Grandma’s Sunshine Salad

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


  • 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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  • 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.

  • Katherine

    This was my favorite salad as a kid. My mom put in sliced green olives and topped it with Miracle Whip. She still made it for me in her 90s.

  • Clay Horton

    Just got through talking with my sister about childhood memories and she just found this and sent it to me. Yep, Mom made this I’ll bet every holiday and I think almost every Sunday. Just reading the recipe brought me back to my childhood! I can’t wait to make this! And now I even get to go buy a Jello mold! Talk about memories! Thank you for posting this!

  • Angela

    This Jell-O mold sounds very tasty, and I plan to make it very soon. I don’t particularly remember this Jell-O mold when I was a kid, but I DO remember a lot of Jell-O being served when we had company over for dinner, or when we went to someone’s house for a meal. I guess these molds were ‘all the rage’ back then. Actually, I still make my mom’s old Jell-O Molds one in a while, and everyone who remembers them loves them. Personally, my family and I still enjoy some recipes from the 60s, 70s, and 80…. when we were growing up. There was nothing pretentious about that food, and it was always delicious & satisfying. Thanks for the memories!

  • Miriam

    Instead of the lemon flavored jello I use orange flavored jello. This is a favorite at Easter – ,bunnies love carrots, right? – or anytime.

  • goginger

    Thanks I have been looking for this for years! Brings back alot of memories from ones I lost. Thanks for sharing

  • 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

  • Keith Harden

    Morrissons Cafeteria once made a salad (when they where in business) and I beleive this was the base. They added miniture marshmellows, cottage cheese and nuts to it. This took out the process of having to let it partially set, and they where able to just mix it all together and chill to set. Then, as an added bonus they would put finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese on top and it was delicious. It was made in a hotel pan so it could be cut in squares!

    Thanks for the started receipe!

  • Janet

    This is the same jello salad my late Grandmother used to make! Loved this salad! Only she added some finely diced celery and walnuts and then topped it in the center with mayonaise – sounds crazy, but so does horseradish! I love this one!

  • Mary K-Z

    I’m so glad I found your recipe. My Mother used to make the same salad and I wanted to bring it back to Easter dinner this year. It is a really refreshing salad and looks so springy. She will be delighted. Wow…it’s been since the 60’s huh??

  • candy

    My mom puts shredded cabbage in with the carrots. We don’t mold it anymore, we just put it in a 9×12 pan. We sometimes use lime or orange jello, also.

  • Beth

    I’m a little late in seeing this post, but my mom still makes this jello every year at Thanksgiving, and Easter, and when I tell her I want some! There was another my Nana would make with red grapes, celery and walnuts, all suspended in gelatin bliss….. Yum.

  • Elise

    Hi Jessica – yep there are enzymes in fresh pineapple that will prevent the gelatin from jelling. There’s no problem with canned pineapple however.

    Hi Reid – Molded Jell-O desserts can be a lot of fun, though I don’t know if I would like them if I hadn’t had them a lot as a kid. They’re kind of weird. Jell-O with cucumber? carrots? Grandma’s cucumber pineapple horseradish one is definitely an acquired taste. I love it, probably the same way people from Tokyo love natto…

  • Jessica "Su Good Eats"

    Reminds me of carrot cake in gelatin form! I thought pineapples had enzymes that prevented gelatin from setting.

  • clare eats

    Hi elise,
    that looks so cool.
    I need to get some jelly molds.