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This rainbow jello is a bright and colorful layered jello dessert! Everyone loves this fun finger jello that tastes like the rainbow and is a crowd-pleasing treat at parties!

Other fun colorful treats we love to make around St. Patrick’s Day include rainbow cupcakes, this rainbow fruit platter and jello cookies!

Stack of rainbow jello on 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.

My aunt made this at Grandma’s funeral, and it was loved by both kids and adults. It’s sweet, colorful and impossible to resist with its layers of colors. For St. Patrick’s Day, make it following the colors of the rainbow, but really you can layer this finger jello however you like!

Rainbow jello recipe card.
Grandma Joyce Rainbow Jello Recipe Card

Recipe 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.

Boxes of jello.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Boxes of Jell-O: I used 5 boxes of jello flavors, but you can make 6 layers like grandma did or even fit it to special occasions like sports team colors or other holidays like 4th of July.
  • Water: Both hot water and cold ice water help the jello dissolve and set.
  • Sour cream: The sour cream gets mixed in to cut the sweetness and create the prettiest colors.

Layered Rainbow Jello

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


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! Other than rainbow treats, you can choose the colors based on different holiday themes:

  • Christmas: Alternate between green (lime) and red (strawberry)
  • 4th of July: Alternate between blue raspberry (berry blue) and red jello (strawberry). Use unflavored gelatin for a white layer.
  • 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)
  • Birthday party treat: Use colors to coordinate with the party theme then slice your pieces into small cubes as a fun treat for small hands or make layered jello cups for everyone to enjoy their own!

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 the jello cubes.

The process of making rainbow jello in a four step photo collage.
  • 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.
  • Chill the first layer: Pour the jello with sour cream into the chilled 9×13 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.
  • Add second layer then repeat: 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. Do the same thing again with the remaining jello flavors, ending with the lime on top.
  • Chill and serve: After adding the last layer, chill until completely set then slice into 20 squares and serve chilled. The kids go crazy for this no bake treat when I add a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkles on top!
A hand holding a slice of rainbow jello.

Expert Tips

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. Luckily, the fridge does all of the work in this no bake treat!

  • 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.
  • Glass dish: Using a glass dish lets you see all the beautiful layers.


Is making rainbow jello hard to make?

Not at all! It is a simple process but it does take a bit of time to mix the jello mixture and then wait in the refrigerator.

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.

How do you make jello with floating fruit?

You will want to wash, cut, and layer the fresh fruit in the dish. Pour the jello overtop of the fresh fruit. Refrigerate for about 2 hours until it is firm. Then add the next layer if continuing with the rainbow appearance.

Stack of layered rainbow jello on white plate

5 star review

“Love jello and this is such a fun and colorful treat. All the flavors really work well together!”


Love jello recipes? You will love this jello poke cake, raspberry jello pretzel salad and orange pretzel parfait.

More Colorful Treats

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stack of rainbow jello on plate

Rainbow Layered Jello

5 from 18 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
This rainbow jello is a bright and colorful layered jello dessert! Everyone loves this fun finger jello that tastes like the rainbow and is a crowd-pleasing treat at parties!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Chill time:: 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours
Servings: 20



  • 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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Slice into 20 slices. Serve while chilled.


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

Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

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