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Rainbow Jello

Rainbow jello is an impressive dessert that’s fun to eat and loved by the whole family. Three simple ingredients are all you’ll need to create this fun and colorful dish. It’s sure to be a hit at your next party!

stack of jello rainbow on white plate
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Grandma’s Rainbow Jello

This rainbow jello recipe was a dish my Grandma Joyce made for the holidays when I was growing up. As you can see from her recipe card below, it was made often. The grandchildren all loved it! My aunt made this at Grandma’s funeral, and it was loved by both kids and adults. She was such an amazing woman. 

My grandma always had 6 layers in her jello with the green layer on top. I ended up only doing 5 layers and left out the additional cherry layer and thought it still turned out great! 

If you wanted to do 6 layers you definitely could. You could also make it following the colors of the rainbow (listed in the recipe card). Go in whatever order makes you happy. 

This rainbow jello treat may look complicated, but it’s easy to make! The one thing you will need is time. Each layer has to be set before adding another layer on top of it, so you’ll have to account for lots of chilling time. Luckily, the fridge does all of the work!

rainbow jello recipe card
Grandma Joyce Rainbow Jello Recipe Card

3 Simple Ingredients 

This easy recipe only requires 3 simple ingredients: jello, water, and sour cream! 

Most of the recipes you’ll find online for rainbow jello use sweetened condensed milk as the middle layer, but I find that way too sweet. The sour cream that gets mixed in cuts the sweetness and creates the prettiest colors.

Layers

You can get as creative as you like when it comes to the colors of your rainbow layer jello. To create a traditional rainbow order, use the following flavors:

  • Purple – Black cherry, black raspberry, or grape
  • Blue – Blue raspberry
  • Green – Lime
  • Yellow – Lemon
  • Orange – Orange
  • Red – Strawberry or Cherry

How to Make Rainbow Jello

You need a lot of chilling time to make this dish, so make sure you start early. I like to prepare it the day before I’m planning to serve it.

  1. Chill: Place a 9×13-inch glass baking dish in the refrigerator to chill. The glass dish lets you see all the beautiful layers.
  2. Prepare the first 2 layers: In a medium bowl, stir black cherry jello in 1 cup of boiling water for 1 minute until the powder is dissolved. Divide it in half between two bowls or measuring cups. You’ll have about ½ cup in each bowl. In the first bowl add 3 tablespoons of cold water and cover with plastic wrap. In the other bowl, add 1/3  cup sour cream and whisk until combined.
  3. Chill the first layer: Pour the jello with sour cream into the chilled baking dish. Tilt your dish from side to side gently to make sure the mixture spreads evenly. Place the dish back into the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
  4. Add the second layer: Pour the second bowl of jello over the first layer. Carefully tilt the dish from side to side to spread the layer evenly. Return the dish to the fridge for another 30 minutes.
  5. Repeat: Do the same thing again with the remaining jello flavors, ending with the lime on top. Carefully carry each new layer to the fridge and rotate the pan each time to keep the layers straight. Chill in the refrigerator until firm.
  6. Serve: Slice into 20 slices and serve chilled. A dollop of whipped cream adds a little something extra!
holding a piece of rainbow jello

Recipe Tips

  • Make-ahead: Each layer needs time to set before adding on to the next layer, so be prepared to make this dish well in advance of the time you’re planning to serve it. I suggest making it the day before, so it has plenty of time to set before serving.
  • For easy clean up: Use just 2 bowls and rinse between each flavor of jello to reduce the number of dishes.
  • Tidy up the layers: If jello coats the sides of the dish higher than its layer while being transferred to the fridge, simply take a wet paper towel to wipe down the sides and keep the layers straight.

A Fun Party Treat!

What better way to celebrate your child’s special day than with all the rainbow treats! Slice your pieces into small cubes as a fun treat for small hands or make layered jello in individual clear plastic cups for everyone to enjoy their own!

Variations 

There are so many colors to choose from for this layered jello dessert, so feel free to mix and match the colors that make you happy! You can also choose the colors based on different holiday themes:

  • Christmas – Alternate between green (lime) and red (strawberry)
  • 4th of July – Alternate between blue raspberry (blue) and red (strawberry)
  • Valentine’s day – Alternate between red (strawberry) and watermelon (pink)
  • St Patrick’s day – The rainbow colors work well here, or you can alternate green (lime) and orange
  • Halloween – Layers of orange (orange) and green (lime)

FAQs

Does rainbow jello need to be refrigerated?

Absolutely. This is one dessert you definitely want to keep chilling in the fridge. Keep it covered tightly with plastic wrap.

How long can rainbow jello be kept in the fridge?

Jello typically lasts up to 7 days in the fridge.

stack of rainbow jello on plate

More Colorful Treats

stack of rainbow jello on plate

Rainbow Layered Jello

5 from 2 votes
Rainbow jello is an impressive dessert that’s fun to eat and loved by the whole family. Three simple ingredients are all you’ll need to create this fun and colorful dish. It’s sure to be a hit at your next party!
Prep Time: 30 mins
Chill time:: 3 hrs 30 mins
Total Time: 4 hrs
Servings: 20

Ingredients 

  • 5 (3-ounce) boxes jello , black cherry, strawberry, orange, lemon, and lime
  • 5 cups hot water , divided
  • 15 Tablespoons ice cold water , divided
  • 16 ounce container sour cream , divided

Instructions

  • Place a 9×13-inch glass baking dish in the refrigerator to chill.
  • In a medium bowl, stir black cherry jello in 1 cup hot water for 1 minute, or until dissolved. Divide in half (about 1/2 cup each) between two liquid measuring cups or bowls. In the first bowl, add 3 Tablespoons cold water and cover with plastic wrap. In the other bowl, add 1/3 cup sour cream and whisk until well combined.
    jello and sour cream in bowl
  • Pour the jello with the sour cream, into the chilled baking dish (tilting gently to spread evenly). Place in the fridge and chill 25 to 30 minutes.
    jello in pyrex dish
  • Remove dish from the fridge and pour the second bowl of jello, tilting gently to spread evenly, over the top. Carefully return to the refrigerator and chill 25 to 30 minutes.
    jello in pyrex dish
  • Repeat the process with the remaining jello in this order: strawberry, orange, lemon, and lime (on top). Carefully carry each new layer to the fridge, and rotate the pan each time, to keep the layers straight. Refrigerate until firm.
    rainbow jello in pyrex dish
  • Slice into 20 slices. Serve while chilled.
    stack of jello rainbow on white plate

Notes

Traditional Rainbow Jello Order (use whatever makes you happy):
    • Black cherry, or black raspberry jello
    • Blue raspberry jello
    • Lime jello
    • Lemon jello
    • Orange jello
    • Strawberry or cherry jello
Easy Clean-up: Rinse bowls, whisk, and spoon between each flavor of jello to reduce the amount of dishes.
Make ahead: This is the perfect make-ahead dessert. Feel free to make it the day before and let it chill in the fridge overnight.

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 134kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 111mg | Potassium: 35mg | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 167IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Jamielyn Nye

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