I am going to share a family recipe with you (have I posted this before? I think I have. It’s been over a decade of blogging, you guys, we’re gonna have repeats) and when you read the ingredients you will probably barf yourself to death. I mean, I know. I KNOW. Cinnamon candy. Mayonnaise. Celery. It sounds absolutely horrendous, like some nightmarish Midwestern concoction straight out of Wendy McClure’s Weight Watchers cards.

But I swear, you should totally try making this. It was always part of our Christmas meal when I was a kid, and it’s wonderful. Really! It’s spicy and creamy and crunchy and it looks pretty in a glass dish.

Aunt Eileen’s Jello Salad:

2 cups hot water
2/3 cups cinnamon candies (like Red Hots)
1 large lemon Jello
1.5 cups applesauce
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 c. chopped nuts
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. mayonnaise

Pour hot water over candies until melted. Add jello and stir in applesauce. Pour 1/2 of mixture into bowl. Chill until set. Blend cream cheese and nuts and celery and mayo. Spread over set mixture. Pour on remaining mix. Chill.

Screen shot 2012-11-15 at 11.03.13 AM

Now, would I lie to you? Would I deliberately steer you wrong? I’m telling you, give it a shot. Although maybe don’t let anyone see you making it.

Unrelated to things that sound super disgusting (BUT ARE AWESOME), what are your favorite must-have recipes for treats and whatnot during the holidays? Are you a fudge person? (Heh.) Chex Mix? Cookies? I’m looking to expand my cooking repertoire/waistline.


79 Responses to “The Jello salad with candy and mayonnaise”

  1. Em on November 29th, 2012 12:47 pm

    TACO DIP!!

    Also, my mom always makes a varation of these:


    Love. You can’t go wrong with a cup of butter and chocolate chips.

  2. Sarah on November 29th, 2012 1:32 pm

    Try the jello with a can of fruit cocktail. (keep the juice separate). Make a sauce with the left over juice/mayo/cream and sugar. (when serving the jello, add the sauce)

  3. Maggie on November 29th, 2012 1:43 pm

    Oh god, just when I thought it could not be any more frightening, Jo goes and mentions the horror of adding prawns. It’s lunch time here, but strangely am now not hungry…

    Your CC pumpkin muffins, however, are delicious. Make them early and often, not just this time of year either.

  4. Gretchen in HB on November 29th, 2012 2:02 pm


    Sounds horrible! It might be delicious, but I really don’t know if I can convince myself to even TRY and make this! Kudos to you for being so food-brave!

  5. Sirena on November 29th, 2012 2:51 pm

    I definitely can’t venture down this road into non-food categories that also sound horrifying (the cool whip-pistachio jello comment above doesn’t count, it’s non-food, sounds great) but i love the comment that included their cereal and chocolate combo as if it’s the same thing! it’s just not – not unless celery and cinnamon candies are melted together into that too.

    Can someone report back if they’ve made this and it is somehow different than I imagine it would be? Brave souls?

  6. Amy on November 29th, 2012 3:03 pm

    My mom, aunt & grandmother all make these crazy spicy oil-soaked saltines. I don’t know how else to describe them but they’re delicious and a good thing to have laying around if you want something savory while you’re grazing on fudge and other sweets. I’ll email you the recipe.

  7. Diane on November 29th, 2012 3:46 pm

    My family’s jello mold: Lemon jello with shredded carrots and crushed pineapple. Topped with a dressing made from Miracle Whip salad dressing with added sugar and cider vinegar. It actually tasted better than it sounds.

  8. Nichole on November 29th, 2012 5:14 pm

    You’re absolutely right. That list of ingredients killed me to death.

  9. goingloopy on November 29th, 2012 6:12 pm

    Those little Christmas tree shaped pretzels with slightly melted Rolos squished on top of them. They were included in an assortment of goodies my boss and his wife made and told me to share with my significant other. Not one of them lasted past lunchtime.

  10. sooboo on November 29th, 2012 6:55 pm

    I love reading everyone’s responses. Maybe I’ll try your recipe while pretending I’m a mad scientist whipping up poison for my evil nemesis, though it might be so crazy, that it’s delicious. I actually like all the ingredients. My MIL is Swedish so I look forward to a typical Swedish smorgasbord (pickled herring, smoked salmon, meatballs, Princess cake and Jansson’s Temptation which is a delish potato casserole). My mom used to make chocolate chip, meringue cookies sometimes dyed Christmas colors. Last year I made the discontinued Carnation breakfast bars (anyone remember those from the 80’s)? I realized that we grew up eating what is basically candy bars for breakfast but they now seem like a Christmas tradition.

  11. Kate on November 29th, 2012 7:27 pm

    This Russian dish is a cold salad that makes it to my family’s table no matter what the occasion. Cooked chicken breast, boiled potatoes, hard boiled eggs, pickles and canned peas in any ratio you prefer, chopped to similarly sized chunks and coated in a mayo/sour cream combo (again, any ratio you prefer). My grandmother would often swap out the chicken breast for whatever meat she had – brisket, ham, even Spam once, so it’s very flexible (I don’t recommend that Spam variation, though).

  12. Sarah on November 29th, 2012 7:38 pm

    That looks, um, amazing?! Probably would go well with our summer Christmas dishes… And I don’t think we have cinnamon candy here.
    On an unrelated note – not sure if you know that a photo of you is on an Australian newspaper baby site,
    Photo number 4! Thought it was strange to see Dylan on my local newspaper homepage..

  13. H on November 29th, 2012 7:49 pm

    We always have decorated sugar cookies, lefse (with butter and brown sugar) and krumkake. Our snacks always include Chex Mix and a late Christmas Eve (and New Year’s Eve!) snack of Julio’s Dip and margaritas. Julio’s dip is a dip served with tortilla chips. To make it layer the following:
    1 lb. extra lean ground chuck, browned
    1 can refried beans
    jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
    onion, finely chopped
    salt, pepper, chili powder to taste
    shredded cheese (cheddar or mexican blend)
    prepared taco sauce
    Bake at 350 til hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted (20-30 min)

  14. Lesley on November 29th, 2012 8:22 pm

    Puke salad.

    Oh, it once probably had a different name, but this is what it came to be called, because of it’s looks. You can imagine.

    Make lime jello with the hot but not the cold water. Add a package of cream cheese, a can of crushed pineapple, juice and all, a bunch of diced celery, and a bunch of chopped pecans. Stir (more puke-y if you leave some chunks of cream cheese un-melted), and pour into a clear dish to set up.

  15. April G. on November 29th, 2012 9:27 pm

    I used to work with a Mormon woman who would make Pink Salad for potlucks. It was pink jello with cottage cheese and I’m not sure what else. Sometimes she would make Funeral Potatoes instead. Man, those were good.

    No one in my family made jello salads, but I love them. I think I’ll start my own Christmas tradition this year. I’m getting some good/horrifying ideas from these comments!

  16. Kim on November 30th, 2012 7:23 am

    Having lived in the south for so long now, I’ve gotten used to people considering macaroni & cheese a vegetable & also turning actual vegetables into fatty, cheesy (and delish) casseroles so nothing much scares me anymore. I’m going to make this to bring to an upcoming potluck and take great pleasure in telling people the ingredients when they inevitably ask.

  17. Cindy on November 30th, 2012 9:59 am

    I should also add, I’m Norwegian. We eat lutefisk. Nothing scares me.

  18. caleal on November 30th, 2012 1:33 pm

    It’s funny to me how so many people are flipping out about this, when mayo itself is really just eggs and oil… which exists in pretty much every baked good ever in life.
    The celery, though, I don’t. I’ve got no justification for that one. Doesn’t really taste like anything, I guess?

  19. Kris on November 30th, 2012 2:21 pm

    Never in all of my life have I ever been so happy to be allergic to cinnamon.

    (It actually doesn’t look that bad. I thought you mixed EVERYTHING together at once; which, no offense, but yuck. But it just sounds like layered jello to me – the kind you pay about $8.00 for at the hoighty toighty grocery stores.)

    I loves me some peanut butter balls. And haystacks (chocolate covered chow mein noodles with peanuts and/or marshmallows). And white chocolate covered pretzels sprinkled with red/green decorator’s sugar.

    And oh jeezus. Have you ever tried melting a bag of Andes mint chips with just a tiny dollop of Crisco shortening; then dip Ritz crackers in it until coated? Let cool, then store in freezer between wax paper layers. Tastes SO much like thin mint Girl Scout cookies.

  20. Artemisia on November 30th, 2012 4:19 pm

    Frog-Eyed Salad.

    Jesus, the name. And it sounds gross but is good. It requires this itty bitty pasta that resemble frog eyes, apparently.

    The recipe can be found here: http://nanasrecipebox.blogspot.com/2010/08/cini-de-pepe-salad-frog-eye-salad.html

    1 package A Cini De Pepe pasta (16 oz.)
    1 cup sugar
    2 Tablespoons flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 3/4 cup pineapple juice (use juice from pineapple)
    3 cans (11 oz.) Mandarin oranges, drained
    2 cups mini marshmallows
    1 carton (9 oz.) Cool Whip
    2 eggs, beaten
    1 Tablespoon lemon juice
    2 cans (20 oz.) pineapple tidbits, drained
    1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple, drained

  21. Erica on November 30th, 2012 8:32 pm

    @Jo: Hahahaha–frozen prawns!

    (I have to agree, though…that sounds rather amazingly terrifying. But hooray for family traditions!)

  22. Karen on November 30th, 2012 11:43 pm

    My mother used to make a jello salad that I realize I have never duplicated! As I recall it was lime jello filled with lots of veggies such as grated carrots, celery slices, not sure what else, I think maybe mandarin slices, and for kicks she used to use ginger ale instead of the cold water. It was a weird fizzy garden fresh thing going on, but somehow worked with the turkey. You’ve inspired me to track down the recipe!

  23. jodie on December 1st, 2012 7:30 pm

    Omg. That is the craziest recipe I’ve ever read. But I have to try it! We always have pickle wraps at family events – sliced deli ham spread with cream cheese, wrapped around a whole dill pickle. Slice into disks and done. They dont last very long, so good!

  24. Karen on December 2nd, 2012 6:25 pm

    Dude, I MADE this salad after reading about it on your blog a couple of years ago. I totally love most things you suggest on here so I went into this recipe blindly assuming that you would not steer me wrong. I ended up having to pay the kids in the family a buck each to eat it. But then again, like someone else commented, I have never been a jello salad girl.

  25. Judy on December 3rd, 2012 7:15 am

    I have to admit kind of choking on some of these. I used to make this ambrosia with canned mandarin oranges, pineapple tidbits, coconut, sour cream and mini marshmallows.

    One my grandma used to make…chop up apples and celery, then mix together peanut butter and mayonnaise and some sugar, I don’t know how much, just keep tasting it and add a little more of what it seems to be missing. I also put cinnamon in it. Mix that with the apples, celery, and some chopped nuts. Wonderful.

    A good main dish…mix together one bottle of Russian dressing (the red kind), a jar of apricot preserves, and one package of dry onion soup mix, spoon it over chicken pieces on a baking sheet, and bake for about 45 minutes. Baste occasionally.

  26. Judy on December 3rd, 2012 7:16 am

    Oh yeah, the best deviled eggs in the world..mix the yolks with sandwich spread, vinegar and sugar. Again, taste it and add more of one thing or the other. Delicious.

  27. Tina on December 6th, 2012 5:38 pm

    Yeah, I’ll skip the mayo in any desert! Cajun Pretzels are my favorite snack to make.

  28. Marika on December 6th, 2012 8:22 pm

    Are you legally allowed to call this a salad? Isn’t there a requirement for it to include something green?

  29. Susan on December 12th, 2012 8:27 am

    That is a quintessential “Mddle America” recipe. I grew up on stuff like that, so even the bizarre list of ingredients has no effect on me. I’m definitely going to give this one a shot (I bet once I taste it, I’ll say, “Ohhhh…Ma made this for Christmas in 1989!” ;-)

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