Find: Vintage Jell-O Recipes

News, Finds, Tips of the month

While many of us probably associate Jell-O most closely with the 1950s and ’60s, this gelatin dessert has actually been around since 1897. Recipes using Jell-O started appearing in newspapers not long after, which means there are roughly 120 years’ worth of Jell-O recipes out there! If you love Jell-O, is a great place to discover vintage Jell-O recipes from decades past.

Jell-o TipsSome early Jell-O recipes include:

The number of Jell-O dessert recipes out there is truly astounding. Have you tried any of these?

Or have you ever tried a savory Jell-O recipe?

On, you can also find tips and trivia about Jell-O, see some of the earliest Jell-O newspaper ads, and read about the Jell-O recipe a Kansas minister claimed was sure to make the fish bite.

Share your favorite Jell-O memories with us in the comments! Then get started searching for Jell-O recipes on, or look for other recipes that interest you.

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24 thoughts on “Find: Vintage Jell-O Recipes

  1. I atill make the Lemon Jello cake! One of our favorites, although we don’t use any flavorings, just lemon juice in the water.
    A very fun post.

  2. My mom always ate her jello by pouring milk over it, sometimes even real cream. I like to eat mine that way too. Fun to see the milk change to the color of the jello.

    1. I like my Jell-o that way also. Everyone thinks I’m crazy. My favorite desserts of all time is Jello everyone really thinks I am crazy.

  3. I find it very interesting that, when you click on the “Jello recipes on Newspapers.ccm,” several newspaper links come up, but only one, the Middleboro, Kentucky newspaper out of the first thirteen links is the only one accessible without subscribing to the Publisher’s Extra for an additional $11.95/month. That must be the idea behind this issue of Fishwrap, trying to get more people to subscribe to the Publisher’s Extra. It seems like more and more newspapers are becoming inaccessible to those of us with just the basic membership in

  4. My grandfather told this story about his arrival at Ellis Island in 1911. “After dinner they put this blob of orange colored something in a bowl and gave it to me. At first I didn’t want to touch it. Then I tried it and it was delicious.. When we got settled I bought some for myself and made it..’
    At the time Grandpa lived in an apartment shared by 4 other men. And would have Jello instead of cake on special occasions.

    1. Growing up throughout the1950s and early 60s., our extended family gatherings always featured amazing “jello salads” brought by one of the aunts whose specialty it was. For us kids they were one of the highlights of these parties/picnics!

  5. 1. Bolcomb and Morris have a great satirical song about the kinds of things competitive people come up with – Lime Jello, Marshmallow, Cottage Cheese Surprise.
    2. Someone once presented all the steps that have to be taken to procure basic gelatin from the leftovers from butchering. It was time consuming, strenuous, and not really practical on a small scale. Modern Jello and its competitors are bargains compared to earlier sources of gelatin.

    1. My Great Grandmother always had the lime jello cottage cheese marshmallow AND pineapple salad. Thanks for your post. Loved that salad and haven’t had it in years. Gosh I miss her.

      1. I haven’t made it for a while, but in past years have taken this to many luncheons. It was always well received!

  6. My Grandmother used to make Jello with Cream Cheese at the bottom! I haven’t been able to find the recipe anywhere.

  7. Years ago there were some vegetable flavors of Jello that were great for using in salads and savory dishes.I think I remember celery and tomato, especially. Could some of those please come back?

    1. Yes! I searched the stores for years looking for those savory flavours! They made for “adult” jellied salads!

  8. As a kid we my mom used to “feather” our jello. It had been set up in tall, stemmed glasses that we had. She would then put a little bit of milk on top and poke a toothpick into the Jello, pushing the milk down. It always left a pattern in the Jello that looked a bit like a feather.

  9. My grocery stores on the West Coast have quit selling lemon jello. Why? Where can I guy some online? I need it for my cheesecake recipe.

    1. Mrjorie Bridges, go to your search on line and type in “lemon jello”. There should be a list of places that have it.

    2. Try I got Butterscotch Pudding when we couldn’t find it in my store and it was expensive at Walmart.

  10. In the 1950’s Mom made a dessert of frozen strawberries, strawberry Jello and vanilla ice cream. We loved it. My Dad always called it wall paper cleaner which is what it looked like.

  11. I make a layered strawberry/yoghurt jello dessert that my grandson loves – the top layer is strawberry jello with fresh strawberries, the bottom is more strawberry jello mixed with frozen vanilla yoghurt …….. you can of course substitute any flavour you wish ….

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