Vintage Jello Ribbon Salad Recipe

Updated on July 27, 2017

A Classic Buffet Treat

Ribbon salad is one of the most popular classic, vintage Jello recipes. And the reasons include that it's very tasty and looks great.

Make it in green, red, and white, using lime, raspberry, and lemon flavors and, it will fit right in with a traditional Christmas buffet. There is room to change the flavors, too. Substitute cherry for raspberry in the red layer, for example, or island pineapple for the lemon in the white layer.

I made this one using the classic flavors and ingredients. This recipe might just take you back to grandma's house in years gone by... or start a new tradition at your house!

Photos by kimbesa

Ribbon Salad serving ready to go
Ribbon Salad serving ready to go

Give It Time to Set

I recommend making this salad with at least 12 hours to spare, so it has time to set up well. Even better, overnight.

You'll want the slices to set up firm and hold together in the finished version.

This is why you don't let the layers set up to completely firm before adding the next layer. Thick enough, but not too thick. You want the layers to hold onto each other, without blending together.

Great for a Crowd

Classic vintage Ribbon Salad Jello
Classic vintage Ribbon Salad Jello | Source
Ribbon salad serving on vintage glass plate
Ribbon salad serving on vintage glass plate

Ribbon Jello Salad Recipe

It's called a salad, but can go for a light dessert, too.

Any season, summer or winter, this recipe makes enough for a large gathering or carry-in dinner.

Give yourself plenty of time to make this dessert in days ahead. Each layer has to set up before the next one. Making your Jello salad ahead will save you time, too.

Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 11 hours
Ready in: 12 hours
Yields: 12 servings


  • 1 small package (3 oz.) Lime Jell-O
  • 1 small package (3 oz.) Lemon Jell-O
  • 1 small package (3 oz.) Raspberry Jell-O
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup minature marshmallows
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • 6 oz. cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup whipped cream (whipped)
  • 1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple (drained)


  1. Dissolve the Lime Jell-O in 1 cup of boiling water. Dissolve completely and pour into a 13x9 glass baking dish. Add 3/4 cup cold water and chill until just set but not firm.
  2. In a medium bowl, dissolve the Lemon Jell-O in 1 cup of boiling water. Stir ikn the marshmallows and set aside.
  3. In another bowl, dissolve the Raspberry Jello-O in 1 cup boiling water. Add 3/4 cup of cold water and stir until Jell-O is completely aside. Set aside to cool at room temperature.
  4. Continue with the Lemon Jell-O layer. Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth. Chill until slightly thickened. Then blend in the mayonnaise, whipped cream and crushed pineapple. Chill until very thick.
  5. Use a large spoon to gently spread the Lemon Jell-O layer over the Lime Jell-O layer. Chill until set but not firm.
  6. Chill the Raspberry Jell-O until thickened and syrupy, then spoon over the Lemon Jell-O layer.
  7. Chill the entire salad until firm. Twelve hours or overnight is best. To serve, cut into squares. Add a spoonful of whipped topping if desired.
3.9 stars from 10 ratings of Ribbon Salad Recipe

A New Twist on the Classic Version

New Twist on Ribbon Jello
New Twist on Ribbon Jello

Old And New Flavors

Old And New Jell-O Flavors
Old And New Jell-O Flavors

A Vintage Recipe Book ~ 1960

Joys of Jello ~ 1960
Joys of Jello ~ 1960

These vintage cookbooks are not hard to find. Some have been reissued in updated editions, and you can also find them in secondary marketplaces, like eBay online or in your travels through yard sales and thrift stores.

I like them because they show how food fashions have changed over the years.

If you're planning a party based on prior decades, such as a Mad Men theme, old recipe books like this can help you make some authentic dishes for your guests.

Is Jello Ribbon Salad For You? - Will You Make It For a Holiday Buffet?

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    • kimbesa2 profile image

      kimbesa 2 months ago from USA

      If you double the Jello, then you will need more of the middle layer. If you are making more than one big dish, or a lot of cup-size individual desserts, that makes sense to me.

    • profile image

      terry Moscinski 2 months ago

      Hi! was just wondering when you use 6oz boxes of Jello for each layer, do you double the amount of the cream cheese, whipped cream, pineapple? thanks for the help!

    • profile image

      Denise 3 months ago

      We have made this every Christmas (first my Mother and now me) since Dec 1959. I know exactly because the recipe is on the back of a calendar with that date. One thing I've done is to use small clear cups and make individual salads. They stay pretty and makes it easy to send home for later. Enjoy !

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      I've always loved "old fashioned Jello salads"! They are classic!

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image

      BuckHawkcenter 5 years ago

      I have plenty of room for Jello desserts in the sweets part of my stomach! Love this vintage recipe, too.

    • Bellezza-Decor profile image

      Bellezza-Decor 5 years ago from Canada

      I love jello fruit salads or jello desserts, so since your recipes look so delicious, I'm going to make one or two.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      There's always room for jello! My Mom still has the Joys of Jello and Jello is even more popular now than in 1960, its just timeless and how else can you eat the rainbow!

    • OrganicMom247 profile image

      OrganicMom247 5 years ago

      that looks nice! especially the layering of colors. very yummy! thanks for the wonderful share!

    • Charmcrazey profile image

      Wanda Fitzgerald 5 years ago from Central Florida

      I will definitely try this at Christmas. My family loves Jello salads. And this one is really pretty.

    • kimbesa2 profile image

      kimbesa 5 years ago from USA

      @Brite-Ideas: As I was making this today, I was thinking about the fun of playing with different Jello flavors. Any way you make this, I hope you'll enjoy it!

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      This looks absolutely fantastic - haven't heard of Ribbon Salad before but I must try this!

    • profile image

      baww20 5 years ago

      holiday is upon me now but I will try it at another time.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 5 years ago from USA

      Can't wait to try this. It looks so good. Have to add it to my next shopping list.

    • OneHappyFeet profile image

      Lora Riley 5 years ago

      What a cool food idea