Recipes » Side Dish Recipes » Raspberry Jello Mold (“Polly’s Pink Stuff”)

Raspberry Jello Mold (“Polly’s Pink Stuff”)

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A retro recipe for a festive raspberry jello mold. My grandmother's holiday specialty served for every Christmas and Easter dinner.
5 from 9 votes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Polly's Pink Stuff - A retro recipe for a festive raspberry jello mold. http://www.lanascooing.com/pollys-pink-stuff-raspberry-jello-mold/

This Raspberry Jello Mold (“Polly’s Pink Stuff”) is a festive retro recipe that was my grandmother’s specialty served for every holiday dinner.

If your family is like ours, there’s at least one and maybe more, special recipes that are always a part of your holiday menus. Maybe it’s your Aunt Mabel’s famous mashed potatoes or Gramma Smith’s perfect pumpkin pie.

Raspberry jello mold on a silver serving tray with vintage serving pieces in the background.

For our family, one constant on our holiday menu is “Polly’s Pink Stuff.”

How many of you have enjoyed a vintage jello mold? If not, it’s about time you did!

This recipe dates back to the early 1900s and really took off in popularity in the 50s when jello molds were served at just about every major meal.

It has raspberry jello, crushed pineapple, and cool whip mixed with a secret ingredient that I’ll get to later. It’s totally delicious but, for me, this vintage southern recipe is about a whole more than jello.

Who Is “Polly?”

(Personal note: This post was originally written in December 2011. Polly passed away in September 2016 at the age of almost 102. She was just as sharp and vibrant as ever right up until her passing. We were very blessed to have her in our lives for so long.)

Five generations of my family.
Five generations – Front: Mama with Maggie on her lap and Polly; Back: Me, Laura and Aidan

Polly is my grandmother. My Mama’s mama. And, I’m here to tell you, she is one more sport. Polly is 96 years old and has a mind like a steel trap. She’s a voracious reader and remembers things from 80 and 90 years ago in detail that you wouldn’t believe.

She’s the oldest of seven siblings and all but one of them are living. I come from hardy stock, y’all. The photo of our five generations up above was taken last Thanksgiving and we all agreed that Polly looked better than all the rest of us.

(L to R) Gran Robert, Mama, Polly
Gran Robert, Mama, and Polly

I remember growing up thinking what a glamorous life Polly led. She and her husband, my Gran Robert, lived in the big city – Atlanta – but they came to visit us often down in south Georgia. They both grew up there, but my grandfather worked for the CDC in Atlanta for years. After he retired they moved right back to south Georgia.

I always loved going to Atlanta to see them around Christmas time. We’d go downtown where we’d see Elsie the Cow (does anyone remember Elsie besides me?) and to Rich’s and ride the “Pink Pig.” And to Stone Mountain to ride the train. It was pretty exciting for a little country girl.

Polly Loves to Travel

One of the things that Polly has enjoyed most in her life is travel. She and her sister-in-law, Ione, along with a couple of other close friends traveled every summer for years.

My Aunt Ione was the postmaster in her little town and went to a convention every summer bringing the whole group along with her, turning the occasion into a couple of weeks of travel time. Those were some really enjoyable times for Polly and her friends. She has loads of memories and funny stories to tell about all those travels.

Polly never was”the little wife” type. She doesn’t care much for the domestic arts, preferring to read and travel and work outside her home. She was a constant presence in the local courthouse for years and years working in the Clerk of Court’s office.

And even though keeping house isn’t her “thing,” she’s always been a really good cook. She can make a pot roast that will nearly bring tears to your eyes and her Chicken Jallop recipe is famous all around our area.

One of Her Signature Recipes

This raspberry jello mold, or “pink stuff” as we call it, is one of her signature recipes. It’s something that is nearly always on our holiday table and was on my Thanksgiving menu last week. And even though many of you are looking at it askance because it has jello and Cool Whip in the recipe, I’m still honored to share this dish with you.

This Raspberry Jello Mold is as much a part of our family’s holiday tradition as the Christmas tree and the wreath on the front door. And, I’d bet my next paycheck that if you give it a try you’ll like it.


  • It’s a vintage recipe with nostalgic feelings.
  • Kids and adults love it and it adds a festive look to the holiday table.
  • You can be creative with jello molds making one big mold or individual ones.

Equipment You’ll Need

All you’ll need for this recipe is a saucepan to cook the jello and a mold. If you don’t have a mold you can easily pour the mixture into a baking dish and serve it cut into squares.

Ingredient Notes

  • Canned Crushed Pineapple (Don’t drain the pineapple. You’ll need the juice as well as the fruit.)
  • Raspberry Jell-o (We always use raspberry jello for this recipe, but you can choose your favorite flavor. It’s just as good with lime or peach or strawberry.)
  • Buttermilk (The secret ingredient that give this recipe a wonderful, tangy somethin’-somethin’. Whole or low-fat buttermilk work equally well.)
  • Cool Whip (There’s just something about cool whip that makes it the only choice for this retro recipe. Don’t even bother with making fresh whipped cream.)

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

How to Make Polly’s Pink Stuff (Raspberry Jello Mold)

Let’s Go Step-by-Step

I always like to show you the photos and step-by-step instructions for my recipes to help you picture how to make them in your own kitchen. If you just want to print out a copy, you can skip to the bottom of the post where you’ll find the recipe card.

Cook the Pineapple with the Jell-o

Raspberry jello and pineapple in a medium pot.

Start by combining the crushed pineapple with its juice and the raspberry jello in a medium saucepan.

COOK’S TIP 
Use any red colored jello you like (cherry, strawberry, cranberry). Or you can make this into Polly’s Orange Stuff with orange jello. Or Green Stuff with lime jello.

Bring the pineapple and jello to a boil stirring occasionally. Set that aside to cool to room temperature.

Add Buttermilk and Cool Whip

Buttermilk being poured into cooled jello and pineapple mixture.

When the pineapple-jello mixture has cooled, stir in the buttermilk. Mix it together well.

Folding cool whip into the jello mixture.

Then fold in a small container of Cool Whip which has been thawed. Keep folding and stirring until it is thoroughly incorporated and no streaks of white remain.

Turn the mixture into a decorative mold.

COOK’S TIP 
Instead of using a mold, do like Polly usually does and pour it into a 9×13 pan so that you can cut it into little squares when you’re ready to serve.

Refrigerate

Raspberry Jello Mold on a silver serving tray with vintage serving pieces in the background.

Refrigerate until set. Unmold and serve.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I store the leftovers?

Keep any leftover jello mold in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. It needs to be covered closely with plastic wrap or in an airtight container. Typically, jello itself lasts 7-10 days but with the addition of buttermilk, this recipe has a shorter freshness limit.

How do I keep the jello from sticking to the mold?

If you want to unmold your salad onto a serving plate or platter, you’ll need to plan a little in advance.

Before starting the recipe, very lightly spray the inside of the mold with cooking spray, and then use a paper towel to evenly distribute the spray and remove any excess. When ready to serve, use a dinner knife to go around the outside edge of the mold and loosen the contents. Put the serving dish upside down on top of the mold and invert both the dish and mold at the same time. The salad should slip right out.

If it doesn’t, don’t panic! Fill your kitchen sink with a couple of inches of warm water. Lower the mold into the water being careful not to get water into the mold. Leave it for just 5 to 6 seconds, remove and try inverting again.

Have you tried this recipe? I’d really appreciate you giving it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card or in the comments section.
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Recipe

Polly's Pink Stuff - A retro recipe for a festive raspberry jello mold. http://www.lanascooing.com/pollys-pink-stuff-raspberry-jello-mold/

Polly’s Pink Stuff (Raspberry Jello Mold)

A retro recipe for a festive raspberry jello mold. My grandmother's holiday specialty served for every Christmas and Easter dinner.
5 from 9 votes
Print It Rate It Save
Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: Southern, Vintage
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 130kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces canned crushed pineapple
  • 6 ounces raspberry gelatin
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip thawed

Instructions

  • Place the crushed pineapple with its juice in a medium saucepan.
  • Add the jello and stir together.
  • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Remove pan from the heat and set it aside to cool.
  • When the pineapple and jello mixture has cooled to room temperature, add the buttermilk and stir together until well combined.
  • Fold in the Cool Whip.
  • Pour into decorative molds and refrigerate until set.

Notes

Ingredients:
  • Canned Crushed Pineapple (Don’t drain the pineapple. You’ll need the juice as well as the fruit.)
  • Raspberry Jell-o (We always use raspberry jello for this recipe, but you can choose your favorite flavor. It’s just as good with lime or peach or strawberry.)
  • Buttermilk (Whole or low-fat buttermilk work equally well.)
  • Cool Whip (There’s just something about cool whip that makes it the only choice for this retro recipe. Don’t even bother with making fresh whipped cream.)
Tips:
  • Use any red colored jello you like (cherry, strawberry, cranberry). Or you can make this into Polly’s Orange Stuff with orange jello. Or Green Stuff with lime jello.
  • Instead of using a mold, do like Polly often does and pour it into a 9×13 pan so that you can cut it into little squares when you’re ready to serve.
  • Keep any leftover jello mold in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. It needs to be covered closely with plastic wrap or in an airtight container. Typically, jello itself lasts 7-10 days but with the addition of buttermilk, this recipe has a shorter freshness limit.
How to unmold the gelatin:
If you want to unmold your gelatin onto a serving plate or platter, you’ll need to plan a little in advance.
Before starting the recipe, very lightly spray the inside of the mold with cooking spray, and then use a paper towel to evenly distribute the spray and remove any excess. When ready to serve, use a dinner knife to go around the outside edge of the mold and loosen the contents. Put the serving dish upside down on top of the mold and invert both the dish and mold at the same time. The salad should slip right out.
If it doesn’t, don’t panic! Fill your kitchen sink with a couple of inches of warm water. Lower the mold into the water being careful not to get water into the mold. Leave it for just 5 to 6 seconds, remove and try inverting again.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 130kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 122mg | Potassium: 122mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 118IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 73mg | 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 health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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— This post was originally published on December 2, 2011.

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44 Comments

  1. My grandma’s name was Polly, too! Really it was Paullin Nan but everyone called her Polly.
    Cant wait to prepare this in mold for my grandchildren!

  2. I’m missing Polly again today, remembering her famous “pink stuff.”
    She was one of a kind. I hope that I grow up to be just like her.

    Miss P

    1. I wouldn’t say it’s a “pronounced” taste, but it definitely has the tanginess of buttermilk. The buttermilk is mellowed quite a bit from the whipped topping, raspberry jello, and pineapple.

  3. This sounds delicious however I am allergic to cool whip Do you think this would work if I substituted 1 or 1 1/2 cups whipped cream in place of the cool whip. Thank you for the delicious recipes. I always enjoy your blog.

  4. Hi,
    I am going to try your Grandmother’s recipe. I cannot wait to set it on my table at Thanksgiving. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Made a version of this for Easter lunch, and used some small individual antique molds that I picked up at an estate sale years ago. I just love the look of those one serving portions, each perfectly formed. Of course, if you have to use a knife to loosen them out of the molds, because you are too impatient to wait 30 seconds to dip in hot water, just turn that to the back side!

    Miss P

  6. Is there any water used with the jello at all? I want to make this for Easter but am confused as to if I add the jello to only the pineapple mixture or if any water comes into play somewhere? I’m a total novice.
    Thanks!

    1. No, no water. Just dissolve the jello in the pineapple juice as it comes to a boil. Good luck with the recipe!

  7. I have the exact same recipe as this from my hometown cookbook, but, instead, it’s made with orange jello, and some nuts (walnuts, usually) are added. I called it “orange stuff”.

  8. My family also has a “pink stuff” or a “green stuff” or a “green-pink-green stuff” or a “pink-green-pink” stuff recipe. The ladies use pastashio pudding, cottage cheese, the crushed pineapple and cool whip. They take the pudding and mix it with the cottage cheese, then stir in the pineapple that has been drained and then they fold in the cool whip and refrigerate it. It also is served with the meal. The pink version just uses a strawberry or whatever red pudding is felt like being used and continue on like before. The other two names are just descriptors of the other two. My late mother-in-law would make it green for Thanksgiving, then make it red for Christmas so her family never knew exactly what to call it.

  9. I grew up with five generations in myhome. I was surprised to learn that many of my friends never knew their great-grandparents.

    A friend of mine always makes the “pink stuff” for family gatherings and church lunches. Everyone always asked her what it is called and she always just says “I have always known it as pink stuff. She uses cherry jello and adds a small container of cottage cheese instead of buttermilk.