Salad | November 3, 2021

The Best Cherry Jello

Claudean’s Cherry Jello is legendary in our home, it is, in fact, The Best Cherry Jello ever. Sweet and creamy, it melts in your mouth and is as delicious on a hot summer day as it is on your Thanksgiving table!

The Best Cherry Jello

I know you’re thinking, really, JELLO? In our part of the country, Jello is usually present at most family dinners, church gatherings, funerals, parties, etc. You can’t hardly live in Utah without having at least one good Jello recipe under your belt. I remember visiting Utah when I was young and my Aunt making Jello dishes. I marveled at the variety of ingredients and the way the sweet Jello seemed to make everything taste like dessert. I loved this thing called Jello!

How to make cherry Jello

Have you ever heard of a person living in Utah who can’t make at least 5 different tried and true Jello dishes without looking at a recipe? Call me to repentance. I don’t know why, but I’ve never had good luck with Jello. It’s always too runny, or not mixed up enough, with that rubbery layer on the bottom of the pan. Or the outside sets up, but not the middle. I was a failure in the J-E-L-L-O dept.

Making Jello with canned pineapple and pie filling


I had all but written off Jello, and then a few years back, I found this recipe in a local school cookbook. For years we called it “Claudean’s Cherry Jello”. Claudean has been a family friend for a long, long time, and an expert at making anything sweet. It’s really a dessert of sorts, disguised as a Jello “salad”. So it’s totally legal to serve with dinner!

How to get Jello to set up quickly

If you have any guilt about recipes made straight out of cans and boxes, this recipe is probably not going to be one you PIN. But if easy, easy, easy is your love language, The Best Cherry Jello is going to be your new favorite! This recipe is so easy, your kids can help make it. I love it when kids help in the kitchen, and this is the perfect dish to assign to one of your kids during the holidays.

pudding and whipping cream in Jello

The Best Cherry Jello sets up more quickly than just a plain pan of Jello because of the pie filling and crushed pineapple stirred into  the Jello, and is topped with a mixture of pudding and whipped cream all folded together. Here’s the deal: No fail. Sets up in two hours. Fruity. Sweet. Creamy topping. Can be made up to three days before serving! Oh, and no carrots. Jello Perfection, my friends. This. Is. IT.

Make ahead Jello recipe

This recipe was originally published in 2011, updated content and photos added in 2021

5 from 4 votes
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Claudean’s Perfect Cherry Jello

THe Best jello ever! Easy to make and only takes two hours start to table.

Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword american dessert, cherry, fruit salad, jello, Side dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
refrigerate 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 16

Ingredients

  • 1 large 6 oz box strawberry, raspberry or cherry Jello
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1- 21 oz can cherry pie filling low sugar or regular
  • 1- 20 oz can crushed pineapple not drained
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream*
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 small 3.4 oz box instant vanilla pudding

Instructions

  1. Boil the water. While water is heating up, pour the large box of Jello into a 9×13 pan. 
  2. Pour the 2 cups of boiling water over the jello in the dish. Using a whisk, slowly mix the jello and water together until all of the Jello is dissolved. Make sure to scrape up all of the Jello off the bottom of the dish. 
  3. Pour the contents of the can of pineapple and the can of cherry pie filling into the pan with the Jello and water. Mix with large spoon.
  4. Place pan into refrigerator. Let set up for about 2 hours. It’s usually set after 1- 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Whip the cream in a large bowl until stiff, set aside. In another bowl, whisk together 1 cup of milk and the box of pudding. Fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream. Spread the whipped cream mixture over the set-up Jello mixture in the pan. Serve immediately, or return to fridge until ready to serve. 

Recipe Notes

  • You may sub any flavor of Jello. I’ve used anything from Strawberry to Cherry. Anything red works.
  • I’ve never tried using sugarless Jello or sugarless pudding in this recipe. Leave a comment if you experiment.
  • This may be made up to three days before serving. Store in refrigerator covered tightly with plastic wrap or foil. 
  • *The original recipe calls for Cool Whip. A medium size container works. I’m not a fan of Cool Whip. And since I’m not a huge Jello fan either, I use real whipped cream and it improves the dish in a big way. If after reading this you still want to use Cool Whip-mix the pudding in a bowl with 1 cup of milk. Then fold in the Cool Whip.

35 thoughts on “The Best Cherry Jello

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Recipe Rating




  1. my favorite part about this is that the original recipe author is named, "Claudeen:)" A perfectly utah mormon name to go with j-e-l-l-o! i was a tiny bit dismayed that it wasn't called a "jello SALAD," but i'll try to get over it!

  2. Could this pie also fill a pre-baked pie shell? Or would it cause the crust to become too soggy?
    Thanks in advance for your response.

    1. Connie
      That is a great question…I really can’t say. I do know the filling sets up fairly quickly. Maybe it would be best to let it set up for a few minutes (30?) in a bowl, then scrape into the pie shell. Or, you could also fold some of the pudding and whipped cream mixture into the jello layer and then place in pie shell. Then just top with the rest of the pudding/whipped cream mixture. Let me know if you give this a try!
      xo
      Si

  3. I used sugarfree jello and pudding, real whipping cream and whole milk in pudding. Turned out beautifully! Husband is type 2 diabetic so I try to cut carbs where I can.

    1. Sherrie,
      I’m glad this recipe worked well for your family. Thanks for your tips on adjusting this recipe for diabetics! Thank you for reading ABK.
      xo,
      Si

  4. This is so good! I just made it on Sunday and my husband asked me to make it again for the 4th. Thank you!

  5. 5 stars
    I love this dessert. I served at a small gathering with some friends and they all loved it. could you please provide the nutritional value of this wonderful light dessert. Thank you

    1. Hi Debra,
      I’m glad you love this dish! It’s a family favorite. I’m sorry I don’t have the nutritional information , you should be able to enter the info on a site that provides this info.
      thanks for reading ABK
      xo
      Si

  6. 5 stars
    Great Recipe. I used SF jello and no sugar added pie filling. I also used SF cool whip. It was fantastic.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Maureen. I’m sure others viewers will find this healthier version helpful too!
      xo
      Si

  7. 5 stars
    This is the best jello ever! We made it for the first time for Thanksgiving and I have made it for every holiday and social function we’ve gone to and it’s fine within minutes. Honestly any excuse to make this I do. I made it with with Cherry jello and it was perfect!

  8. I’ve made this several times. Always goes over great. I’ve even used raspberry Jello with strawberry pie filling and banana pudding. OMG 😁

    1. Kelly,
      Thank you for your positive review of this recipe. I’m so glad you liked it. I love go-to recipes that will please a crowd! Thank you for reading ABK.
      xo,
      Si

  9. Love this recipe! I make it at Christmas AND 4th of July! I wonder if you could add in a diced up banana with jello?

    1. Hi Will,
      Great for 4th of July too! Yes, dicing a banana will work in this recipe. No need to make any other adjustments. I suggest a banana that is barely ripe so you don’t have problems with it turning brown!
      Si

  10. Hello Si,
    I am not a huge fan of canned cherries, although my family is. I have all the ingredients to make this recipe including the real whip cream. 😋 I have never seen this recipe before until now. Please tell me on a scale of 0-10 how is it? 😉 I am gonna try it. Thanks for sharing your family recipe.

    1. Hi Lori!
      Using real whipping cream in the recipe is a huge thumbs up! This is a family favorite and I hope you love it as much as my family does! If you’re making for Thanksgiving, you still have time to do a test-run before then and let your family make the call. Thank you for reading ABK and I hope your holidays are fantastic!
      xo,
      Si