This Cherry Pineapple Jello Salad is almost like an upside down, no-bake cheesecake. The bottom layer is a mixture of cherry gelatin and pie filling lightly gelled together with crushed pineapples. This top is a blend of sweetened cream cheese and Greek yogurt. Then everything is topped with nuts or granola. A stunning holiday dessert!
We are kicking it old school today with this Cherry Pineapple Jello salad! A nostalgic dessert made with cream cheese, crushed pineapples and cherry pie filling!
This dessert is a sweet and fruity treat that is often served at potlucks, holiday gatherings, and special occasions.
★ Why You'll Love this Recipe ★
- This fruity jello salad is super easy to make. Like literally takes 10 minutes of prep all said and done.
- This recipe contains real fruit and cream cheese so it's a dessert with actual nutritional value.
- It's so versatile. Not a huge fan of cherries? Try using strawberry pie filling or any other fruit you prefer then choose a matching jello flavor. You could also swap out the pineapples for a different fruit. Get creative! Any fruit combo works.
- You don't need a Jello mold. You could put this in a mold if you've got one. But I opted to use my glass casserole dish. You can still see the pretty layers, but you don't have to hold your breath hoping it stays in one piece while you flip it.
Why is this Jello cream cheese dessert such a classic?
Remember Jell-o desserts at grandma's house?
Is this a recipe you remember from your childhood? Or maybe it just brings back fond memories of eating Jello on your grandma's floral-print couch watching Jeopardy? Just me?
So, I still love Jello. And when I recently asked my family to send me their favorite childhood recipes, this is one that I got pretty excited about. This one came from my mom's side of the family from my cousin's partner, Anita. Her grandma, Thelma, used to make this dessert and they enjoyed it at a number of their family gatherings.
An Easy, No-bake, Cheesecake-like Dessert
This Jello dessert is almost like an upside down, no-bake cheesecake. The bottom layer is a mixture of cherry gelatin and pie filling lightly gelled together with crushed pineapples. The second layer is a sweetened mixture of whipped cream cheese and Greek yogurt.
★ Ingredients You'll Need ★
You'll need the tried and true base ingredients.
Jell-o, cherry pie filling, crushed pineapples and water.
Then some modern, healthier tweaks to the original recipe.
Greek Yogurt. Now, the original recipe called for sour cream but I was out and I thought Greek yogurt would do the job while lightening up the calorie count of the dessert. Win-win. One other change I made was to the topping.
Granola Topping. Grandma Thelma's original recipe called for chopped nuts but the hubs is allergic to peanuts and most nuts have a trace amount of peanuts, so I opted for a peanut-free granola topping. Up to you what you want to use. Both are delicious or leave them off all together if you have picky eaters.
My favorite brand of granola is Mason St. Super Seed, Fruit and Nut Granola. You can find it at Sam's Club. It's peanut-free and it has a great variety of grains, nuts and seeds and it's got an ever so slightly chewy texture. It's so good you could east if by the spoonful!
Then vanilla extract and cream cheese to add richness.
- To make Cherry Pineapple Jello Salad:
- Dissolve cherry-flavored gelatin in hot water.
- Add canned crushed pineapple with the juice and cherry pie filling.
- Mix then refrigerated until it sets.
- Combine cream cheese, Greek yogurt and vanilla extra.
- Once fruit and gelatin is set, you'll layer on the cream cheese topping then finish off with crunchy granola.
★ Tips & FAQs ★
Here are a few tips for success if you're making this for the first time:
Grease your casserole dish with butter and the Jello wont stick to the sides, making it come out much easier when you go to cut a slice.
Also, you'll want to use a pretty large casserole dish. I used my Pioneer woman casserole dish, which I love because it's so pretty, but the jello mixture just barely fit so moving it from my kitchen counter to the basement fridge without spilling any was a real challenge because the mixture is very swishy before it sets.
How long does Cherry Pineapple Jello Salad need to set in the refrigerator?
The setting time for Cherry Pineapple Jello Salad can vary depending on the recipe and the specific ingredients used. Typically, it takes about 2 to 4 hours to set in the refrigerator.
Can I make Cherry Pineapple Jello Salad in advance?
Yes, you can prepare Cherry Pineapple Jello Salad in advance. In fact, making it ahead of time is a common practice, as it allows the flavors to meld and the salad to set properly. Just be sure to cover and keep it refrigerated until you're ready to serve.
How should I store leftover Cherry Pineapple Jello Salad?
Leftover Cherry Pineapple Jello Salad should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It's best to consume it within 3 days to ensure the freshness of the ingredients and the texture of the salad.
Note: the granola can quickly become soggy so it's best to scrape the granola before storing, and add new granola before enjoying leftovers.
What occasions are ideal for serving Cherry Pineapple Jello Salad?
Cherry Pineapple Jello Salad is a versatile dish that can be served at various occasions. It's commonly enjoyed at picnics, summer barbecues, potlucks, and holiday gatherings, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's a colorful and refreshing addition to any meal.
Can I make Cherry Pineapple Jello Salad with fresh fruit instead of canned fruit?
While the traditional recipe uses canned pineapple and canned cherry pie filling, you can certainly experiment with fresh fruit if you prefer. Fresh fruit can add a delightful twist to the classic recipe.
Just keep in mind that the texture and sweetness may be different.
★ More Recipes You'll Love ★
Hungry for more dessert recipes?
Do you have a sweet tooth but strive to stay healthy? Browse my other dessert recipes. I typically keep them pretty light and/or somewhat healthy! Yes, it's possible. 🙂
This Jello Cream Cheese Dessert recipe was featured on South Your Mouth.
Cherry Pineapple Jello Salad
- 2 boxes cherry Jell-O 3 oz each
- 2 cups boiling water
- 21 oz cherry pie filling
- 20 oz crushed pineapple do not drain
- 8 oz whipped cream cheese
- 8 oz Greek vanilla yogurt (or sour cream)
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup chopped nuts or granola
- Mix Jello into with boiling water (I microwaved the water in a large glass bowl until bubbling).
- Stir in pie filling and pineapple. Mix well then pour into a lightly greased baking pan. Carefully move to the fridge and chill until set (about 2-4 hours).
- To prepare the topping, beat whipped cream cheese, Greek yogurt (or sour cream), sugar and vanilla using a hand mixer until smooth.
- When Jello mixture is set, spread cream cheese mixture on top, then layer with granola or chopped nuts and serve immediately. Use a thin spatula to slice and serve.