Grandma’s Sunshine Salad


Classic retro sunshine Jello salad recipe, with lemon Jello, grated carrots, and crushed pineapple.

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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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24 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • George

    We ate this in the 1950’s -1960’s, and my sweetheart (wife of 50 years) is from Puerto Rico so she has never had this. I will make it this afternoon. Thank you for placing on your site.

  • Elaine

    I think your grandmother’s recipe is exactly the same as my grandmother’s recipe, except perhaps mine didn’t add the extra lemon juice, but I like the idea of that addition.

    Sunshine salad found its way to most of our holiday meals. There was the camp that hated it and made fun of it, and the camp that adored it. I fit into the latter camp. I have decided to make it with my Easter ham dinner this year, even if I’m the only one that eats it.

  • Robyn

    I use lemon jello, pineapple, maraschino cherries and walnuts. We serve it with the Easter ham!

  • Linda Walter

    Mother often made this with lime jello and sometimes added chopped walnuts. Then she’d put the canned spray whipped topping in the center. Nowadays I make it in a 9 x 12 pan and spread Cool Whip on top before serving.


  • Marcia

    My mom made this salad with some sliced green olives added. It is a great sweet/tart taste.

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Sunshine SaladGrandma’s Sunshine Salad