Easy Mandarin Orange Jello Salad

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How to make a quick and easy mandarin orange Jello salad with cottage cheese, pineapple, and Cool Whip. Fluff dessert recipe perfect for holiday dinners.

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

It's always just a given that everyone's favorite retro side dish/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 decimated.

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

This orange fluff recipe will take you back to the good old days.

It's super quick and easy to make; we're talking 10 minutes at the most. And it only has a few simple ingredients, including an orange Jello mix, cottage cheese, crushed pineapple, and Cool Whip (or whatever type of whipped cream you prefer).

Like ambrosia salad and Watergate salad, orange fluff Jello salad also contains mini marshmallows, giving it a very fluffy consistency and texture… This being the very reason it's sometimes called fluff.

close up look at mandarin orange Jello 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).

WHERE CAN I FIND THE ACTUAL RECIPE CARD?

If you’d rather skip all of my fruit salad recipe making tips, important info for this recipe, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to the orange fluff salad recipe – just scroll down to the bottom, where you’ll find a printable recipe card.

INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED:

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

Remember, all of the ingredient amounts you’ll need are in the printable recipe card below.

KITCHEN TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT YOU'LL NEED:

Large Bowl and Spatula for mixing

Can Strainer or Colander – This makes it easy to drain the mandarin oranges and crushed pineapple

HOW TO MAKE MANDARIN ORANGE JELLO SALAD

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

  1. First add the cottage cheese and Jello mix to a large mixing 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

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.

DO I MAKE THE JELLO BEFORE ADDING IT TO THE RECIPE?

No. In this case, you simply want to add the powdered Jello mix. 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.

CAN I USE SUGAR-FREE JELLO INSTEAD?

While I haven't tried this, I don't see why not. Sugar-free Jello should work just as well as regular Jello.

plastic cup of orange pineapple fluff on white saucer with spoon and mini marshmallow

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…

  • Use sugar-free whipped cream.
  • 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.

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.

orange fluff salad in plastic cups topped with mandarin orange slice, on white saucer with spoon

HOW FAR AHEAD CAN I MAKE ORANGE FLUFF?

Personally, I wouldn't make this recipe more than a day ahead.

You can make it the afternoon before and chill it 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.

spoonful of orange fluff Jello salad over big bowl of fruit salad

CAN I FREEZE IT?

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.

WAYS TO CHANGE UP A JELLO SALAD

There are a few ways you can add a little variety to orange pineapple fluff.

  • 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.
above plastic cups of orange Jello salad on white saucers with spoons

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.

GET THE PRINTABLE RECIPE

If you love this orange fluff recipe as much as I do, please write a 5 star review, and help me share the recipe on Facebook and Pinterest!

double image of mandarin orange Jello salad, with top image of orange Jello salad in plastic cup, topped with slice of orange, and bottom image of spoonful of orange fluff

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Yield: 10

Easy Mandarin Orange Jello Salad

Easy Mandarin Orange Jello Salad

How to make a quick and easy mandarin orange Jello salad with cottage cheese, pineapple, and Cool Whip. Fluff dessert recipe perfect for holiday dinners.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. First add the cottage cheese and Jello mix to a large mixing 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Notes

DO I MAKE THE JELLO BEFORE ADDING IT TO THE RECIPE?

No. In this case, you simply want to add the powdered Jello mix. If you make the Jello beforehand, it will change the entire recipe and may not work out so well.

CAN I USE SUGAR-FREE JELLO INSTEAD?

While I haven't tried this, I don't see why not. Sugar-free Jello should work just as well as regular Jello.

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…

  • Use sugar-free whipped cream.
  • 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.

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 ORANGE FLUFF?

Personally, I wouldn't make this recipe more than a day ahead. You could make it the afternoon before and chill it 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.

However, 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 IT?

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.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 80Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 68mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 12gProtein: 3g

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