Layered Jello salad is a classic, easy-to-make dessert that’s always a hit. Serve it up for a weeknight dessert, at family get-togethers, or bring a big tray to a potluck. It’s always well received and so tasty!
Jello is fun, isn’t it? It’s jiggly, you can cut it into fun shapes. It can be manipulated to be just about anything you want it to be. From the old stand-by, fruit in Jello to Jello shots, and even Jello cookies this flavored gelatin confection has so many uses.
One of our favorite uses is making layered Jello salad. It really gets back to the basics of what Jello is all about, which is wiggly, jiggly, sweet fun. This recipe is colorful, sweet, and quite simply, everything we love about Jello.
This layered Jello salad shouldn’t be confused with the classic Jello salad. That’s a completely different animal. This particular recipe shares the name salad with traditional Jello salad, but that’s about all that it shares. We’re going to talk a little about the differences as well as the history of Jello, and then we’ll dive into the recipe.
Layered Jello Salad vs. Traditional Jello Salad
These days, both this type of Jello salad and traditional Jello salad share the word “salad”, but that’s all they share. Layered Jello salad is literally layers of different colored Jello layered atop one another to create a sort of rainbow effect. In fact, this dessert is also called rainbow Jello.
Traditional Jello salad is a completely different thing. Traditional Jello salad is made with flavored gelatin and a variety of different additions. Some of the most common include fruit, cottage cheese, marshmallows, nuts, or pretzels. It can be traced back to a dish called Perfection Salad created by Mrs. John E. Cook which won third prize in a Better Homes and Gardens recipe contest.
History of Jello
Of course, without Jello itself, we wouldn’t even be able to talk about the difference between classic Jello salad and layered Jello salad. So let’s take a very brief look at the history of Jello.
First, it’s important to recognize that Jello is gelatin, and gelatin has been around for thousands of years. Gelatin is a protein produced from collagen extracted from boiled bones, connective tissues, and other such animal products, and it’s been part of food, especially desserts, since the 15th century.
In the beginning, any sort of gelatin-based food from savory to sweet was reserved only for the wealthy. It was a laborious, intensive process to purify the gelatin sheets that were available, so only royalty and the elite used it. Of course, their cooks really used it, not them.
Jello molds became quite popular in New York during the Victorian era, but again, they were reserved only for those who had the money to have their gelatin prepared properly. However, that all changed in 1845.
1845 saw a patent for powdered gelatin that was created by Peter Cooper, an industrialist, who devise a powder that was easy to make and easy to use in cooking. In 1897, Pearle Bixby Wait, a carpenter and cough syrup manufacturer trademarked a gelatin dessert called Jello. This dessert came in strawberry, raspberry, orange, and lemon flavoring.
Of course, we all know that over time, Jello became synonymous with gelatin, and more and more flavors were released. That brings us to today, a time when anyone who refers to gelatin generally calls it Jello, and there are more flavors available than you can shake a stick at.
Mixed Berry Layered Jello Salad
This mixed berry layered Jello salad is always a hit for family dessert, potlucks, or any occasion as much for its look as for its flavor. Layered Jello can have as many colored layers as you’d like, but this particular recipe called for four colors to create a patriotic look for Memorial Day or the 4th of July.
This recipe list is super simple. You only need a few ingredients to create this multi-colored, jiggly dessert recipe. All of the ingredients are readily available at the grocery store. There’s nothing special about them other than the delicious recipe that they create. Here’s what you’ll need.
- Grape Jello
- Blue Raspberry Jello
- Raspberry Jello
- Unflavored Gelatin
- Eagle Brand Milk
- Ready-Whip or Other Whipped Cream
That’s it. It’s just a few ingredients, and four of them are simply little boxes of gelatin. It doesn’t get much easier than that for an ingredient list.
How to Make Layered Jello Salad
Making this layered Jello salad has several steps to it, but they’re all very easy steps. Making this recipe is mostly a matter of simply making Jello and then layering it atop more Jello at the right time. Don’t worry, our recipe tells you those times.
You’ll find the full recipe, complete with amounts and specific directions, at the end of the post, but we’ll be giving you the highlights here so you can see just how easy it is to make.
- Line baking dish with parchment paper.
- Start by making grape Jello and pour it into the dish.
- Make white gelatin and Eagle Brand Milk and pour over grape Jello.
- Make blue raspberry Jello and pour over the white layer.
- Then make another white gelatin mix and layer it over the blue raspberry Jello.
- Make raspberry Jello and layer it over the white gelatin layer.
- Chill and eat!
That’s pretty easy, wouldn’t you say? After all, making Jello is simply a matter of boiling water, and even that process can be made faster by using the microwave!
This layered Jello salad just screams for creativity. In fact, the best thing about this dessert is how incredibly easy it is to switch things up.
When it comes to this dessert, it’s all about the colors. The Jello I chose for this recipe created a patriotic, red, white, and blue look for the coming summer holidays, but you can change that up to fit with any occasion.
Of course, white, red, and green are perfect colors for the Christmas season, creating a lovely dessert that’s perfect for the holiday.
Use orange, grape, and other such colors for Halloween.
You see where we’re going with this. All you need to do to change it up is simply change the Jello flavors to get new colors. It’s really super easy.
Although this recipe is simple to make, there are a few things to keep in mind when constructing it. It all boils down to controlling temperature to ensure that your layers stay layered and not melted into one another.
Let the Jello Cool Just Enough
Don’t let your base layer of Jello get too cold before adding your next layer of dissolved Jello over the top. You want your lower layer to be just warm so that it will stand up to the heat of the next layer without blending into it or melting below it.
Use a Microwave
To make this recipe even easier, you don’t even have to bother with bringing your water to a boil on the stovetop. You can simply measure out your water in a glass liquid measuring cup and microwave it until you see bubbles forming on the bottom.
This is very, VERY important. DO NOT put anything into the hot water when you remove it from the microwave. In some instances, the process of microwaving your water to boiling can cause surface tension on the water. If that is broken, it can cause a splash.
Serving Layered Jello Salad
Serving this dish couldn’t be easier. Simply heat your knife under hot water, and cut out a cube, and serve it up on a plate with a dollop of whipped cream and a berry garnish. It’s simple, but that’s good. The flavors and colors are the stars of the show here.
Storing Layered Jello Salad
As you might expect, this dessert needs to be stored in the refrigerator. Keep it in an air-tight container, and it will last for up to 10 days. However, it’s important to remember that the older Jello gets, the more it will deteriorate, becoming more water over time. I would suggest that you eat this layered Jello salad within a few days.
Try This Layered Jello Salad
This layered Jello salad is easy to make and is always both a visual and tasty treat. It’s the perfect dish for any occasion because all you have to do to change the theme is simply change the colors.
Whether you’re making this dessert for a family dessert or a potluck addition, it’s always a great choice that everyone will love. Try this layered Jello salad, and we’re sure you’ll agree that it’s a big-time winner.
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Layered Jello salad is a classic, easy-to-make dessert that's always a hit. Serve it up for a weeknight dessert, at family get-togethers, or bring a big tray to a potluck. It's always well received and so tasty!
- 1 small box of Grape Jello – 3.4 ounces
- 1 small box of Blue Raspberry Jello – 3.4 ounces
- 1 small box of Raspberry Jello – 3.4 ounces
- Unflavored Gelatin – 2 envelopes
- Eagle-brand Milk – 1/2 cup
- 1 can of Ready-whip – whipped cream
- Fresh Raspberries
Line the bottom of a 9 X 13 dish with Parchment paper.
Make the Grape Jello according to package directions, and pour into the 9 X 13 dish. Place the dish in the refrigerator to set the Jello, about an hour.
Make one envelope of the Un-flavored Gelatin; pour 1/2 cup of water in a medium dish, and sprinkle the envelope of Gelatin over the water, and let it set for 5 minutes, to bloom, or absorb all the water.
Bring another 1/2 cup of water to a boil, and pour over Gelatin, and stir to dissolve.
Pour in 1/2 cup of Eagle-brand Milk, and stir well to combine. Let mixture cool, and remove dish from the refrigerator, and pour over Grape Jello layer, and return dish to refrigerator.
Let white layer set for about an hour until firm. Make the Blue Raspberry Jello, according to box directions, and let cool until just barely warm.
Remove dish from refrigerator, and pour the Blue Raspberry layer over the white layer, and return the dish to the refrigerator.
Let set in the refrigerator for about an hour, or until firm to the touch.
Make the second white layer, exactly like the directions for the first white layer, and pour the 2nd white layer of Gelatin over the Blue Raspberry layer, and place the dish back in the refrigerator until firm to the touch.
When the second white layer is firm, make the Raspberry Jello according to package directions.
Let the Raspberry Jello cool to room temperature, and pour over the white layer.
Place the dish back in the refrigerator, and let the Raspberry layer set, or firm. When the Raspberry layer is completely set (about 2 – 3 hours).
Cut the Jello in large square pieces (3 X 3 inches) and serve topped with Whipped cream, and a fresh Raspberry on top. Enjoy!
Makes approximately 12 to 15 servings