There's always room for Jell-O, especially one as festive and fun as this Triple Layer Vintage Christmas Jell-O Salad with red, white and green layers that are perfect for Christmas dinner!
We serve this fun jello at many of our holiday dinners. Some of our other favorite holiday sides are Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows and Pecans and Easy Southern Cornbread Dressing!
Look, I know it's not cool to like Jell-O, okay? But can we just get over our food snobbery for a second and admit that Jell-O is delicious?
I know it's retro and weird and nobody knows what food group it's in because maybe it's not real food and blah, blah, blah. But I say phooey to all that because honestly, it's just yummy! And I make this triple layer Christmas Jell-O every year, without fail, so why not share it on the blog?
If you want a salad that is "healthier" or "more real", I've got a gorgeous (and scrumptious) Winter Pear, Pomegranate & Swiss Salad with homemade poppyseed dressing that will be right up your alley.
If you are still with me, bless you. We must be kindred spirits.
So, this Christmas Jell-O (as we affectionately call it in my family) is so fun to make and even more fun to eat. It's three wonderful layers of flavor with a plain lime bottom layer, a plain cherry top layer, and a creamy, tangy middle layer of vintage Jell-O weirdness that is a combination of lemon Jell-O, crushed pineapple, marshmallows, cream cheese, and...wait for it...Miracle Whip.
I KNOW, RIGHT?!?! It's wild and zany but I'm just going to embrace the wackiness and confess that the middle layer is my favorite!
The cream cheese adds depth and richness and the tang of the Miracle Whip actually helps cut the sweetness of the Jell-O. I know it sounds weird and maybe even awful, but it's really not, I promise!
And I really ought to stop apologizing for it because I truly do love it and haters gonna' hate anyway, right?
It's like an Italian soda cherry limeade jell-o with the creamy middle and the cherry and lime top and bottom. An Italian soda cherry limemade that jiggles and isn't really a proper salad but since it goes by that name you get to eat it with your dinner even though it probably falls more appropriately in the dessert category. So there!
For reals though, it's easy enough to make. You just prepare your bottom lime layer according to the package directions and let it set in the fridge until firm (by jell-o standards that is).
Then you make a lemon jell-o and dissolve marshmallows, cream cheese, and Miracle Whip in it before adding some crushed pineapple and carefully pouring it over the lime layer.
Then it goes back in the fridge until that layer is set. Lastly, you prepare a package of cherry jell-o and carefully pour that over the middle layer and refrigerate the whole thing until firm and ta-da! you have a wonderful, festive Jell-O perfect for Christmas dinner!
More Fun Jello Recipes
- Coca-Cola Jello Salad
- Cranberry Jello Salad with Cream Cheese Topping
- Orange Jello Salad with Pudding Whipped Cream
- Raspberry Pretzel Salad
- Strawberry Mousse Jello Parfaits
- Layered Rainbow Jello
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.
- 1 large box lime jello or 2 small boxes
- 1 large box cherry jello or 2 small boxes
- 1 small box lemon jello
- 2 cups marshmallows
- 8 ounce cream cheese softened
- ⅔ cup Miracle Whip
- 1 large can crushed pineapple drained
- Prepare lime jello according to package directions. Pour into a 9x13" glass baking dish or individual serving dishes (filling each only ⅓ of the way full) and refrigerate until set.
- Prepare the lemon jello by adding the powdered gelatin to one cup of boiling water and stirring to dissolve. Add marshmallows and stir until they dissolve as well, whisking if necessary. Whisk in the cream cheese and Miracle Whip, breaking up any clumps of cream cheese, until incorporated. Stir in the drained pineapple, then carefully pour over the set lime layer and return the jello to the refrigerate to set.
- Once the middle layer is firm, prepare the cherry jello according to package directions. Carefully pour over the middle layer of jello and return the dish to the refrigerator to set completely. Cut into squares and serve.
Reader questions and reviews
Would you have a jello recipe with cottage cheese in the recipe and whatever flavor and whatever fruit
Hmm, I remember a jello salad which goes something like 1 carton cool whip, 1 carton cottage cheese, 1 package any flavor jell-o and 1 can drained crushed pineapple. You mix that all together and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. I don't know what it's called but it was always a family reunion favorite. Is that what you are thinking, Sharon?
Sharon, we have several variations of that recipe on our website, but here's the basics:
a 16 ounce carton of cottage cheese
an eight serving sized container of jello (regular or sugar free) or you can use two 4 serving sized)
2 cups marshmallows
a can, or cans, of fruit, drained of all liquid ( you want 15 - 28 ounces)
an 8 ounce carton of cool whip
Mix together the cottage cheese and dry jello powder, then stir in the marshmallows and fruit. Finally, put it in the fridge to chill for a while.
1 Carton Cottage Cheese
2 small boxes of pistachio pudding
1 small can of diced pineapple drained
1 small cool whip
Stir all together and chill.
This is delicious and different.
This sounds so good! I need to try it!
We always called that sunshine salad, cause it tastes like a sunny day!
What is cool whip What would we use in Britain?
I think you mean Miracle Whip, Isobel. It's basically mayonnaise and that would be a totally acceptable substitute.
No!! Not Miracle Whip! Cool whip is Whipped Cream! And don't drain the pineapple juice off--it mixes with the pudding and sets up! We have mader this for years!
It actually IS Miracle Whip (or mayo) in this version! I know it sounds crazy and you definitely can make it with whipped cream instead, but it won't have the same signature tang or silky texture!
Can you sub sour cream for the Miracle Whip?
Yes, although it's not a perfect substitution. The flavor would be more subtle and mild and I really do love the tangy, boldness of the Miracle Whip in this jello to offset the sweetness.
I just adore vintage jello salads! They are always so pretty and taste amazing!
What would life have been like without Jello? I had so many Jello molds. The snobs had their aspic. We poorer folk had all the Jello salads and Jello desserts we could want. Never apologize for liking Jello. I love that it's a family tradition.
You can't get more festive than those lovely bright reds and greens! I would love a square 🙂
My husband would go crazy for these layered christmas Jello squares. He keeps on telling me to make some for him and I do have 2 flavors in my pantry. I will see if I can go and get another one to surprise him. 🙂
Love the pretty colors! Perfect for holiday parties right now. This recipe would be such a hit!
Could i make this a day ahead of when i plan to serve it ?
My family used to make a jello mold with strawberry jello then a green layer with made with lime and pineapple juice. This brings back so many memories and looks delicious!
It sure is beautiful! My husband has been wanting me to make jello lately! He has been eating it at night with yogurt for dessert. I am sure he would love this 🙂
This looks so inviting, and fun to try! Looking forward to testing out this recipe.
Hi , I love this recipe. It looks amazing, I am gonna surely try it.
I used watermelon jello and blueberry pomegranate jello for the jello layers. For the fluff layer, I used lime jello, omitted the pineapple, and substituted cool whip for the mayonnaise (Miracle Whip) and it was delicious. Would be great that way for Thanksgiving or Christmas. My family loves jello salads, but didn’t like the flavor with the mayo, or the texture of the pineapple, so this new version was a hit with everyone!!!
What a great variation! I'm going to have to try this combo!
I am in my 70’s and I grew up eating this. My grandmother always mAde it. I made it this last thanksgiving and it was a hit. Mary
I love this jello salad it was traditional, but my recipe called it Ribbon salad.,my mom made it at Christmas I have a copy of it if you are interested ,I would gladly share it.
I would love if you would share! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My mom made this my entire childhood. We call it Christmas jello too! I found your recipe because since she died we haven’t been making it. I say you have fabulous taste. Thanks
That makes me happy to hear!
Just made this today to take to a friend . It has always been a must have at our Christmas get together. Unfortunately not doing that this year. Thanks for posting it.
So I am old. My family started making this in the 1950s, and have made it for every family occasion since. It has undergone some creative revisions for occasions other than Christmas over the years. My brother was the most creative and I miss his variations (We lost him in 2012) We had grape and orange layers for Halloween with mandarin oranges instead of pineapple, blue raspberry and red layers for the Fourth of July, etc. etc. Once my sister had Thanksgiving with her neighbors in Minneapolis, and they told her to bring whatever she wanted. Since she would not be home and have our traditional dishes, she decided to take (what we called "Velvet Salad" all my life). It got a new name at that dinner. This was in 2015, and by then this was a "vintage" recipe.... not in their usual fare. One of the teenage kids said, "What the hell is THIS?" We have laughed about it since and occasionally used that as its name instead of Velvet Salad. Sorry for the long, rambling comment, but your post brought back many fond memories......
Your comment about the teen made me laugh out loud. I love that you have such fond memories of this dish!
I lost my recipe for the Christmas salad it was made with crushed pecans in one of the layers I think it might have been in the lime, first layer, does anyone have the recipe???Please???
I am trying to make this ahead for Thanksgiving. My Mom made this and my Son requested it but my attempt looks pitiful!!
I poured on my top cherry layer and much of the lemon layer has floated to the top. What did I do wrong???
I must do it again
Hi Kaye! If you have trouble with your lemon layer floating to the top when you pour on the cherry layer, then there are two main things for next time. First, make sure to let the cherry layer cool completely so it's not hot when you pour it on. Also, try pouring it over a spoon or flat spatula to spread out the liquid so it doesn't drill a hole into the layer below. The second thing is to make sure that the middle layer is fully set before adding the top cherry layer. I apologize for not getting back to you sooner on this - we were traveling out of the country and had terrible internet!
…..And I haven’t even made it yet!
Love the Recipe❤️🙏🙂😋
This is probably a dumb question, but when doing the lemon layer, you add the marshmallows, cream cheese, and miracle whip and dissolve. Then add drained pineapple while it’s still hot? Do you not add the cold water to this layer before pouring over the first layer?
Not a dumb question! No, I don't add additional water to this layer because it's loose enough by the time you add the other ingredients to it. And yes, you add the drained pineapple while it's still warm.
Thank you, Amy! I’m making this for Christmas this year. My grandkids will love it!😊
We have had this Christmas jello every year I have been alive. Our recipe has cool whip also incorporated into the middle layer along with 1/2 c chopped pecans. Thank you for showing others have this tradition also!
I love the idea of adding chopped pecans!