brenda Spain says:

    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’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

    1. Amy says:

      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!

      1. Shaune says:

        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!

      2. Lori says:

        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...

  26. Martha says:

    I am going to serve this for Easter dinner sounds like a fun salad

  27. Alison says:

    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.

  28. Eileen says:

    I've made this forever! We call it GOOP!

  29. Ronna says:

    How large are the servings?

  30. Janie Prestigiacomo says:

    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

  31. Melanie says:

    We also called it, ‘Pink Stuff.’ Yum! 

  32. Deanne E Labayen says:

    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!!!

    1. Amy says:

      Lol - I have definitely made myself sick on it before as well because I can't stop eating it!

  33. Stephanie Hodge says:

    5 stars
    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. 

  34. Gillie says:

    5 stars
    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.

  35. Chris Kaufman says:

    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.

  36. Patsy L says:

    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

    1. Amy says:

      Just pour in the jello powder! So easy and surprising, right?

  37. Gayle says:

    5 stars
    Can you add other fruits etc?

    1. Amy says:

      Absolutely! Strawberries, grapes, pineapple, mandarin oranges, raspberries, and other fruits are all fantastic in this salad!

  38. Carol Bennett says:

    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.

  39. GG says:

    "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!

    1. Amy says:

      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!

  40. Francine says:

    is the jello just from the box? you don't need to add water and cook the jello 1st?

    1. Amy says:

      Correct! It's just the powder - no adding water or anything.

  41. Sandra Lewis says:

    1 star
    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.

    1. Amy says:

      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.

    2. Pat says:

      5 stars
      You're a sick puppy Sandra. I'm sure that all of your so called friends feel the same as I do about you.

    3. Maj says:

      5 stars
      Ugly much?

  42. Cheryl says:

    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???

    1. Amy says:

      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.

  43. pamela Boles says:

    Why did it come out like soup?? What did I do wrong?

    1. Amy says:

      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.

  44. Jeannette says:

    5 stars
    Always love this dessert. Sometimes I use different flavors of jello.

    1. Amy says:

      One of our favorites too. It's a crazy combo but it works!

  45. Danyellel says:

    5 stars
    Great recipe. Super easy! Who did want to ask though, every time I make this salad whether it's the strawberry or the orange variation the cottage cheese it turns into hard dry little balls. Am I doing something wrong? I follow everything exactly. I use small curd cottage cheese I would think that would be better but it always seems to make the chunks hard.

  46. Carmen says:

    I made this recipe according to the listed ingredients. I used 10 cartons of Jell-O, because the ingredients listed "3 oz Jell-O", and a standard carton of Jell-O is 0.3 oz. It would have been nice if the quantity had been listed correctly. This was a complete waste of all my ingredients.

    1. Amy says:

      Sorry this didn't work out for you. Did you use sugar-free jello, by any chance? Because one box of regular jello is definitely 3 ounces (I just double checked).

  47. Vela LaCasse says:

    This recipe is so easy and very tasty. Please let me know how many ounces per serving. Thanks 🙏🏻

    1. Amy says:

      I would say close to 6 ounces per serving.

  48. Kye Ann says:

    5 stars
    Delicious, just as I remember it.