Cherry Supreme Is the Retro Dessert That Deserves a Comeback

We can see why Grandma Freda’s recipe is famous.

<p>Dotdash Meredith / Janet Maples</p>

Dotdash Meredith / Janet Maples

I haven’t eaten a lot of dessert salads in my lifetime, but each time I visit my mother-in-law in Pennsylvania, there’s a colorful, Jell-O-based retro salad on the table. When I noticed a popular Allrecipes post about another family’s famed cherry salad, I decided to take a page from her handbook and make my first-ever Jell-O salad in my own kitchen.

Freda’s Cherry Supreme Salad is a five-star dessert that’s been reviewed lots of times. Former Allrecipes senior editor Carl Hanson shared the family recipe, writing: “This was my grandmother Freda’s ‘famous’ cherry salad. It was a huge hit at family gatherings.” With ingredients like lemon and strawberry gelatin, whipped topping, and crushed pineapple, there's a lot to like about Grandma Freda’s go-to dessert salad, so I gathered my ingredients to give it a go.

What Are Retro Dessert Salads?

But before I started mixing and refrigerating this fruity salad, I shot my mother-in-law a text. “We weren’t ‘salad people’ growing up,” I wrote, “but I know you guys are. Any idea why?”

Turns out, it’s just the way my mother-in-law grew up. She recalls church potlucks that specifically called out the need to bring “a salad or dessert” and summer afternoons spent with her siblings in the kitchen, helping her mom mix in all the ingredients for the gelatinous dessert.

“It was definitely a '50s and '60s treat,” she responded. “I guess you could throw fruit into it and feel like you were meeting nutritional needs? And, you didn’t have to heat up the oven to make dessert.”

How To Make Freda’s Cherry Supreme Salad

With this helpful background into fluff salads, I gathered my Cherry Supreme Salad ingredients and went to work. This particular dessert salad uses many of the staples found in this genre: two kinds of Jell-O, whipped topping, cherries and pineapple (from a can, of course), cream cheese, and mayonnaise. It’s a layered salad, meaning you create the cherry red layer first, then add the second later once that’s set. This gives you a perfectly contrasting red cherry layer and yellow pineapple-lemon layer.

The salad had many ingredients, but was surprisingly simple to make. First, I made the red layer, dissolving strawberry Jell-O in boiling water and stirring in a can of cherry pie filling. I poured the whole thing into a glass baking dish and after that mixture spent about 45 minutes in my refrigerator to set, it was onto the top layer.

The top layer of this retro salad is a mixture of lemon Jell-O (again, dissolved in boiling water), lemon juice, cream cheese, mayonnaise, undrained canned crushed pineapple, and miniature marshmallows. Once it’s all combined, the yellow mixture gets poured atop the cherry layer and spends another two hours in the refrigerator to set up.

Tips for Making Cherry Supreme Salad

This Cherry Supreme Jell-O Salad was incredibly easy to make. The lengthiest part of the process is waiting for each of the two layers to set, but it’s worth the wait. Be sure to allow the cream cheese to soften for a bit at room temperature so it’s easy to mix into the top layer mixture, and thaw your whipped topping before adding if it’s been in the freezer. Hanson shared that his mother preps the lemon Jell-O, cream cheese, lemon juice, and mayonnaise in a blender and, if I make this again, I may follow suit, as it takes a lot of stirring to get everything mixed thoroughly.

After the salad has set, it gets topped with chopped walnuts. I have a walnut allergy, so I substituted crumbled graham crackers mixed with a bit of melted butter to make it perfectly crumbly and it worked well.

Freda’s Cherry Supreme Salad Recipe


  • 1 (3-ounce) package strawberry gelatin mix

  • 1 3/4 cup boiling water, divided

  • 1 (21-ounce) can cherry pie filling

  • 1 (3-ounce) package lemon gelatin mix

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

  • 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained

  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows

  • 1/2 cup whipped cream topping (thawed if frozen)

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or other nut)


  1. Dissolve the strawberry gelatin in 1 cup of the boiling water. Stir in the cherry pie filling, spread the mixture into a 7x11-inch pan, and refrigerate until nearly set, about 45 minutes.

  2. Dissolve the lemon gelatin in the remaining 3/4 cup of boiling water. Stir in the lemon juice, and set aside.

  3. In a separate bowl, mash the cream cheese until soft, then stir in the mayonnaise. Pour the lemon gelatin into the cream cheese mixture and stir until smooth. Next, stir in the undrained pineapple. Finally, fold in the marshmallows and whipped cream topping.

  4. Spread the pineapple mixture over the chilled cherry layer, and sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Chill in the refrigerator until fully set, about 2 hours.

Read the original article on All Recipes.