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Three Amazing Vintage Jell-O Recipes

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

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Jell-O Is a Vintage Classic

Jell-O is one of those foods that nearly everyone remembers from childhood. Its history goes back more than 100 years but when refrigeration became more common by the 1930s, Jell-O recipes grew in popularity.

Refrigerators were quickly replacing ice boxes in American kitchens and recipes that used the new technology were featured in women's magazines. My grandmother had a gas-powered refrigerator, which was still working when her household goods were sold in the 1990s.

On the Boomer test, you get the question right if you can sing the tune that goes with the jingle: J-E-L-L-O.

At our house, we always thought of Jell-O as a salad, but it can be a dessert, too, even in these recipes which feature more added vegetables than fruits. These are based on Jell-O salads my grandma made for family gatherings. We especially liked the orange version.

Best Vintage Jell-O Recipes

  1. Lemon Jell-O with Pineapple and Parmesan
  2. Orange Jell-O with Grated Carrots and Crushed Pineapple
  3. Lime Jell-O with Apple and Cabbage
Lemon Jell-O, a classic American dessert.

Lemon Jell-O, a classic American dessert.

Lemon Jell-O and Other Classic Recipes for Parties and Holidays

Lemon Jell-O is the best vintage Jell-O recipe I have in my collection. Want to make a frosted lemon Jell-O salad? This classic dessert has been a family favorite for more than 50 years.

We just call it Lemon Jell-O, but it has a few more ingredients than just the flavored gelatin, including bananas, marshmallows, and crushed pineapple. It's topped with real whipped cream and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Its official name is "Frosted Lemon Salad."

We don't know exactly when my mother first made this dish but it entered the family recipe collection many years ago, and 50 years is a good estimate. It made an appearance at Christmas on my sister's table in England. The serving plates (vintage Sidekick by Corning) helped pull off a simple, yet festive table setting.

Lemon Jell-O will always be part of our family.

This is the kind of recipe you find from the days before there were lots of Jell-O flavors to choose from in the grocery store. This article includes a couple of other Jell-O salad recipes, as well.

vintage-jello-recipes

1. Lemon Jell-O with Pineapple and Parmesan

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

4 hours

8 hours

12 hours

12-16 servings

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Ingredients

  • 2 small boxes lemon Jell-O
  • 2 c. boiling water
  • 2 c. cold water
  • 1 20-oz. can crushed pineapple (drain but save juice)
  • 1 c. miniature marshmallows
  • 2-3 large bananas, peeled and sliced
Parmesan cheese is the secret ingredient that makes this extra special.

Parmesan cheese is the secret ingredient that makes this extra special.

Lemon Jell-O Topping

Prep time includes cooling and setting. This topping can be made while the Jell-O salad sets.

Prep time includes cooling and setting. This topping can be made while the Jell-O salad sets.

Directions

  1. In a 13x9 glass baking dish, make Jell-O with water, following package directions. Chill until partially set.
  2. Mix in drained pineapple, marshmallows, and banana slices. Chill until firm, then top.
  3. Topping recipe follows. Prep times include time needed for components to set up before you can proceed.

Lemon Jell-O Topping Recipe

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

20 min

10 min

30 min

12-16 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 T. flour
  • 1 c. reserved pineapple juice (add water if necessary to make 1 c. liquid)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 c. whipping cream, whipped to stiff peaks
  • 3 T. parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Mix sugar and flour. Add juice and egg. Cook until thick over medium heat, stirring often.
  2. Remove from heat and add butter. Let cool. When cooked mixture is cooled, whip cream to stiff peaks.
  3. Fold mixture and whipped cream together until just mixed. Spread on Jell-O. Sprinkle cheese on top.
vintage-jello-recipes

2. Orange Jell-O with Grated Carrots and Crushed Pineapple

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

30 min

7 hours 30 min

8 hours

9 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 large box orange Jell-O
  • 4 cups water (see package directions)
  • 1 15-oz. can crushed pineapple drained
  • 2-3 large carrots, grated
Orange Jell-O is a vintage favorite.

Orange Jell-O is a vintage favorite.

Directions

  1. Make Jell-O in a 9x9 square glass dish, according to package directions. Cool until partly set.
  2. Stir in the drained pineapple and grated carrots. Return to the refrigerator and chill until completely set.
vintage-jello-recipes

3. Lime Jell-O with Apple and Cabbage

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

45 min

7 hours 15 min

8 hours

9 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 large box lime Jell-O
  • 4 cups water (see package directions)
  • 2 large eating apples, cored and chopped (we like Braeburn or Gala)
  • 2 cups green cabbage, chopped fine or grated
  • 1/2 cups walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)
  • 1 rib celery, diced fine (optional)
Yes, back in the day, vegetables and nuts were not uncommon in Jell-O recipes.

Yes, back in the day, vegetables and nuts were not uncommon in Jell-O recipes.

Directions

  1. Make Jell-O in a 9x9 square glass dish, according to package directions. Cool until partly set.
  2. Stir in the chopped apple, cabbage, celery, and nuts.
  3. Return to the refrigerator and chill until completely set.

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