The Orange Creamsicle salad is creamy, dreamy, and tastes like the classic ice cream truck treat!
Dessert salads were all the rage in the ‘70s. For good reason- they are undeniably delicious, affordable, and super easy to make.
So, dessert salads became the go-to treat for potlucks, funerals, and holiday celebrations.
The Orange Creamsicle is one of my faves. It’s creamy, fluffy, and tastes just like a Creamsicle!
One spoonful will remind you of the vintage Orange Creamsicle we all enjoyed as kids!
Easy Orange Creamsicle Salad
Orange Creamsicle salad is a delicious mix of pudding, orange Jell-O, whipped cream, and mandarin oranges.
They’re not your ordinary salad ingredients. But they make one incredible dessert.
Together, they create a fluffy dessert with perfectly balanced flavors.
The tanginess of the mandarin oranges does a great job of contrasting the sweetness of the dressing.
- Tapioca Pudding- You’ll find this with the pudding and gelatin at grocery stores. Pick the “cook and serve” variety.
- Instant Vanilla Pudding- This isn’t a typo! While the recipe calls for cooking the pudding, you’ll still need instant pudding.
- Orange Jell-O- Gives the salad dressing its pretty pastel orange hue and an extra layer of orange flavor.
- Water- You’ll need liquid to saturate the pudding and Jell-O mixes.
- Cool Whip- It’s the base of the creamy dressing that coats the mandarin oranges. I prefer using whipped cream in most recipes, but Cool Whip is better here, as it’s more stable.
- Mandarin Oranges- The crucial element that gives the salad its iconic orange creamsicle flavor. Drain them well before tossing them into the salad to prevent a runny dressing.
How to Make Orange Creamsicle Salad
1. Combine tapioca pudding, vanilla pudding, Jell-O, and water. Pour all the package contents and water into a saucepan and mix well to combine.
2. Cook the mixture over medium heat. Stir it constantly until the Jell-O dissolves completely.
Once dissolved, remove the saucepan from the heat immediately. Pour the mixture into a salad bowl.
3. Allow the mixture to cool. This part is super important. You don’t want to mix in the Cool Whip while the mixture is still hot.
Just imagine how disastrous that would be! You can refrigerate the bowl (cover it) to speed up the process.
4. Mix in the Cool Whip and mandarin oranges. Be very gentle with this- you want whole orange slices, not crushed ones!
5. Chil the salad. It needs at least 1 hour for the gelatin to set. Serve and enjoy!
Tips for the Best Orange Creamsicle Salad
- Do not follow the pudding package instructions! Follow the directions on my recipe instead.
- Choose Cool Whip over Whipped Cream. I usually say fresh is best, but Cool Whip is better for this recipe. Cool Whip is more stable and won’t soften as quickly.
- Want a smooth, fluffy salad? Ensure the Jell-O dissolves in the water before you remove it from heat. Undissolved Jell-O will yield gritty gelatin.
- Give the salad time to set. It needs at least 1 hour, or you’ll serve a runny salad.
- Mix in the fruit with a soft hand. Be gentle when mixing in the mandarin oranges to prevent crushing the fruit.
- Make it pretty with a garnish! Decorate the salad with more drained mandarin oranges.
Try one of these delicious variations! It’s always fun to experiment with food.
- Try a different Jell-O. Strawberry or lemon are delicious options. If you like nutty flavors, go for pistachio Jell-O! Or, try my recipe for Watergate salad.
- Change the salad mix-ins, too. Don’t forget to match the mix-ins to your new Jell-O flavor. For instance, if you use strawberry Jell-O, consider using strawberry slices instead of mandarin oranges.
- Add mini marshmallows. They are always welcome in creamy dessert salads. Their sweetness and soft, pillowy texture complement the other salad ingredients.
- Make it a fruit salad! If you like more fruits in your salad, go ahead. Peaches, crushed pineapple, maraschino cherries- all delicious. Drain the fruit well so the fluff consistency stays the same.
- Cut the sweetness with cottage cheese. Mix some cottage cheese with the Cool Whip before tossing it in. Not a fan of cottage cheese? Try it with cream cheese, instead.
- Add some crunch! Add chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds, or cashews for a tasty contrast. If you have the time, toast the nuts first.
- Looking for a healthy twist? Use alternatives such as sugar-free or fat-free pudding and jello, as well as light Cool Whip.
- Turn it into a pie. Got a graham cracker crust lying around the house? Spoon the salad into it to make a no-bake pie.
Cover the salad bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 3 days.
This salad needs time to set, so it’s a perfect make-ahead dessert. One hour of refrigeration is enough. But the longer it sits, the better it tastes!
Place the salad in a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze for up to 3 months. Do not thaw it, though.
The texture will be off if you do. Serve it as-is instead, and enjoy it like ice cream.
Tip: If you have popsicle molds, spoon the leftover Creamsicle into them and freeze. This trick makes actual Creamsicles for dessert!
More Creamy Dessert Salads You’ll Love
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