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Lime Congealed Salad

This Lime Congealed Salad is an old-fashioned Southern favorite! It’s a mix of lime jello, cream cheese, pineapple, nuts, celery, and marshmallows that stands in as a fantastic salad, side dish, or dessert.

Congealed salad. Jello salad? What do you call it?

A serving of Lime Congealed Salad on a red lettuce leaf.

In the southern states, we mostly say congealed salad, but you may know it by other names. Gelatin salad. Jell-o salad. Fluff salad? Whatever you call it, here’s a fabulous recipe for it.

No Sunday dinner, family reunion, or gathering of friends in the South would be complete without at least one of these vintage recipes on the table. Indeed, it is not unusual to find three or four.

🤔 Is it Dessert? A Side Dish? Salad?


And although you might confuse a congealed salad with dessert, they are almost always served as a side dish with the main meal. It has to do with that sweet-salt combination that Southerners love.

Now before you go turning your nose up at congealed salad, look at its origins. Congealed salad, I believe, descended from the very Victorian jellies produced by famed chefs during that time period. Some of those creations were very complex and were both savory and sweet.

Dessert jellies were highly prized and available mostly to the more well-to-do of the time. And they remain nearly as popular today.

Then along came Jell-o and made flavored gelatin widely available at an affordable price to the masses. Suddenly everyone could afford a wiggly, jiggly dessert or jelled salad. Thank you, Jell-o.

I have probably two or three dozen different congealed salad recipes, and this is one of my favorites. Its base is lime jello which is combined with cream cheese, crushed pineapple, pecans, celery, and marshmallows. Yum and double yum.

I’ve made this salad with both regular and sugar-free jello, and regular and low-fat cream cheese and both versions are just delicious! Use whichever you prefer.

🛒 Ingredient Notes


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  • Lime Jello — The lime jello is the base of the entire recipe. It’s refreshing and tangy and combines beautifully with the other flavors.
  • Cream Cheese — Adds a creamy and smooth texture to the salad and balances the tanginess of the lime.
  • Crushed Pineapple — Adds even more sweet, tropical flavor to the salad. 
  • Pecans — Provides a textural contrast and slightly savory flavor that complements the other ingredients.
  • Celery — Adds a fresh, crisp crunch.
  • Mini Marshmallows — Enhance the sweetness and provide a soft, pillowy balance to the crunchy textures.

The complete ingredient list with detailed measurements is included in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.

🥄 How to Make Lime Congealed Salad


Softened cream cheese and jello in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  1. Start by creaming together the cream cheese with the jello using a stand or hand-held electric mixer. Place the softened cream cheese and jello in a bowl and, starting at a slow speed, beat until the two are thoroughly combined. 
Boiling water being poured into the cream cheese and jello mixture in mixing bowl.
  1. Reduce the mixer speed to the lowest possible and add the water a small amount at a time to begin. After the mixture has loosened up and the water begins to incorporate, add the rest all at once.
  2. Continue beating until the cream cheese, jello, and water are thoroughly and smoothly combined.
Jello and cream cheese mixture in an 8x8 glass dish.
  1. Pour into a mold or dish. I typically use an 8×8 or 9×9 glass casserole dish as pictured above.
  2. Refrigerate until the mixture is partially set (about two hours, but check periodically).
Mini marshmallows, pineapple, chopped pecans, and chopped celery in small bowls.
  1. Remove the partially set gelatin mixture from the refrigerator and stir in the remaining ingredients – pineapple, nuts, celery, and marshmallows.
  2. Return to the refrigerator until completely set. Check after an hour to make sure the marshmallows are submerged. If not, stir them into the mixture again. The salad will need about 4 hours to set completely.
  3. Cut into squares to serve.

🍽️ How to Serve


This salad goes well along with most meats and can also serve as dessert with a dollop of whipped cream on top.

🍚 How to Store


Any leftovers may be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. Use an airtight container with a tight-fitting lid or tightly cover the serving dish with plastic wrap. 

Lana Stuart.

Questions? I’m happy to help!

If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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A serving of Lime Congealed Salad on a red lettuce leaf.

Lime Congealed Salad

An old fashioned southern favorite, Lime Congealed Salad stands in as a fantastic salad, side dish, or dessert.
5 from 5 votes
Print It Rate It
Course: Salads
Cuisine: Southern, Vintage
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Standing time:: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 195kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • .3 ounce lime jello
  • 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 8 ounces crushed canned pineapple drained
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 ½ cups mini marshmallows

Instructions

  • Using a stand or hand-held mixer, cream the jello together with the cream cheese.
  • Reduce the mixer speed to the lowest possible and add the water a small amount at a time to begin with. After the mixture has loosened up and the water begins to incorporate easy, add the rest all at once.
  • Continue mixing until the cream cheese, jello and water are thoroughly and smoothly combined.
  • Pour into a mold or dish.
  • Refrigerate until the mixture is partially set (about two hours, but check periodically).
  • Remove from refrigerator and stir in the remaining ingredients.
  • Return to refrigerator until completely set. Check after an hour to make sure the marshmallows are submerged. If not, stir them into the mixture again. The salad will need about 4 hours to completely set.
  • Cut into squares to serve.

Notes

  • This salad goes well with most meats and can also serve as dessert with a dollop of whipped cream on top.
  • Any leftovers may be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. Use an airtight container with a tight-fitting lid or tightly cover the serving dish with plastic wrap. 

Nutrition Information

Serving 1 | Calories 195kcal | Carbohydrates 15g | Protein 3g | Fat 15g | Saturated Fat 6g | Cholesterol 31mg | Sodium 106mg | Potassium 110mg | Fiber 1g | Sugar 12g | Vitamin A 409IU | Vitamin C 3mg | Calcium 38mg | Iron 1mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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— This post was originally published on May 15, 2013. It has been updated with additional information.

5 from 5 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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22 Comments

  1. We had this every Sunday in the cafeteria at Georgia College – I was just thinking about it recently and wondering my grandkids would like it or think that it is gross. By the way, we had to wear a dress to Sunday dinner in college.

    1. That sounds lovely to me–wearing a dress to Sunday dinner. Very different now, I’m sure.

  2. 5 stars
    Love this salad. My family ate this all the time when I was growing up:)

  3. Lana ~ Can’t wait to try this recipe…..At my house, a good jello salad makes any meal special. I have been trying to find out if I can make a salad with sugar free Jello. I can’t find the answer to this anywhere. I have even called the toll-free # on the Jello box and all I get is a bunch of non-food related recorded commercials that never end. I haven’t experimented with it b/c if it fails all those good ing. will be wasted! Hope you can answer!
    Thanks.

  4. This is always a welcome addition, but especially in our hot summer months. There’s just something about that cold, jiggly, velvety salad that makes you say “Ahhhhhh…”

    Miss P

  5. This was lovely, and went perfectly with deviled eggs and fried chicken. I used your method for the basis of my recipe for my weekly blog, if you’d care to take a look here: http://www.foodinbooks.com. I did omit the celery, and we had the salad as dessert. So delicious, and definitely took me back to my childhood, when my grandmother made something similar, but just called it Jello salad. Thanks for sharing!

  6. We go with gelatin molds. My grandmother used to make one for Sunday dinners. Always pink, always in a ring.

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      I just love them, especially for Sunday dinners. I do sometimes make them in a mold, too.

  7. This is one of my favorites. Aunt Virginia used to make this for a lot of her meals, so I’ve had this many times. Good to know that it is still around. Did not know that ingredients were added after a partial congeal.

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      I like to add them after it’s partially congealed because the marshmallows just float on top otherwise. I like to stir them back in so everything is distributed through the jello. I don’t think you’d have to do that, though.

  8. Lana, this is my favorite congealed salad..it reminds me so much of my Mama…she could whip one of these up in no time flat..lol how’s that for southernese? I just might have to make this one..it is so good…I love your blog..
    Love, Mona

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      Great southernese, Mona! We sure can whip a recipe up in nothing flat, can’t we?

  9. Mama made this salad every holiday, except she used cottage cheese instead of cream cheese. It was delish, but I am definitely trying your recipe! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      Mary, I’ve seen this same salad with cottage cheese and also with horseradish. Sounds good to me!

  10. Ah yes, the Jello Salad…I remember it well. Grandma made it with every big dinner we had…usually clear with a dollop of mayo on top. Brings back memories for sure.

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      I love a dollop of mayo on the more savory ones. Especially the ones with tomatoes!

  11. Barbara | Creative Culinary says:

    Lana my friend it appears that you have stepped back in time. So many of your recent posts have brought me straight back to potlucks I attended in North Carolina when my kids were little. I’m reminded of some of those great, old fashioned dishes that we could always count on. I’m thinking it’s time I made a Pistachio Pudding Cake! :)

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      Barb, you know how I love my old-fashioned recipes! However, I’ve never heard of the Pistachio Pudding Cake. I sure hope you’ll share that one!

  12. This sounds good and healthy. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      You’re welcome, Jackie. Thank you for reading and commenting!