Orange Fluff Salad is a light and fluffy dessert made with orange gelatin, instant pudding, Cool Whip, sweet mandarin oranges, pineapple, mini marshmallows, and pecans (no cottage cheese).
Sometimes called orange stuff, this delicious Jello salad is always a crowd favorite.
Orange fluff Jello salad is a super creamy, fluffy, fruity dessert salad.
And yes, dessert salad is a thing. Especially here in the Midwest.
At any given Midwestern potluck, you're likely to find the salad table loaded up with everything from savory potato salad and tuna macaroni salad to sweet delights like cookie salad, ambrosia salad, and many interpretations of fruit salad with Cool Whip.
This Orange Jello fluff recipe contains all the things there are to love about sweet salad recipes: orange Jello, vanilla pudding, Cool Whip, mandarin oranges, pineapple, and marshmallows. And toasted pecans for nuttiness and crunch.
I especially love the combo of orange Jello, vanilla pudding, and creamy Cool Whip -- it adds an orange creamsicle fluff kind of vibe.
This sweet treat is the perfect side dish-slash-dessert recipe for holidays, picnics, potlucks, and any special occasion.
Why You're Going to Love This Recipe
- Light and refreshing dessert salad
- Simple recipe with minimal ingredients
- Delicious side dish or dessert for picnics and potlucks
- Easy recipe to customize with your favorite flavors
Orange Jell-o. One 3 oz. box, the 4-serving size. Ignore all of the directions on the box.
Vanilla or French vanilla instant pudding mix. Be sure to get instant pudding, not cook-and-serve, which seems weird because it's gonna get cooked. But trust. Cook & serve pudding makes the mixture clumpy and weird.
Drained Mandarin oranges, water reserved. One 15 oz. can of drained mandarin oranges goes into the fluff salad, and the water is used to make the Jello mixture.
Pineapple tidbits. Drained pineapple chunks add a tangy bite. I don't recommend using fresh pineapple -- it contains an enzyme that can affect the texture and flavor of desserts with gelatin and dairy.
Mini marshmallows. The texture of the marshmallows add to the overall fluff factor. You can also snip large marshmallows into quarters.
Toasted pecans. All that fluffiness needs a bit of crunchy relief. Toasted pecans do the trick and add nutty flavor.
Jello. Feel free to try a different Jello flavor like strawberry Jello or peach Jello!
Pudding. Cheesecake or white chocolate pudding would be delicious!
Fruit. You can use any kind of canned fruit like peaches or fruit cocktail. Or stir in fresh fruit like strawberries, bananas, grapes, and blueberries.
Whipped topping. If you're not into Cool Whip, I suggest trying Truwhip. You can also use real whipped cream, it just might not stay fluffy for quite as long.
Nuts. Any kind of nuts work here like walnuts or almonds. And if you're not a nuts-in-things kind of person, leave them out. Toasted coconut would also be a great addition.
How to Make Orange Fluff Salad
1. Make the orange Jello pudding base.
Place the dry orange Jello mix and dry instant vanilla pudding mix in a medium saucepan. Add 1 cup of water from the mandarin oranges (add regular water as needed to get to 1 cup).
Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove from the heat and stir in ½ cup ice water until melted.
Pour the mixture into a large heat-proof bowl. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until it no longer feels warm.
2. Toast the pecans, optional.
Warm a dry skillet over medium heat. Add the pecans and stir for 2-5 minutes until the pecans are fragrant and lightly toasted.
Immediately remove the pecans from the pan to keep them from toasting any further (or burning).
3. Stir the fruit salad together.
Remove the Jello mixture from the refrigerator and give it a quick whisk. Fold in the Cool Whip.
Stir in the drained oranges, drained pineapple, marshmallows, and pecans.
4.Chill, serve, enjoy!
Cover bowl in plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Serve with additional toasted pecans.
Store leftover mandarin orange salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Don't dump out the water from the oranges! Use it cook the Jello and pudding mixture.
Be sure to use instant pudding. Cook and serve pudding will make the texture clumpy and weird.
Try a different flavor of Jello like strawberry or peach!
You bet! You can use other types of canned fruit like peaches, fruit cocktail, or maraschino cherries. Or add fresh fruit like bananas, or strawberries.
Be aware that fresh fruit will soften and release juices in a day or so and can affect the texture of the salad.
Fresh pineapple is not recommended as it contains an enzyme that can affect the flavor and texture of recipes with gelatin and dairy.
Yes! This is a great recipe to customize with your favorite flavors of Jello, fruit, and pudding!
This orange fluff salad recipe can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
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Orange Fluff Salad
- 1 3 oz. box orange Jello
- 1 3.4 oz. box instant vanilla pudding
- 1 15 oz. can mandarin oranges in water reserve the water
- ½ cup ice water
- 8 oz. Cool Whip
- 1 20 oz. can pineapple tidbits in juice, drained
- 2 cups mini marshmallows or large marshmallows cut into small pieces
- ½ cup toasted pecans
- Place the orange Jello mix and instant vanilla pudding mix in a medium saucepan. Add 1 cup of the juice from the mandarin oranges (add water as necessary to get to one cup). Bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Remove from the heat. Stir in ½ cup of ice water until the ice has melted. Pour the mixture into a large heat-proof bowl. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until it is no longer warm and slightly chilled.
- Meanwhile, toast the pecans. Warm a dry skillet over medium heat. Add the pecans and stir them around in the pan for 2-5 minutes until they are fragrant and lightly toasted.Immediately remove the pecans from the pan to keep them from toasting any further (or burning).
- Remove the Jello mixture from the refrigerator and give it a quick whisk. Fold in the Cool Whip until completely combined. Stir in the drained oranges, drained pineapple, marshmallows, and pecans.
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. Serve with additional toasted pecans.