Orange Carrot Pineapple Jello Salad


Orange Carrot Pineapple Jello Salad is a quick and easy recipe that comes together in minutes. This recipe is perfect for any potluck, especially Memorial Day. Are you looking for a light summer dish, that is delicious and still counts as a dessert? Then this Orange Carrot Pineapple Jello Salad is perfect for you. It’s just the right amount of sweet and savory.

Grandma’s Sunshine Salad

Here’s a cheerful stroll down memory lane. This retro sunshine Jello salad recipe, with lemon Jello, grated carrots, and crushed pineapple, will be the sleeper hit at your next potluck.

Grandma’s Sunshine Salad



CHILLING TIME2 hrs 30 mins

TOTAL TIME15 hrs 30 mins

SERVINGS8 servings

YIELD1 salad


  • 2 (3-ounce) packages lemon flavored gelatin
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup ice water
  • 1 (9-ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice (NOT fresh pineapple)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 cups grated carrots


  1. Prepare the gelatin:
    Empty the gelatin into a small mixing bowl. Stir in 2 cups of boiling water. Stir thoroughly until the gelatin has dissolved.
  2. Mix in the ice water, pineapple, lemon juice, and salt:Stir in 1 cup ice water, the crushed pineapple with its juice, lemon juice (or vinegar), and a pinch of salt. (Make sure you use canned pineapple. Fresh pineapple has an enzyme that will prevent the gelatin from jelling.)
  3. Chill until thickened, then add the carrots:
    Chill in refrigerator until the gelatin starts to thicken. Then gently fold in the grated carrots until well mixed.
  4. Pour into a mold and chill until set:
    Add mixture to a jello mold. Set in the refrigerator until firm, several hours.To unmold, dip the bottom of the pan in hot water for about 5 seconds. Invert onto a serving platter, and shake firmly to release. Slice to serve.

Grammi’s Carrot Pineapple Jello Salad (Sunshine Salad)

Commonly known as Sunshine Jello, Carrot Pineapple Jello Salad is one vintage recipe worth making! Bright, refreshing, and surprisingly tasty, it’s a perfect side for any holiday dinner or family gathering.

What’s the Story Behind this Recipe?

I can’t remember a holiday growing up when we didn’t have a bowl of Carrot Pineapple Jello Salad on the table. We ate it with ham for Easter, with turkey at Thanksgiving, and with pumpkin pie on my mother’s birthday every October.

Carrot Jello Salad was one of the first recipes I ever helped my mom make. I was her official carrot grater and Jello stirrer. Once the jello was mixed and safely chilling in the fridge, she and I would share the last few sips of juice from the bottom of the pineapple can. Mom loved pineapple juice. Whenever we serve this salad, I recall those times long ago with great fondness, sitting there at our yellow kitchen table, grating piles and piles of carrots for my mom. 

When I had kids of my own, Carrot Pineapple Jello became Mom’s traditional offering when we gathered at my house for family holidays. She took great pride in still being able to make the Grammi Salad (as it came to be known at our house) all by herself until she was nearly ninety. After that, I took over the Jello salad making, keeping the tradition alive for my girls.

Mom gave me her “I Love Lucy Ivy” china years ago, when she and Dad moved out of my childhood home, so my girls grew up with it. One batch of Carrot Pineapple Jello Salad fits perfectly inside one of the large serving dishes. I never make it in anything else.

What Goes into this Recipe

If you’ve never had Sunshine Jello, you may be in for a surprise. Jello salads, as a group, have a reputation for being outdated and even downright weird, and their close culinary proximity to aspics (aka meat jello) does their status no favors either.

This Carrot Pineapple Jello, however, is unique in its field: unlike some more kooky gelatin concoctions, this combination is light, fresh, and very tasty. The carrot and pineapple pairing may sound a little strange at first, but if you give it a try, you will find that they play very nicely together!

The ingredient list for this recipe is short and simple: water, sugar, carrots, Jello, canned crushed pineapple, a squirt of lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. That’s it.

The most important ingredient point is, use canned pineapple for this recipe. Fresh pineapple contains enzymes that will prevent gelatin from jelling. 

Do not use fresh pineapple in this recipe.

Fresh pineapple contains a chemical called bromelain, which contains two enzymes capable of digesting collagen protein. When you add fresh pineapple to gelatin, the enzymes break the links in the collagen as fast as they form, so the gelatin never sets up.

How to Make Grammi’s Sunshine Salad

In a large mixing bowl, mix 2 cups of boiling water into lemon gelatin. Stir constantly until gelatin has completely dissolved.

Add one cup of ice water, and stir until ice has melted.

Stir in one small can of crushed pineapple (with juice), and lemon juice.

I usually move everything to the bowl I plan to serve it in at this point, but you can also make the whole recipe in a large bowl and then transfer it to your chosen vessel (i.e., bowl, dish, gelatin mold, etc.). Your choice.

Stir in grated carrots.

Some people like to add a pinch of salt at this time. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.

Refrigerate 3 hours, or until set.

FAQs & Expert Tips

Some people like hold off and stir in the carrots after the rest of Jello® mixture has had a chance to set up for about an hour. You can do this if you want, but I don’t find that it changes the results. Instead, I stir them all in at the same time and refrigerate: that gives me one less thing to have to remember when I’m preparing a holiday meal.

The salad.

This orange pineapple carrot salad is festive and refreshing. I enjoy it in the summer, but it also makes a nice addition to any meal.

You’ll need a box of orange gelatin (regular or sugar-free works), shredded carrots, diced celery and drained, crushed pineapple. My family doesn’t notice if I use the sugar-free jello.

I use the liquid from the pineapple for the cold water that is added to the jello, which helps give it a fruity flavor.

Be sure to shred your carrots into thin and tiny shreds. And don’t forget to dice the celery into tiny pieces. By the time you’ve let the jello cool, you will have your other ingredients ready.

The key to making this salad kid-friendly is to have the vegetables in such tiny pieces that a child won’t mind putting it into his mouth.

This congealed salad keeps well for several days. Serve it in a glass dish or use a refrigerator-friendly container for easy storage and transportation.

The recipe for the congealed orange pineapple carrot salad.

Orange Pineapple Carrot Salad

Author: my windowsill

Recipe type: congealed salad

Cuisine: American

Prep time:  30 mins

Total time:  30 mins

Serves: 6

Refreshing in summer and festive in winter, this congealed salad is an easy addition to any meal. It keeps for several days in the refrigerator.


  • 1 small box orange jello (regular or sugar-free)
  • ¼ cup diced celery
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • ¼ cup chopped nuts (optional)


  1. Add boiling water to jello as directed.
  2. Use liquid from crushed pineapple as part of the cold water you will add to the gelatin
  3. Chill until starting to set.
  4. Add pineapple, celery and carrots.
  5. Add nuts if you desire
  6. Cover and allow to gel.

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