Home » Blog » FOOD » Desserts & Sweet Treats » Mandarin Orange Jello Salad + Video

Mandarin Orange Jello Salad + Video

· · · ·

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on a link and/or make a purchase, I may be paid a small commission at no additional cost to you. Additionally, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my Disclosure page for more information.

Mandarin Orange Jello Salad tastes like an orange Dreamsicle ice cream treat. Bright citrus flavor with a creamy, mousse-like texture, it’s a sweet addition to any meal.  

Today I am sharing a longtime Family Favorite recipe – Mandarin Orange Jello Salad (tastes like a Dreamsicle!).  My sister-in-law (Hi Cheryl!) shared this little gem with me many years ago.

closeup of bowl of mandarin orange jello salad on a wooden cutting board

Want to Save This Recipe?

Enter your email & I’ll send it to your inbox. Plus, get great new recipes from me every week!

Save Recipe
By submitting this form, you consent to receive emails from A Reinvented Mom

My family loves this salad. A LOT! I can’t even begin to guess how many times I’ve made it over the years. I love this orange jello salad so much that I created a Strawberry Jello Salad – it’s divine!

It’s a mainstay at our holiday and special occasion meals. And I’ve also prepared it for countless potlucks and parties. 

And sometimes I make it “just because”. You know, those times when a family member requests something ever so nicely. It’s all about keeping your people happy, right?

Blue bowl filled with Mandarin Orange Jello Salad | A Reinvented Mom #jellosalad

Should I serve it as part of the meal or as a dessert?

This question has sparked many debates. Like similar Midwestern (and Southern) dishes, this jello salad with mandarin oranges is considered a salad. Perhaps there’s less guilt associated with eating something with “salad” in the name? 

But this is a sweet salad. Not to be confused with a plate-of-greens-and-veggies salad. 

And it always (always!) sparks a debate as to when to serve the dish. Should you serve it as part of the meal? Or serve it as a dessert? 

Traditionally we’ve served it as part of the meal. But you can be a rebel and serve it as a dessert if that’s how you want to roll.

labeled ingredients for mandarin orange jello salad

Ingredients Needed for Orange Fluff Salad:

You’ll need just a handful of common ingredients to prepare this recipe (scroll to the bottom for the full recipe and a printable recipe card): 

  • orange gelatin
  • cook & serve vanilla pudding
  • water
  • whipped topping – thawed
  • mandarin oranges – drained

How to Make Mandarin Orange Jello Salad

collage of photos of ingredients before and after cooking

Start by combining the pudding and gelatin mixes with water & cook until clear (about 5 minutes). The mixture will be “cloudy” in appearance when you first start. As it cooks, the liquid becomes a clear orange (not cloudy) color.

cooked gelatin mixture in a clear bowl with a bowl of oranges in the background

Pour gelatin mixture in a bowl and refrigerate until it’s set up. I usually make this the night before and let it chill overnight.

collage of photos showing whipped topping being added to the cooked gelatin mixture

Combine chilled gelatin mixture with whipped topping. A potato masher works great for this step. Add mandarin oranges and stir gently. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


  • Instant pudding mix is not recommended for this recipe.
  • Make sure you drain the oranges before adding.
  • I use a potato masher to combine the gelatin mixture & whipped topping.
  • You can use fresh whipped cream but keep in mind the whipped cream will break down faster than the prepared whipped topping. Leftover jello salad may separate and become watery if using fresh whipped cream.
  • You can add a second can of mandarin oranges to up the citrus flavor. 
  • Swap out for strawberry gelatin and make Strawberries & Cream Salad.
clear glass bowl filled with orange fluff salad

Helpful tools to make the Mandarin Orange Salad with Cool Whip recipe

Sometimes the right tools can make or break your cooking experience. These are the tools I used to make quick work of the orange jello salad with cool whip recipe:

Whisk – I use this for cooking the mix. It’s the perfect size for dressings & sauces.  Dishwasher safe with sealed barrel.
Prep bowls – This set is versatile enough for most kitchen tasks.
Hand held potato masher – I use this to combine the pudding mixture & Cool Whip.

Can I freeze Orange Jello Salad?

We don’t recommend freezing because the jello will break down.

Can I prepare this in advance?

Yes! We usually make the base a day or two ahead of time and store in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to serve combine the base with the whipped topping and oranges as directed.

More vintage fruit salads & sides:

**Pin Orange Jello Salad Recipe for Later**

clear bowl filled with mandarin orange salad and text overlay

Originally posted in 2014 this post was updated 11/17/17 (post & photos updated), 5/27/19 (photos & post updated), 11/4/20 (video) and 4/19/22 (post & photos).

A Reinvented Mom logo.

If you make one of our recipes, please leave a star rating or comment below. And don’t forget to tag us with #areinventedmom – we love to see your creations! For more great content follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest & Yummly.

Bowl of Orange Salad | A Reinvented Mom #jellosalad

Mandarin Orange Jello Salad

Mandarin Orange Jello Salad tastes like a Dreamsicle. Bright orange flavor with a creamy, mousse-like texture. Will you serve it as a side dish or a dessert?
4.54 from 228 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Chilling: 4 hours
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 176kcal


  • 6 ounce package orange gelatin
  • 2 3 ounce packages vanilla cook and serve pudding mix
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip
  • 16 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained


  • Combine orange jell-o, vanilla pudding mix and hot water in a large saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  • Continue boiling (and stirring) until mixture turns a clear orange color (about 5 minutes).
  • Pour into a large bowl and chill overnight. Alternatively, chill until set (about 4 hours).
  • Combine Cool Whip with jell-o/pudding mixture (a potato masher works well for this step).
  • Add mandarin oranges and stir gently.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve.


  • I don’t recommend using instant pudding mix.
  • Plan ahead – needs to chill.
  • Nutritional information is provided as a reference, using an online calculator. We recommend verifying the information independently.
Tried this recipe?Mention @AReinventedMom or tag #areinventedmom

Nutritional Estimate

Calories: 176kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 128mg | Potassium: 123mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 407IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is provided as a reference, using an online calculator. We recommend verifying the information independently for accuracy.

***Want to make Orange Jello Salad? Pin the recipe for later.***

Top view of a bowl of Mandarin Orange Jello Salad | A Reinvented Mom #orangejellosalad

Similar Posts


  1. Too delicious, if that’s possible! Everyone loves it when I make this. Perfect for all occasions.

  2. Hi, I made this with sugar free Jello, sugar free cook and serve lemon pudding, and sugar free Cool Whip. WOW, the lemon pudding made the Orange flavor Jello really bright! Didn’t taste the lemon at all, just delicious orange creamsicle. Yum Yummmmmmmmm!

    1. I’ll have to try it that way, have some people that have to watch there sugar intake. Thanks!!!!

  3. I’m excited to try this wonderful pin, could you possibly tell me how many pts. It is?
    Thank you

  4. Delish!! I loved creamsicles as a kid and this is a delightful dessert in a bowl that reminds me of them. Love it!

  5. I was wondering, would it still work if the mixture doesn’t turn clear? I was boiling the stuff for about seven minutes and it’s still not clear.

    1. The only time I’ve had trouble with the mixture not turning clear is when I accidentally used instant pudding and it didn’t set up properly.

  6. Well, I don’t see very well without my reading glasses, I put coconut cook and serve pudding instead of vanilla, I have it in the fridge cooling, we will see, might be a good surprise.

  7. mine came out rather sticky, not fluffy. I’m not sure why. it taste good, but its the consistency of goo

  8. Made this last night it’s very light and refreshing and simple love it

  9. I make it as is but with sugar free jello. It makes a lot, but it’s a favorite in my home. It gets requested for every BBQ. Thanks for the great recipe!

      1. Yes thank you my husband is type 1 and this way he can enjoy a delicious dessert ❣️ Wishing you a very Merry Christmas .

        1. Did you find a sugar free cook and serve vanilla pudding? Making it for my type 1 husband too! Thanks!

    1. Ok need sugar free cook and serve vanilla pudding but can’t find it, is there an alternative? Making for a type 1 diabetic, thanks!

      1. I’ve found the sugar free cook and serve pudding on Amazon. It’s a bit pricey, but I try to keep it on hand so I can make desserts such as this one for my family dinners. Works great with sugar free orange jello.

      1. I have always made this with Tapioca cook and serve just 1 box of 3oz size and it turns out great. Mine didn’t turn clear either.

    1. Yes you can! While the jello mixture will keep in the frig for 1-2 days, I recommend waiting to add the whipped topping until you’re ready to serve.

  10. If everyone would carefully read the recipe, and follow it carefully , it turns out perfect. I just made it today for a big family get together . I give it 5 stars.

    1. OK, I’m horrible at directions sorry but do I use only the powder of the vanilla pudding or make the pudding?

  11. I made a mistake and added the second box of pudding after chilling the first mix of pudding and jello. I made the second box of pudding with a 50/50 mix of water and milk. It turned out great. Actually won a jelly pudding contest with it.

  12. Recipe looks good but directions are not complete and no way would attempt to make this without exact directions. How much water? Duh? When do you add whipped topping?

    1. The full recipe, including quantities and instructions, is located within the recipe card at the bottom of the post. I hope this helps!

    2. Recipe states 4 cups of water. Whipped cream is added the next day or at least 4hours after putting in fridge according to instructions. DT

  13. The page you open up says weight watchers. This recipe page says nothing about it. Do you have the weight watcher recipe? Thanks

  14. Well this interesting little recipe is like combining two my mom made but leaving out “the healthy”.

    Cottage Cheese.. (don’t use the pudding)

    Tub of cottage cheese… ( think it’s 16 oz)
    Large box of orange jello (do not use diet jello)
    Mandarin oranges drained.. (small can or half a plastic container)
    Cool whip large tub

    Combine the cottage cheese and jello and stir until jello melts. Dump in mandarin oranges.. fold in Cool whip.. chill 2 hours.

  15. I grew up with this at table, though it also had a box of cook and serve tapioca, pineapple tid bits and small bits of cream cheese. Instead of water we used the juices of the canned fruit to bump up flavor
    Thanks for the inspiration to make it, been a while.

    1. I haven’t tried freezing this so I can’t say for sure, Larry. If you give it a try please swing back and let me know how it turned out.

  16. I have had a recipe for years that calls for 1 small box of orange jello, 1 small box instant vanilla pudding. Add 2 cups water, bring to a boil and boil for 2 1/2 minutes. Refrigerate over night and stir in cool whip with a mixer and then add the oranges. May add small marshmallows. Turns out great! It is a family favorite!

    1. I haven’t tried it myself, but I think it would work. I would recommend using smaller oranges (like Cuties) and keeping the orange pieces intact. The salad may not hold as well, so plan to eat within a day or two.

  17. I do a similar salad, but I don’t put in the pudding. Just 1 large box of orange jello, make according to package directions, chill about 3-4 hours until firmly set, add (1) 15 oz can mandarin oranges (drained) into the jello and mix with hand mixer until mandarins are chopped up, then stir in (1) 8 ounce container of cool whip. And chill for 3 hours and you have a great orange fluff salad. Really good.

  18. In an effort to make this sugar free I used one small box of sf orange jello, one small box of sf instant vanilla pudding mix, one large jar drained mandarin oranges, and one 8oz sf cool whip. I combined them all right in the bowl together. So delicious!

    1. I made it with SF instant pudding & drained the large can of mandarin oranges. It’s good, but so dry. I got the recipe off the WW recipe site, I actually added a carton of Greek non fat yogurt & more SF cool whip. Next time, I’m going to use 1/2 of the juice from the mandarin oranges, mix it all together & see if it needs any more of the juice incorporated into it. It taste good, just not lite & fluffy like I expected.

    1. What would make this salad running I drain all fruits, and I have made this salad for a very long time, this happened last year. Can you help me? my name is Melva Davis thank you

  19. Followed the recipe as written and results were good, but not as ‘orangey’ as I thought it would be. I think next time I will try with only one box of pudding mix and maybe two boxes of orange jello, or add another can of mandarin oranges. Has anyone tried this or have a suggestion for a lighter, more orange, results?

    1. The recipe will work with 2 small orange gelatins & 1 large cook & serve pudding. This will boost the orange flavor a bit, too. An extra can of oranges is OK, too. Hope this helps, Tami.

    2. I use one large box or two small boxes or orange jello mix. No pudding. Mix jello powder with 500 ml container of cottage cheese a tub of cool whip 2 cans mandarin oranges drained and one can crushed pineapple drained. Done! No waiting overnight for jello to thicken. Save a few of the oranges to garnish

  20. Please update the “Clear “ portion !! I used the correct pudding, but I should not have to read comments to find out how long to boil for..
    I will come back and rate after..
    Thank You

      1. Thank you , I just saw that because I’m making another serving, as this was incredible.!!!!! This time I’m adding some pineapple bites..
        Looking forward to more fabulous desserts from you…

    1. Dang it and I accidently bought the dang instant pudding and only one box of each because theres just the two of us and it would of been way to much so I halfed the recipe. So I’m going to have to hope it turns out at least halfway decent we will see and let you know what happens.

  21. Reading through the comment about the “clear orange” after stirring forever. You should probably mention 2 things: don’t use the instant pudding and should only stir/boil for about 5 minutes. That being said, will it still work with instant pudding?

    1. I haven’t had any luck using instant pudding mix. Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll upload photos of the “cloudy/clear” mixture – hopefully that clears up any confusion.

  22. I made this for my husband and served it at his birthday party it was a huge it. I had to share the recipe with several family members and it is a staple in our house now. Thank you so much for sharing.

  23. This recipe was wonderful!! I halved it, because it was just for me. I also added some coconut and chopped pecans, kinda like ambrosia. Your directions were very easy to follow!! Thank you, I will definitely make this again!!♥

  24. I do a version of this but rather than pudding, I use 8oz of cream cheese and once the jello is dissolved and while still hot i blend in the cream cheese. Then refrigerate until soft set, fold in whipped cream and oranges and then refrigerate until set. It ends up having an almost mousse like consistency.

    1. I also make the jello and cream cheese without the whip topping. I make the jello (lime or orange or lemon) with boiling water and add the softened cream cheese to the hot jello stirring with a whisk until the cream cheese is throughly
      mixed in. Then I add the juice of a can of pineapple plus water to make two cups of cold liquid and stir that in. I let the jello set in the refrigerator until it becomes partially set then mix in the pineapple pieces. I use the small pa pieces rather than the chunks. Put back into the refrigerator until it’s completely set.

    2. I love your idea. I think I will use mascarpone instead of cream cheese and prepare it like you did. Sounds fabulous!

  25. I think you need to change your recipe to state that orange jello can never become clear and perhaps you are trying to say that after the contents boil and become one without lumps that you can remove it from the stove. Or else you will be stirring till the end of time.

    1. The mixture goes from “cloudy” when first mixed to “clear” after it has boiled. This is a noticeable difference in appearance & doesn’t have anything to do with lumps. Please note it’s a clear orange color, not clear like water. I hope this helps!

  26. Can I have a recipe with actual sizes please . I have large box of jello and pudding . I have read 4 cups of water but wonder if that would be 8 cups with the large size? Seems like the
    Mandarin orange juice could be added to the water for a little more flavor.
    Thank you

    1. This recipe calls for (1) 6 oz box of jello, (2) 3 oz boxes of pudding mix and 4 cups of water.

  27. Please, if you are combining vanilla pudding with a jello, how can it become clear after cooking? The pudding will never become “clear”. Please explain.

    1. Great question, Maryann! When you initially combine the vanilla pudding with the jello, the mixture is “cloudy”. As it cooks you will see a noticeable difference in appearance as it changes to a “clear” appearance. I hope this helps!

  28. Hi there! I’m excited to make this recipe for Easter tomorrow. How much water do I use? Thanks in advance!

  29. Hi, I was wondering what size can of mandarin oranges did you use for this recipe? You mentioned large in the recipe, how many ounces? Thank you. Rose

    1. You’ll want to use a 15 ounce can of oranges. I’ve also used 2 of the smaller cans if that’s what I have on hand.

    1. So sorry this didn’t turn out for you, Betty. The only time I’ve had this problem is when I used instant pudding mix instead of cook & serve mix.

    1. You can serve Orange Salad for lunch or dinner. It’s great with ham, burgers and grilled meats. I hope that helps, Yadira.

  30. Hello, I’m so excited to make this for our Thanksgiving party tomorrow! I hope You can answer this before I make it later today. I wanted to know if you can double this, or if its better to make 2 batches instead? Thanks so much and Happy Thanksgiving, Diane

    1. I think this should double easily. It will likely take a little longer to cook and set up than a single batch. I’d love to hear your results, Diane. Happy Thanksgiving!

  31. I know it says chill overnight but how long is acceptable if you were going to make it for a function today?

  32. do you add the liquid from the mandarins orgnges also in the can?I assume no but am just making sure….

  33. I tried this recipe with Strawberry Jello and fresh strawberries! Wow..so yummy..thank you for sharing this recipe!

    1. I’m so glad you liked this recipe! I love changing it up when fresh fruits are in season, too. The raspberry version is bliss on a spoon. Thanks for stopping by Tanya!

  34. You had me at Creamsicle! This looks so good! Thank you so much for linking up at Tasty Tuesday! Your recipe has been pinned to the Tasty Tuesday Pinterest board! Please join us again this week!

  35. I’m totally in love with this! Yummy! Pinned and tweeted. We appreciate you being a part of our party, and I hope to see you on tonight at 7 pm. We love partying with you!
    Happy Monday! Lou Lou Girls

  36. Our family will love this salad it looks delicious. Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you have a great weekend and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating