7 Great Layered Dessert Ideas

Updated on March 13, 2018
rmcrayne profile image

Rose Mary's mother and all of her aunts are great Southern cooks. She likes to think she's not so bad herself.

Chocolate Delight
Chocolate Delight | Source

In the 80s, layered desserts of pudding, Cool Whip, and Jell-O in various combinations were all the rage. I’ve selected the cream or Cool Whip (wink) of the crop. Several of these came from the recipe book of the church I grew up in.

Layered desserts in this article:

  • Chocolate Delight
  • Strawberry Pretzel Dessert
  • Banana Split Pie
  • Oreo Dirt Cake
  • Mandarin and Lemon Fluff Gelatin Dessert
  • Double Layer Pumpkin Pie
  • Creamy Lemon Squares

Chocolate Delight

Serving of Chocolate Delight
Serving of Chocolate Delight | Source
  • 1 c plain flour
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 ½ c chopped nuts, divided
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 large container of Cool Whip, divided
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 2 small pkg of instant chocolate pudding
  • 3 c milk

Bottom Crust

Crust made from flour, nuts, and butter
Crust made from flour, nuts, and butter | Source

1- Mix 1 cup flour, 1 stick melted butter, and 1 cup chopped nuts.

2- Spread in the bottom of a 9” X 13” baking dish.

3- Bake until brown, approximately 10 minutes at 425°. Cool completely.

Cool Whip and Cream Cheese Mixture

Layer 2, made with cream cheese, powdered sugar, and Cool Whip
Layer 2, made with cream cheese, powdered sugar, and Cool Whip | Source

4- Combine 8 oz cream cheese, 1/2 tub Cool Whip, and 1 cup powdered sugar with mixer.

5- Spread cream cheese mixture over crust.

Chocolate Pudding

Layer 3, chocolate pudding
Layer 3, chocolate pudding | Source

6-Mix 3 cups milk and 2 small packages chocolate instant pudding.

7- Spread pudding over 2nd layer. I used the pudding requiring heating and cooking on the range, instead of instant pudding. Cool to room temperature, or only slightly warm before spreading over layer 2.

Top With Cool Whip and Nuts

Layer 4, Cool Whip and toasted nuts
Layer 4, Cool Whip and toasted nuts | Source

8- Top chocolate pudding with remaining 1/2 tub of Cool Whip.

9- Toast 1/2 cup chopped nuts in dry skillet or in oven. Cool briefly.

10- Sprinkle top of dessert with nuts.

11- Chill for several hours.

Strawberry Pretzel Dessert

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Serving of Strawberry Pretzel DessertGotta admit, this is a beautiful dessert
Serving of Strawberry Pretzel Dessert
Serving of Strawberry Pretzel Dessert | Source
Gotta admit, this is a beautiful dessert
Gotta admit, this is a beautiful dessert | Source
  • 8 oz pretzels, crushed
  • ¾ c butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted
  • 1 c plus 3 Tbsp sugar, divided
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 8 oz Cool Whip
  • 1 (20-oz) can crushed pineapple
  • 2 (3-oz) pkgs strawberry Jell-O
  • 2 (10-oz) pkgs frozen sweetened sliced strawberries, thawed

Bottom Crust

Press crushed pretzel mixture into dish
Press crushed pretzel mixture into dish | Source

1- Coat 9” X 13” pan with non-stick spray.

2- Combine crushed pretzels, melted butter, and 3 Tbsp of sugar. Press into bottom of pan.

3- Bake at 400º for 18 to 20 minutes, until set. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Cream Cheese Mixture

Carefully spread cream cheese mixture on top of pretzel layer
Carefully spread cream cheese mixture on top of pretzel layer | Source

4- In a bowl, beat cream cheese and 1 c sugar until smooth. Fold in Cool Whip.

5- Spread Cool Whip Mixture over cooled crust, and refrigerate until chilled, several hours.

Prep Jell-O and Fruit Mixture

Mix Jell-O with fruit juice and water, and chill for about an hour. Stir in drained fruit and chill 30-60 minures.
Mix Jell-O with fruit juice and water, and chill for about an hour. Stir in drained fruit and chill 30-60 minures. | Source

6- Open pineapple and drain juice into measuring cup. Add water to equal 1 cup. Pour into saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour into a large bowl.

7- Stir gelatin into hot liquid until dissolved.

8- Drain strawberry juice into a measuring cup. Add water if necessary to equal 1 ½ cups. Stir liquid into gelatin mixture.

9- Refrigerate until partially set. Add drained pineapples and strawberries.

Top Dessert with Jell-O Mixture

Carefully spread Jell-O mixture over cream cheese layer. Chill Several hours.
Carefully spread Jell-O mixture over cream cheese layer. Chill Several hours. | Source

10-Carefully spoon fruit and gelatin mixture over Cool Whip mixture.

11- Cover and refrigerate 3 to 4 hours until firm.

Banana Split Pie

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Banana Split Pie with cream cheese, fresh fruit, and pudding layersBeautiful and Delicious Banana Split Pie
Banana Split Pie with cream cheese, fresh fruit, and pudding layers
Banana Split Pie with cream cheese, fresh fruit, and pudding layers | Source
Beautiful and Delicious Banana Split Pie
Beautiful and Delicious Banana Split Pie | Source

This is my variation of Banana Split Pie, a compilation of about 3 different recipes. I can't put into words how delicious this is!

  • 1 large graham cracker crust (9 oz)
  • ½ c granulated sugar
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 8 oz Cool Whip
  • 1 lg can crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 1 sm pkg instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 ¼ c milk
  • ½ c confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 medium-sized bananas
  • 1 lb fresh strawberries, divided
  • Chocolate syrup
  • ¼ c chopped toasted pecans, walnuts or almonds

Cream Cheese Mixture Topped with Bananas and Strawberries

Spread pineapple-cream cheese mixture on crust. Top with sliced bananas, then sliced strawberries
Spread pineapple-cream cheese mixture on crust. Top with sliced bananas, then sliced strawberries | Source

1- With electric mixer, beat sugar into softened cream cheese. Blend in 3-4 oz Cool Whip.

2- Stir well drained crushed pineapple into cream cheese mixture.

3- Spread cream cheese mixture into pie crust. Refrigerate 4 or more hours.

4- Top pie with sliced bananas, then sliced strawberries. Reserve prettiest strawberries for decoration.

Top with Pudding Mixture

Spread pudding mixture over fruit
Spread pudding mixture over fruit | Source

5- Blend vanilla instant pudding mix with 1 ¼ c milk. Beat 2 minutes per package directions. Let stand about 5 minutes to thicken.

6- Blend ½ cup confectioner’s sugar into pudding, then 4 oz Cool Whip.

7- Spread pudding mixture on top of bananas and strawberries.

8- Refrigerate 4 hours or longer.

Finishing

Decorate and freeze briefly before cutting
Decorate and freeze briefly before cutting | Source

9- Put pie in freezer for 1-2 hours before cutting. Remove from freezer.

10- Drizzle pie with chocolate syrup.

Oreo Dirt Cake

Dirt Cake is often served in flower pots, with Gummie Worms sticking out!
Dirt Cake is often served in flower pots, with Gummie Worms sticking out! | Source

Dirt Cake

  • 1 stick butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 3 ½ c milk
  • 2 (4 oz) pkgs instant vanilla pudding
  • 8 oz container Cool Whip
  • 20 oz pkg Oreo cookies, crushed

1- Combine butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar with electric mixer. Set aside.

2- In another bowl, combine pudding mix and milk.

3- Add Cool Whip to pudding mixture. Stir to combine.

4- Combine pudding mixture with cream cheese mixture.

5- In a large dish, alternate layers of crushed Oreos and pudding mixture. Be sure to begin and end with crushed cookies.

6- Refrigerate 2 hours before serving.

How to Make Oreo Dirt Cake in a Flower Pot

Mandarin and Lemon Fluff Gelatin Dessert

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Mandarin Orange Gelatin Dessert with Lemon Fluff layer.  As you can see the layers slide off of each other.Layered mandarin and lemon dessert decorated with mandarin slices
Mandarin Orange Gelatin Dessert with Lemon Fluff layer.  As you can see the layers slide off of each other.
Mandarin Orange Gelatin Dessert with Lemon Fluff layer. As you can see the layers slide off of each other. | Source
Layered mandarin and lemon dessert decorated with mandarin slices
Layered mandarin and lemon dessert decorated with mandarin slices | Source

This layered dessert is a match up of my Mandarin & Yogurt Gelatin Dessert from Weight Watchers and Lemon Fluff dessert from Tasty Kitchen.

  • 2 sm pkgs orange gelatin
  • 1 (15-oz) can mandarin oranges
  • 2 cups yogurt
  • ¼ cup sour cream, optional
  • 1 sm pkg lemon gelatin
  • 1 can evaporated milk, chilled
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Hot water
  • Cold water

Mandarin and Jell-O Mixture

Prepare orange Jell-O. Chill 1-2 hours before dropping mandarin slices in.
Prepare orange Jell-O. Chill 1-2 hours before dropping mandarin slices in. | Source

1- Prepare one small package of orange gelatin by dissolving in 1 cup boiling water, whisking for 2 minutes. Then add 1 cup cold water. Refrigerate 60 minutes.

2- Add drained mandarin oranges to orange gelatin. Refrigerate 4 hours until set.

Jell-O and Yogurt Mixture

Second layer looks like an orange creamsicle
Second layer looks like an orange creamsicle | Source

3- Dissolve second package of orange gelatin in 1 cup boiling water. Whisk until completely dissolved, about 2 minutes.

4- Stir 2 cups of plain yogurt into gelatin. I used one cup of full fat organic Horizon plain yogurt for richness, and one cup of 2% Fage Greek yogurt for texture.

5- Stir in sour cream if desired, for added richness. I like Horizon organic sour cream, which is unbelievably good. Whisk until blended. It will look like orange creamsicle.

6- Gently pour yogurt mixture over mandarin orange gelatin, not disrupting the gelatin.

7- Refrigerate 4 hours.

Jell-O and Milk Mixture

Third layer is made with about 1/2 of the lemon fluff mixture
Third layer is made with about 1/2 of the lemon fluff mixture | Source

8- Dissolve one small box of lemon gelatin and 1 cup sugar in 1 ½ cup boiling water, whisking about 2 minutes. Add lemon juice. Refrigerate about 1 hour.

9- Pour cold milk into a large mixing bowl. Beat until stiff peaks form, about 3-5 minutes. Fold into lemon gelatin.

10- Refrigerate 4 hours.

I made my dessert in an 11-cup Pyrex dish. All was well until the 3rd layer. My dish would only accommodate about one-half of the lemon fluff on top of the second layer. I recommend making the full recipe of lemon fluff. If you only whip a half can of evaporated milk, then the texture will be off for the final layer. I put half of the fluff in another container. The original recipe is just the lemon fluff poured on a graham cracker crumb layer. Alternatively, you could double the recipes for layers one and two, and use much larger dish.

Double Layer Pumpkin Pie

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Serving of layered pumpkin pie with cream cheese layer topped with pumpkin-pudding layerEasy No-Bake Pumpkin Pie
Serving of layered pumpkin pie with cream cheese layer topped with pumpkin-pudding layer
Serving of layered pumpkin pie with cream cheese layer topped with pumpkin-pudding layer | Source
Easy No-Bake Pumpkin Pie
Easy No-Bake Pumpkin Pie | Source

I found this recipe for pumpkin layered pie on the label of the Keebler pie crust. I updated with my modifications.

  • 1 pkg cream cheese, 8 oz
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups Cool Whip
  • 1 large Keebler graham cracker crust, 9 oz
  • 1 lg pkg instant vanilla pudding, 6 serving size
  • 1 sm pkg instant vanilla pudding, 4 serving size
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin pie mix

1- Soften cream cheese for 4-8 hours, or overnight.

2- Beat cream cheese, sugar, and milk. Label said beat with a whisk, but I had to use the electric mixer.

3- Stir in Cool Whip.

4- Pour into pie shell, and spread evenly. Refrigerate 2-4 hours.

5- Whisk both packages of pudding with the 1 cup milk.

6- Whisk in pumpkin pie mix.

7- Pour over cream cheese layer and spread evenly.

8- Refrigerate 4 hours before cutting.

Creamy Lemon Squares

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Creamy Lemon Layered DessertLuscious Lemon Dessert
Creamy Lemon Layered Dessert
Creamy Lemon Layered Dessert | Source
Luscious Lemon Dessert
Luscious Lemon Dessert | Source

This recipe is from the Kraft recipes website, although I did make some modifications, which is the version below.

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup toasted pecans
  • ½ cup sugar, divided
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 2 pkgs (8-oz ea) cream cheese
  • 3 cups milk, divided
  • 12 oz Cool Whip, thawed and divided
  • 2 pkgs 3.4-oz Lemon Instant Pudding

Bottom Crust

1- Finely chop toasted pecans in food processor. Combine with flour, ¼ cup sugar, and melted butter. Mix thoroughly.

2- Press mixture into 9” X 13” pan or oven-proof dish. Bake for 15 minutes at 350°. Cool for 30 to 60 minutes.

Cream Cheese and Cool Whip Mixture

3- With electric mixer, beat together softened cream cheese, ¼ cup sugar, ¼ milk, and 4 oz Cool Whip.

4- Spread cream cheese mixture over crust. Refrigerate 1-2 hours.

Lemon Pudding and Cool Whip Layers

5- Whisk pudding mixes with 2 ¾ cups milk. Whisk 3 minutes.

6- Pour pudding mixture over cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate 2 hours.

7- Cover with 8 oz Cool Whip. Refrigerate 1-2 hours.

Questions & Answers

    © 2010 rmcrayne

    Comments

    Submit a Comment

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 

      3 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      Every one of these desserts look fabulous and sooooo delicious!! Voted up.

    • william.fischer29 profile image

      william.fischer29 

      7 years ago

      Wow!Great recipe.You can surely have a great Sunday with this.THanks for posting.

    • rmcrayne profile imageAUTHOR

      rmcrayne 

      7 years ago from San Antonio Texas

      Thanks sunnyglitter. I'm lukewarm on the stuff with Cool Whip. It's not a great texture for me.

    • Sunnyglitter profile image

      Sunnyglitter 

      7 years ago from Cyberspace

      I have a serious weakness for layered desserts, and these all look delicious.

    • rmcrayne profile imageAUTHOR

      rmcrayne 

      8 years ago from San Antonio Texas

      Thanks Lily!

    • Lily Rose profile image

      Lily Rose 

      8 years ago from A Coast

      These sound great! Will have to bookmark this...

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