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Vintage Jello Recipes

Updated on July 27, 2017

Classic Jell-O Recipes for Parties and Holidays

This is the best vintage Jello recipe I have in my collection. Want to make a frosted lemon Jello salad? This classic Jell-O dessert has been a family favorite for more than 50 years.

This is the kind of recipe you find from the days before there were lots of Jello flavors to choose from in the grocery store. This lens includes a couple of other Jello salad recipes as well.

We just call Lemon Jell-O. It has a few more ingredients than just the flavored gelatin, including bananas, marshmallows and crushed pineapple. It's topped with real whipped cream, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Its official name is Frosted Lemon Salad.

We don't know exactly when my mother first made this recipe, but it entered the family recipe collection many years ago, and 50 years is a good estimate. It made an appearance at Christmas, on my sister's table in England. The serving plates (vintage Sidekick by Corning) helped pull off a simple yet festive table setting.

Lemon Jell-O will always be part of our family.

Photo by kimbesa

Jello Is a Vintage Classic

Jell-O is one of those foods that nearly everyone remembers from childhood. Its history goes back more than 100 years, but when refrigeration became more common - by the 1930s - Jell-O recipes grew in popularity.

Refrigerators were quickly replacing ice boxes in American kitchens, and recipes that used the new technology were featured in women's magazines. My grandmother had a gas-powered refrigerator (still working when her household goods were sold in the 1990s).

On the Boomer test, you get the question right if you can sing the tune that goes with the jingle: J-E-L-L-O.

At our house, we always thought of Jell-O as a salad, but it can be a dessert, too, even in these recipes which feature more added vegetables than fruits. These are based on Jell-O salads my grandma made for family gatherings. We especially liked the orange version.

Photo from a Coolerator refrigerator ad, 1949. Photo by kimbesa.

Big Picture of Lemon Jello

Lemon Jello
Lemon Jello

Parmesan cheese is the secret ingredient that makes this extra special.

Photo by EpiphanyLondon. Used with permission.

Gotta Love Jell-O!

Frosted Lemon Salad
Frosted Lemon Salad
Prep time: 4 hours
Cook time: 8 hours
Ready in: 12 hours
Yields: 12-16 servings

Lemon Jello Recipe

  • 2 small boxes lemon Jell-O
  • 2 c. boiling water
  • 2 c. cold water
  • 1 20-oz. can crushed pineapple (drain but save juice)
  • 1 c. miniature marshmallows
  • 2-3 large bananas peeled and sliced


  1. In a 13 x 9 glass baking dish, make Jell-O with water, following package directions. Chill until partially set. Mix in drained pineapple, marshmallows and banana slices. Chill until firm, then top.
  2. Topping recipe follows. Prep times include time needed for components to set up before you can proceed.
Cast your vote for Frosted Lemon Salad Recipe

Topping Recipe - For Lemon Jell-O

Prep time includes cooling and setting. This topping can be made while the Jell-O salad sets.

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 10 min
Ready in: 30 min
Yields: 12-16 servings


  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 T. flour
  • 1 c. reserved pineapple juice (add water if necessary to make 1 c. liquid)
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 c. whipping cream whipped to stiff peaks
  • 3 T. Parmesan cheese


  1. Mix sugar and flour. Add juice and egg. Cook until thick over medium heat, stirring often. Remove from heat and add butter. Let cool. This mixture should be refrigerated and cold before folding into whipped cream.
  2. When cooked mixture is cooled, whip cream to stiff peaks. Fold mixture and whipped cream together until just mixed. Spread on Jell-O. Sprinkle cheese on top.

Orange Jello - Vintage Favorite

Orange Jello - Vintage Favorite
Orange Jello - Vintage Favorite

Orange Jello Recipe - With Grated Carrots and Crushed Pineapple

Photo by kimbesa.

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 7 hours 30 min
Ready in: 8 hours
Yields: 9 servings

Orange Jello Recipe

  • 1 large box orange Jell-O
  • 4 cups water (see package directions)
  • 1 15-oz. can crushed pineapple drained
  • 2-3 large carrots grated


  1. Make Jell-O in a 9x9 square glass dish, according to package directions. Cool until partly set. Stir in the drained pineapple and grated carrots. Return to the refrigerator and chill until completely set.

Lime Jell-O With Apple And Cabbage

Lime Jell-O With Apple And Cabbage
Lime Jell-O With Apple And Cabbage

Green Jello Recipe - Old Vintage Salad With Apples and Cabbage

Yes, back in the day, vegetables and nuts were not uncommon in Jell-O recipes.

Photo by kimbesa.

Prep time: 45 min
Cook time: 7 hours 15 min
Ready in: 8 hours
Yields: 9 servings


  • 1 large box lime Jell-O
  • 4 cups water (see package directions)
  • 2 large eating apples cored and chopped (we like Braeburn or Gala)
  • 2 cups green cabbage chopped fine or grated
  • 1/2 cups walnuts or pecans chopped (optional)
  • 1 rib celery diced fine (optional)


  1. Make Jell-O in a 9x9 square glass dish, according to package directions. Cool until partly set.
  2. Stir in the chopped apple, cabbage, celery and nuts.
  3. Return to the refrigerator and chill until completely set.

Do You Like Jell-O? - Let Me Know How You Like to Make It

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    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      I loved the part about the Jello history. It's great to hear from you after the Bubblews demise. I hope to see your prize winning photographs in future hubs.

    • MortyB profile image

      MortyB 3 years ago

      Brings back memories!

      I'll need to try a few of these

    • LauraHofman profile image

      Laura Hofman 4 years ago from Naperville, IL

      Wow this lens brought back memories! My Mom used to make a lot of jello molds in the 60's & 70's. I still love jello in any form.

    • Winter52 LM profile image

      Winter52 LM 5 years ago

      We enjoyed jell-o desserts a lot as a kid and we loved them... it's been too long!

    • kimbesa2 profile image

      kimbesa 5 years ago from USA

      @KittySmith: Awesome! Can't wait to hear how they liked it, and if anyone guessed the "secret ingredient" on top!

    • KittySmith profile image

      KittySmith 5 years ago

      I just finished making Lemon Jello for our American Legion 4th of July picnic today! I can't wait to try it.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Wow I can't imagine the parmesan cheese with the Jello, but I bet it's good. It's always been "Jelly" in the UK, but the same stuff, and essential for any kids party when I was growing up.

    • kimbesa2 profile image

      kimbesa 5 years ago from USA

      @KittySmith: The Parmesan adds the "zing" component, to complement the sweetness of the Jello. Everyone who's had it here loves it!

    • KittySmith profile image

      KittySmith 5 years ago

      How about that? The only one of these recipes I have not had is the Lemon Jell-o one. Of course I have to try this one. I can't imagine how this is with parmesan cheese.

    • JenaleeMortensen profile image

      JenaleeMortensen 5 years ago

      My family likes a salad made with equal parts of cottage cheese and whipped topping with a package of jello and a can of drained crushed pineapple.

    • profile image

      RecordLady 5 years ago

      Always room for Jello. My mom used to add lemon jello to her cream cheesecake. It was so good.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I like plain Jell-O. Mom always added fruit cocktail and that was good too.

    • Superwriter711 profile image

      Superwriter711 5 years ago

      I'm getting pretty old, but I still love some jello from time to time.

    • BestRatedStuff profile image

      BestRatedStuff 5 years ago

      These look delicious, remember some of the ones we had at outings, love it!

    • NTxWriter profile image

      NTxWriter 5 years ago

      Very entertaining idea for a lens! I used to love jello and now make it for my grandchildren.

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 5 years ago

      Jello is my all time favorite dessert from childhood, thanks for the memories.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      I had forgotten about the orange jello with carrots and pineapple. It used to show up at all the family gatherings long ago. :)

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 5 years ago

      Nice lens

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 5 years ago from Shanghai, China

      Love jello. I think a recipe that has been a favorite for 50 years ought to be tried! I will check it out tonight. It's my husband's birthday party, and he likes jello too!

    • profile image

      Auntie-M LM 5 years ago

      Love Jello. Haven't seen these recipes for years, and I had forgotten all about them. Great info.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      These look like a perfect addition to my 1930s Pop Culture lens -adding it now :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      looks delicious, like to try some

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Utah eats more Jello per-cap-ita then anywhere else so you know I like this stuff! Squidliked it.

    • skefflingecho profile image

      skefflingecho 6 years ago from Tobermory Ontario

      Awesome lens, my in-laws have an orange and carrot jello with black pepper in it! Cool recipe!

    • Johanna Eisler profile image

      Johanna Eisler 6 years ago

      For big family dinners, my mother always included Jell-O salad. Just lemon Jell-O and finely grated carrots - and it was everybody's favorite! Day after tomorrow, I'm having a big family dinner at my house, and serving - what else? Jell-O salad. Mom would be proud of me.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      There were a lot of Jell-O desserts when I was growing up. My grandma used to make a very simple one with canned pear halves in green jell-o. I can vaguely remember one that had cottage cheese and I think pineapple stirred in. I'd forgotten about a lot of these--thanks for the memories!

    • kimbesa2 profile image

      kimbesa 6 years ago from USA

      @NoYouAreNot: I encourage you to try the Parmesan, even on just one piece. It adds a touch of tangy flavor that makes a nice counterpoint to the sweetness of the jello layer. Not cheesy at all!

    • NoYouAreNot profile image

      NoYouAreNot 6 years ago

      You just gave me an idea for a lens. My mom used to make a jello dessert which I liked very much when I was little. Yummy jello recipes here, I think I'll try the lemon jello recipe -- even if parmesan cheese seems a little odd. Thanks.

    • profile image

      fourthofjuly 6 years ago

      Oh that fruity goodness!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      i haven't had jello in years, great lens, sharing and blessings from squid angel :)

    • retta719 profile image

      Loretta 6 years ago from United States

      My husband's aunt makes a similar dish with strawberry jello.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 6 years ago

      I love it.. my mother always used to put fruit in it and cool whip on top :).. often molded... :)

    • profile image

      miaponzo 6 years ago

      I love it.. my mother always used to put fruit in it and cool whip on top :).. often molded... :)

    • njg profile image

      Nancy Graham 6 years ago

      Oh yes, in Michigan in the 50's Jello was IT! I don't care for Jello, myself, but I must say I have tried some yummy concoctions that had lots of whipped cream in them. Fun lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Parmesan cheese is a surprised ingredient to me and must certainly compliment the Lemon Jello beautifully. You made me think of a jello dessert that Mom used to make with several flavors of jello cut into little cubes in it. Yummy lens!

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image

      Grandma-Marilyn 6 years ago

      Oh, Yes. I have to look for the 1-2-3 Jello recipe. Used to be in a box overseas.

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Lanley 6 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      The orange jello with carrots and pineapple (or mandarin oranges) is one of my fave dishes. Love that crunch!

    • dwnovacek profile image

      dwnovacek 7 years ago

      I love Jello salads! My grandmother used to make a dish that looks pretty close to your Lemon Jello Salad, and my mother got adventurous with a layered concoction that included strawberry Jello mixed with sliced strawberries and a layer of sour cream in between. Man, I need to get that recipe! Blessed by a Squid Angel!

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Jello is always a fun dessert. Thanks for the recipes.

    • kimbesa2 profile image

      kimbesa 7 years ago from USA

      @anonymous: Thanks! Same to you and all!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Awesome lens! My mom used to make the orange jello with the shredded carrots. It was so good! Blessed by a Squidoo angel on 12/20/2010. Have a great Holiday!

    • kimbesa2 profile image

      kimbesa 7 years ago from USA

      @julieannbrady: Yes, it might sound unusual, but it puts a bit of "twang" into the topping. Goes great with the sweetness of some of the other ingredients, like the marshmellows!

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 7 years ago

      I used to like it and eat it more ... mom kept pushing it at dinner ... so I guess I need to start making some. Parmesan cheese?

    • kimbesa2 profile image

      kimbesa 7 years ago from USA


    • Charmcrazey profile image

      Wanda Fitzgerald 7 years ago from Central Florida

      I remember some of these well. Thanks for linking to my holiday cakes recipes. I've lensrolled to my other cooking lenses.

    • kimbesa2 profile image

      kimbesa 7 years ago from USA


    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 7 years ago from USA

      I've never had Jello like this. Can't wait to give it a try!

    • Senora M profile image

      Senora M 7 years ago

      Very cool lens! Who doesn't love Jell-O? :) Saw you on the RM forum!