Mandarin Orange Jello Salad


I once found out that Mandarin Orange Jello Salad was popular for church potlucks — and I first thought, “why?” I mean, what exactly is appealing here? Perhaps the fact that it’s both a fruit and a salad? But also jello? I would just stick to berry salads or spinach salads. But then I realized how many people had come to enjoy this dish. Why not try it again and see if my views had changed? And, as it turns out, they did.

Mandarin Orange Jello Salad

Mandarin oranges, pineapple, Jello gelatin, Cool Whip, and a ton of small marshmallows are used to make this delectable delicacy. It features a flavor that is similar to an orange Dreamsicle with a creamy, mousse-like texture. This chilled mandarin orange Jello salad is the ideal after-dinner dessert if you’re looking for something quick and simple.


Jello salad with mandarin oranges is one of my favorite summertime treats. When I’m seeking something sweet, the vibrant citrus flavor and cool, creamy texture are always very reviving.

I do not use cottage cheese in my orange Jello salad, but I do use little marshmallows and whipped cream. Think of eating a creamy Dreamsicle with a spoon!

Square image of mandarin orange jello salad in a bowl with marshmallows.
A cool bowl of creamy mandarin orange Jello salad is always a welcome treat on a hot day!


This recipe only calls for a few common and inexpensive ingredients. I prefer the regular Jello orange flavor, but you can opt for sugar-free Jello for a slightly less sweet taste.

Photo displaying ingredients needed for mandarin orange jello salad.
  • Orange Gelatin – 1 6-ounce package of orange Jello or any brand of gelatin.
  • Cool Whip – 1 8-ounce tub.
  • Canned Mandarin Oranges – 16 ounces, drained.
  • Crushed Pineapple – 20 ounces, drained.
  • Mini Marshmallows – 1 ½ cups.

*Be sure to see the recipe card below for ingredients, amounts & instructions!*


The steps to this recipe are simple! You’ll only need to gather your ingredients, mix in a large bowl, and chill to set.

Process photo 1 showing ingredients in a bowl.
  1. Thaw. Before combining the salad’s ingredients, leave your Cool Whip out at room temperature for about 15 minutes to thaw.
  2. Combine.
  3. Combine the softened 8-ounce tub of Cool Whip, 6-ounces of dry orange Jello gelatin powder, 16-ounces of mandarin oranges that have been drained, 20-ounces of crushed pineapple that has been drained, and 1 1/2 cups of tiny marshmallows in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Combine thoroughly after mixing (there will still be some grainy texture from the powdered Jello).
  5. Chill.
  6. Mandarin orange Jello salad should chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. Cover with cling film.
  7. Serve.
  8. Keep chilled until you’re ready to serve. Before serving, stir.

This dish yields 8 servings, but it’s extremely simple to increase that number to 12 if you serve it with additional sides or desserts. For summer gatherings, fantastic options include a fruit salad or cupcakes made with Orange Crush drink. Enjoy!


  • Make sure to plan ahead because chilling the Jello salad is essential.
  • The mini marshmallows can be folded in last, just before chilling if desired.
  • Storing: Keep mandarin orange Jello salad covered in the refrigerator and enjoy within 4 days.


This sweet creamsicle-flavored, airy, fluffy Mandarin Orange Jello salad only takes five minutes to prepare. There are only 5 ingredients total, however cottage cheese is not one of them. This side salad can be used as a dessert or a sweet side dish.


Fluff salads, also known as sweet gelatin salads, are a go-to when entertaining a crowd. This delectable side dish can be prepared in 5 minutes, whether you’re arranging a sizable backyard celebration, preparing for a potluck, or entertaining friends.


This jello salad, which was originally thought of as a side dish, can also be served as dessert. With hearty main dishes like pulled pork, ribs, or even turkey, it makes a fantastic complement.

Only 5 components are used in this variant, which is produced without cottage cheese.

This side dish, which is light and incredibly addictive like pistachio pudding salad, is a fantastic choice for a traditional complement to any holiday feast. These sweet salads are typically made in the summer, but thanks to their vibrant orange color and delectable flavor, they also make a wonderful Thanksgiving side dish.


Orange Jello salad ingredients in bowls.
  • Mandarin Oranges: for this recipe I recommend using cannded mandarin oranges that you’ll drain before adding. You could use fresh oranges, but it will take you a good bit longer to prepare the dish.
  • Orange Jello: I prefer to use the regular orange jello, but you can also use sugar-free jello for a slightly less sweet and sugary version.


  • Crushed Pineapple: the crushed pineapple takes the place of cottage cheese in this recipe. If you’d prefer a super smooth orange flavor then swap the pineapple for cottage cheese.
  • Cool Whip: you can prepare a homemade version of stabilized whipped cream or you can use heavy whipping cream to make a traditional whipped cream. Using Cool Whip is simple, but if you’d like a richer flavor then try making your own whiped cream.


You can use this exact recipe and make just a few swaps to get a different variation if you’d like.

  • Peach Jello Salad: you can use fresh chopped peaches or you can use canned peached and drain them. Then use peach jello instead of orange.
  • Fruit Cocktail Jello Salad: swap the orange jello for tropical fusion jello or island pineapple jello and use fruit cocktail (drained) instead of mandarin oranges. I recommend adding some shredded coconut to this version.
  • Cherry Jello Salad: instead of using orange jello use cherry jello and mix in fresh pitted cherries or marachino cherries (drained) instead of the oranges.


This dish only requires 5 minutes to create, and you can either chill it in the refrigerator overnight for a cooler and harder texture, or you can make it right before serving and serve it at room temperature.

Orange jello salad process steps 1 and 2.
  • Place the orange jello mix immediately on top of the Cool Whip in a big bowl. The two ingredients should be folded until the jello is completely incorporated and no longer seems gritty.
  • Add the crushed pineapple and mandarin oranges to the jello mixture after thoroughly draining them to remove all water and syrup. Fold them in gently.
Orange jello salad process step 3.
  • Add the marshmallows to the mixture and again gently fold them into the salad.
  • If possible chill the salad in the fridge for a minium of 1 hour and up to 4. This is not necessary, but creates a chilled and firmer salad texture.


  • Before serving, let the salad sit in the refrigerator for 4 hours to achieve a beautiful chilled texture. Although it is optional, I advise doing it for the best flavor.
  • Use a spatula to fold all the ingredients together for the fluffiest salad possible.
  • By doing this, you can prevent the Cool Whip from mixing flat.
  • Make sure to thoroughly drain the pineapple and oranges to remove any remaining water or syrup. The salad will ultimately become separated from any extra liquid or water. But don’t worry if it happens! To bring the salad back together, simply give it a quick stir.
  • To add sweetness, consider including some coconut shreds.


  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Air-tight Storage Container
Orange jello salad in a glass jar topped with whipped cream and an orange wedge.

Mandarin Orange Salad | Easy 5‑Ingredient Orange Jello Sala

A cool, citrusy, and revitalizing addition to the menu at any special event is mandarin orange salad. There are just 5 items needed to make the delectable mandarin orange jello salad. For a show-stopping crowd-pleaser, creamy, cold, and delicious are unbeatable.

The texture of the mandarin orange salad is also very palatable. Little tapioca pearls and sweet-tart mandarin oranges are added to this straightforward mandarin orange jello salad. It goes well with heavy dishes as a lighter, sweeter dessert.

While there are many delectable foods served at special events, I’ve never brought this particular orange jello salad without being requested for the recipe. During all of our significant family gatherings, it has been a three-decade ritual. Young and old alike adore this straightforward, fluffy, mandarin orange jello salad. No mandarin orange and jello salad has ever been more well-liked.

At our house, it is high treason even to propose trying a different jello salad for the holidays! lol Without this delicious citrus salad, Thanksgiving or Christmas wouldn’t be the same. It’s an understatement to say that it’s always a hit.

It comes as no surprise, then, that friends and family who are organizing their own family reunions, potlucks, or picnics frequently ask me for my go-to recipe for citrus salad.

Time Saving Make Ahead Recipe

Like with any jello salad, this simple recipe for Mandarin Orange Salad requires time to set. The optimal time to prepare it is at least 4-6 hours before serving. And ideally, overnight. This allows the jello salad consistency to be perfectly set but fluffy and allows the delightful flavors to mingle together.

This makes it a fantastic dish to prepare ahead of time for you. At your particular gathering, you can concentrate on your guests rather than the cooking. With excellent success, this delicious orange fluff can be prepared up to 2 days in advance.

The Ingredients

  • Orange Gelatin: Brand doesn’t really matter for making this Mandarin Orange Salad recipe. 
  • Vanilla Cook and Serve Pudding: Cook and Serve is the important thing about this ingredient. Instant pudding doesn’t let the salad set as well. And again, I find that brand is not really important.
  • Tapioca Cook and Serve Pudding There’s NO substitute for this. It is not the same as tapioca pearls and for this particular mandarin orange jello salad, nothing else will do. (See Info Below.)
  • Original Cool Whip: (or a non-dairy whipped topping of your choice) “Lite” versions don’t achieve the same creamy results as the original versions. 
  • Mandarin Oranges (canned): Drain the liquid from the can, before adding the orange segments to the orange jello salad.
  • Water

What is Tapioca Pudding Mix

I have only been able to find a powdered tapioca pudding mix made by Jell-O. It’s crucial for this delectable orange jello salad dish.

Plain tapioca pearls will not work in this recipe.

The elements in the dry mixes must combine with the modified liquid proportions for the mandarin orange salad to properly set.

Where to Buy It

Since COVID, this is the only component that might currently get you into trouble. But, it’s quite important to this delicious citrus salad. It was always easy for me to find. But, due to recent shipping issues, our neighborhood Walmart ceased keeping it on hand a year ago.

Thankfully, I’ve learned that they still sell it, only in a different way. I continue to put the tapioca in the cart whenever I order groceries for pickup at Walmart. It’s shipped to my doorsteps in just two days, even if I can’t pick it up with my other groceries that day. When I buy stuff, I always buy a lot.

What are Mandarin Oranges?

The ancient ancestor of ALL other oranges, mandarin oranges are a native of Southeast Asia. My mind was blown when I realized that.

One of the tiniest fruits in the orange family are mandarin oranges. Compared to regular oranges, they are sweeter. Also, the rind of mandarin oranges is loose and simple to peel.

Mandarin oranges come in a number of different kinds. Mandarins include clementines, satsumas, and even tangerines.

We used canned mandarin oranges for the Orange Jello Salad that I made. If you’d rather, you could peel some fresh mandarins and try those.

How to Make Mandarin Orange Salad (Orange Fluff)

  1. In a medium sauce pan, mix the water, orange jello mix, vanilla pudding mix, and tapioca pudding mix.
  2. Stir the mixture often to prevent sticking and burning while cooking it over medium heat.
  3. Boil the mixture until it boils and becomes thick. Depending on your stove and heat level, it might take 4 to 5 minutes, but I don’t know.
  4. The gelatin mixture should be poured into a jar to chill.
  5. Refrigerate once at room temperature until totally set.
  6. Add the Cool Whip and the juiced segments of the mandarin oranges. Toss the salad until it is well combined.
  7. The salad will become lighter in color and lusciously thick but airy and fluffy in texture.
  8. Keep chilled until you’re ready to serve. Very simple! No matter where you serve it, mandarin orange salad is a huge hit!

Scaling the Orange Jello Salad Recipe

I scaled the recipe to make 4-6 servings when I wrote this recipe card. Throughout the years, I’ve gotten used to cooking for 7–15 people, and I frequently forget that this isn’t necessarily “typical” for most people. Even though David and I are home alone most of the time now, it has been challenging to prepare meals for just the two of us. LOL I’m working to improve.

To see the measurements for additional servings, click the 2x or 3x buttons on the recipe card. For our family get-togethers, which often have 15 to 20 people, I personally make the Mandarin Orange Jello Salad in a triple batch every time.


Oranges are one of the most widely consumed fruits around the world, and for good reason! They are not only juicy and delicious, but they also offer a range of health benefits that are essential for maintaining optimal health. Oranges are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, which all contribute to a healthy and balanced diet. In this article, we will explore the health benefits of oranges in detail.

  1. High in Vitamin C

Oranges are well known for their high vitamin C content, which is essential for a healthy immune system. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps to protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. It also helps to promote the production of white blood cells, which are essential for fighting off infections and diseases. Just one medium-sized orange contains about 70 mg of vitamin C, which is more than the recommended daily intake for adults.

  1. Rich in Fiber

Oranges are also an excellent source of dietary fiber, which is essential for maintaining digestive health. Fiber helps to regulate bowel movements, prevent constipation, and reduce the risk of digestive disorders such as diverticulitis and colon cancer. One medium-sized orange contains about 3 grams of fiber, which is about 12% of the recommended daily intake.

  1. Lowers Cholesterol

Oranges are also effective in lowering cholesterol levels in the body. The soluble fiber in oranges helps to bind with cholesterol in the digestive tract and remove it from the body before it can be absorbed into the bloodstream. This can help to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.

  1. Prevents Kidney Stones

Oranges are also effective in preventing kidney stones. Kidney stones are small, hard mineral deposits that can form in the kidneys and cause severe pain and discomfort. Oranges contain citric acid, which can help to prevent the formation of kidney stones by increasing urine volume and pH. Citric acid can also help to dissolve existing kidney stones and prevent them from growing larger.

  1. Reduces Inflammation

Oranges are also effective in reducing inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is a common factor in many chronic diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. Oranges contain flavonoids and other antioxidants that can help to reduce inflammation and protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.

  1. Boosts Brain Health

Oranges are also beneficial for brain health. They contain folate, which is essential for the development of the brain and nervous system. Folate is also essential for the production of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that help to regulate mood, memory, and behavior. Oranges also contain flavonoids, which can help to improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline.

  1. Promotes Skin Health

Oranges are also good for promoting healthy skin. They contain vitamin C, which is essential for the production of collagen, a protein that helps to keep the skin firm and elastic. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that can help to protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals. Oranges also contain beta-carotene, which can help to protect the skin from damage caused by UV rays and other environmental factors.

  1. Regulates Blood Pressure

Oranges are also effective in regulating blood pressure levels in the body. They contain potassium, which is essential for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. Potassium helps to relax blood vessels, which can help to reduce blood pressure and prevent hypertension.

  1. Reduces the Risk of Cancer

Oranges are also effective in reducing the risk of cancer. They contain flavonoids and other antioxidants that can help to prevent cancer by protecting the body from damage caused by free radicals. Oranges also contain limonoids, which can help to prevent the development of certain types of cancer such as breast


Can I make orange jello salad with vanilla pudding?

Yes! Using vanilla pudding will slightly change the texture of this recipe and require a couple more steps. I suggest using this recipe for strawberry jello fluff and swapping the strawberries for mandarin oranges and the strawberry jello for orange jello.

Can I make it ahead?

Yes, you can make this recipe ahead, and I recommend making it the night before. If you let this salad chill in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours it will create a firmer texture.

Can I use sugar-free jello?

Sure. This will make the recipe a tad less sweet, but it will still be delicious and it’s a very small change.

Can I substitute homemade whipped cream for the Cool Whip?

No. Cool Whip is really the only alternative in this recipe. Homemade whipped cream is delicious as a topping to be added at the last minute. But, it breaks down after a very short period of time, losing it’s fluffiness and becomes liquid in this jello salad with mandarin oranges.

Can I use Lite Cool Whip instead of the Original Cool Whip?

Sure. In my opinion the texture is more loose and not as fluffy, but it does work. I definitely recommend the Original Cool Whip or Extra Creamy Cool Whip for best results, however.

Can I Use a Store Brand Non-Dairy Whipped Topping instead of Cool Whip?

Yes. I have successfully substituted store brands for Cool Whip on several occasions.

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