Skip to main content

Joys of Jell-O Ribbon Salad

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

Kimbesa enjoys making vintage Jell-O recipes. Especially in the summertime, they are a hit!

Jell-O ribbon salad recipe

Jell-O ribbon salad recipe

Jell-O Layered Ribbon Salad Makes a Cool Dessert

Learn how to make a classic Jell-O ribbon salad, or create your own special combination with new Jell-O flavors.

"Ribbon" comes from the colorful layers of sweet Jell-O, or a Jell-O and pie filling mixture. There are lots of versions of this classy dessert out there.

I made my ribbon salad for a 4th of July cookout, but this theme will work for many summer parties and other occasions.

For a Christmas or wintertime dessert, you could make red and green ribbon layers. In this instance, you could put the red layer on the bottom, using cherry Jell-O and pie filling, or perhaps red raspberry.

For a lighter salad, the pie filling can be left out entirely, or replaced with drained, canned fruit.

Vintage Jell-O recipe book

Vintage Jell-O recipe book

Vintage Jell-O Is a Classic

This cookbook shown above is the 10th edition, from the late 1960s to the early 1970s, by my estimate.

The ribbon salad recipe in this book is red, white, and green. The red layer uses raspberry Jell-O. The salad also includes crushed pineapple, marshmallows, whipped cream, and mayonnaise—an unexpected twist that makes the dessert both tangy and sweet!

My ribbon salad recipe, below, is a modern adaptation. It just goes to show how adaptable Jell-O is.

I recommend making this salad in a glass dish or bowl, in order to show off the layers to the best advantage. Also, when you cut it, use a spatula to lift the pieces out, to preserve the beauty of your colorful layers.

Be Sure to Set Aside Enough Time

Each layer needs time to set before the next layer is added, so you should plan to make your salad at least several hours before you want to serve it.

One big benefit: Your salad will be ready and waiting for your carry-in, cookout, picnic, or tailgate party! One item is prepared and ready before the last minute.

You can change the order of the layers, as you wish. Use a two-quart glass bowl or a 13x9-inch glass dish.

I used a vintage glass mixing bowl in these examples. (I love to use my vintage finds.)

Prep timeReady inYields

12 hours

12 hours

8 servings


  • 2 (3-ounce) pkg black cherry or blackberry Fusion Jell-O
  • 1 can cherry or blackberry pie filling
  • 1 (3-ounce) pkg lemon-flavored Jell-O
  • 1 (8-ounce) pkg cream cheese
  • 1 (8-ounce) pkg whipped topping
  • 2 (8-ounce) pkg strawberry-flavored Jell-O
  • Boiling water and cold water (as indicated in the instructions)


  1. Make the blue Jell-O layer (black cherry or blackberry Jell-O) using 2 cups of boiling water and 1 cup of cold water (and not the standard package directions). Dissolve the powder in the boiling water and then add the cold water. Stir to mix well. Add the pie filling and pour it into the serving bowl. Refrigerate until firm.
  2. Prepare the lemon Jell-O using 1 cup of boiling water. Put the cream cheese into a separate bowl and beat, then add the lemon Jell-O. Let this mixture cool to room temperature, then fold in the whipped topping. Spread on top of the firm blue Jell-O layer and return to the refrigerator to allow the white layer to get firm.
  3. Prepare the strawberry using 2 cups boiling water, and 1 cup cold water. Like the blue layer, dissolve the Jell-O in the boiling water and add the cold water. Mix well to completely dissolve the power. Cool to room temperature, and gently pour onto the white layer of the ribbon salad. Return the bowl to the refrigerator until set.

More Joys of Jell-O (1993 Edition)

Nearly 20 years old, this book is one of the more recent versions of the Joys of Jell-O franchise. Jell-O remains popular because it is an easy way to make tasty desserts and side dishes.