I have always had a strong emotional connection to food, in the way that it ties family, traditions, and memories together.  Since my Mom doesn’t remember a lot of things, due to some serious health challenges, my siblings and I really cling to the food-centered traditions and memories she created when we were growing up, and this is one of them.  What’s funny is just like that ‘huge’ hill you used to bike down when you were a kid, that in reality is nothing more than a slight incline, so many of our food traditions were SO fancy and special and exciting as children, and now that I’m an adult, I’m surprised at how simple many of our favorites are.  This fruity mousse, for example (which in my family will forever and always be called “Peach-Jello-Fluff” no matter what flavor we’re making it).  When I dug up the recipe, and then texted my sister just to make sure I had it right, I was stunned at how easy it was.  The funny thing is that my Mom would make this in a worn-out tupperware container for an after-school snack, yet the very same recipe would fill little individual crystal bowls and be topped with a pillowy cloud of Cool Whip and adorn our Christmas and Easter tables with the fancy China and gold-plated flatware. This is one of those great recipes that can go from quick and casual, to special and fancy.  It’s such a great little treat to whip up when you’re short on time and ingredients, but want something fun and homemade.  It was a family favorite when I was a little girl, and now it’s a family favorite for my three boys.  It literally takes minutes to make and my kids think it’s soooo special, just like I did.


Thank you to COOL WHIP for sponsoring this post.  Join them on Facebook for inspiration and recipes for everyday treats.  What you add makes it!  #coolwhipmoms.

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You can use any flavor of Jell-0 in this recipe.  Honestly, I’ve never made it with a flavor I didn’t like.  Lemon seems so fresh and springy, and since it was dumping snow at my house on the first day of spring, I’m desperately channeling “fresh-and-springy!”  You can also use a small box, or a large box of Jell-o, regular, or sugar free.  Aren’t we so nice to provide so many options for you?  I thought so.  I’m going to write this recipe out using a small box, but obviously, just double everything for a large box.

Start by dissolving Jell-o in one cup of boiling water.  Just give it a quick stir, it only takes a few seconds.

Pour the mixture into a blender and add 4 ounces of cream cheese.  You can use low-fat cream cheese, but I usually stay away from fat free for recipes.  The hot Jell-o will melt that cream cheese super fast and it will soon be a lovely pastel color.

When that’s blended, add a half cup of very cold water and pulse to combine.  Next up is half of an 8-ounce container of light, creamy Cool Whip.

Place it right in the blender and blend until the mixture is smooth- just a few seconds!

We’re already about done- what was that, like 2 1/2 minutes??  You can now pour the mixture into one large serving bowl, or into individual containers.  You know I always pick individual serving dishes!  At this point, just pop it in the fridge to chill.

After it’s chilled, it’s time for topping.  The quickest and easiest route is just to use a dollop of the remaining Cool Whip and you can even sprinkle on some citrus zest if you’re feeling fancy.

The mousse sets up like gelatin, but softer and creamier.  Combined with the fluffy topping, it’s a little cup of heaven (that only took you about 5 minutes of prep time!)

But let me show you how to make it even better.  My mom would top it with something extra special when we had it on the holiday table and it’s still my favorite way to eat it.  Take the remaining half of the block of cream cheese and beat it with a little powdered sugar, a splash of vanilla,

and some orange (or clementine!) zest and juice.

After that’s beaten until it’s smooth and creamy, fold in the remaining Cool Whip.  When you ‘fold’ something, it’s a process that helps keep the light and airy texture of something like egg whites, whipped cream, or in this case Cool Whip.  Take a spoonful and stir it in, just to lighten the mixture and then add the remainder.  At this point, don’t stir.  You want to use your spatula and cut down the middle of the mixture, scraping along the bottom of the bowl moving outward and then ‘fold’ it over the top of the mixture.  Continue doing this until it’s all folded in and combined.

At this point, feel free to add in extra orange juice for consistency.  The mousse is nice and light, so you want your topping to be light and spreadable.  Different brands of cream cheese have different consistencies, so you can adjust the orange juice accordingly.

Spread, dollop, or pipe the topping on the mousse just before serving.  I put the topping in a piping bag and used a jumbo swirl tip to pipe it on the top.  I reached instant super-mom status when my kids saw these little mini glasses with swirly cupcake-style topping.  A perfect example of how a really simple recipe, can be turned into something special and extra fun- all with presentation!

My boys asked me if we were having a party and their eyes lit up when I said, “Nope, I made them just for you!”

I love making these in a rainbow of colors; these would be great for an upcoming Easter meal in pretty pastels.

And speaking of rainbows- if you want to get really creative, let layers solidify in the fridge and then add another flavor on top.  This looks great in individual serving dishes and also larger ones where you can scoop out servings.

Any way you cut it (or scoop it!) this one is sure to be a pleaser with both kids and adults.  Enjoy!

 

 

 


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88comments

  1. 1
    Charlotte says:

    I would love to make these but live in Australia and we don’t have cool whip here!! Do you have any other suggestions??? They look so good;)

    • 1.1
      sara says:

      Charlotte, Cool Whip is a brand of non-dairy whipped topping. In the states, it’s found in the freezer section of the grocery store. If you live in a country that doesn’t carry Cool Whip (how sad! ;)) You *might* be able to sub fresh sweetened whipped cream, but honestly, Cool Whip works better- and is much easier, so you’d just have to experiment to see if it worked.

  2. 2

    I cannot wait to make these for my littles and see their eyes light up with delight, too!

  3. 3

    Oh my goodness, what a fabulous recipe! So festive, pretty and fun. And delicious too, of course! Thanks for this great recipe.

  4. 4

    I love this!! My mom made something similar, but she didn’t beat it smooth, so it was more speckled looking. So pretty for easter!!

  5. 5
    laurie says:

    Looks like a fun recipe!

  6. 6
    Kelli says:

    I have food memories with my mother too! Which is ironic, because she didn’t really cook much. But I remember her tater tot casserole (crazy easy) and cheeseburger meatloaf (again…ridiculously easy) were big treats when we were growing up!

    As for this beauty, never heard of it before, but I can already see serving it up as dessert for my Mother’s Day Lunch this year in a big torte bowl. I need to find a big torte bowl!

  7. 7

    I don’t eat Cool Whip but I will definitely try it with whipped cream and see if it works!

  8. 8
    Laura says:

    These look beautiful! I need to find some cute cups like that!

  9. 9
    lisa says:

    They just look like Easter!

  10. 10
    Natalie Adams says:

    One question: In the paragraph where you are explaining how to make the special topping, it says “After that’s beaten until it’s smooth and creamy, fold in the remaining ” Remaining what? :) (my guess is the remaining cool whip) This looks like so much fun. I love fun jello recipes. Thanks!

  11. 11

    Holy cow! I can’t believe how fun and easy these are! They are beautiful, too. My family would be thrilled if I made them. It gives me some great ideas for our Easter-weekend-family-get-together.

  12. 12
    Julee says:

    Yum! We make this a lot in the summer with a few changes, we sub yogurt for the cream cheese – and let the blender mix the hot water and jello – one less step :) I might have to try this with cream cheese though – yum! I recently made this with blackberry jello and cherry yogurt. My niece couldn’t get enough of it.

    • 12.1
      sara says:

      I put it all in the blender sometimes too, but because of the square shape of my pitcher, I sometimes end up with little globs of undissolved gelatin in the corners so I stir it first!

  13. 13
    Shayla says:

    This is PERFECT! My mother in law keeps on giving me jello, and I never use it, but I would definitely make this! You ladies are awesome!

  14. 14
    Nichole diemert says:

    I think in the printable version you forgot to put to fold in the remaining cool whip?? Maybe? Or maybe I am reading it totally wrong! This looks great and we will be having it this weekend! Could you sub real whipped cream?

    • 14.1
      sara says:

      Oh thanks, nice catch! I only make this recipe with Cool Whip, so you’d have to experiment with any substitutions.

  15. 15
    Andrea says:

    Question: If I used real whipping cream and froze them from a fun summer time treat (popsicle) do you think that would work?

  16. 16
    Rachel says:

    I really like hoe this looks!

  17. 17
    Beth says:

    In place of the cream cheese we’ve always made these with two small containers of flavored yogurt. Its a good way to sneak a little ‘healthy’ into a yummy treat. When making this treat your immagination is the only obstacle, you really can’t mess this up. It is wonderful ~ I have used whipping cream in these while we were abroad and cool whip was hard to come by, but the texture changes no matter how stiff the cream. Stick with cool whip is you can~

  18. 18
    Chels Rief says:

    This looks like heaven on earth!

  19. 19
    Emily says:

    Love the layered one! These will be so fun to make and eat.

  20. 20
    Alicia says:

    OK, so I love the little serving glasses (both varieties). Where did you find them? I think anything served in those would feel “special”!

    • 20.1
      sara says:

      Aren’t those fun Alicia? My kids LOVE anything I put in them! I got those ones at Pier One. They have all sorts of adorable mini-dishes. The mini trifles and mini glass mugs are to DIE for!

      • Patti says:

        Sara, I have the same glasses that you used (or exact replicas)! Alicia, look for Libbey’s Just Desserts or Just Cocktails glasses from their Just Tasting line. You can find them at Bed, Bath and Beyond as well as Smith’s Marketplace. I love the mini flare glasses and am always looking for something to put in them. I got my little trifle dishes from Walmart, of all places, for only $2 each!

  21. 21
    Robyn says:

    Looks like I just found my Easter dinner dessert! And for this summer!

  22. 22
    RitaMarie says:

    This looks yummy and so easy – the best of both worlds. What do you think about using the flavored cool whip? They usually have a strawberry one soon and a french vanilla. Do you think it would make any difference flavor wise, as in make it even better or would it not really make any difference?

  23. 23
    Chuck Chalker says:

    Have either of you two ever heard of Jello 1,2,3 or was it some kind of rural New York thing for the poor farmers? You took hot liquid jello and used an electric mixer to beat the liquid til it made 3layers of liquid 1 regular and a foamy and the third layer other kind of frothy.

    • 23.1
      Karla says:

      Oh my goodness….Jello 1 2 3. was in my lunchbox every day. My mom made it for my brother and me. We LOVED it. It was a sad day in my house when they stopped making it. I think my mom stocked up on a year’s supply on the last shipment.

  24. 24
    Danica says:

    I just made these, and I used my own whipped cream (heavy cream + vanilla & powdered sugar to taste) and they are SO good!! :)

  25. 25
    Robyn P. says:

    I sure wish there was a way to include a picture when I print the recipe! It would help remind me of the recipe and how delicious that it looks!

    • 25.1
      Betty Pickering says:

      If you’d like a photo with the recipe you could try this: cut and paste the recipe onto a word document or email, and do the same with the photo over the recipe. Then send it to yourself.

  26. 26
    Susan says:

    I use this as a filling with a graham gracker crust then top with cool whip and fresh fruit after it sets….just love this!

  27. 27
    eloise says:

    just made this with peach and grape jellos, delicious, even without the topping! The texture is perfect! We have a similar jello mousse recipe in brazil, but it’s made with jello, coconut cream and table cream (creme de leite).

    • 27.1
      Heather says:

      THAT sounds like Heaven!! I actually am not a jello lover, typically. I think it is so sweet. Not sure how that works since I am a sugar addict, lol, but I think the creme de leite & coconut cream sound very good in it. I made this recipe yesterday and it was a hit! ((I used key limes in the topping… hooly YUM))

  28. 28
    Kristin says:

    You had me at Jell-O.

    Really, I’m impressed. I love the last bit with the layering. I mean really, why not! I am such a sucker for layering of Jell-O. Nothing could be more beautiful. I really love you for posting this. It’s going to be so delicious!

  29. 29
    Becky says:

    If you live in a place where cool whip does not exist, Dream whip might work. It is a powder found near the Jello that whips up with milk and vanilla into a whipped topping. (I use it mixed with pudding for eclair filling)

  30. 30
    Lesa says:

    My mom used to make these for us! I was recenty asking her if she remembered how she made those parfait things. :-) I’m really glad you posted this. I couldn’t decide what I was taking to her house where my family gets together for easter. Easy Peasy! Thanks~

  31. 31

    gorgeous! i miss having a tub of cool whip in my freezer at all times…

  32. 32
    garysgirl says:

    YUM, YUM, YUM!!

  33. 33
    Melanie says:

    What flavors did you use to make the layered Jello? I love how the colors came out! Are the flavors as complimentary as the colors?

    • 33.1
      sara says:

      Melanie, I used lemon, orange, and strawberry. And yes- the flavors are definitely yummy together!

      • Melanie says:

        Thanks for the heads up! I think the color combo looks perfect for Easter, can’t wait to make it for the potluck we’re going to today!

  34. 34
    MeganM. says:

    I made this over the weekend as a treat for conference and it was AMAZING! I’ve never had anything like it before and it was sooo good! Thanks for sharing!!

  35. 35
    KarateKid2011 says:

    I made these tonight as a “test run” before Easter. Tonight I layered strawberry and a melon-flavored green Jell-o. Glad I did the test run, ha ha. I accidentally added a full cup of cold water. For the record, they still came out delicious, but the texture was more “fluffy.” So my strawberry layer was more “mousse” and my melon layer was more “custard” if that makes any sense.

    For Easter, my layers will be peach, lemon and cherry. THANK YOU for this one!

  36. 36
    Megan says:

    Can you put them in the freezer to hurry the chilling time?

  37. 37
    Melissa says:

    Made this as a test run before Easter with strawberry Jell-O and the special cream cheese and Cool Whip with orange zest concoction on top. Delish! Thank you!

  38. 38

    I can’t wait to make these. I love the rainbow ones.

  39. 39
    Carrie Overman says:

    Just got home from Wal-Mart with pretty much every flavor of Jello and 5 big tubs of Cool Whip! I’m so excited about making these!! :)

  40. 40

    It’s been a crazy and sad week at our house, including the death of one of our beloved bunnies. I didn’t have a single thing planned for Easter but I will be making this dessert using some pineapple Jell-o I have in the pantry. Last time I made a Jell-o dessert was your beautiful stained glass Jell-o (if I got the name wrong, it’s the one with the cubes of Jell-o suspended in white gelatin), which I made for my first Christmas with my in-laws in 2010 :)

  41. 41
    Dottie says:

    Can you use chocolate jello (the pudding type) for this?

  42. 42
    Lana says:

    Thanks! I made some with jello and some with pudding and milk. Both were great.

  43. 43
    Julie Avery says:

    We had this lovely dessert at our Easter table. :) Thank you! The flavored topping was delish!!!! So easy and added so much color to the tablescape.

  44. 44
    Nicki Howell says:

    I made Lime for easter and it was fresh, fantastic and popular! =]

  45. 45
    Debbie Pope says:

    This was a very fun and tasty recipe, (although I used mango fruit juice in lieu of water and unflavored gelatin, and added about 2 Tblsp of sugar). Anyway, how did you get it to layer? When I tried to layer a separate flavor of orange, it does not stay separated, and when I waited for it to gel separately, and add to layer – that did not work so well! Help!!!! Thank you!

  46. 46

    I made this for Easter dessert (made lemon and strawberry flavors) and it was a HUGE hit with my fam! Thank you!!

  47. 47
    Kristen says:

    I have seen that several food bloggers have the Blendtec blenders! Is there somewhere where I can get a good deal on them as they are SUPER expensive?

    Thanks!!

    • 47.1
      sara says:

      They’re pretty much expensive any way you swing it! I’be found that bed bath and beyond is a great deal though, you can have them order it for you in-store and use a 20% coupon which knocks the price way down. They also sell both blendtec and vitamix at Costco road shows and they’re a little less there as well (but still not as low as BB&B)

  48. 48
    Christeen says:

    Hi, this was so easy to make and soooooo delicious. Thank you so much for sharing.
    Just one thing though, after it set I noticed a layer of clear gelatin had formed at the bottom of the container. Is this normal? Or is there something I am not doing right?

    • 48.1
      sara says:

      Ya know, my brother mentioned this happens sometimes when he makes it too and we’re not sure why! Maybe the particular way it blended? Or the brands of products used? I really don’t have an answer!

      • Christeen says:

        Thanks for the response Sara. I will try it a couple of more times and see what happens. It still tastes nice anyways. Ends up looking like there’s an additional bottom layer!

        • I made this with pineapple Jell-o for Easter. It was so good! My favorite way to eat Jell-o. Mine had the thin layer of clear Jell-o on the bottom, too. I used all name brand ingredients and blended everything thoroughly (though I had to stir in the Cool Whip by hand). Tasted good anyway!

  49. 49
    Marci says:

    Do you how many oz those mini cups are? I found some 1.75 oz cups online but I’m wondering if that would be too small for a dessert shooter

  50. 50
    laurie says:

    I made a double batch of this for our Easter dinner. It was gone in a flash! Ended up with two little ones in tears because their mommas told them they had to eat the healthy food on their plates first and then when they did what was asked of them….it was gone! So sad :( Note for next time: Make more!!!

  51. 51

    this recipe sounds like so much fun. Have you ever tried making it with heavy cream instead of the cool whip?

  52. 52
    Marissa says:

    I love this recipe! I’ve already made it so many times. My favorite variation: poured into a graham cracker crust, topped with whip cream and strawberries–strawberry mousse pie! And there’s usually a little mousse leftover to snack on. :)

  53. 53
    Lisa says:

    Are there any gelatin alternatives for this? Or do you know of any gelatins that don’t use animal byproducts? I know kosher gelatin doesn’t but I can’t find any of it in the stores nearby.

  54. 54

    I just wanted to let you know I featured a modified version of this recipe on my website: http://www.domesticdork.com/2012/07/best-summer-dessert-recipeever.html

    I LOVE this recipe. It really is as easy as you made it sound! I’m already dreaming up new ways to modify it some more.

  55. 55
    betty decker says:

    would love to be able to print a recipe with a picture????? thank you

  56. 56
    audrey says:

    sara! this recipe looks delicious, but i have a question: once the mousse is done chilling and setting in the fridge, could i use it as a filling for cakes? i’ve been trying to find the perfect filling for a strawberry cake and i’d love to know if this mousse is the right consistency to fill the layers!

    • 56.1
      sara says:

      You know, I’ve never used it in a cake, but I actually think it would work pretty well. Let me know if you try it!

  57. 57
    Lyra says:

    I live in UK, so can you tell me a substitute for Cool Whip? They don’t sell it here.

  58. 58
    Nicholle C. says:

    Made this for the first time last night – the family loved it and wants to know when I’ll make it again, it was SOOOO good, and easy! I lightened up the calories using sugar-free jello, light cool-whip and light cream cheese, and you couldn’t tell it was a low-fat/sugar recipe. I love how versatile it can be with all the different flavors of jello, and am thinking ahead to how I can layer colors for 4th of July for patriotic dessert!

  59. 59
    MDtripmom says:

    This looks awesome! I’m going to try but have a question: Should the Cool Whip be frozen or thawed for this recipe?

  60. 60
    I Love This! says:

    Hey
    I am from Maldives and they dont sell Cool Whip. So can I use regular Whipped Cream for this? And can I use a pudding mix or a jelly mix instead of Jell-o? Please let me know! :)

    • 60.1
      sara says:

      You can definitely use real whipped cream, but I don’t know of a substitute for the Jell-O! Pudding won’t have the same texture, but it would still taste really yummy :)

  61. 61
    Hal says:

    Can I use cream cheese spread?

  62. 62

    Just whipped up a batch of this recipe. I only had fat free cream cheese but I think it will work. Can’t wait for it to cool, the countdown is on…

  63. 63
    Ellen says:

    Yummy. I use this recipe doubled to make a party-sized light and refreshing “cheesecake.” Pour over a graham cracker crust in an oblong glass casserole or pan and pipe on some extra cool whip. Using lite versions of all ingredients (or even fat free and/or sugar free) works. The smaller version of this recipe fills a large store bought graham cracker pie crust.

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