Denise’s ‘Secret’ Mandarin Orange Salad Recipe

Mandarin Orange Salad

This mandarin orange salad is an all time family favorite that we look forward to having at EVERY holiday, potluck or family get together. We always get tons of requests for the “secret” super simple recipe, and now in honor of the upcoming holidays, mom has given me permission to share it with you.  The best part about this dish is that everybody who tries it loves it, and while the list of things that all five kids will eat is pretty short, this recipe is at the top!


Mandarin Orange Salad

Yield – 6 servings

Preparation Time – 5 minutes

Cooking Time – 5 minutes


  • 2 – 3 oz. packages vanilla tapioca pudding
  • 3 oz. package orange jello
  • 2 3/4 c. water
  • 1 large tub Cool Whip
  • 1 – 15 oz can mandarin orange, drained


  • Combine the tapioca pudding, orange jello and water in a pan and bring to a boil on medium heat.
  • Allow to cool completely.
  • Fold one large tub of Cool Whip and one drained 15 ounce can of mandarin oranges (reserve a few orange slices to decorate the top) into the cooled pudding mixture.
  • Place into a serving dish and chill until ready to serve.

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We do a salad that looks similar, but has a slightly different twist to it.

1 container of Cool Whip (or equivalent)
1 box orange Jello
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1 container cottage cheese (I like small curd with less liquid)

Stir this all together and serve. Kids will eat cottage cheese if they’ve never done so before! You can also do lime Jello with pineapple, raspberry or cherry Jello with fruit salad or any combo you can think of. Sugar-free Jello with sugar-free Cool Whip will work for those who need to avoid sugar.

Man. Love that salad, make it alot. When I first moved to be with now hubby…it was the only thing I could think of off hand for Tgiving without my cookbooks unpacked…his family loved it and forever requested only that from me. I had to finally say, “Hey! I DO know how to make other things!”. lol

This recipe sounds great but I’m assuming your using the regular 3-4oz. size of pudding / jello?
Large cool whip 12oz size???


I guess if I looked at the photo that you posted you can see the package sizes of pudding / jello
Thanks anyway!

we do the same recipe with cottage cheese instead of tapioca. works great for me b/c my one sister hates cottage cheese so there is more for me.

I haven’t tried it with sugar free jello but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work, although I don’t think tapioca comes in a non-cook variety. I’m going to double check that the next time I’m at the store 😉

I got all excited at the title, thinking you’d have something featuring greens, nuts, maybe a little chicken. I’ve had a variation if this at many potlucks, but how in the world is this a “salad”?!

Thanks for taking the time to write in JW! lists a number of definitions for salad including “any mixture or assortment” and some of my favorites are fruit salads :)

I am thinking that it would work with cherry jello and cherries instead of orange jello and mandarin oranges as well? I think I will try it for Christmas.