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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34 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Celia

    I forgot to add my mom used orange jello.

  2. Celia

    My mom used to make this, only she added chopped pecans, too. It was one of my favorites. It was a staple when she made her chicken and dumplings.

  3. Cathy

    My favorite of Grandma’s jello. Don’t use frozen pineapple either. Learned it the hard way, drank our salad.


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  4. Jeff Harris

    I learned to make this dish as a kid growing up in America’s Jell-O capital Utah in the 1950s. The standard flavor from the 1950s for this dish was orange Jell-O. For the texture, the carrots should be ground with a meat grinder, and not grated. This concoction was standard fare everywhere, at home,at church suppers, and at restaurants.

    No salt or vinegar required. Use the canned pineapple juice as part of the liquid for the jello

  5. Laura

    How much does this make? Hard to tell from the picture! What size mold is that?

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Sunshine SaladGrandma’s Sunshine Salad