Easy Mandarin Orange Jello Salad with Cottage Cheese

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Whip up a family favorite orange Jello salad with simple ingredients like cottage cheese, mini marshmallows, and whipped cream. This easy recipe is the perfect side dish for holidays and family gatherings!

I'm not sure I can ever remember a holiday family dinner without some sort of Jello mold or Jello salad, whether it was lime, strawberry or mandarin orange Jello salad.

plastic cups of mandarin orange Jello salad on white saucers with spoons, marshmallows, and extra mandarin orange slices

It's always just a given that everyone's favorite retro side dish or dessert will be sitting there on the table; and by the time dinner is over, that orange fluff (or lime or strawberry) will pretty much be obliterated.

And if you don't like the texture of cottage cheese in your Jello salad, you can always make my strawberry fluff recipe instead, substituting Mandarin oranges and orange Jello for the fresh strawberries and strawberry Jello in the recipe.

Why Your Family Will Love This Retro Side Dish

  • This easy mandarin orange Jello salad will take you back to the good old days.
  • It's a much requested family favorite recipe for any holiday meal.
  • Old fashioned orange Jello salad is super quick and easy to make; we're talking 10 minutes at the most. And this delicious side dish only has a few simple ingredients, including an orange Jello mix, cottage cheese, crushed pineapple, and Cool Whip (or whatever type of whipped cream or whipped topping you prefer).
  • Like ambrosia salad and Watergate salad, creamy orange Jello salad also contains mini marshmallows, giving it a very fluffy consistency and texture… This being the very reason it's sometimes called fluff.

I don't know about you, but I could eat this stuff up. Raise your hand if you're ready for Thanksgiving dinner (raises hand).

orange Jello salad ingredients, including mandarin oranges, orange Jello mix, mini marshmallows, crushed pineapple, cottage cheese, and whipped cream in small gray bowls on white countertop with blue and white checked cloth

Ingredients and Substitutions Notes

close up look at mandarin orange Jello fluff

How to Make Orange Jello Salad

There's really not a whole lotta prep to this easy mandarin orange salad recipe besides draining the fruit; so really, you can just dive in.

  1. First add the cottage cheese and Jello mix to a large bowl, and mix well.
  2. Next add the mandarin oranges and crushed pineapple (both drained well) to the cottage cheese mixture, and mix well.
  3. Stir in the mini marshmallows.
  4. Fold in the whipped topping.
steps for how to make orange Jello salad in large green bowl, including adding cottage cheese and Jello mix, then adding crushed pineapple and mandarin oranges, then stirring in mini marshmallows, and then folding in whipped cream
  1. Once it's all mixed up, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 1 hour before serving; overnight is fine too.
green bowl with orange fluff and white spatula on white countertop

When you go to serve it, you can serve with additional mandarin oranges or whipped cream. Just make sure you store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

plastic cup of easy mandarin orange Jello salad on white saucer with spoon and mini marshmallow

Expert Tips and Recipe FAQ's

Do I make the Jello before adding it to the recipe?

No. In this case, you simply want to add the Jello powder. It's so super easy. If you make the Jello beforehand, it will change the entire recipe and may not work out so well. Of course, if you just want to make orange Jello from the box, I have a few tips for how to make the perfect Jello.

Should I use fresh or canned fruit?

While you can use fresh pineapple and mandarin oranges, I usually just go with canned because it's easier. That's not to say you couldn't garnish or decorate the top of your salad with fresh fruit, though. Add a dollop of Cool Whip on top, and place a slice of orange or chunk of pineapple on top.

How far ahead can I make mandarin orange Jello salad?

Personally, I wouldn't make this recipe more than a day ahead. You can make it the afternoon before and chill it in an airtight container in the fridge overnight. In fact, it helps the flavors all meld together if you let it chill for at least an hour or two before serving. All in all, orange Jello fruit salad should keep in the fridge for about 1-2 days. After that it'll start to get a bit mushy and yucky, so you'll want to eat it up those first couple days.

Can I freeze orange fluff Jello salad?

I wouldn't recommend it. It's best to make this fruit salad the day of or day before and just chill it in the refrigerator. If you freeze this fruity orange dessert salad, it will likely get very soggy and watery and just be kind of a mess.

Can I make this with sugar-free Jello?

While I haven't tried this, I don't see why not. Sugar-free Jello should work just as well as regular Jello. (More on this below…)

Let's Talk a Little More about Making This Sugar-Free

Seeing that this is a Jello salad with fruit and marshmallows, it may prove difficult to make it completely sugar-free; but there are ways to cut down on the sugar…

  • Of course, as we talked about already, you can use sugar-free Jello.
  • Use sugar-free whipped cream, as well.
  • With the fruit, you'll want to be sure there's no sugar added and that it's canned in 100% fruit juice, not syrup.
  • Look for sugar-free marshmallows. If all you can find are bigger marshmallows, you can cut them into smaller pieces.
spoonful of orange fluff Jello salad over big bowl of fruit salad

Ways to Customize This Orange Fluff Salad Recipe

There are a few ways you can add a little variety to this mandarin orange Jello salad recipe…

  • Use a different flavor Jello, like lime or strawberry or raspberry or blackberry.
  • Substitute a different type of fruit, like a fruit cocktail mix or fresh strawberries or raspberries or blackberries.
  • Add walnuts or pecans to your mandarin orange Jello salad.
  • Use pineapple tidbits instead of crushed pineapple.
  • Add flavored marshmallows instead of regular.
  • Use Dream Whip instead of Cool Whip.
easy mandarin orange salad in plastic cups topped with mandarin orange slice, on white saucer with spoon

What Can I Serve with Jello Salad?

Jello salad makes a wonderful complementary side dish to Thanksgiving dinner with turkey and all the sides. It also complements Christmas dinner and Easter dinner quite nicely.

Of course, it'd also make a great side dish/dessert for a potluck dinner or backyard bbq. Any meal you'll have a crowd is a great time to serve an orange fluff salad.

above plastic cups of old fashioned orange Jello salad on white saucers with spoons

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plastic cups of mandarin orange Jello salad on white saucers with spoons, marshmallows, and extra mandarin orange slices

Orange Jello Salad

Whip up a family favorite orange Jello salad with simple ingredients like cottage cheese, mini marshmallows, and whipped cream. Easy recipe!
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Desserts, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 80kcal
Author: Mel Lockcuff

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

  • First add the cottage cheese and Jello mix to a large bowl, and mix well.
  • Next add the mandarin oranges and crushed pineapple to the cottage cheese mixture, and mix well.
  • Stir in the mini marshmallows.
  • Fold in the whipped topping.
  • Once it's all mixed up, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 1 hour before serving; overnight is fine too.
  • When you serve it, you can serve with additional mandarin oranges and whipped cream. Just make sure you store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Notes

Personally, I wouldn't make this recipe more than a day ahead. You can make it the afternoon before and chill it in an airtight container in the fridge overnight. In fact, it helps the flavors all meld together if you let it chill for at least an hour or two before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 80kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 68mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g
Tried this Recipe? Tag us Today!Mention @mellockcuff or tag #fomfrecipes!

17 thoughts on “Easy Mandarin Orange Jello Salad with Cottage Cheese”

  1. I make this as sugar free as i can. I only use four ingredients. S / F jello orange. Small curd low fat cottage cheese. Can of no sugar mandarin oranges drained on paper towels and cut in half. No sugar cool whip. One carton folded in. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Eat and enjoy.
    Diabetics enjoy too.

    Reply
  2. I use tapioca pudding with orange jello. Instead of cottage cheese. Much better.
    You have to cook it. Never marshmallows either. Pineapple optional. Always oranges tho.

    Reply
  3. Sounds so delish! I am looking for a gingerbread recipe that calls for pepper. It was like a T with the recipe I lost. It made a 9 x 13″ cake pan size. Would you have such a recipe?

    Reply
  4. I was looking for a recipe with pineapple & mandarin oranges and found this one. I just finished making it. It couldn’t be any easier or faster to make ! I followed the recipe exactly and I wouldn’t change a thing. I couldn’t wait for it to get completely chilled, so I had a tiny bowl
    of it right away and it was delicious. Thank you for sharing this yummy jello salad!!!

    Reply
  5. I made this for Easter and I am now an addict. I LOVE it. Getting ready to make it again and I won’t have to share this with company.lol

    Reply
  6. I make this orange jello salad, however, do not put the pineapple in or miniature marshmallows! I hate to be rude but I don’t really like the looks of this one! Save the miniature marshmallows for 5 cup salad! Try it my way and see if you like it! I bet you will! I could eat the entire bowl!!!! Make sure you drain the oranges really well!

    Reply
    • Oh plus I am replying to myself! hahahaha! I put the cool whip in the bowl first! I use my corning ware glass dish then pour the jello on that! I don’t pour it all in at once because don’t want to get too much orange! Then add cottage cheese, again, don’t use entire carton and then the drained oranges!!!! My husband even loves this stuff! I hope I didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings by commenting on this!

      Reply
      • Yep, you can use whatever you prefer. I do like the marshmallows and pineapple in this recipe, but I can see why one might not like it. Thanks for the feedback! Don’t worry, you didn’t hurt my feelings lol.

        Reply

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