This orange dreamsicle salad is a sticky sweet treat that tastes just like summertime! It’s a quick, simple mandarin orange salad with Cool Whip and vanilla pudding – perfect for picnics and barbecues!
Jello salad was invented in the early 1900s by a Mrs. John E. Cooke in a Better Homes and Gardens contest. Her “Perfection Salad” was closer to a traditional salad than the dessert we’re familiar with today. Full of vegetables and flavored with vinegar and lemon juice, it was a chilled yet savory dish that started a nationwide trend.
Our orange dreamsicle salad shows just how much that trend has evolved! It’s a mandarin orange salad with marshmallows, whipped cream, and vanilla pudding stirred in, for a fluffy fruit salad that’s easy and family friendly. It tastes just like a creamsicle you’d get from an ice cream truck on hazy, lazy summer days.
Orange creamsicle salad needs at least 3 hours to chill, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time. Better yet, make it the night before!
Those seeking something a little less sweet (don’t worry, I get it!) might want to try my strawberry, cranberry, or lime Jello salads. They’re richer and have pockets of extra flavor for a truly unique experience (spoiler: the secret ingredient is cottage cheese!).
How to Make Orange Dreamsicle Salad
A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.
STEP ONE: Use a very large bowl – with plenty of room to mix all of the orange dreamsicle salad ingredients together – to prepare the Jello. Add the powdered mix and pour in the boiling water, stirring until the crystals dissolve.
STEP TWO: Pour the cold water and mandarin oranges into the bowl with the Jello, then follow with the vanilla pudding mix. Stir everything together until combined. Let cool to room temperature before proceeding with the next step – cover and refrigerate if you want to accelerate the process.
STEP THREE: Gently fold the Cool Whip into the mixture. Add the mini marshmallows and fold until incorporated throughout.
STEP FOUR: Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours before serving.
Can You Freeze Dreamsicle Salad?
It’s possible to freeze, but note that some of the ingredients will have a change in texture once the dessert has been thawed – namely the marshmallows. If that’s not of concern, then go ahead and freeze for up to 3 months.
You could also wait to add the marshmallows until after freezing and thawing if desired.
What is the Difference Between Orange Dreamsicle and Orange Creamsicle?
As far as this dreamsicle salad goes, they may as well be one and the same – but there actually is a difference!
The original Orange Dreamsicle has a frozen milk center, whereas Orange Creamsicle has a classic ice cream center. As a result, a Dreamsicle is closer to sherbet than ice cream. Dreamsicle also has a slightly different flavor due to the addition of almond extract.
Can You Make Orange Dreamsicle Salad With Fresh Oranges?
You can, but the overall texture will change. Fresh oranges are more solid and fibrous than mandarins, which are relatively small and soft. As a result, the smooth consistency would be interrupted by the chewier fresh oranges.
Additionally, the pre-packaged mandarins have the closest flavor to the creamsicle fluff taste we’re trying to recreate! But certainly try it if you’d like and let us know how it goes!
Tips and Variations For Orange Creamsicle Salad
- Don’t like marshmallows? Don’t use them! This mandarin orange salad with Cool Whip and vanilla pudding will be perfectly silky and sweet without it.
- Cream cheese can be mixed in with the Cool Whip if you want to add a slightly tangy, less sweet flavor. It also makes the dessert creamier!
- The best whipped cream to use is Cool Whip. Aerosol and homemade whipped creams generally aren’t thick enough to help this fruit salad firm up.
- Don’t skip draining the oranges! Your orange creamsicle salad will be way too runny.
- It’s easy to make Jello salad with any combination of Jello flavors and fruits! Strawberry, cherry, and peach are a handful more of my personal favorites. And they all taste great with vanilla and cream, too!
- Mandarin orange salad with marshmallows is best consumed within 4 days. Too long in the fridge and things start to separate, turn runny, and lose their fresh flavor.
Other Dessert Recipes You’ll Love:
- Jello Lemon Meringue Pie
- Fruit Cocktail Jello
- Fruit Salad with Cool Whip
- Strawberry Banana Cake
- Orange Creamsicle Cookies
- Red Velvet Oreo Cheesecake
- 1 3 oz. packet orange jello
- 1 cup boiling water
- ½ cup cold water
- 1 3.4 oz. packet vanilla pudding mix
- 1 can of mandarin oranges, drained
- 8 oz. cool whip
- 3 cups mini marshmallows
- Stir together the jello and boiling water in a large bowl until the crystals dissolve
- Add the cold water, vanilla pudding mix, and mandarin oranges and mix will
- Allow to cool completely to room temperature before folding in the cool whip followed by the mini marshmallows
- Chill in fridge for 3-4 hours before serving
Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to allow this to chill before serving. Better yet, make it the night before!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 459Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 517mgCarbohydrates: 83gFiber: 1gSugar: 72gProtein: 2g
This nutrition information is based on the exact products I used in this recipe. Brands and sizes of products could alter exact nutrition and should always be calculated independently.