Congealed Salad With Dr. Pepper

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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.

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  1. 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! 🙂

  2. 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.

    1. If I could, I’d be a coke kinda gal. Totally with ya, Shane! I can’t drink sugar though and as far as diet drinks go, DDP is the best I’ve found.

      Drink a coke for me today (please), and let me know if you get to try this!
      Christy 🙂

      1. Try Cherry Coke Zero sometime, Christy. It’s pretty good! Unfortunately, it’s hard to find smaller sizes, but most grocery stores carry the 2-ltr.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

    1. 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 🙂

    1. 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 🙂

  5. I so absolutely LOVE that you found a way to use DDP in a recipe! I will definitely have to try this one, as I share in your addiction! =)

  6. 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.

      1. Thank you so much, JoAnn! Have you ever been to the south in the summer time? It’s really some kind of hot! I’ve never been up north in the summer, maybe we should start an exchange program? 🙂

        1. Have you ever been to Perth in the summertime? Now that is heat. Not that we are competing. Just sayin. Lol 🙂 our heat is so dry and the air burns. We hate it but we love it too.

    1. You could use cherry 7up too. The coke (aka soft drink, pop, soda, etc…) is just to add to the flavor. When I serve a congealed salad, my daddy gets excited because he knows he can eat the salad and still have dessert!

      1. Hey, I resemble that. I always thought Jello was dessert. At a dinner, Jello was on the table when we sat down. I could not understand why people were eating dessert first. They did not understand why I was eating my salad last,

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