A retro recipe for Coca Cola Jello Salad! If you’ve never had the joy of eating a jello alongside your ham at a family holiday meal, you haven’t lived. Cherries and Coke go together like two peas in a pod!
Eric handed me some scraps of paper that he had just gathered up from around the house. They were my daily to-do lists from the past week. The very first item at the top of every list said, “Clean” or “Clean something.” Last Friday’s said, “Clean something, ANYTHING!!!”
You know a task that travels from one to-do list to the next is something that you need to avoid at all costs.
The scary part is how totally non-specific I was. If the list said something like “vacuum” or “fold laundry” then it wouldn’t seem so bad: those are small, tackle-able tasks. But my house is in such a state that I can look in any direction and find something, anything, to clean.
My kitchen is a complete disaster. I kind of feel like a human tornado. We are officially entering my favorite part of the year, the part where everyone else in the world finally recognizes that we should be listening to Bing Crosby and baking cookies all day every day.
I have some really exciting things to share with you guys in the next few weeks, one of which is my baby. No, not my real baby, but rather a cookie recipe that I have been perfecting for weeks now. I’ll post it after Thanksgiving so you guys can “add them to your neighbor plates,” aka stuff your face with the entire batch. (UPDATE! Here they are: Brown Butter Sea Salt Butterscotch Cookies :)
But before I get ahead of myself on Christmas cookies, we need to get our act together for Thanksgiving! Last week I posted this Brown Butter Cranberry Tart (dessert first, always) and this Broccoli with Feta and Fried Almonds, or, The Best Broccoli I Have Ever Put In My Mouth.
All of my posts from now until Thanksgiving will be something that you can put on the table on the big day. Stay tuned for some savory sweet potatoes, homemade coconut rolls that will make you think twice about buying bakery rolls, and even an elegant butternut squash appetizer. If it makes it easier for you, you can follow my Facebook page, I always post my recipes (plus other fun stuff!)
But today we are talking jello. Wait! Come baaaaack! This jello’s got the goods, I’m telling you. I know jello isn’t the sexiest side dish out there, (well, unless you are making jello origami cranes, but that’s a whole different story) but I’ve always loved a good jello salad, and if you can get over your foodie self for 5 seconds you will agree that they are freaking good. Especially alongside a plate of turkey.
This jello is made with Coke, so it has a tiny little sparkle to it. And it’s filled with chopped tart cherries and crushed pineapple, so no one will be digging out all the good fruit (you know those haters that are stealing all the strawberries. Ummm, that’s totally me.)
With this jello, you get plenty of fruit with every bite. There are no bites of just-jello.
I used a 12-cup bundt pan to form the jello in. You can use a jello mold of course, or just a regular bowl, or simplify your life even more and just toss it in a 2-quart casserole dish. Easy. This jello is a great make-ahead side for Thanksgiving. Change it up!
P.S. There are a couple tutorial shots after the recipe…just in case you don’t know how to make jello. I’m not patronizing you at all.
Coca-Cola Jello Salad with Cherries
- 1 6-oz box cherry-flavored Jello, not sugar-free
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 cup regular Coca-Cola
- 1 14.5-oz can red tart pitted cherries in water
- 1 8-oz can crushed pineapple
- Put some water in a saucepan and turn up the heat to get it boiling. In a large bowl, add the package of Jello. Once the water is rolling, pour one cup of the boiling water over the jello and stir until dissolved. Stir in the Coca-Cola. Cover and refrigerate mixture until partially firm, about 45 minutes. Stir the jello every 10 minutes or so; you want it a thickened but not set.
- Meanwhile, add the can of cherries to a food processor or blender. Pulse in one-second intervals, about 3-5 pulses, until the cherries are chopped into small pieces but not blended.
- Once the Jello mixture has thickened, stir in the chopped cherries and it's juice, pineapple and it's juice. Pour into a jello mold, bowl, bundt pan, or 2-quart casserole dish. Cover tightly and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours, overnight, or up to 2 days before serving. Remove salad from the mold by inverting onto a serving platter. Serve cold.
Stir all that jello in until it is dissolved.
It kind of froths up when you pour in the Coke. See! Jello is fun!
You want the jello to be semi-set when you add the fruit, so that the fruit doesn’t all sink to the bottom.
These are the cherries. You don’t want to pulverize them, just chop them.
Happy jello making everybody!
My Mother made a salad similar to your recipe. She used black cherry jello, black bing cherries, coke, cream cheese, crushed pineapple and pecans. It was absolutely DELICIOUS! I have prepared this many times for Thanksgiving and Christmas or for a potluck. The dish comes home empty. Thank you for sharing.
oh man that sounds SO good Lynda! Love the sound of those black bing cherries, and the pineapple! Yum. Thanks for sharing your memory!!
I have made this since the 90’s. Mine calls for almond slivers. Works great!
Ah, the 90s. Great jellos all around :) Thanks Elaine!
This recipe had been in my family for years! Every Thanksgiving and Christmas we have it. It’s delicious!!! We add a cup of chopped pecans to it.
That is awesome Cyndi! I love the idea of adding pecans! Thanks for sharing!
This has been a family recipe for over 60 years…my only addition would be pecans, chopped and I’m guessing that it is because family roots stem from Oklahoma where pecans are plentiful.
We also use cherry pie filling and decrease water by 1/2 cup.
It’s served with the dinner, usually turkey, poultry, pork or ham.
Relatives needing a sugar less diet have substituted Diet Coke and sugar free jello and have enjoyed just the same.
That is awesome Sandrina! Great tips, I love the sugar free idea. Thanks for commenting!
ANY SUGGESTIONS FOR REPLACING THE RED TART CHERRIES WITH ANYTHING ELSE??
Hey Maricruz! You can use any type of canned fruit that you like! Or fresh strawberries will work.
Great, thanks will do that!
For the cherries, do you drain them? Thanks for your help!
Made this yesterday and the whole family enjoyed it. I broke your rules and used sugar-free cherry jello (2 packs) as well as Diet Coke… it turned out great! I wasn’t sure I would like pecans in jello, so I halved them, but I actually didn’t mind them in it at all. Thanks :)
Yay for sugar free! I will definitely try that next time. And good to know that the pecans were okay. I’ve never tried it with pecans because nuts in jello kinda freaks me out, haha! But maybe I will try it. Thanks so much for commenting Sarah!
Haha looking at your recipe, I don’t know where I got the idea of the pecans… I know some other jello salads have that. But yeah, they weren’t bad :)
You probably looked at Magnolia Days’ original recipe, the source I give right below the recipe. Her version has pecans and says specifically not to use sugar free. Now we know you can! :)
What a fun way to eat salad! Jello makes everything better. I love that there is coke in this!
Thanks Chels! It was so good. The coke gave it just a hint of sparkle.
I can’t eat jello in large quantities. Especially red jello I blame this on the fact that while in Brazil I was forced to eat a large helping of beet jello. Yes. Beet jello. I’ve never fully recovered from that experience. (No one could.)
Okay, what is it with South Americans and adding beets to weird stuff? I saw that in Peru too. I’m sorry for your (completely understandable) jello aversion, because this one is awesome. At least it doesn’t have beets in it.
Fun recipe, and I love your pics and writing style. Thanks for making me smile!
Thanks Gin! You’re too kind. I just checked out your blog, I totally want to try that cranberry bread you just posted! Looks awesome. Happy Thanksgiving!
I’m so glad you enjoyed my Coca-Cola salad and made it for your family. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday season!
Thanks again for the recipe Renee! Happy holidays to you too!
Hmmm! I never thought about putting coke in jello. Good idea! Thanks for sharing :)
It’s a Southern thing, Laura, I had never heard of it either. It’s good! Try it out!