Congealed Salad – with my favorite ingredient!


Dr Pepper Congealed Salad

Aside from fresh from the garden vegetables and iced tea, nothing says summer gathering to a Southerner like congealed salad. However, outside of the Southern United States, most folks refer to them as Gelatin or Jell-O salads. We just like to be different.

The possibilities of a congealed salad are endless, much to the delight of it’s devotees. My great grandmother, who lived the majority of her life as a sharecropper, considered congealed salads to be the ultimate treat. Back in her day, though, it was a treat which could only be enjoyed in the winter due to them not having a refrigerator. Alabama summers would never allow the gelatin to set up in this heat!

My grandmother says that in the winter time Lela had an old wash tub she kept out back of her house. She’d let it fill up with water and as soon as it got cold enough to freeze, off she’d go to mix up a congealed salad in her kitchen and then set it out on top of that ice to set up in time for dinner.

When Lela was older, she lived with my Grandmama and Granddaddy. Each week they’d make their pilgrimage to the grocery store, the one time Lela went out. She’d get dressed up in her good dress and hard leather shoes, hook her black handbag in the crook of her arm, and come back with twinkling eyes and a brand new container of pre-made congealed salad. In her mind, she had really moved up in the world to be able to afford such a thing!

Much like my great grandmother, I’ve never met a congealed salad that I didn’t like. On a recent visit to Georgia though, my sister in law managed to shoot this one to the top of my list by making this salad with one of my most favorite things in the entire universe! For those of you just tuning in, here’s a hint:


That’s right folks, today we’re gonna make a congealed salad with Diet Dr Pepper! Don’t worry, if you don’t share my DDP addiction, feel free to use your favorite coke, the original recipe called for cherry.

Definition of Coke in the south: carbonated beverage


For our ingredients we’ll need: crushed pineapple, 2 packages of cherry gelatin, 1 can of pie filling, and a diet dr pepper (or coke of your choice).

The actual recipe is at the bottom of this post.

You can use sugar free gelatin if you like as well as low sugar cherry pie filling! It will turn out just as delicious!


Drain your pineapple, reserving the juice.

Since my sister in law is the one who made this, all of these photos were taken in her kitchen. ~waves at Tina~


In a saucepan, bring 1/2 C water and pineapple juice to a boil.

Once boiling, add gelatin. Stir until dissolved.


Stir in Diet Dr Pepper (or coke of choice).

Now the great thing about this recipe is that you aren’t quite gonna use that whole can.

There is a nice little swig left for ya in there!


When you do that, it’s gonna foam up some.

Just lettin’ ya know so you don’t worry.


Add in pie filling and stir that up.


Until it looks like this. Add in pineapple. (That isn’t pictured so use our imagination ~grins~)

To place in a mold, take a jello mold or simply a bundt cake pan and spray with cooking spray. Pour contents inside and refrigerate until firm and congealed, this will take a few hours.

To turn out mold, dip just the bottom in warm (not hot) water for a few seconds to help gelatin release, then turn out onto plate.

Serve cold and think of how lucky we are to be able to have this in the summer time!


Congealed Salad
  • 1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple
  • ½ C water
  • 2 packages (3 ounces each) cherry gelatin
  • 1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling
  • ¾ C Diet Dr Pepper (or favorite coke)
  1. Drain pineapple, reserving the juice. Set aside. In a saucepan, bring pineapple juice and water to a boil. Add gelatin and stir until dissolved. Stir in diet dr pepper. Stir in Cherry pie filling. Stir in pineapple. Pour into mold or serving bowl. Refrigerate until firm. Serve cold.

If you’re visiting for the first time today, you might want to check out some of my favorite posts below!

How to Make Chicken And Dumplings

Mama’s Chocolate Cobbler

Yellow Cake With Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Icing (A story that means a lot to me)

How to Make Homemade Banana Pudding (the first post I ever did)

There are over four hundred more so be sure you scroll through the index page! Southern Plate is filled with classic Southern recipes, quick and easy family favorites, and stories galore! I am so grateful you stopped by and do hope you’ll have time to say hello in the comments section below.

Thank you all for letting me be a part of your lives and for all that you give me each and every day.


Christy :)

You have it easily in your power to increase the sum total of this world’s happiness now. How? By giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely or discouraged. Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.

~Dale Carnegie      Submitted by Southern Plate reader, Ticha.

To submit your positive or motivational quote click here!


Enjoy This Post? Never Miss Another!

Subscribe to Christy's email list and receive all her new posts directly in your inbox


      • Gayle Farmer says

        Hi Christy, I’m from Southern California! Does that count, lol?

        I’m a southerner at heart and I made that vinegar salad and OMG, I ate half of it while I was making it! Sooo good. I used only 1/3 cup of sugar, and I used 1/2 cider vinegar, and it is out of this world. Also, I used my mandolin rather than rough cut. Just a little difference in texture. If you like a little heat, like I do, your favorite chili powder or sauce is great.

        Just enough left for two chicken sandwichs! .

  1. wardeagle says

    Yum!! Can’t wait to try this one! I make something similar for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, but the DDP or Coke addition sounds intriguing. Now, being originally from Alabama, I know to ask this question: when you say “or coke of choice”, you do mean any soft drink, right? :-)

  2. Su says

    So, how do you eat this? Just as a little snack or dessert?
    Minus the Dr Pepper, this is like what we’d call fruit jelly. lol
    Is the Dr Pepper for the flavour?

    Sorry, I’m not a fan of Dr Pepper. Only had it a couple of times but it’s not really my type of flavour. It’s Coke all the way for me. And no Diet!!!! 😉

    • says

      Here is where Southerners are brilliant, Su. This salad, kind of like our sweet potato casserole, can be served as a side dish! Even though we all know it is technically sweet and therefore a dessert, you can serve it as a side dish and then STILL get dessert on top of it!

      See? Brilliant, I tell ya, brilliant!

      • Betty819 says

        Christy, have you ever made this salad using Sugar Free jello,, diet soda and light pie filling? Wonder if it will come out okay and what it would taste like? You’d have the sweetness of the crushed pineapple to offset the SF and Diet and Light ingredients. I just made my cranberry/crushed pineapple congealed salad over the weekend..We just finished it last evening.. It calls for 2(3 oz. each) red flavored jello..I used SF raspberry flavor, 20 oz. can crushed pineapple in it’s own juice, 1 cup. chopped walnuts, 1 (16 oz.)can whole berry cranberry sauce. Some people add chopped celery but I have never used celery in my version. My recipes makes a large amount..It filled a copper pineapple mild and an 8 x 8 in. brownie glass pyrex dish, that I cut into squares when I served it. Of course, the molded pineapple, we just used a spoon and dug what we wanted out, topped it off with Cool Whip. since there was just the two of us “senior citizens.” If I had company, I’d unmold the copper mold properly and serve up on a bed of fresh lettuce leaves on a platter.
        I’d like to try your recipe sometime..The Dr. Pepper should add a nice “kick” to the jellow mold! Bet that pie filling really adds a nice touch to this recipe.

        • Betty819 says

          Christy, we need the Dr. Pepper jingle song after this recipe! LOL!

          Hey, Southern Gal, did you ever add peanuts to your coca cola in the bottle?
          My husband has a fit when he sees me do this. I love boiled peanuts and when I go “down home” if I come across some anywhere, I buy them. Tried to make them once myself but they never turned out. We used to have a classmate that his Mother would make large batches of them in the early Fall months and put them in small brown bags and her son would bring them to school and sell them, or young kids would walk along the beach during the summer time selling bags of them. Yummy! Only a Southerner knows what I’m talking about!

  3. James Foy says

    That looks great, all sorts of possibilities, with all the fruit sodas out there, and all the pie fillings. Heck, you could even use prunes and prune juice if you’re visiting folks in the nursing homes.

  4. April says

    Wow, that looks yummy I have never had a Congealed Salad before besides a box of jello with a can of fruit cocktail thrown in lol. I will definitely have to try this bet the kids will love it! Thanks again Christy for another delightful recipe!

  5. says

    I’m going to try this one. Sounds like a great treat on a hot summer day, and as soon as we get one I’ll make this. We’re having summer a couple of hours at a time, very strange weather here in the northeast. I can’t have caffeine so no Dr. Pepper for me, but I love cherry soda ~no caffeine~ and think it might work just fine.
    Thank you for another fun recipe, Christy.

    • says

      Yes Ma’am, you sure do! That’s what I get for posting after ten p.m.! Now I’m up at two a.m. correcting it because it was bothering me. I fixed it, stirred it in right after the cherry pie filling!

      Thanks for pointing that out, y’all are sharp!

      Christy :)

  6. Trixie says

    Wow, can’t believe we like the same drink, besides our tea. I have been drinking DDP for so many years, that I can’t remember. I have seen the cans change colors and designs so many times. Now this salad does sound really good. Will have to make it. We all need something really cool now adays, when temperture in touching 100.
    Thanks again, for another great sounding recipe.

    • says

      Hey Trixie!!! YES YES YES!! Remember the blue can? I have an old metal sign for “Sugar free Dr Pepper” back before they even called it diet. When I was little my grandparents kept sugar free dr pepper at their house and we got to have one when we went to visit. I always thought my grandparents were rich because they had cokes to drink and all of the cantaloupe we could eat!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and read my ramblings!
      Christy :)

  7. Trixie says

    Went back and checked the recipe really well. Line for line, and it’s true you didn’t mention when to put the pineapple in. Please Christy, answer before tomorrow. I really want to make this one.

  8. Shane C. says

    I’ve seen this stuff numerous times In the grocery store and never knew what It was exactly. I would of tried It, but wasn’t about to pay a ridiculous price for It! Now that I know what It Is exactly, I’m going to be giving this a try. Although I’m not a DDP fan, more of a Coke kinda guy.

  9. SonyaM says

    I’ve never heard of a congealed salad made with coke before! My mother always makes a congealed salad with lime or strawberry Jello at the holidays. I’ll have to ask her one of these days what recipe she uses. It always comes out very light and fluffy! My father took some in a container to work once and a coworker asked him what the heck it was. When he said, “Congealed salad,” it only confused the guy worse! :-)

  10. Diane says

    This sounds interesting – never tried making a Jello salad with any kind of soda before.

    Interesting isn’t it, what we call things in different parts of the country? Like in CT where I’m originally from, a foot-long sandwich was called a sub. Here in PA where I live now, they call them hoagies. :-)

    Thanks for the recipe!

    Diane in PA

  11. Sheila M. says

    A congealed salad with Diet Dr. Pepper? I’m there! Can’t wait to give this a go…but I think I might do a variation using peaches because I’m making same peach pies and know I’ll have filling leftover…

  12. says

    Hello Christy!

    Since my Diet Coke passion equals your Diet Dr. Pepper addiction I look forward to trying this receipe with my favorite cola. Congealed salads just beg to be served at Sunday Sountern Suppers. I’ll be recreating yours this weekend and thinking of you with every yummy bite!

    As always, thank you for sharing receipes from your home and heart! As I make them for my family we’re creating great memories of our own with each tasty one!

    All my best,

  13. Alisha says

    I can’t wait to try this one Christy. I love Dr. Pepper too, but the Cherry Coke also sounds good. I may try them both!! You’re right though, everything here is GA is “Coke”, lol !!

  14. sabrina says


  15. Karen says

    Hi – This sounds good… matter what kind of “coke” you use. I think I’ll fold in some Cool Whip to lighten it up some. My family likes all kind of Jello salads. They’re aso versatile with so many flavor combinations. I just love this website. You’re my kind of cook.

  16. Ava says

    I was born in and brought up in So. Cal with an Okie step-father, and lived in OK for over 20 years, I just say “soda” anymore, because I just am too confused to know the difference.

    I honestly can’t tell the difference from supper and dinner. My husband corrects me everytime when I ask him “what do you want for dinner” and it is after 5pm… It is all too confusing, my mother was from Iowa, so she had her own sayings too…what’s a gal to do?

  17. Kim says

    Hey – haven’t talked to you in awhile – even though I will miss seeing you at Brookhill in a few weeks. I can’t believe the summer is almost over!!! This salad looks so delicious. I love everything except the cherry pie filling. Do they make a strawberry pie filling? If so, could you use that? FYI: Dollar General (the new one on Hwy 251!) has 6 packs of Dr. Pepper/Diet Dr. Pepper on sale for $1.00! I have got to go get some. I think it is for the rest of this week. I don’t know if all of the other Dollar Generals will have them at that price. ???
    See ya!

  18. Toni says

    I want to make a congealed salad with whole cranberry sauce. As I’m typing this I think I should combine the cranberry sauce with canned mandarin oranges, diced apples, pears, and orange soda. Thanks, for the inspiration.


  19. says

    I make a salad kinda like this, I use sour cherries and drain the juice and combine it with the pineapple juice for my liquid. I use coke, I always make sure it is NOT cold or it really foams up. I also add a cup of pecans and an 8 oz. pkg. of cream cheese cut into little cubes. Try adding these extras, it really makes it special. In fact this is a “must have” at Thanksgiving.

  20. Marilyn says

    When we cleaned out Mother’s house we found hundreds of individual aluminum and tin congealed salad molds. They had been my grandmother’s and great-grandmother’s, some direct from the Jello company accompanied by jillions of recipe pamphlets. Evidence of a past era that may be reviving with this yummy-sounding recipe.

  21. says

    Here is my family’s recipe for congealed salad. No holiday was dinner without it for at least the last 65 years.

    1 Box Lime Jello
    1 Box Lemon Jello
    2 cups boiling water
    1 large can crushed pineapple
    1 16 oz carton cottage cheese
    1 large can evaporated milk
    3/4 cup chopped pecans

    dissolve Jello in boiling water. Add pineapple, with juice, cottage cheese and evaporated milk. Stir in pecans. Refrigerate until set.

    This recipe is so adaptable. I use sugar free jello and a small can of evaporated milk, low fat cottage cheese and I eliminate the pecans. May try them again someday.
    You can use any flavor of Jello and it is wonderful. If you use Orange, it kind of has a creamsicle flavor, Cranberry is great at Thanksgiving, but the “green congealed salad” was the one on my Gran’s and my Mom’s and my Table until
    they went to be with the Lord.
    Thank you for your DDP congealed salad. Can’t wait to make it. xoxoj

  22. Robbyn says

    My Granny made a similar salad she called Coca-Cola salad. Same idea but instead of two boxes of cherry you use one cherry and one red raspberry. You also add in small chunks of cream cheese and pieces of walnuts before you cool it.

  23. Holly says

    This is Pie Cherry Salad!!! My mom has been making this for over 30 years. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas it’s on our table. Our recipe is slightly different. We don’t use Diet DP (although I’m sure this is yummy) and we add some vanilla and pecans. It’s gorgeous red color is perfect for the holidays!!

  24. Becki says

    My Mama always made a similar salad at Thanksgiving and Christmas using whole berry cranberry sauce. But here’s the kicker…. put a little dollop of mayo (NOT Miracle Whip, of course) on top of each serving. The creamy tangy mayo balances out the sweet of the fruit and is YUMMY.

  25. says

    I can’t wait to make this. The hot summer day part is no problem here in Madison, AL. I am going to make it as presented. Can the recipe be tweaked with lime jello and diet 7-UP? What would I substitute the cherries for?

  26. Beth Sherrill says

    I have never thought much about jello salad one way or the other, the only time I ever ate it after leaving home was when I ate at a restaurant called Furr’s that used to be a big chain. They made a green one with cottage cheese and nuts. yours actually sounds like it would be worth the hassle to make! I adore cherry anything so this sounds great to me. now I have to get the ingredients next time I go shopping.

  27. Bill says

    Hey Christy,
    My Mom used to make hers with strawberry jello, some banana’s and chopped English walnuts. Then top with whipped cream which later turned to cool whip. But, was good in the summer time.

  28. says

    There was a baby shower held in my honor a few weeks ago back home (Coffee County, AL…I now live in Madison, AL) and congealed salad was on the catered menu. My cousin and I got a good laugh at this as this is such a Southern dish always present at holidays, reunions, etc… and one that neither of us is usually too fond of. The one they served was really good though, and I’m actually wanting to try my hand at making one for a baby shower I am helping host (these pregnancy hormones have me doing all sorts of crazy things…I’m even putting on makeup and jewelry these days to go to the grocery store and I’m not usually much of a girly girl at all).

    This recipe sounds good (need to a caffeine-free soda, though). I’ve visited your site before, but I need to start becoming a regular because this Southern girl needs to improve her Southern cookery. In general, I make better Italian and Asian-style food than Southern food…I can’t even make my husband good fried chicken ( I do have collard greens, black-eyed peas, and fried squash down though).

    Oh, I also grew up saying “Coke” when referring to any soda :)

  29. Beverly Boro says

    My family has been making something like this for years, but a little differently. We use black cherry geatin, Dr. Pepper (of course), drained can of pitted black cherries (not pie filling) and no pineapple, but we do add pecans!

  30. GJM says

    We have had this for as many years as I can remember (and that is a lot of years!) although ours was called Cherry Coke Salad, using Coke instead of Dr. Pepper and using a can of dark sweet cherries instead of the pie filling. I can’t imagine a Thanksgiving or Christmas without it! When asked why we had it, this is what I was told: In the1950s, shortly before Thanksgiving, the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare announced that cranberry products were contaminated with a weed-killer and as a result of the federal warning, schools, restaurants and grocery stores stopped serving and selling cranberries and cranberry products. So the newspapers printed recipes to replace cranberries. My mom found this recipe and made it. A tradition was born. Thanks for bringing back some cherished memories…

  31. Susan B. says

    This sounds yummy! Will be sure to try it as the temp heats up! As a busy mom of three, when the kids were growing up, I served jello occasionally , but ALWAYS during the holidays because it is so convenient to do ahead . So the kids always tease me that “It must be a holiday ’cause Mom made jello!”. I still like to make it to have on hand as an extra to enjoy for a bit. Thanks for this great sounding recipe!

  32. Jean in Kansas says

    This recipe came to my family many years ago when my grandmother (who first came to Kansas in a covered wagon) clipped it out of the Capper’s Weekly newspaper. It used a can of whole cranberry sauce, Coca-Cola and pecans. We have tested many versions over the last 50-60 years and loved them all. We use the cranberries at Thanksgiving and cherries in the summer. Coke or Dr. Pepper as we have on hand. Everyone is excited to see Grandma “John’s” jello salad on the buffet.

  33. Adeline says

    This sounds so interesting….I was of course expecting it to be cranberry. I always make at least one new recipe every holiday….this one is going to be it ! I have gotten so many new and fun recipes and ideas from you….and the way they are presented is great, down home and personal, just my style.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *