Gelatin Mold Fruit Salad is a family favorite for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Growing up in the '70s, Jell-O was so popular in all kinds of recipes, especially Jell-O molds with fruit in it. You couldn't go to a potluck dinner or church picnic without seeing a variety of Jell-O salads and desserts on the buffets.
My Mom always made this recipe with strawberry and raspberry flavored Jell-O gelatin, cranberry juice, apples, grapes, and mandarin oranges molded in a bundt pan. She always served it on a large serving plate, covered with lettuce leaves, and a homemade bowl of dressing that fit right in the middle of the unmolded Jello.
You can serve this as a side salad for your meal or as a dessert. As the saying goes, "There's Always Room for Jello," even after a huge Thanksgiving dinner!
Ingredients for Gelatin Fruit Salad
- 1 Bundt Pan or Jello mold
- 1 3oz. Container Strawberry Gelatin
- 1 3oz. Container Raspberry Gelatin (both found here)
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 3/4 cups cold cranberry juice
- 2-3 large apples chopped into bite size pieces
- 1 cup seedless red grapes cut in half
- 1 15oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
- 1 large banana, sliced (optional)
- 1/4-1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Instructions for making Gelatin Fruit Salad
Wash and cut apples and grapes. Layer them in the bottom of the bundt pan with drained mandarin oranges. Add a layer of bananas and walnuts if using. Set the bundt pan aside.
Next, boil 2 cups water. In a large bowl, combine gelatin and boiling water. Stir for at least 2 minutes or until gelatin is dissolved. Add cold cranberry juice and stir until just starts to set. Pour the Gelatin over the fruit in the bundt pan. Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours until completely set.
To unmold salad
First, prepare a large, round serving plate by placing washed lettuce leaves around the edges of the plate. Next, fill the sink with enough warm water for the mold to sit in without spilling over into the gelatin fruit salad. Leave it submerged in the water until you see the edges start to melt a tiny bit. This means the mold is loose enough to release form the pan. Take the pan out of the water and quickly invert it onto your prepared plate. Place back in the refrigerator while you make the dressing.
- 1 8oz. block of cream cheese, softened.
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise (not miracle whip)
- 1-2 Tbsp. Grenadine Syrup
To make this simple dressing for your Gelatin Mold Fruit Salad, first make sure your brick of cream cheese is softened. Place all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and with an electric mixer, beat until smooth. Add more grenadine to taste. Pour into a small bowl that will fit in the center of the gelatin mold.
- There was always a debate in my house about putting bananas in the salad. They tend to brown and get mushy quickly in leftover salad that's been refrigerated overnight.
- Feel free to use your favorite type of apple or a mixture of different types. We love Granny Smith in this gelatin fruit salad.
- You can substitute green grapes if you like them better than red grapes.
- You can use all strawberry, all raspberry, or any red type of gelatin you prefer.
- Add a handful of pomegranate seeds if you like.