Congealed Salad With Dr. Pepper

This quick and easy 4-ingredient congealed salad recipe includes a deliciously sweet and refreshing combination of cherry jello, cherry pie filling, Dr. Pepper, and crushed pineapple.

Dr. Pepper Congealed Salad

Outside of the Southern United States, most folks refer to Southerners’ congealed salad as gelatin salad or jello salad. Yep, we just like to be different. But this Southern classic is like an upgraded fruit salad and it’s a must at any spring/summer gathering. The possibilities of a congealed salad are endless, much to the delight of its devotees.

My great-grandmother, who lived the majority of her life as a sharecropper, considered congealed salad to be the ultimate treat. Back in her day, though, it was a treat that 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!

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 favorite things in the entire universe: Dr. Pepper. And since I don’t drink it very often anymore, I love finding ways I can sneak it into my life with just a little bit here and there.

So today folks we’re gonna make a congealed salad with Dr. Pepper. Feel free to use your favorite fizzy drink (in the South we call all of these ‘coke’). The original recipe called for cherry, which makes sense as we use both cherry jello and cherry pie filling. The only other ingredient you need is crushed pineapple.

This 4-ingredient congealed salad recipe is so quick and easy to make. We just need to mix the ingredients together over the stovetop, which doesn’t take long at all. The hardest part is waiting for it to set in the fridge! Add whipped topping and you have the ultimate summer dessert.

Dr Pepper Congealed Salad Ingredients

Recipe Ingredients

  • Crushed pineapple
  • Cherry gelatin
  • Pie filling
  • Dr. Pepper (or coke/fizzy drink of your choice)

How To Make Congealed Salad With Your Favorite Fizzy Drink

Drain pineapple, reserving the juice.

Drain your pineapple, reserving the juice.

Add gelatin to boiling water and pineapple juice and stir until dissolved.

In a saucepan, bring 1/2 cup of water and the pineapple juice to a boil.

Once boiling, add gelatin and stir until dissolved.

Stir in Dr. Pepper.

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 this, it’s gonna foam up some. Just lettin’ ya know so you don’t worry.

Stir in pie filling.

Add in pie filling and stir that up.

Add pineapple.

Until it looks like this.

Add in pineapple. 

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

Or you can do it like I like to do…

Dr. Pepper Congealed Salad

Use individual 8-ounce mason jars to spoon it out into.

Dr Pepper Congealed Salad in jars

See how pretty? Now put the lid on these and store them in the fridge.

Make sure they are good and cold before serving so they will be set properly.

Individual little desserts are such a fun way to serve this!

Dr. Pepper Congealed Salad with whipped topping.

Top with some whipped cream to finish it all off. Enjoy this deliciously different salad! 


Store leftover congealed salad in the mason jars or covered in plastic wrap in the fridge for up to 5 days. 

Recipe Notes

  • You can use sugar-free gelatin if you like as well as a low-sugar cherry pie filling! It will turn out just as delicious.
  • Want to add more crunch and texture? Add 1 cup of chopped pecans or chopped walnuts.
  • Some traditional congealed salad recipes also add 1 cup of finely chopped celery for something different!
  • You can use any flavor of jello and pie filling in this recipe:
    • Strawberry jello salad with strawberry jello and strawberry pie filling.
    • Grape jello salad with grape jello and blueberry pie filling or fresh blueberries.
    • Cherry lime jello salad: follow this recipe and add 1/4 cup of fresh lime juice and 1 tablespoon of lime zest.
    • A similar option: green jello salad with lime jello and cherry pie filling.
    • Orange jello salad with orange jello and canned mandarin oranges instead of the canned pineapple.
  • Another option is to substitute the cherry pie filling for a jar of maraschino cherries, sliced and undrained.

Recipe FAQs

Can you freeze congealed salads?

No, it’s best not to freeze the congealed salad. Because it contains gelatin, it won’t freeze properly. 

Can you make this congealed salad ahead of time?

Yes, you can definitely make it one or two days in advance and let the flavors marry together in the refrigerator.

Is congealed salad the same as gelatin salad or Jello salad?

Yes, all of these salads refer to the same dish.

Check out these other Southern desserts:

Buttermilk Congealed Salad

Watergate Salad

Snickers Caramel Apple Salad

Bananas in Red Stuff (a.k.a Strawberry Glaze)

Vanilla Wafer Pudding Recipe With Pineapple

Dr. Pepper Congealed Salad

This quick and easy 4-ingredient congealed salad recipe includes a deliciously sweet and refreshing combination of cherry jello, cherry pie filling, Dr. Pepper, and crushed pineapple.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dessert recipe, salad
Servings: 4 8-ounce jars
Calories: 177kcal


  • 1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 3-ounce boxes cherry gelatin
  • 1 20-ounce can cherry pie filling
  • 3/4 cup Diet Dr. Pepper or favorite coke


  • Drain pineapple, reserving the juice, and set it aside.
    1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple
  • In a saucepan, bring pineapple juice and water to a boil. Add gelatin and stir until dissolved.
    1/2 cup water, 2 3-ounce boxes cherry gelatin
  • Stir in Diet Dr. Pepper, then the cherry pie filling, then the crushed pineapple.
    1 20-ounce can cherry pie filling, 3/4 cup Diet Dr. Pepper or favorite coke, 1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple
  • Pour into a mold, mason jars, or a serving bowl and refrigerate until firm. Serve cold.


Calories: 177kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!

This post was originally published in July 2009. I updated the photos in April 2019.

This recipe is featured on Meal Plan Monday and Weekend Potluck.

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.

Similar Posts


  1. 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!

    1. So I guess I have eaten congealed salad before. To me that is just jello with fruit in it. Guess the Californian in me is showin’.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!!!! 😉

      1. I don’t like the taste of Diet Coke.
        There is Coke Zero, I’m guessing you have it over there too, which is basically Diet Coke but uses a different type of artificial sweetener to give it a more true Coke flavour, but even that falls short.

        Just gimme the sugar!!!

      2. Great! I find this recipe AFTER I have given up Dr Pepper for good. I was mildly addicted to it..ha ha. Here in Oregon. If you ask a waitress in a restaurant if they have Dr Pepper, they almost always say “No. But we have root beer”. So what? Lol

    1. 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!

      1. 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.

        1. 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!

      2. I have a recipe my mom called Heavenly Hash (pineapple, marshmallows and other stuff), we had this every holiday and mom served it as a side, not a desert, I’ll have to admit, I ate it up and then had to have pie later… The best way!

  4. 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? 🙂

      1. Here in NC, when I ask a guest, “What kind of coke would you like: Pepsi, Sierra Mist or Coke?”, they look at me like I just grew a third eye. They just don’t get it. 😉

        1. That is a fact! Growing up in Charlotte it was always “What would you like to drink? Coke, please. What flavor? Regular.”

  5. A Dr.Pepper salad. Now that sounds very innovative. I will have to try it. Thank Tina for me.

    Congrats with the mention on the magazine! Thats awesome! You’re moving on up Christy.

  6. You know I don’t think I’ve ever had a congealed salad. Is my southerer card going to taken from me? As long as I don’t get banned from here I’ll be ok.

      1. 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. I just made today for tomorrow Easter’s celebration. I’ll update on how it went. This is the first time I’ve ever made this kind of jello so I’m excited to see how well it went. Also was easy to make. Thanks for the recipe.

Leave a Reply

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

Recipe or Post Rating