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40 Retro Dessert Salad Recipes We Cherish

Grandma's menu always includes a delicious dessert salad recipe. Find her retro ideas for ambrosia, molded gelatin salads, fluffs and more.

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Simple Lime Gelatin Salad

Looking for a festive dish to light up the buffet? This pretty green gelatin dessert salad is eye-catching and has a delightful, tangy flavor. —Cyndi Fynaardt, Oskaloosa, Iowa

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Ambrosia Salad Exps Tohcom19 6625 B10 03 16b 3

Ambrosia Salad

Because it’s so simple to make, this tropical fruit medley is great as a last-minute menu addition. Plus, this ambrosia dessert salad requires just five ingredients. —Judi Bringegar, Liberty, North Carolina
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Broken Glass Dessert Exps Tohca20 4932 E02 13 7b 5

Broken Glass Dessert

When it’s cut into squares, this dessert looks just like stained-glass windows. The buttery graham cracker crust pairs perfectly with the lovely creamy topping. —Kathy Crow, Cordova, Alaska
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Grandmother S Orange Salad Exps Sddj19 335 C07 24 1b 2

Grandmother's Orange Salad

This orange salad dessert is slightly sweet and tangy, too. It adds beautiful color to any meal and appeals to all ages! —Ann Eastman, Santa Monica, California
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Pineapple Pretzel Fluff

I often bring this special dessert salad to potlucks, and everyone goes crazy for the sweet and crunchy combination. Be sure to add the pretzel mixture right before serving to keep it crispy. —Beth Olby, Ashland, Wisconsin
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Frozen Waldorf Salad Exps Tohca21 4095 E03 17 5b 4

Frozen Waldorf Salad

While I was growing up on a farm in western Kansas, we always had lots of hungry men around during harvesttime. This salad is one we served often since it was easy to increase and we could prepare it ahead of time.
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Strawberry Pretzel Dessert Exps Cpbz19 4444 E11 02 3b 4

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Need to bring a dish to pass this weekend? This make-ahead strawberry pretzel salad will disappear quickly at any potluck. —Aldene Belch, Flint, Michigan
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Molded Cranberry Orange Salad Exps Gbhrhbz18 163475 E07 18 3b 2

Molded Cranberry-Orange Salad

When I take this dish to potlucks during the holidays, people always ooh and aah. Feel free to top with whipped cream for added appeal. —Carol Mead, Los Alamos, New Mexico
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Circus Peanut Gelatin Exps Ft20 20903 F 0819 1 1

Circus Peanut Gelatin

Circus peanuts are one of the most popular candies in my hometown’s old-fashioned candy shop. When I saw this circus peanut Jell-O recipe, I knew just where to buy them. Kids love the cool fruity taste, and older folks enjoy the trip down memory lane. —Ruthanne Mengel, De Motte, Indiana
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Raspberry Gelatin Jewels Exps Thca18 43099 B09 28 1b 1

Raspberry Gelatin Jewels

Kids love this jiggly salad, and honestly, so do the adults. It’s always going to be on my holiday buffet. —Brenda Leonard, APO, AP
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Slushy Fruit Salad Exps Ft21 16771 F 0527 1

Slushy Fruit Salad

A fresh fruit salad can take some time to prepare and needs last-minute assembly. That’s why I often rely on this make-ahead frozen fruit salad when entertaining a crowd. —Judy McHone, Springfield, Illinois
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Rainbow Gelatin Cubes

These layered jello cubes are fun to serve and to eat! I vary the colors to match the occasion. Kids of all ages snatch them up. —Deanna Pietrowicz, Bridgeport, Connecticut
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Exps176206 Th143192b02 14 7bc Rms 3

Green Flop Jell-O

Get ready for fluffy lemon-lime goodness. My family calls it "flop Jell-O" because most of the time a clear gelatin layer that tastes like lemon-lime soda falls to the bottom of the dish. Try it with any flavor gelatin! —Michelle Gauer, Spicer, Minnesota
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Creamy Pineapple Fluff Salad

Guests of all ages will gravitate to this traditional “fluff” dessert salad, chock-full of pineapple, marshmallows and cherry bits. —Janice Hensley, Owingsville, Kentucky
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Sweet Tart Lemon Jell O Exps Sdam17 17673 D12 06 7b 2

Sweet & Tart Lemon Jell-O

With its sunny lemon color, this gelatin mold brightens up any table. I usually make two molds for parties because it disappears so quickly. —Patricia Ryzow, Thousand Oaks, California
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Cherry Waldorf Salad

We combine apples with tart cherries and dried cranberries to give an autumn twist to classic Waldorf salad. —Marie Hattrup, Sonoma, California
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Pistachio Mallow Salad Exps Cpbz19 17322 E11 06 4b 19

Pistachio Mallow Salad

This fluffy pistachio salad is a real treat since it’s creamy but not overly sweet. It’s easy to mix up, and the flavor gets better the longer it stands. It’s perfect for St. Patrick’s Day, served in a green bowl.
-Pattie Ann Forssberg, Logan, Kansas
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Orange Appeal Exps Thca18 3357  D04 27 4b 1

Orange Appeal

Oranges add color and great taste to winter meals! This dish looks very bright and appealing served in a glass bowl, and it’s a light and easy dessert to finish off a hearty holiday meal. As far as I’m concerned, the citrusy aroma of oranges is a must at Christmas time! —Billie Moss, Walnut Creek, California
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Frozen Pineapple-Cranberry Salad

Everyone in our family enjoys this cranberry salad at holiday gatherings. It is so cool and refreshing—perfect with a big holiday meal! —Julie Currington, Gahanna, Ohio

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Exps34107 Uh153291a04 30 3b 5

Stained Glass Gelatin

Kids love this sweet, wiggly gelatin and whipped topping dessert. Use different flavors of gelatin to make color versions that are as wild as your imagination. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Candy Bar Apple Salad Exps Hplbz18 36667 C05 17 6b 19

Candy Bar Apple Salad

This creamy, sweet salad with crisp apple crunch is a real people-pleaser. It makes a lot, which is good, because it will go fast! —Cyndi Fynaardt, Oskaloosa, Iowa
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Molded Strawberry Salad Exps Ndiyd19 7769 C03 21 5b

Molded Strawberry Salad

This refreshing salad has two layers – a pretty pink bottom that includes sour cream, and a ruby red top with strawberries and pineapple. For years, Mom has included this salad in meals she prepares for our family.
-Gloria Grant, Sterling, Illinois
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Overnight Fruit Salad

I first tasted this rich, old-fashioned fruit salad at my wedding reception many years ago. The ladies who did the cooking wouldn't share the recipe at the time, but eventually I got it. I've made it for many meals, and our daughters copied the recipe when they married. —Eileen Duffeck, Lena, Wisconsin
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Two Berry Fluff Salad Exps Hc17 103996 D11 02 5b 6

Two-Berry Fluff Salad

This fluffy dessert salad is a welcome treat on warm Texas afternoons. Because there’s a blueberry orchard near our home, we often pick up berries to use in this recipe and others. When blueberries and strawberries aren’t in season, you can substitute frozen berries with equally good results. —Karen Wenzel, Conroe, Texas
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Cran Raspberry Gelatin Salad Exps Tohdj20 46694 E07 30 2b 8

Cran-Raspberry Gelatin Salad

Just like Grandma’s, this pretty gelatin salad has full berry flavor without being too tart. It’s perfect for any holiday dinner. —Rosemary Burch, Phoenix, Arizona
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Apricot Fluff Exps Sdjj19 70415 B02 12 12b 2

Apricot Fluff

When we were young mothers, I asked my best friend if she had a recipe for an easy ambrosia salad that I could take to a cookout later that evening. She shared this recipe with me and it’s become a must-have at every barbecue I attend. It’s sublime with peaches and peach gelatin, too. —Melissa Meinke, Fawn Grove, Pennsylvania
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Blueberry Gelatin Salad

I find myself making this blueberry jello salad often. People request this layered treat for potlucks all the time. This dish can be served as either a salad or a dessert. And preparing it a day ahead makes it taste even better! —Mildred Livingston, Phoenix, Arizona
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Ambrosia Fruit Salad Exps Thca18 40203 B04 27 1b 4

Ambrosia Fruit Salad

My mom's ambrosia salad, with its tasty combination of fresh fruits and creamy yogurt, is a family favorite, and a great addition to a backyard barbecue. —Colleen Belbey, Warwick, Rhode Island
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7 Layer Gelatin Salad Exps Cplbz20 13090 E10 11 3b 3

7-Layer Gelatin Salad

Here's an eye-catching salad that my mother makes for Christmas dinner each year. You can choose different flavors to make other color combinations for specific holidays or other gatherings. —Jan Hemness, Stockton, Missouri
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Pina Colada Molded Salad Exps32663 Nbc143387b01 17 4bc Rms 3

Pina Colada Molded Salad

My gelatin ring gets a tropical twist from coconut, pineapple and macadamia nuts. It's a wonderful anytime treat. Now that I'm retired from teaching, I have more time for kitchen experiments. —Carol Gillespie, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
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Banana Split Fluff Exps Cplbz19 12077 B11 02 6b 4

Banana Split Fluff

This pretty pink mixture, rich with yummy fruit and nuts, is sure to disappear in a hurry. It’s a sweet and speedy treat that can be served as a dessert or salad. —Anne Powers, Munford, Alabama
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Rosey Raspberry Salad

Whenever I make this pretty raspberry salad, people talk! It's a festive side dish that works well for celebrations throughout the year. —Jane Vanderground, Macedonia, Ohio
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Apricot Salad Exps Thca18 4042 B04 27 5b 5

Apricot Salad

Colorful gelatin salad adds a spot of brightness to any table. It blends well with this holiday feast. We children didn't know if it should be a salad or dessert, with its smooth texture and delicate flavor.—Fae Fisher, Callao, Virginia
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Cranberry Waldorf Salad

Cranberries grow in the coastal area about 50 miles from our home. When they become available, I always make this creamy salad. —Faye Huff, Longview, Washington
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Crunchy Apple Side Salad Exps Dsbz17 38446 C01 13 5b 6

Crunchy Apple Side Salad

With fiber-rich fruit, light dressing and crunchy walnuts, this is a great side dish or snack. Try it with low-fat granola. —Kathy Armstrong, Post Falls, Idaho
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Fluffed Fruit Salad Exps Thca17 11058 D07 14 1b

Fluffed Fruit Salad

I like this recipe since I can prepare it in advance when entertaining. Even people who don't care for cranberries usually like this treat.—Christine Halandras, Meeker, Colorado
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Cranberry Pineapple Salad

Impress dinner guests with this delightfully different take on traditional cranberry sauce. The nuts add a tasty crunch. —Dorothy Angley, Carver, Massachusetts
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Orange Gelatin Pretzel Salad Exps Hca18 38000 D08 30 6b 5

Orange Gelatin Pretzel Salad

Salty pretzels pair nicely with the sweet fruit in this refreshing layered dessert salad. It’s a family favorite that is a slam-dunk at potlucks. —Peggy Boyd, Northport, Alabama
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Aunt Marion's Fruit Salad Dessert

Aunt Marion's Fruit Salad Dessert

Aunt Marion, my namesake, is like a grandma to me. She gave me this luscious salad recipe, which goes to all our family reunions, hunt club suppers and snowmobile club picnics...and I go home with no leftovers! —Marion LaTourette, Honesdale, Pennsylvania
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Cranberry Ambrosia Salad Exps Thca21 129904 B03 25 1b 3

Cranberry Ambrosia Salad

My paternal grandmother used to make this for Christmas dinner. I'm not sure how many batches she made since there were nearly 50 aunts, uncles and cousins in our family. I still make the recipe in memory of her, and it's still as good as I remember. —Janet Hurley, Shell Rock, Iowa

Emily Racette Parulski
Emily Racette Parulski is a Senior Editor for Taste of Home, specializing in email newsletters. When she’s not writing about food, she’s baking something sweet to feed her chocolate obsession.