Mandarin Orange Jello Salad with Cool Whip is an easy fruit salad recipe perfect for a potluck dinner and holiday dinners. A family favorite side dish and one of the most requested salad recipes for any special occasion!
When I was going through my grandma's recipe collection the other day, I found this recipe for orange Jello salad.
Grandma's Mandarin orange salad recipe is similar to the Strawberry Jello fruit salad I made last year for Easter, except that you use orange flavored gelatin instead of strawberry. And, instead of adding sliced strawberries, you add mandarin orange slices!
Whenever there's a holiday, there's a family dinner, right? I always like to include a couple of vintage recipes with our holiday dinners because I'm a sucker for retro recipes, and I'm just sentimental like that. Plus, my family loves them!
This orange Jello dessert salad is super simple and only has 4 ingredients. It's made with Cool Whip, mandarin orange slices and, of course, the Jell-O gelatin and water.
I've seen some mandarin orange recipes that add cottage cheese and crushed pineapple, but this one is about as simple as you can get!
You only need a few simple ingredients for this Jello orange fluff salad recipe. What you don't already ave at home can be found online or in your local grocery store:
- Large box of orange Jello gelatin, or any brand -- 6oz package
- Water -- hot and cold
- Cool Whip -- or any whipped topping
- Can Mandarin oranges, drained
How to Make Orange Jello Salad
First, pour your orange Jello mix into a large bowl or casserole dish.
Then, measure out 2 cups water to heat up. I just use a glass liquid measuring cup, and microwave the water for 2 minutes.
Pour the hot water into the bowl, and mix until the orange gelatin is completely dissolved. You can use an electric mixer or a wire wisk for this.
Once the Jello is dissolved, measure out 2 more cups of water, but leave it cold. Pour the water into the bowl, and mix.
Put the Jello and water mixture in the refrigerator, and leave it for about 1 hour. When it's partially set, take it out.
Mix the partially set Jello on low using a hand mixer, until it thickens up.
When it's thick, stir in the Cool Whip. Mix well until the Jello and Cool Whip are completely combined.
After mixing, fold in the canned Mandarin oranges. Make sure that you've drained the liquid from the oranges, first.
Transfer the fluff mixture into a casserole dish, or whatever dish you want to serve the orange Jello fruit salad in.
Refrigerate the salad until it's set. It takes about 2 to 4 hours to fully set.
To serve easy Mandarin orange salad, just take it out of the refrigerator, and your delicious side dish is ready to go!
I like to decorate this sweet salad with a dollop of Cool Whip and some additional Mandarin oranges. Isn't is so cute?!
Serve your orange Jello fluff in dessert or ice cream dishes, or just set the dish out on the family dinner table and watch it disappear!
Personally, I'd say that this is more of a dessert than a salad since it's on the sweet side and almost tastes like an orange creamsicle! But that's just me being picky. It really doesn't matter what you call it, as long as you and your family enjoy it!
You can serve Orange Jello fruit salad at Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas or at any kind of potluck dinner, church supper or picnic. I usually think of this as more of a spring or summer recipe, but like I said, it's a classic side dish for any holiday or family gathering.
Tips for Success
- Drain the oranges, pat dry and keep them in the fridge until you're ready to use them
- Cut the oranges in half if you want smaller pieces of fruit
- Use a hand mixer for best results, but a wire whisk works, too
- Let orange salad chill 2 to 4 hours or for best results
There a couple ways to customize this easy Mandarin orange Jello salad.
For more of a layered salad, add the Cool Whip right after mixing the Jello with water, instead of letting the mixture partially set first. When you mix everything together at the same time, the fluff salad separates a but as it chills, leaving some nice, distinct layers.
Mini marshmallows are a great option for this Jello salad. Just add a cup or two-- depending on how much you want-- after you fold in the Mandarin oranges.
Whipped topping, maraschino cherries, and orange sugar crystals will also look great on top of your salad!
How to Store
Store any leftover orange fluff Jello salad in an airtight container or covered in plastic wrap. Keep it refrigerated and it should last 3 to 4 days.
I don't recommend freezing the salad as it would separate.
Orange Jello Fruit Salad
- 1 6-ounce box orange Jell-O gelatin, or any brand
- 2 cups hot water
- 1 ¾ cups cold water
- 1 8-ounce container whipped topping, Cool Whip
- 1 15-ounce can Mandarin oranges, drained
- Add jello to a large bowl or casserole dish, and mix in the hot water until powder dissolves
- Mix in the cold water, and place in refrigerator for about 1 hour or until partially set
- When jello is partially set, mix with hand mixer on low (or wire whisk) until mixture thickens, and stir in Cool Whip, and mix well
- Fold in Mandarin orange slices, and place in refrigerator until ready to serve. Keep refrigerated
Nutrition information is estimated. Please do your own calculation to fit special diets.
More Jello salad recipes
- Strawberry Jello fruit salad
- Lime Jello fruit salad
- Pistachio salad or Watergate salad
- Strawberry Pretzel salad
Recipe first published in 2018 and updated in 2022.
Of all the different flavors of fluff salads, this Mandarin orange Jello salad recipe might just be my favorite recipe! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do in my home!
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I made this today and it was fantastic. I did add a bit to it. I used sugar free jello to start, added a packet of gelatin. Added 2 5 oz cans mandarin oranges, 8 oz can pineapple chunks drained, some sweeten flaky coconut, mini marshmallows. Mixed that all up and added toasted pecans when I was ready to serve. I had 3 helpings. My new favorite I will make forever. 😉
I made this with the Grandkids. What a huge hit. Going to try the other kinds mentioned.
Angel Matthews says
I’m looking for a very similar recipe my mom used to make. It had jello, cool whip, shredded cheddar cheese , pineapple and pecans. Any ideas?
I believe it's called Sawdust Salad. I don't have the recipe, but a quick search should pull up a recipe. Hope this helps!
So I made this— my mom used to make it— and mine didn’t turn out fluffy at all. It was jiggly like jello. I used the 6oz jello package. And 2 cups of hot water and 1 and 3/4 cups of cold water. What went wrong???
Did you add the Cool Whip? That's what makes it fluffy.
Jackie Grendel says
How far ahead can I make this?
A day or 2 ahead of time would be fine.
Trish S says
I am a little upset because I read your ingredients as 1 and 3/4 cup cold water. You might want to take that 1 out of there so nobody else will think what I did.
It is 1 and 3/4 cups cold water. If there was a problem, did you use the larger 6 ounce box of regular Jello?
Beverly in Mississippi says
I just made this for Thanksgiving and we all loved it.
It is very refreshing. I'm sure it would be a good summer salad, but it is good any time of year and popular too!
Thank you so much, Beverly! I'm glad everyone loved it!
My grandson loves this. Our family calls this yum yum
Sounds like my kids! Thank you so much!
Becky Berna says
Asking this as I write! Was one of my Moms go to recipes and she’s been gone now 13 years. Always reminds me of her. I use the juice from the can of oranges as well as part of my liquid. Wonder if you could use some orange pop?? Hmmmmm....
Becky Berna says
Making not asking! Lol
I wondered what you meant! 🙂
Family recipes are priceless! The pop would probably make it fizzy -- I'd love to know what happens!
Hello, just wanted to say I tried this salad, it's good without the pineapple too (my nemasis is crushed pineapple) well, especially crushed, but I tried it both ways n used tiny bites of fresh pineapple instead... also you can use 1/2 a cup softened cream cheese, mixed with 1/2 cup sour cream, & 1/2 cup cool whip, that's creamier... I noted the water amount was off in the recipe for 1 box of jello... Ohhh & my kids made me throw in mini marshmallows last time, so yummy, you can try regular or the colored fruit flavor mini marshmallows, this is my gift, I find recipes I like n then alter them 25 ways, giggle, just thought I'd share... <3 Angel
I needed something easy but delicious too!! I had forgotten about this refreshing recipe, and when I found it again I did not need to look further!!! THIS recipe is a keeper, always has been!!
Thanks so much, Kirsten. We love it, too! 🙂
Miz Helen says
Hope you had a wonderful weekend and thanks so much for sharing your special post with us at Full Plate Thursday! Have a great week and come back soon!
Salads like these are my favorite! Love that you made it oranges! YUM!
I made a strawberry one last year, but this one tastes like a creamsicle. 🙂
Brings back childhood memories! I love everything about this!
Thanks, Karlynn. I'm a sucker for family recipes! 🙂
Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert says
Such a great flavor! My son definitely love this!
I can already see my kids eating the whole batch at once.
Mine definitely would if they could! 🙂
Jacque Hastert says
This reminds me of my Grandma's and I am loving it 🙂
Allyson Zea says
This salad is my favorite in the spring!
Amy @ Little Dairy on the Prairie says
You have my full attention with this salad! It is calling my name!