Grandma’s Sunshine Salad

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Years ago, in the sixties, my grandmother came to live with us. She loved to bake, especially oatmeal raisin cookies and lemon meringue pie.

She also loved to make Jell-O salads.

As kids we loved Jell-O in all flavors. Who were we to wonder when my grandmother put things like cucumbers, horseradish, carrots, and or pineapple in with the Jell-O?

One of her favorites was a Jell-O salad made with carrots and crushed pineapple. I had all but forgotten this salad until I met a woman at a counter at Logan Airport who told me about her favorite Jell-O salad, called a “Sunshine Salad”.

This is it, grandma’s salad!

Grandma’s Sunshine Salad Recipe



  • 2 3-ounce packages lemon flavored gelatin
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup ice water
  • 1 9-ounce cans crushed pineapple with juice (cannot use fresh pineapple)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 cups grated carrots


1 Empty gelatin into a small mixing bowl. Stir in 2 cup of boiling water. Stir thoroughly until the gelatin has dissolved.

2 Stir in 1 cup ice water, one can of crushed pineapple with its juice, lemon juice (or vinegar), and a pinch of salt. (Make sure you use canned pineapple. Fresh pineapple has an enzyme that will prevent the gelatin from jelling.)

3 Chill in refrigerator until the gelatin starts to thicken. Then gently fold in the grated carrots until well mixed.

4 Add mixture to a jello mold. Set in the refrigerator until firm, several hours. To unmold, dip the bottom of the pan in hot water for about 5 seconds. Invert onto a serving platter, and shake firmly to release. Slice to serve.

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Showing 4 of 13 Comments

  • Audrey

    I’ve been looking for this vintage recipe, my mother in-law used to make it, Thanks for sharing!

  • Connie Brown

    My mom made this with a couple of tiny alterations. She used 1 pkg lemon with 1 pkg. orange and left out 1/2 cup water to allow for the pineapple juice and the orange juice from the fresh orange segments she added. Mom felt it acted as a nice palate cleanser to balance the heavy gravy, butter, stuffing, etc. I’m still putting in on the table.

  • Sandra Bryant

    I still make this jello salad for the holidays. My salad has marshmellows on the top. My children and grandchildren really like this salad.

  • Kathy

    This is also very good using bagged coleslaw mix instead of all carrots…I love raw cabbage!!! My great-grandmother used the cabbage rather than carrots. Just chopped the coleslaw mix up a little finer. If you like fried or steamed cabbage use the rest of the bag as a main meal side dish….

  • Lori

    My husband has been told by his doc to eat gelatin for his injured back — yikes! Brings back some bad food memories. But, if you’re doing jello, it can’t be all bad. This is the first place I look for recipes. Thank you for being here.

    Hi Lori, oh, this is pretty retro. I mostly have it up here because my grandmother used to make it when I was a kid. For me the food memories are good. That said, it still is a jello salad. ~Elise

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