This Jello Ribbon Salad will take you back a few years with its colorful layers of fun. Layers of sour cream and six flavors of jello make up this old fashioned, and classic, salad. A great side dish or dessert for barbecues or any type of get together.
Ribbon Salad Recipe
This Ribbon Salad looks spectacular and tastes even better! It is sooooo easy to make, but be warned there is a lot of chill time involved. Your friends and family will love this highly customizable Ribbon Salad.
I love using the various colors of jello available to make it a rainbow look. I sometimes will change up the colors to match the occasion. For example, if it is Christmas ribbon salad, just use green and red jello. If you are servings a Valentine’s Day ribbon salad, your use red and pink (or red, pink, and white). For St. Patrick’s Day, just use several shades of green for the jello (and the white comes from the sour cream and plain gelatin). In other words, this is fun and versatile recipe! People always reminisce when someone walks in with one of these salads and it always makes for some good stories.
This is one fantastic recipe! I looked up Ribbon Salad’s online, and they are all waaaaaay more complicated than Shelley’s (my SIL) recipe.
How to Make Ribbon Salad
1. Make the jello – In a large bowl, mix together 1 cup boiling water and 1 box jello. Stir well.
2. Make the sour cream mixture – In another bowl, combine ⅓ cup sour cream with ⅓ cup jello. Stir well.
3. Chill the sour cream – In a 9×13 pan, pour the sour cream mixture, and make sure it is an even layer. Place in the fridge and chill for 30 minutes.
4. Chill the jello – After half an hour, remove the pan and add 2 tablespoons of water to the remaining jello. Stir well and pour it over the sour cream layer, making sure it’s even, then chilling for another half an hour.
5. Repeat – Repeat steps 1-4 for the remaining 5 boxes of jello. Do not skip any chilling steps or this will result in mixed layers.
Ribbon Salad Tips and Variations:
● This is my SIL’s recipe. Her suggestion is that when you start a box, finish it. By that she means boil the water, mix with Jell-O style=, separate, add the sour cream to the 1/3 portion, chill, wait 30 minutes, add those 2 tablespoons to the remaining jello liquid, chill again. At this point, if you have something to do, there is no need to worry about the next 30 minutes. It can be longer. She can take as long as two days to make this salad which can be a good thing. She will start on a Friday and finish on a Sunday, just in time for a family picnic!
● Storage – Cover with plastic and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. Do not freeze or store outside the fridge.
● Reheating – There is no reheating needed for this dish. You should be able to pull it straight from the fridge, slice, and serve.
● Change up the colors – There are many colors you can use to make this Ribbon Salad. There are many colors of jello, not to mention, you can add food coloring to further change colors as well. Jello ribbon salad is very versatile in this aspect.
● Change up the flavors – The various flavors of jello will be different as well across the colors. However, if you want to make a flavor or flavors stand out more, add a drop or two of flavored extract to the mixtures.
● Sour cream alternative – I have never tried these alternatives myself, but you might be able to swap the sour cream for whipped cream, real mayo, or cream cheese. I have heard of these being used by others successfully. Do note that these changes will change the taste of the salad as well. Do not overmix the whipped cream if using that option as it will turn to soup and not retain a very solid mixture if so. Try these alternatives at your risk, ha!
● Add-ins – If desired, you can always add in sprinkles or something similar to the jello layers before they’re chilled. It’s a cute and fun addition. Fruit is always a favorite as well!
Common Questions About Ribbon Salad
Is Jello a Dessert or Salad?
Jello is popularly used as both a dessert and in salads as side dishes. Many jello salad recipes date back many many years ago, but have been passed down through generations. They’re still popularly brought to gatherings to this day. It’s more common to see these salads made by people who are 40 and over due to these recipes being so popular back in the day. However, jello is used constantly as a dessert or in dessert recipes and is as popular as it was then, just in a different manner.
What Tastes Good with Jello?
Many people like to add whipped cream or fruits to jello since they pair so well together. It is pretty common for the jello to be eaten by itself, though. If you would like some entrees to pair it Jello, it goes over well at barbecues so my Slow Cooker Root Beer Barbecue Pulled Pork recipe or Chipotle Barbecue Chicken Kabobs go great with this jello ribbon salad! Honestly, any main dish you serve at a barbecue will go well with a jello salad or jello as a dessert.
Is Gelatin and Jello the Same Thing?
No, although jello contains gelatin. Jello is a culmination of flavoring, sugar, and gelatin. The stuff that makes jello jiggly and somewhat solid is gelatin. Jello is more specifically a name brand of this dessert. However, it has become the overall term for the colorful and fun dessert, across the board and around the world.
Ribbon Salad Recipe Ingredients:
● 6 3oz boxes Jell-O
● 7 cups Water, divided
● 24oz Sour Cream, divided
Ribbon Salad Mise en Place:
Ribbon Salad Recipe Directions:
● Note: the steps will be repeated for each box of Jell-O. Before beginning a new box, make certain you have followed all the directions for the previous box, including all chilling.
1. Mix 1 box Jell-O with 1 cup boiling water.
2. Remove 1/3 cup of mixed Jell-O. Combine that removed Jell-O with 1/3 cup sour cream. Blend with a fork.
3. Pour sour cream mixture into a 13″x9″ pan.
4. Chill for ½ an hour.
5. Add 2 tablespoons of water to the remain 2/3 Jell-O.
6. Pour liquid Jell-O over first layer of chilled sour cream mixture.
7. Chill for ½ an hour.
8. Repeat steps 1-7 for all 6 boxes of jello.
9. For the top layer, make certain you have removed all bubbles before placing the ribbon jello salad into the fridge for the final chill. Simply touching the bubbles with the backside of a spoon will pop them. Note: You can do this for all layers, but the top layer is where you want the jello to be smooth.
10. Serve cold.
11. Refrigerate leftovers.
- 6 3oz boxes Jell-O
- 7 cups Water, divided
- 24oz Sour Cream, divided
- Mix 1 box Jell-O with 1 cup boiling water.
- Remove 1/3 cup of mixed Jell-O. Combine that removed Jell-O with 1/3 cup sour cream. Blend with a fork.
- Pour sour cream mixture into a 13″x9″ pan.
- Chill for ½ an hour.
- Add 2 tablespoons of water to the remaining 2/3 Jell-O.
- Pour liquid Jell-O over the first layer of chilled sour cream mixture.
- Chill for ½ an hour.
- Repeat steps 1-7 for all 6 boxes of jello.
- For the top layer, make certain you have removed all bubbles before placing the ribbon jello salad into the fridge for the final chill. Simply touching the bubbles with the backside of a spoon will pop them. Note: You can do this for all layers, but the top layer is where you want the jello to be smooth.
- Serve cold.
- Refrigerate leftovers.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 72Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 31mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 0gSugar: 4gProtein: 1g
Note: for exact nutritional information, consult your dietitian. All nutritional information provided is simply a guideline.
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