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Orange Dreamsicle Salad

A staple at holidays and potlucks for generations, orange fluff salad is light, creamy, and dreamy! An easy fruit salad that can be whipped up in minutes!

fluffy orange marshmallow salad; text overlay "Orange Fluff Salad"

Orange Fluff Salad

Who remembers those fluff salads that your mom or grandma used to make for the holidays? Fluff salads first hit the scene in the early 1900s, as more and more households started to have refrigerators. As new flavors of gelatin, pudding, etc. appeared in supermarkets, home chefs created a variety of fun, fruity dishes to share on special occasions.

This orange fluff salad recipe is one of the most beloved fluffy fruit salads. Is it a salad? Is it a dessert? It’s whatever you want it to be! It can even be served as a side dish, for a fun contrast to savory foods.

Mandarin orange salad is a summer staple — it’s light, fruity, and refreshing. This summertime salad features mandarin oranges and Cool Whip combined into a sweet fluff.

I also call it Dreamsicle Salad because it tastes just like an orange creamsicle — sweet, fruity, and creamy! But the best part is the texture. The jello mixes with the whipped topping to create an impossibly fluffy treat. It’s like eating a cloud! No wonder both kids and grown-ups love it!

Even better, this dish is incredibly easy to make, with just 6 simple ingredients. It’s great for entertaining and for adding a touch of nostalgia to any event!

Let’s make it!

Related: For more retro recipe inspiration, check out this collection of vintage fluff salad recipes!

bowl of orange fluff salad with mandarin slice on top


For your convenience in re-creating this recipe at home, we’ve included shop-able ad links to some of the products and supplies used. Read our disclosure policy here.

  • 1 Tub of Cool Whip (8 ounce size)
  • 1 Box of Orange Gelatin Mix (3 ounce size)
  • 1 Can of Mandarin Oranges, drained (14 ounce can)
  • 1 ½ Cups of Mini Marshmallows
  • 1 Cup of Cottage Cheese (can use regular or light)
  • 1 Cup of Sweetened Shredded Coconut

ingredients to make Dreamsicle salad

Kitchen Tools Used

  • Large Mixing Bowl — This one comes with a handy lid for easier storing!
  • Wooden spoon or spatula


Whisk together whipped topping and orange jello mix in a large bowl, until fluffy and smooth.

bowl of orange whipped topping

Fold the oranges, marshmallows, cottage cheese, and shredded coconut in to the fluff mixture, until evenly distributed. Be sure to thoroughly drain the oranges first — you don’t want the juice to water down the salad. If the cottage cheese has any excess liquid, drain that away too.

large bowl with mandarin oranges, marshmallows, coconut, and cottage cheese

This salad is great because you can customize it to really make it your own. Feel free to try adding any or all of these mix-ins:

  • Chopped pecans or your favorite nuts
  • Sour cream
  • Fruit cocktail (drain the juice first)
  • Maraschino cherries (these are perfect to garnish each serving!)
  • Pineapple tidbits or crushed pineapple (be sure to drain the juice)

While you can indeed serve right away, I recommend placing in the fridge to chill for at least an hour. This gives all the flavors a chance to mingle and really develop.

serving bowl and individual bowls of creamsicle salad

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does Fluff Salad Stay Good?

This dish needs to be kept refrigerated. If not serving right away after mixing it up, you’ll want to store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you’re ready to enjoy. It will stay good when properly stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Do not freeze.

When serving leftovers, be sure to give the bowl a good stir, as some of the ingredients may begin to separate.

Why is My Fluff Salad Runny?

It is natural for the ingredients to separate over time, and when the salad gets runny (typical after 3 days or so) then it’s probably time to toss it. However, if your salad is runny when you make it, then it’s possible that the fruit wasn’t drained adequately. The fruit juice from the mandarin slices can water down the salad if you don’t make sure to get all the liquid out before mixing.

You’ll also want to be sure to drain any excess liquid from the cottage cheese before adding to the salad too.

Can You Use Sugar Free Jello?

Yes, you are welcome to use sugar free orange jello in place of the regular jello mix in this recipe. Doing so will reduce the amount of sugar per serving by about 9 grams. You can also substitute low sugar ingredients wherever possible, such as using unsweetened shredded coconut. Keep in mind that using low sugar or low fat ingredients can slightly alter the flavor from the original recipe, but it should still be quite tasty.

Fun fact: This creamsicle fluff contains both vitamin A and vitamin C, plus a bit of calcium. So if you cut out some of the sugar, it’s actually a sneaky way to get the kids to eat their vitamins!

Can You Use Whipped Cream instead of Cool Whip?

In this case, I suggest sticking with whipped topping. Since it is made with hydrogenated oil, whipped topping is more stable than whipped cream. The whipped topping will stay “fluffy” longer, while the whipped cream may liquify. And we definitely want this orange fluff recipe to be fluffy, not soupy!

Can You Use a Different Flavor of Jello?

If orange jell-o isn’t your favorite, or you want to try something new, feel free to use a different flavor! The amount of combinations and variations are endless!

If doing so, you may want to also switch out the fruit. For example, if using strawberry jello, you may want to include sliced strawberries instead of the mandarin orange. If using lime jello, pineapples make the perfect pairing (see our pineapple lime jello salad recipe below!) Another idea might be to use raspberry jello with fruit cocktail. So many options!


top-down view of a large serving bowl of orange fluff salad

More Vintage Fluff Salad Recipes

Orange Fluff Jello Salad Recipe

If you loved this recipe too, please rate it!

bowl of orange fluff salad with mandarin slice on top

Orange Fluff Salad Recipe

A staple at holidays and potlucks for generations, orange fluff salad is light, creamy, and dreamy! An easy fruit salad that can be whipped up in minutes!
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 242 kcal


  • large mixing bowl


  • 8 oz Whipped Topping
  • 3 oz Orange Gelatin Mix 1 small box
  • 14 oz Mandarin Oranges 1 can, drained
  • 1 ½ Cups Mini Marshmallows
  • 1 Cup Cottage Cheese
  • 1 Cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut


  • Stir together whipped topping and orange jello powder in a large mixing bowl, until fluffy and smooth.
    bowl of orange whipped topping
  • Fold in the oranges, marshmallows, cottage cheese, and shredded coconut until evenly distributed.
    large bowl with mandarin oranges, marshmallows, coconut, and cottage cheese


Nutrition information is provided as an estimate only; your actual values will vary based on exact ingredients used and serving size.


Calories: 242kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 5gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 191mgPotassium: 177mgFiber: 1gSugar: 32gVitamin A: 396IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 63mgIron: 1mg
Keyword fruit, jello, orange
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2 photo vertical collage showing how to make Dreamsicle Fluff Salad

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