Mandarin Orange Cream Salad


This Mandarin Orange Cream Salad is the perfect summer side dish, so pretty and refreshing! Bite size chunks of mandarin oranges in a creamy dressing with slivered almonds. It’s such a wonderful combination, especially when eaten fresh and cold. I’m a big fan of salads that are colorful and this one certainly fits the bill. They’re incredibly easy to prepare too.

Mandarin Orange Salad Recipe

Mandarin Orange Salad is creamy, cool, and studded with juicy orange and pineapple slices. Fluffy as a cloud and low-calorie, too! Make a double batch if bringing to share— it always goes fast at picnics, parties, and holidays.

Need ideas for serving a crowd? Even the pickiest eaters will enjoy Bacon Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes, Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta, and One Pan Taco Mac and Cheese!

Mandarin Orange Salad is not a 30-minute meal. It takes so much less time than that! You can whip up any of my quick one-pot dinner recipes and still have enough time to finish this recipe.

Seriously, the most time-consuming part of this dish is opening the fruit cans and box of Jell-O. 

Despite being so easy to make, this is such a delicious treat. You’ve got those sweet oranges and pineapples surrounded by creamy swirls of cottage cheese and whipped topping.

It’s hard to believe that it can be a healthy dessert, but I use low-sugar and low-fat ingredients to make it guilt-free.  

What is mandarin orange salad?

Google the recipe name, and the results can be confusing. You’ll see photos of this creamy dish, then green salads with lettuce, dressing, and orange slices. 

To make it clearer, this recipe is known by other names: Jell-O Mandarin Orange Salad and Orange Fluff.  The “fluff” part comes from the super fluffy and light texture thanks to the whipped topping, cottage cheese, and gelatin. 

So, is it a salad or a dessert? Well, why not both! No matter what you want to call it, one thing’s for sure— it’s an instant favorite for everyone who tries it.

Recipe ingredients:

One thing I love about this dish is that you can make it any time of the year. You don’t have to wait for the fruits to be in season. 

We’ll use two cans of mandarin oranges and a can of pineapple chunks. You can use crushed pineapple if you like the texture. Since we’re using canned, you’re saving a lot of time not having to peel and slice the fruits.

For the fluffy part, you’ll need Jell-O or any gelatin you have available. Orange flavored is preferred Thaw some frozen whip topping, and get your cottage cheese ready. If you want to use full-fat and regular versions, feel free to do so.

How to make mandarin orange salad?

Once you’ve prepared your ingredients, it only takes two steps from start to finish:

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  • Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

How easy is that? No need to skip dessert or come empty-handed to potlucks again!

Recipe variations and substitutions:

  • Mix and match fruits and gelatin flavors. Try using strawberries and strawberry-flavored Jell-O!
  • Use vanilla gelatin to tone down the citrusy flavor. 
  • You can whip the cottage cheese until smooth if you don’t like its original texture.
  • If you don’t want to use it at all, whip some cream cheese to sub.
  • Add a nice crunch with some walnuts and candied almonds.
  • Add dried fruits like raisins and dried cranberries.
  • Serving this to kids? Add some mini marshmallows for extra fluff!

What to serve with this dish? 

You can totally eat it as a snack or as a dessert, but it’s such a good side dish, too. I suggest serving it with roast beef and baked ham. It’s a refreshing accompaniment to fried chicken and other deep-fried food. You can also serve it as a part of a brunch spread or holiday table.

Can you make it in advance?

Yes! You’ll need to keep in the fridge for a few hours, so it’s definitely one of those make-ahead recipes. If you’re storing it overnight, note that the fruits may release liquid. Just mix well again before serving.


Cool and creamy mandarin orange salad is a really easy side dish that feeds a crowd. Mandarin salad is a classic fluff salad made with fruit, whipped topping, Jello, cottage cheese, and marshmallows. It’s great for potlucks or anytime you want a refreshing side dish salad.

Mandarin oranges with pineapple in a light and fluffy salad is a great side all year, especially when it’s warm. The creamy texture with the fruit is a great combination.

Fluff salads, like this mandarin salad, are technically a side dish, but you can also serve it as a light dessert. Either way, it’s a refreshing, creamy dish that is easy to make.

We make this for potlucks and BBQs because it’s light, and the flavors are great. It goes with many things, and it’s usually one of the first dishes to disappear. 


  • Canned crushed pineapple, drained well
  • Canned mandarin oranges, drained
  • Cottage cheese
  • Orange flavored Jello mix
  • Thawed whipped topping
  • Mini marshmallows


Combine the pineapple, oranges, and cottage cheese in a large bowl. Stir in the jello mix.

Add the whipped topping and stir to combine. Mix in the marshmallows.

Cover the bowl and chill the salad for at least one hour before serving.


Do you make the Jello first before adding it to the salad? No, all you do is add the dry powdered Jello mix – you don’t need to dissolve it in water first.

Can you use homemade whipped cream instead of whipped topping? I like the Cool Whip because it’s more stable than homemade whipped cream. If you want to make the salad in advance, I recommend using the whipped topping. Homemade whipped cream will break down as it sits, making your salad less fluffy. If you are making and serving it the same day, you can use homemade. Make sure to whip the cream until it holds stiff peaks.

Can you use different flavored Jello? Yes, pretty much any fruit-flavored Jello that pairs well with orange will work in this salad. Feel free to experiment with different flavors to put your spin on it.

Is mandarin orange Jello salad a dessert or a side dish? It can be both. It’s sweet, but these types of fluff salads are often served as a side dish at potlucks and BBQs. Feel free to serve it as a dessert, too – it works either way.

How long does mandarin salad keep? This salad will keep well for up to three days in the refrigerator.  If you’re looking for a new side dish to try for the summer or the holidays, this mandarin orange salad recipe is a great one to try. It’s easy to make, easy to transport, and keeps well for several days. I hope you give it a try!

Mandarin Orange Salad {contributor Wanda Ann}

Mandarin Orange Salad

Today I’m sharing a delicious, creamy, and fruity Mandarin Orange Salad. Salad or dessert, dessert or salad? We all have recipes like this, what do you call it when it’s yummy enough to be a dessert, but really considered a salad? This Mandarin Orange Salad is perfect for a side dish to any meal.

Mandarin Orange Salad


  • 1 – 3 oz. orange jello
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 oz. frozen orange juice
  • 1 – 15 oz. cans mandarin oranges
  • 1 – 8 oz. cool whip
  • 1 – 8 oz. can crushed pineapple with juice
  • 1 small package lemon instant pudding
  • 1 cup milk


  • Combine orange jello in boiling water, stir well, and add frozen orange juice and stir till dissolved. Add 1 can of drained mandarin oranges and crushed pineapple with juice. Place in glass dish and refrigerate till firm (about 1 hour).
  • Mix pudding and 1 cup milk till thick, then mix in cool whip. Spread pudding mixture on top of set up jello mixture. Place back in refrigerator to ready to serve.
  • Before serving open second can of mandarin oranges and drain well. Place then neatly on top of salad.


Orange Creamsicle Salad is the perfect addition to a summer picnic or potluck. This fluffy jello salad is filled with tangy orange flavor, light whipped topping, mini marshmallows, and mandarin oranges.

Orange Creamsicle Salad is the perfect addition to a summer picnic or potluck. This fluffy jello salad is filled with tangy orange flavor, light whipped topping, mini marshmallows, and mandarin oranges.


We are huge fans of potlucks and group dinners in our family. It’s so fun when everyone brings a dish to pass! There are always new recipes that are so delicious, but there are a few classics that are a must have at every potluck. This Orange Creamsicle Salad, sometimes called Orange Fluff, is definitely one of those!


Orange Creamsicle Salad

The mixture of tangy orange jello with fluffy whipped topping makes for a light and creamy dessert that’s so delicious. Don’t forget the mandarin oranges and mini marshmallows for the final touch. It tastes just like the classic dreamsicle ice cream treat that we all loved as kids!


  • Quick and easy to make
  • 35 minute prep time
  • Only 5 ingredients needed
  • No-bake dessert 
  • Orange flavored dessert recipe
  • Perfect potluck dish to pass
  • Light and creamy


  • 3 ounce box orange flavored gelatin
  • 3.4 ounce box vanilla instant pudding
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 8 ounce tub whipped topping, thawed
  • 28 ounce mandarin oranges, drained (reserve 8 – 10 for garnish)
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • ¼ cup mini marshmallows (optional garnish)


This recipe will come together in just 5 simple steps. You will only need about 35 minutes prep and 2 hours chilling for your orange dessert to be ready to be enjoyed. It really doesn’t get much easier than this jello salad!

Mix orange gelatin and boiling water until dissolved. Stir in the cold water and cool gelatin in the fridge.

Whisk in the vanilla pudding mix.

Cover and return to the refrigerator.

Fold in the whipped topping, mandarin oranges, and mini marshmallows.
Pro-tip: You can use less oranges and mini marshmallows than the recipe calls for, but it may seem a bit unbalanced. 

Chill for 2 hours or overnight. 
Pro-tip: If you have leftover orange fluff, you can use it to make creamsicle style popsicles, by placing the leftovers into a popsicle mold. You can also spread it in a baking dish and scoop it up like ice cream, once it freezes. It’s delicious this way!


  • JELLO: This recipe can be adapted to any flavor of gelatin or pudding, but if you are going for an Orange Creamsicle taste…you will want to use orange flavored jello).
  • FRUIT: If you are switching up the jello flavor, you may also want to switch up the fruit. Cherries and pineapple are two great options for additions to this dessert salad!
  • WHIPPED TOPPING: You can use fat-free or low-fat Cool Whip for this recipe.
  • MARSHMALLOWS: If you’re making this for the kiddos, it’s fun to use the colorful pack of mini marshmallows to add some excitement to the salad.
  • NUTS: You can also add ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans to the recipe.



Any leftovers tightly covered for up to 3 days. You can freeze and it will keep for about 3 months. Be aware that the texture of the marshmallows won’t be the same once they’ve thawed out. Since this is such an easy recipe to make, it’s best to make it fresh.


Yes! This fluffy orange salad can definitely be made ahead of when you need it. In fact, it’s almost better when it is made in advance and left to chill in the fridge overnight, that way the marshmallows can soften up a bit.


This fluffy salad can be adapted to any flavor of gelatin or pudding; growing up in the ’70s, we had this dish every potluck, funeral dinner, and holiday, in a variety of colors and flavors. It’s especially delicious with lime or cherry flavored jello! If you’re switching up the jello flavor, you may also want to change up the fruit that you include.

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