There’s nothing more disappointing than a lackluster salad. It can leave you sad, hungry and questioning the world around you. That’s not an issue with dessert salads — dessert made with gelatin, whipped topping and canned fruit — and (thankfully) not resembling a salad in the slightest. Although you might remember them mostly from pictures of retro dinner parties in the ’50s and ’60s, today they’re most common in the Midwest, where you can find them at cafeterias, potlucks and parties. Sure, it’s by no means the next healthy food trend, but these dessert salads are some of the most satisfying treats you can whip up for a post-dinner indulgence. Here are 20 recipes that will turn you into a retro dessert salad devotee.


1. Strawberry and Peanut Butter Cookie Salad: Since this cookie salad is just yogurt topped with cookie crumbles, sprinkles and strawberries, we’re calling it — cookie salad is the hottest new breakfast trend of 2016. If it doesn’t catch on, don’t worry about us. We’ll be over here eating cookies for breakfast. (via My Name Is Yeh)


2. Spring Fling Fluff Fruit Salad: The classic dessert salad gets freshened up in this spring fling version. Fresh strawberries, blueberries and kiwi add a tart balance to creamy pudding and marshmallows. You can almost call it a healthy upgrade. (via The Seasoned Mom)

Creamsicle-Jello-mold-recipe-600-1030 copy

3. Creamsicle Jello Mold: If you were looking for a whimsical take on a creamsicle, this Jello salad is it. Even if you weren’t, it certainly is a spectacle to behold, with chunks of orange Jello suspended mid-mold. Wow guests with this cool treat at your first barbecue of the season. (via Cupcakes and Kale Chips)


4. Cherry Fluff Walnut Salad: When temperatures rise, cool down with this pretty pink dessert. It’s a refreshing six-ingredient treat to whip together when surprise guests come to your door. (via My Kitchen Craze)

Broken-Glass-Cake copy

5. Aunt Laura’s Stained Glass Cake: This artsy Jello cake is bound to impress, even though it’s a breeze to make. This one’s a fun option for a kid’s birthday party — just make sure you snag a slice for yourself. (via My Recipes)


6. Blueberry Ice Cream Cakes: Put on your high heels and apron; these dome-shaped blueberry ice cream cakes are a total throwback to the retro “bombe” desserts of the ’60s and ’70s. Make individual-sized ones for extra cute factor, or make a big one to slice into and share. (via El Invitado de Invierno)


7. Quick Blueberry Mint Salad: This is the most salad-like “salad” of the bunch. This blueberry concoction with fresh mint would do for a tasty breakfast or a healthy dessert. Top with fresh whipped cream if you’re going the dessert route, or if you’re feeling special. (via Salad Menu)

Lemon-cupcakes copy

8. Lemon Cupcakes With Lavender Frosting: These aren’t your average cupcakes. The secret ingredient is gelatin (surprise!) and a sparkling lemon beverage of your choice (Limonata Sanpellegrino, anyone?). Pipe the lavender frosting on for an elegant taste and presentation. They’re just the treat you need for a dressed-up bridal shower or Easter get-together. (via My Recipes)


9. Frog Eye Salad: No frogs were harmed in the making of this salad, which is actually a pasta salad if we’re being technical. Yes, you heard right. This is a dessert pasta salad. But you’ll hardly notice given the microscopic size of the pasta used. (via Chelsea’s Messy Apron)


10. Millionaire Pie: This cold, creamy pie is basically a congealed dessert salad fused with a crumbly graham cracker crust. With no preparation needed for any of your ingredients — which include Cool Whip, crushed pineapple and maraschino cherries — you can throw this pie together in no time. Just make sure you leave time for it to congeal in the fridge. (via Spicy Southern Kitchen)


11. Strawberry Waldorf Salad: In a healthy and more appetizing twist, this Waldorf salad swaps out mayonnaise for Greek yogurt. Don’t worry — there are still marshmallows and coconut whipped topping to dessert-ify the dish. (via Food Done Light)

Ambrosia Trifle1S

12. Ambrosia Parfait: Dress up your classic ambrosia salad by turning it into a parfait. Rather than looking like a heaping bowl of fluff, it’s incredibly glam in shot glasses layered with fresh pineapple and grapes. You can use a large trifle bowl to get the same effect. (via Cook’s Hideout)


13. Snickers Caramel Apple Salad: This Snickers caramel apple salad is like an ice cream sundae gone off the rails, in the best way possible. Apples and caramel are made for each other, so it’s no wonder someone got around to making a dessert salad out of ’em. (via Spicy Southern Kitchen)


14. 21st-Century Green Top Salad: Here’s a new way to eat your greens. This fun, mint-hued salad gets its dreamy pastel color from a few drops of food coloring. It even tastes green, thanks to a fresh squeeze of lime. (via My Recipes)


15. Cherry Pistachio Fluff: Delicious cherry pie filling gives this fluff its sweet pink color. Assorted pastel marshmallows are a playful and tasty accessory that would make this dessert right at home after Easter dinner. (via Bijoux and Bits)


16. Strawberry Pretzel Salad: This strawberry pretzel salad might be the least salad-like of the bunch. Taste-wise, it’s a lot closer to cheesecake, but hey, we don’t make the dessert salad rules. Whatever it is, it’s a delicious blend of fruity, creamy and salty, and that’s all we need to know. (via Brown Eyed Baker)


17. Red Hot Jello Salad: Yes, you guessed it. This Jello salad is not only bright red — it also features cinnamon-flavored Red Hot candy. If you’re not a fan of celery in desserts, opt for extra apples instead. (via Love Bakes Good Cakes)


18. Buko Pandan Salad: Though this is a Filipino dessert, it’s right in line with the American definition of dessert salads: It’s got gelatin in it! These jelly cubes are flavored with pandan, a tropical leaf with a grassy, nutty taste. You can find it online or at a local Asian grocery store. (via Foxy Folksy)


19. Angel Fluff Salad: Heaven sent this fluff salad down to earth. Or maybe it was the marshmallow gods. Whoever sent it, we send thanks. This pretty pink dessert will make your inner little girl twirl. (via The Seasoned Mom)


20. Coca-Cola Salad: Soda fans will love this Jello treat. It’s Coca-Cola mixed with cherry Jello, so basically, cherry Coke. Cut a slice, and cheers plates with your best buds. (via Magnolia Days)

Follow us on Pinterest for more easy + delicious dessert ideas that may or may not involve gelatin.