Mandarin Orange Salad Recipe

Mandarin Orange Salad is creamy, cool, and studded with juicy orange and pineapple slices. Fluffy as a cloud and low-calorie, too! Make a double batch if bringing to share— it always goes fast at picnics, parties, and holidays.

Need ideas for serving a crowd? Even the pickiest eaters will enjoy Bacon Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes, Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta, and One Pan Taco Mac and Cheese!

mandarin orange salad

Mandarin Orange Salad is not a 30-minute meal. It takes so much less time than that! You can whip up any of my quick one-pot dinner recipes and still have enough time to finish this recipe.

Seriously, the most time-consuming part of this dish is opening the fruit cans and box of Jell-O. 

Despite being so easy to make, this is such a delicious treat. You’ve got those sweet oranges and pineapples surrounded by creamy swirls of cottage cheese and whipped topping.

It’s hard to believe that it can be a healthy dessert, but I use low-sugar and low-fat ingredients to make it guilt-free.  

What is Mandarin Orange Salad?

Google the recipe name, and the results can be confusing. You’ll see photos of this creamy dish, then green salads with lettuce, dressing, and orange slices. 

To make it clearer, this recipe is known by other names: Jell-O Mandarin Orange Salad and Orange Fluff.  The “fluff” part comes from the super fluffy and light texture thanks to the whipped topping, cottage cheese, and gelatin. 

So, is it a salad or a dessert? Well, why not both! No matter what you want to call it, one thing’s for sure— it’s an instant favorite for everyone who tries it.

mandarin orange salad with pineapple

Recipe ingredients:

One thing I love about this dish is that you can make it any time of the year. You don’t have to wait for the fruits to be in season. 

We’ll use two cans of mandarin oranges and a can of pineapple chunks. You can use crushed pineapple if you like the texture. Since we’re using canned, you’re saving a lot of time not having to peel and slice the fruits.

For the fluffy part, you’ll need Jell-O or any gelatin you have available. Orange flavored is preferred Thaw some frozen whip topping, and get your cottage cheese ready. If you want to use full-fat and regular versions, feel free to do so.

How to make Mandarin Orange salad?

Once you’ve prepared your ingredients, it only takes two steps from start to finish:

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  • Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

How easy is that? No need to skip dessert or come empty-handed to potlucks again!

creamy mandarin orange salad

Recipe variations and substitutions:

  • Mix and match fruits and gelatin flavors. Try using strawberries and strawberry-flavored Jell-O!
  • Use vanilla gelatin to tone down the citrusy flavor. 
  • You can whip the cottage cheese until smooth if you don’t like its original texture.
  • If you don’t want to use it at all, whip some cream cheese to sub.
  • Add a nice crunch with some walnuts and candied almonds.
  • Add dried fruits like raisins and dried cranberries.
  • Serving this to kids? Add some mini marshmallows for extra fluff!

What to serve with this dish? 

You can totally eat it as a snack or as a dessert, but it’s such a good side dish, too. I suggest serving it with roast beef and baked ham. It’s a refreshing accompaniment to fried chicken and other deep-fried food. You can also serve it as a part of a brunch spread or holiday table.

If you love sweet and savory combinations, I recommend trying this as a side for Peach Pork Chops, Honey Citrus Salmon, or my Cast Iron Chicken and Mushroom.  

Can you make it in advance?

Yes! You’ll need to keep in the fridge for a few hours, so it’s definitely one of those make-ahead recipes. If you’re storing it overnight, note that the fruits may release liquid. Just mix well again before serving.

mandarin orange salad on a spoon

More salad recipes:

Recipe Tips:

  • Pat the fruits dry to remove excess moisture.
  • For smaller pieces of fruit, cut the mandarins in half and use crushed pineapples instead of chunks.
  • Whip the cottage cheese for a smoother texture.
  • Use a hand mixer for fluffier results.
5 from 7 votes
mandarin orange salad
Mandarin Orange Salad
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
15 mins

Mandarin Orange Salad is creamy, cool, and studded with juicy orange and pineapple slices. Fluffy as a cloud and low-calorie, too!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Mandarin Orange Salad
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 301 kcal
Author: Catalina Castravet
  • 2 small cans mandarin oranges drained
  • 1 20oz can pineapple chunks drained
  • 1 package sugar-free orange-flavored gelatin
  • 16 ounces frozen whipped topping thawed
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  1. Add all ingredients to a large bowl and stir to combine.
  2. Refrigerate for several hours before serving.
  3. Top with more mandarin oranges and pineapple chunks before serving.
Nutrition Facts
Mandarin Orange Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 301 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 13g81%
Cholesterol 2mg1%
Sodium 88mg4%
Potassium 284mg8%
Carbohydrates 39g13%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 37g41%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 1717IU34%
Vitamin C 42mg51%
Calcium 95mg10%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
easy mandarin orange salad pin


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