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.
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.)
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.
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.
❤ Why We Love This Recipe
- It’s a vintage recipe with all sorts of nostalgic feelings.
- Kids and adults love it and it adds a festive look to the holiday table.
- You can be creative with jello molds!
🥘 Ingredient Notes
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- 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.)
Cook the Pineapple with the Jell-o
Start by combining the crushed pineapple with its juice and the raspberry jello in a medium saucepan.
👉 PRO 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
When the pineapple-jello mixture has cooled, stir in the buttermilk. Mix it together well.
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.
👉 PRO 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 until set. Unmold and serve.
❓ Questions About Raspberry Jello Mold
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.
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.
More 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!
Polly’s Pink Stuff (Raspberry Jello Mold)
- 16 ounces canned crushed pineapple
- 6 ounces raspberry gelatin
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 8 ounces Cool Whip thawed
Prepare the Mold:
- If you're planning to unmold the jello onto a serving plate, select a mold and thoroughly coat the inside with cooking spray. Wipe out any excess with a paper towel.
Prepare the Jello Mixture:
- 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 prepared decorative mold or a 9×13 baking dish and refrigerate until set.
- Instead of using a mold, pour the mixture 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.
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.
— This post was originally published on December 2, 2011. It has been updated with additional information.