Christmas Ribbon Salad

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Gelatin salads are very popular at holidays.  I have been making this beautiful ribbon version since my girls were little.  It looks like Christmas and best of all, tastes really good; not just any jello salad!

Christmas Ribbon Jello group

The green layer is lime; second layer is cream cheese, melted marshmallows, pineapple juice, and lemon gelatin.  Third layer is a combo of cherry and raspberry (or cranberry) gelatin.  The secret is to make it early so each layer has time to set completely in between.

The salad goes well and looks beautiful with anything – ham, roasts, turkey, you name it.  I make it two days ahead of time so it’s done and out-of-the-way.  Only problem is keeping everyone away from it!

Christmas Ribbon Jello bite

5.0 from 3 reviews
Christmas Ribbon Salad
  • First Layer:
  • Two 3-ounce packages lime gelatin
  • 2-1/2 cups hot (not boiling) water (very hot tap water works great)
  • Second Layer:
  • One 8-ounce package block-style cream cheese, softened
  • One 3-ounce package lemon gelatin
  • 1-1/2 cups hot (not boiling) water
  • 3 cups mini marshmallows
  • ½ cup pineapple juice
  • Third Layer:
  • One 3-ounce package cherry gelatin
  • One 3-ounce package red raspberry (or cranberry) gelatin
  • 2-1/2 cups hot (not boiling) water
  1. For First Layer:
  2. Place the 2 packages of lime gelatin in the hot water, stirring well to dissolve. Pour into a 9-by-13-inch pan and let stand in the refrigerator until completely firm.
  3. For Second Layer:
  4. In bowl of electric mixer with whisk attachment, whip the cream cheese until light and fluffy, scraping bowl often; set aside. Dissolve the lemon gelatin in the hot water and set aside.
  5. In a saucepan, place the mini marshmallows and pineapple juice over medium heat and stir constantly until marshmallows melt and mixture is smooth. Pour the hot marshmallow mixture and lemon gelatin mixture into the whipped cream cheese in mixer and blend together until very smooth, scraping bowl and beater often. Set aside and let cool completely (about 30 minutes) then carefully pour over refrigerated and set lime layer, using a slow back and forth motion while pouring and not pouring into one spot. Refrigerate until completely set before adding next layer.
  6. For Third Layer:
  7. Combine cherry and raspberry gelatins in the hot water and stir to dissolve. Let cool completely (about 25 to 30 minutes) before carefully and slowly pouring over cream cheese layer, using the same back and forth pouring and not pouring into one spot. Refrigerate until completely set. Cut into desired size squares to serve, usually 2 to 3 inch squares.
  8. Salad can be made a day or two ahead of time.

Christmas Ribbon Jello single


22 Responses to Christmas Ribbon Salad

  1. Dana December 18, 2016 at 3:27 pm #

    I love it! The holidays wouldn’t be complete without jello salad. My aunt makes at least one every year. (I think it’s so funny what we call salads!)

    • Debbie December 19, 2016 at 10:02 am #

      Dana, I agree! It’s funny that anything with jello seems to be called a salad! I think it must be some throwback to the ’50’s.

    • Sharon Kern December 21, 2019 at 6:02 pm #

      Is there any substitute for the pineapple or pear juice?

  2. Denise December 19, 2016 at 5:39 pm #

    This “salad” looks so festive! Any tips on how you cut it with such “clean” edges?

    • Debbie December 27, 2016 at 9:58 pm #

      Hi Denise – I just realized I have not answered your question yet! I’m afraid the Christmas rush got away from me. The only thing I do when cutting the jello into squares is run the knife or small metal spatula under very hot tap water, wipe off excess water and immediately cut into squares while the knife is still warm. Also, I only tent the pan loosely with nonstick foil without touching the prepared and chilled jello, or if it is cut into squares, they can be placed in a container with a lid that doesn’t touch the top of jello.

  3. Chris December 5, 2017 at 7:02 pm #

    How do you mix so much liquid in the lemon layer and have it come out smooth? It seemed that I had so much more liquid than the cream cheese.

    • Debbie December 6, 2017 at 2:16 pm #

      Hi Chris- The only suggestion I can offer is to whip the softened block cream cheese very well before adding the other ingredients and scrape the bowl and beaters often. The same thing goes when adding the rest of the ingredients. Scraping the bowl and beaters often is essential to make the mixture very smooth. Then refrigerate the 30 minutes before pouring over the set layer in the pan, or maybe it will take slightly longer. Refrigerator temperatures can vary. Make sure it is easy enough to pour but it is not too thickened. I hope that helps because it’s so beautiful and delicious! It’s a tradition to have it on our Christmas table every year.

      • Chris December 6, 2017 at 4:36 pm #

        Thanks for the suggestions!

        • Debbie December 6, 2017 at 5:49 pm #

          You’re welcome, Chris! Hope it helps.

  4. Lora December 16, 2017 at 5:19 pm #

    Any chance of subbing diced pears and pear juice for pineapple juice in middle layer?

    • Debbie December 17, 2017 at 1:23 pm #

      Hi Lora- Using pear juice instead of pineapple would be fine, but if you added diced pears the layer would be lumpy and not smooth like the other layers. I wasn’t sure if you meant not using the mini marshmallows and diced pears instead, it would not set. The melted marshmallows are needed. I hope this helps!

  5. Chris December 17, 2017 at 7:37 pm #

    Success! My Christmas Ribbon Salad came out perfect this year. I’m inclined to think the problem I had last year was due to the marshmallows. This year I had “name brand” marshmallows, and I noticed they melted almost instantly. Last year I had a generic brand of marshmallows which did not want to melt, and the consistency of the melted marshmallows/pineapple juice seemed much different this year.

  6. Karen December 21, 2017 at 7:44 pm #

    I am wondering if this sets up firmly enough that it could be placed in a mold , then unmolded just before serving?

    • Debbie December 31, 2017 at 8:40 pm #

      Hi Karen- Sorry I did not respond before this. We had a housefull over Christmas and I haven’t kept up with my blog, but had a great time playing with my 11-month-old granddaughter! To answer your question, I have no idea! I have never made it in a mold before. If you did it or might in the future, I would love to hear how it turned out!

    • Leah December 14, 2018 at 1:51 pm #

      My mom would make a variation of this holiday jello, but it had crushed pineapple in it and was prepared slightly differently, however it is essentially the identical recipe. She always served it from a ring or dome mold and it always came out beautifully. The recipe only used 1 box of each flavor because the mold is a smaller capacity. Also, to keep the ribbons even in depth, I often don’t use all of the middle layer (and the other 2 for that matter) and just use the extra in another bowl to enjoy later. Enjoy!!

      • Debbie December 14, 2018 at 9:07 pm #

        Leah, your mom’s version sounds delicious and pretty! I love those dome molds.

  7. Betty December 24, 2018 at 12:21 pm #

    This is the year that I have tried this recipe and it turned beautifully. I usually make a “jello fluff” for the holidays but I am so glad I decided to try something different. My family really enjoyed it. Thank you.

    • Debbie December 29, 2018 at 9:56 am #

      Hi Betty- I’m so glad your family enjoyed it! It isn’t Christmas at our table without it. So festive-looking and delicious! Thank you for writing.

  8. Betty Peckmann November 26, 2019 at 1:48 pm #

    This was a “had to have, required” salad at every dinner when my mother had company. it soon became THE salad for family dinners. If it wasn’t on the table, there were complaints! Mom always used crushed pineapple for the juice. Betty (not the same Betty above, lol)

    • Debbie November 26, 2019 at 11:56 pm #

      Betty, it’s required at our table too!

  9. Stephanie February 15, 2020 at 4:27 pm #

    This looks like a beautiful recipe. Thanks for sharing. My Nanny made a salad like this one but there was pineapple chunks in the middle layer. When I made yours, I pressed canned pineapple to get the juice, then after the mix was cooled to room temp, I stirred 1/2 c pressed crushed pineapple in before I added the layer. We will see!

    • Debbie February 15, 2020 at 10:14 pm #

      Let me know how it turned out, Stephanie!

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