Nana Recipe Wednesday–Cherry Red Hot (Jell-O) Salad

by Sarah on January 4, 2012

Yes, you read that title right. And red hot, as in Red Hots, like the candy.

But before you mock, just look at Nana and Boppa.  This is 1942 or early 1943…..just before or after their marraige.   They’re pretty red hot.  And look at Nana’s cute innocent face.  She would not intentionally steer you wrong.  And while this Jell-O mold is an odd combination of ingredients and flavors, it was actually pretty good.

But I still don’t understand why it’s called a salad.

The actual recipe (thanks to Edith, who gave it to Nana) and box of Red Hots.  Zane went to 3 stores to finally track down Red Hots in order to bring this recipe to you all today.

You’ll also need 2 boxes of cherry Jell-O, crushed pineapple, cream cheese, walnuts and sour cream.

First you are going to bring the candy to a boil with some water.  The Red Hots will dissolve.

Then add the Jell-O.

And the can of crushed pineapple, juice and all.

Fill your mold or bowl with half of the mixture.  You may want to do this in the sink, because, as you can see, it becomes a messy project.  Put the mold on a plate and place it in the fridge until it’s set, an hour or so.  Just leave the rest of the mixture in the pan at room temperature.

Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese until it’s fluffy.  The recipe does not call for sour cream, and I didn’t use it but I recommend you do.  Without it the cream cheese floated to the top of the jello and wasn’t a light enough consistency.  Anyway, when the cream cheese is fluffy, add the sour cream and the nuts and mix together.  You’ll want a light creamy consistency that will be easy to spread.

You can see how thick it was without the sour cream.

Pour the rest of the Jell-O mix on top of the cream cheese and return the mold to the fridge.

It will be set again in another hour or so.  Fill a bowl that the mold will fit into with hot water, then dip the mold into it for a minute or so.

Take a plate and invert it on top of the mold.

The Jell-O should just plop out onto the plate.  If it doesn’t, just flip it back over and dip it back into the warm water for another few seconds.

Looks harmless.

And actually was quite tasty.

Again, I’d recommend combining the cream cheese with sour cream 50/50, or just use plain sour cream.

Nana Recipe Wednesday–Cherry Red Hot (Jell-O) Salad


  • 8 oz cream cheese (I recommend 4 oz cream cheese, 4 oz sour cream)
  • 2-3/4 cup water
  • 1 8-oz package Red Hots candy (We could only find 6-oz. packages, so I used 6 oz.)
  • 2 packages cherry Jell-O
  • 1 15-oz can crushed pineapple, with juice (I used a 20-oz can)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts


  • Boil the water and candy until the Red Hots are dissolved.
  • Add the Jell-O and pineapple with juice.
  • Pour half into a mold or bowl. Set the other half aside at room temperature.
  • Refrigerate the mold until set.
  • Mix together the cream cheese (or cream cheese and sour cream), using a little bit of milk to loosen the mixture if needed.
  • Add the walnuts and mix thoroughly. Spread this mixture over the set Jell-O.
  • Pour the remainder of the Jell-O over the cream cheese mixture.
  • Return to the refrigerator until the whole thing is set, another hour or so.
  • To unmold the set Jell-O, dip the mold into a bowl of hot water, place a plate (upside down) on the top of the mold, then flip it over. The Jell-O should fall onto the plate. If it doesn't, return the mold to the hot water for another few seconds.

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