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Vintage Jello Ribbon Salad

Layers of vibrant colors and flavors make this this vintage rainbow Jello ribbon salad recipe a total crowd pleaser! Such a fun and unique dish!

rainbow jello layered dessert

Rainbow Jello

I discovered this recipe in 1987 at a church function and I’ve been making it ever since.

This gelatin layered salad has only three ingredients: Jello, sour cream and water. The directions are so easy, and each step doesn’t take much time at all.

However, because there are 10 to 12 layers, it can take about 8 hours to finish it up. Don’t let that scare you away. It really is not a difficult recipe—it just takes some time.

This is because each individual layer has to set up in the refrigerator before you can add another layer.

It’s not a big deal though. Do it on a day, when you are going to be home. Go about your day and every 45 minutes go to the kitchen and add the next layer. Before you know it, you will have your work of art done!

When this dish is finished, it really does look like a work of art when you cut and serve it. The layers are jewel like colors and it is so pretty!

The effort is worth it because you will have a show-stopper dessert. While jello is usually thought of as a child’s treat, in my experience the adults love this dessert as much as the children.

It looks pretty in the pan, but it is gorgeous once you cut into it. Top it with some whipped cream and it is a super fancy dessert!

layered rainbow jello dessert topped with whipped cream

Rainbow Layered Jello Ribbon Salad Ingredients

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  • 6 small boxes of Jello — Pick a variety of colors. Here is what my original recipe recommended: Cherry, Lemon, Lime, Raspberry, Orange, Strawberry
  • 2 cups of sour cream
  • Water

How easy is that?

Kitchen Supplies Used

jello boxes in a glass baking dish

Can You Use Different Colors or Flavors?

Absolutely! The rainbow version is our go-to and I listed the classic flavors used in our original recipe. However, you can swap out other flavors, such as watermelon in place of strawberry, etc.

We’ve also made different versions for holidays, like red and green for Christmas and red, white, and blue Jello ribbon salad for the 4th of July!

jello dessert made with rainbow layers

How to Make Rainbow Jello

You will be making two layers from each box of jello. Once you do the first set, you’ll have the technique down.

Use a clear Pyrex dish. The 9X13 size dish works great for six colors. If your dish is a little smaller, use 5 colors like I did this time.

I use a 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup to boil my water.

Here we go!

Put one cup of water in your Pyrex measuring cup and boil the water in your microwave. I used the two-minute setting for this.

Carefully remove the measuring cup from the microwave and add one package of gelatin. Stir until it is completely dissolved. Then measure out ¾ cup of the jello into a second container.

green jello liquid in measuring cups

In the container with less jello liquid, add 1/3 cup of sour cream and whisk until it is smooth.

 

adding a scoop of sour cream to green jello liquidwhisking sour cream into jello

In your original container of green jello, add 2 TB of cold water and mix. Pour this into a 9X13 clear baking dish and refrigerate until set.

green jello in the bottom of a glass dessert dish

After 30 minutes, pull your dish out of the refrigerator and pour the sour cream mixture over the first layer. Ta-da! Now put the dish back into the refrigerator for another 30 minutes to set up.

pouring a layer of creamy jello on top of a layer of green jello

At this point, I wash out the measuring cups that had the sour cream in them so I can use them to make the next layer. While your dish is chilling in the fridge, you can prepare the next color of jello.

Boil another cup of water and add another package of jello. Stir it in until it is completely dissolved.

Measure off ¾ cup of the jello and add 1/3 cup of sour cream. To the remaining jello add 2 TB of cold water and stir.

Pour the clear jello mix over the top of the set layers. Then half an our later, add the sour cream mixture.

Keep repeating this process until you have all the layers done.

TIP: You can’t hurry this recipe. Give each layer at least 30 minutes to set up. However, you can extend the time between making layers if you need to. But don’t take big break between putting sour cream layer on. It’s fine to sit on counter for 30 to 60 minutes, but you want to get it into the refrigerator.

striped jello made with a rainbow of colors

How to Store Your Jello Ribbon Salad

After the dish is done, you’ll want to cover it. Use foil not plastic wrap. Plastic wrap will droop and stick to the top layer. Foil is sturdier and isn’t as likely to stick.

Keep refrigerated until you’re ready to serve. Your layered Jello dessert should last 3-5 days in the fridge.

Rainbow Jello Recipe (Printable Copy)

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cutting into rainbow layered jello ribbon salad

Layered Rainbow Jello (Vintage Recipe)

Sara Garska
Layers of vibrant colors and flavors make this this vintage rainbow Jello ribbon salad recipe a total crowd pleaser!
Prep Time 1 hr
Total Time 8 hrs
Total Time 9 hrs
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 236 kcal

Equipment

  • 9 X 13 Clear Pyrex dish
  • 2 heat-safe 2-cup measuring cups
  • whisk

Ingredients
  

  • 6 boxes Jello (small boxes) Assorted flavors: cherry, lemon, raspberry, lime, orange, strawberry
  • 2 cups sour cream Regular
  • water

Instructions
 

Before You Start

  • You will be making two layers from each box of jello. Once you do the first one, you’ll have the technique down.
  • Use a clear Pyrex dish. The 9X14 size works great for six colors. If your dish is a little smaller, use 5 colors like I did this time.
  • I use a 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup to boil my water and a second one for pouring off part of the jello.

Making the Layers

  • Put one cup of water in your Pyrex measuring cup and boil the water in your microwave. I used the two-minute setting for this.
  • Carefully remove the measuring cup from the microwave and add one package of gelatin. Stir until it is completely dissolved.
  • Then measure out ¾ cup of the jello into a second container. To this container, add 1/3 cup of sour cream and whisk until it is smooth.
  • To the remaining jello, add 2 TB of cold water and mix.
    green jello liquid in measuring cups
  • Pour this into a 9X13 clear baking dish and refrigerate until set.
    green jello in the bottom of a glass dessert dish
  • After 30 minutes, pull your dish out of the refrigerator and pour the sour cream mixture over the first layer.
    pouring a layer of creamy jello on top of a layer of green jello
  • Place the dish back into the refrigerator for another 30 minutes to set.
  • Wash your measuring cups and prepare the next layer of jello the same way you made the first layer -- one cup of solid color jello and one mixed with sour cream.
  • Pour the clear jello mix over the top of the set layers. Then half an our later, add the sour cream mixture.
  • Keep repeating this process until you have all the layers done.
  • Cover with foil and refrigerate.

Nutrition

Calories: 236kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 4gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 229mgPotassium: 57mgSugar: 38gVitamin A: 239IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 43mgIron: 1mg
Keyword desserts, fruit, jello
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Pin our Rainbow Layered Jello on Pinterest:

layered rainbow jello dessert

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