Coca-Cola Salad for Retro #SundaySupper

by Renee on January 20, 2013

Coca-Cola Salad | Magnolia Days

Yes, it is a Jello salad. When was the last time you had one of those? I seriously doubt it or any gelatin salad has been on a restaurant menu in many years, if ever. You may have seen it at potlucks. Coca-Cola salad is sweet and tart with the flavors of cherry, cola, pineapple, and nuts. It is incredible with ham. My mom makes it often and still gets requests for the recipe. I was so excited for the opportunity to share it here. Why share it today? Well…

Sunday Supper is celebrating retro foods. This salad is about as retro and southern as you can get. Retro because of the popularity of gelatin salads back in the 60′s, 70′s and early 80′s. Southern because of the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola company and Georgia being the leader of US pecan production. I could not think of a better recipe to share. Plus it is really good. Really.

How good is it? Let’s see…I made it, took photos, and served it for dinner. My husband had two helpings. A little later I found him in the kitchen snacking on it. Half of it was gone by the next evening. The rest disappeared shortly thereafter. This is a treat for you if you like Jello, Coca-Cola, cherries, pineapple, and pecans. It looks really cool too with the vibrant red color and the way it shines.

Notes on the recipe: The one I had in my notebook is what I got from my mom long ago. It shows it’s age because it called for cherries in a #2 can. Um, what is a #2 can? I had to call my mom to clarify. I honestly have not seen recipes stating can type sizes. Have you? I have no clue where the recipe came from originally. I think my mom got it from a friend who got it from a friend and so on.

Are you ready for more retro recipes? Take a look at what the talented Sunday Supper bloggers are sharing:

Sunday Supper Retro Appetizers:

Sunday Supper Retro Salads:

Sunday Supper Retro Breads and Sandwiches:

SundaySupper Main Dishes:

Sunday Supper Retro Sides and Veggies:

Sunday Supper Retro Desserts and Cocktails:

What fun to read the stories about the recipes! There’s lots of great food in the list. I admit I still make and enjoy many of them. Nice to see some updated versions too. Which one is your favorite?

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Special thanks to Terry and Jim Gardner for letting me borrow their old coke bottles for the photo!

Coca-Cola Salad

Coca-Cola Salad

  • 6 ounces cherry-flavored Jello (not sugar-free)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 10 ounces Coca-Cola
  • 1 can (14.5 to 16 ounces) red tart pitted cherries in water
  • 1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (raw or lightly toasted)

Place the Jello in a large bowl. Pour the boiling water over it and stir until dissolved. Stir in the Coca-Cola. Refrigerate mixture until partially firm, about 30 minutes. NOTE: check and stir every 3 to 5 minutes. You want it a thickened but not set.

Place the cherries and juice in a food processor fitted with a knife blade or in a blender. Pulse or blend a few times to lightly chop the cherries.

Once the Jello mixture has thickened, stir in the chopped cherries and it's juice, pineapple and it's juice, and pecans. Pour into a Jello/gelatin mold. Refrigerate until set or overnight. Remove salad from the mold by inverting onto a serving platter. Serve cold.

Notes

If you do not have a Jello or gelatin mold then you can leave it in the large bowl. Invert onto a serving dish when ready to serve.

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{ 114 comments… read them below or add one }

Lyn @LovelyPantry January 20, 2013 at 6:27 am

I have no idea what a #2 can is! Please let us know what your mom says! This recipe looks so intresting. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen anything like it! It looks bright red and beautiful. Nice touch with the cola bottles ;-))

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:35 am

My mom said a #2 can was a regular can is like a soup can.

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Arlene @FlourOnMyFace January 20, 2013 at 6:41 am

Gotta love Jello salads. Every family get together bbq or picnic had some type of jello dish when I was a kid.

I have no idea what a #2 can of cherries are but I have seen that many many times in my vintage cook book collection. I’ll have to ask my MIL.

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:37 am

Yes, the Jello salads were so popular for barbeques or picnics. I wonder why they went out of style. Some are so good.

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Faye Leong January 20, 2013 at 8:15 am

I also want to know what is #2 can is. What a creative way to make jello salad with Cola. Pretty!

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:38 am

A #2 can used to be 20 ounces, then it went down to 16 ounces, and currently it is 14.5 ounces.

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Sherron@SimplyGourmet January 20, 2013 at 8:22 am

I had never heard of this salad until just now. I was intrigued to see what it was all about. I will have to make this for my family. My sister and Mom love Coke–anything!

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:39 am

They will love it especially if they like cherry Coke.

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Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb January 20, 2013 at 8:29 am

Wow, coca cola salad? never seen or heard of such a salad before. It’s ncie to look at. =) So what’s the can Nr 2?

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:39 am

It’s what is currently packaged as a 14.5 oz. can. Long ago it was 20 oz.

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Jen @ Juanita's Cocina January 20, 2013 at 8:55 am

My family loves jello! Can’t wait to surprise them with this one!

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:40 am

Oh good! I hope they enjoy it a whole lot.

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Renee - Kudos Kitchen January 20, 2013 at 9:49 am

What a unique ingredient for a jello-salad. I’m not a huge fan of jello myself but this one is very intriguing. Love that you found your husband snacking on it later that night. Too funny!

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:40 am

He does that when he really likes something I make. He’s a late night snacker.

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The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time January 20, 2013 at 9:49 am

I remember #2 cans. They’re big, huge commercial kitchen size. I worked in a camp kitchen while in high school and that’s all we had around. You should have seen the can opener we used for those things. :)

I love the sound of this salad! It’s a gorgeous color too. I’ll be trying it for Valentine’s Day dinner. Many thanks.

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:41 am

Those big commercial cans must have been another number. That would be way too much cherries for this recipe.

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Keith August 16, 2013 at 8:27 am

Right you are. Those were called #10 cans. They were just a tad short of a gallon.

Liz January 20, 2013 at 9:50 am

Boy, this brings me back to the holidays of my childhood! I loved these sorts of jello salads as long as green jello and veggies weren’t involved :/ Yours looks wonderful, Renee!

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:42 am

I actually have a recipe for lime salad and it uses green Jello. It’s quite good too. Perhaps one day I will share it also.

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Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts January 20, 2013 at 10:02 am

I haven’t had a jello salad in forever! My mom never made them, but I have had them at potlucks before. Great choice!

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:43 am

Thanks Erin! I couldn’t think of anything better to share for a retro celebration.

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Terry January 20, 2013 at 10:02 am

That is one perfect looking jello mold salad..

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:43 am

Thank you Terry!

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Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers January 20, 2013 at 10:03 am

No clue what a #2 can is, but the jello salad is beautiful! It must taste amazing!

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:44 am

Thanks Jennifer! Think soup can for #2 size. These days it’s 14.5 ounces. It was a little larger years ago.

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Jennie @themessybakerblog January 20, 2013 at 10:09 am

This is so creative, Renee! I haven’t had a jell-o salad since my great-grandmother was alive. She used to make the best jell-o molds.

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:45 am

Do you have any of your great-grandmother’s recipes? I’d love to see them.

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Lane @ Supper for a Steal January 20, 2013 at 10:30 am

I have never had jello salad, but I love all the different flavors of this dish.

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:46 am

Jello salad is unique to think about if you have never had it. I grew up with them so they are such a part of my past. Some of them (like this one) are mighty tasty.

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Amy January 20, 2013 at 10:34 am

Beautiful photo and well written (IMHO)! Jello certainly takes me back to my childhood. I feel like you couldn’t avoid it back then and now I rarely see it anywhere!

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:47 am

Thank you Amy for your kind words on my writing. Perhaps there will be a resurgence of Jello salads? Who knows. I do wonder why they are not “fashionable” anymore.

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Heather @girlichef January 20, 2013 at 10:40 am

I honestly have not had a Jello Salad in years. But ours never, ever looked as good as this one. It’s beautiful, Renee. AND, I am actually going to make it to go with our Easter Ham. Thank you! :)

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:48 am

Thanks Heather! Please remember to tell me how you like it with your Easter Ham.

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Sarah January 20, 2013 at 10:58 am

Hate to say it but it actually does look good…and no celery! My great aunt used to do celery Jello salads… 0_o

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:48 am

Celery in Jello salads? I don’t think that would go over well here either. It must have been a savory one.

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Susan January 20, 2013 at 11:03 am

I must say out of all the Jello salads yours does look the prettiest and I love that you managed to get your hands on some retro Coke bottles!

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:50 am

Thanks Susan! I was thrilled to be able to borrow those Coke bottles. One is 10 ounces which is exactly what is called for in the recipe. I don’t think I’ve seen a 10 ounce bottle of Coke in a long time.

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Paula @ Vintage Kitchen January 20, 2013 at 11:05 am

It turns out that it´s an interesting recipe after all…I might even try it, cherry jello is the only one I kinda like. The color is gorgeous Renee! Have a great day!

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:51 am

Thanks Paula. It is nice and bright and festive.

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Katie January 20, 2013 at 11:09 am

Ok, this is seriously cool! Not only pretty in color, but I think the flavors sound pretty tasty as well! I want a slice, please!

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:52 am

Thanks Katie. I’m sending you a virtual slice. Perhaps you can make it one day and see how it tastes.

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Melanie from Fast Food 2 Fresh Food January 20, 2013 at 11:26 am

Love it! My favorite retro jello recipe is from my grandmother, and it calls for a #5 can of pineapple… Like you, I have NO CLUE, so I just use a normal can of crushed pineapple, and it’s fine. :-)

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:52 am

Oh how funny you have a recipe for a #5 can. I’m clueless too. It would take some research.

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Beate January 20, 2013 at 11:39 am

Oh, it is a Jello type of salad. I was wondering all along what it could be and envisioned something brown, with mayo :)

This looks fantastic and I think my entire family would love it as a special treat :) Thank you, Renee.

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:53 am

Oh my, no brown or mayo in this salad. It’s shiny and bright red. It even jiggles a little.

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Tara January 20, 2013 at 11:39 am

Never seen a salad like this but yummy!! Very cool with the coca cola in it.

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:54 am

Thanks Tara. I think folks here in Atlanta or the South came up with hundreds of recipes for Coca-Cola. I just don’t see many of them anymore.

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Linda-There and Back Again January 20, 2013 at 11:58 am

I had completely forgotten about this dish until you posted it. I loved it as a kid! Thanks for the reminder!

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:55 am

Thanks Linda. I’m glad I could bring back some great memories from your childhood.

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The Wimpy Vegetarian January 20, 2013 at 12:17 pm

No clue about the #2 can either, and I graduated from college in the mid-70′s. I’ve also never seen a jello dish with cocoa-cola! This is perfect for our theme this week. Just perfect!!

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:56 am

Thank you! The Coca-Cola does give it a nice cola flavor.

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Wendy (TheWeekend Gourmet) January 20, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Yep…this is total southern retro food! No respecting Baptist church “dinner on the ground” would be without an entire table of these jello salads.

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:57 am

So true. I grew up with those Baptist church dinners/potlucks. Lots of Jello salads were there.

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DB-The Foodie Stuntman January 20, 2013 at 12:29 pm

This is very appropriate because I haven’t had a jello salad in years. I hear you regarding old recipes. Over Christmas, my parents and I went through their old recipe box filled with faded newspaper clippings, etc. It was actually quite fun.

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:58 am

Going through old recipes is a real treat. I’m glad you could experience it with your parents. Such fun.

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Courtney @ Neighborfood January 20, 2013 at 1:02 pm

How fun! And I love the vintage coca cola cans. This was my first Sunday Supper and I’m having so much fun getting to know everyone and seeing what everyone came up with for this week!

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:59 am

Thank you Courtney! I’m glad you joined in the Sunday Supper fun. Nice having you in the group.

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Momma's Meals January 20, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Wow I’ve never heard of such a thing but it does look delicious, almost like dessert for dinner!! That’s a riot about the #2 can too, I laughed out loud! Happy Sunday!!

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 10:59 am

It can be a dessert although my family has always served it as a side with ham.

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Anne @ Webicurean January 20, 2013 at 1:10 pm

OK now I need to break out the jello mold–this sounds wonderful! My family always makes the green jello with the pineapple and cottage cheese, and I love it. Time for me to try something new!

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 11:00 am

My family makes the green jello with pineapple and cream cheese (Lime Salad).

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Emily January 20, 2013 at 2:50 pm

I should have done this Sunday Supper, I just did a party for 20 with all retro themed food & drink! Tomato aspic, Chex mix, sloppy joes, cheese balls, punch, etc. it was epic!

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 11:01 am

Now that sounds like it was a super fun dinner party. Great idea and I might have to do one too.

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Conni Smith January 20, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Aww, this is another dish that reminds me of my Oma. She always made a “jello mold” for the holidays, too.

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 11:02 am

I’m smiling that this recipe brought back wonderful memories of your Oma. Do you have any of her recipes?

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Hezzi-D January 20, 2013 at 4:19 pm

I’ve had many Jello salads in my life but never this one. I think my husband would adore it because of the Coke and pineapple. I’ll have to make it for him one night!

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 11:02 am

Go team Jello Salads! I’d like to see some of your recipes. I hope you do make this one for your husband.

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Elizabeth - Elizabeth's Kitchen January 20, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Oh yum! My grandmother used to make a layered christmas jelly salad for me every year – I could eat the entire thing myself! I’ll have to try this recipe, it sounds so very nice!

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 11:03 am

A layered Jello salad. I bet it was very pretty and great for Christmas.

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Nancy @ gottagetbaked January 20, 2013 at 5:36 pm

lol – nothing says retro to me more than a jello mold salad! This one sounds delicious and the colour is gorgeous! I love the fruit and nuts in it for different flavours and texture.

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 11:04 am

Thanks Nancy! It does have a nice texture with everything in it.

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Pam @ The Meltaways January 20, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Don’t you just love mystery ingredients in old recipes? I am totally pinning this – it sounds amazing!

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 11:05 am

I seriously love old recipes and running across those mystery ingredients. I think it is the research part and finding out what they are that is so exciting. So cool how recipes and ingredients have changed over the years.

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The Ninja Baker January 20, 2013 at 6:09 pm

I’m getting such an education around the #SundaySupper table! The South holds a mysterious fascination to me and so I’ve read quite a bit about Southern ways but Coca Cola Jello Salad is a first! Love that your recipe is originally from your Mom and her friends =) Thank you, Renee, for the how-to and this fun post.

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 11:06 am

Thanks Kim! I’m fascinated by Asian foods and customs so I very much enjoy reading your blog and recipes.

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Audrey's Mamma January 20, 2013 at 6:19 pm

How pretty! My girls are just starting to enjoy jello. Their father detests it so I rarely serve it. This is the perfect recipe to share with them.

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 11:07 am

I think Audrey and Maurene would have a ball with this recipe…making and eating it.

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Carla January 20, 2013 at 7:41 pm

I’ve never heard or tried Coca Cola Salad, and quite frankly not knowing what it was didn’t paint a very pleasant picture in my mind LOL The cherry Jello and coke sound like an awesome pairing. I love cherry coke.

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 11:08 am

I can see how the recipe title could sound strange in a way. Not so much once you see the recipe. It is like cherry coke flavored.

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Chris Baccus January 20, 2013 at 8:42 pm

Too funny. We used to stop in Georgia at a place called the New Perry Hotel that serves this and many other retro southern classics.

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 11:09 am

I’ve not heard of the New Perry Hotel before. I wonder if they still serve Jello salads.

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Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips January 20, 2013 at 10:19 pm

I love your retro coke bottles! And I have e same Tupperware mold I took from my mom.

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 11:09 am

Then it’s time to put the Tupperware mold to use! Oh, I also use it for making ice rings for punch. Works great for it too.

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Jenne January 21, 2013 at 12:54 am

I love the color and I can’t help but think it must be a great one for a 4th of July dish.

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 11:10 am

Oh yes! The red would be great for 4th of July.

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Cindys Recipes January 21, 2013 at 1:05 am

I never heard of this salad. Very different!

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 11:11 am

Yep, very different if you are not used to Jello salads.

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Debi January 21, 2013 at 2:52 pm

#1 can – 10-1/2 oz
#2 can – 20 oz.
#300 can – 15-1/2 oz.
#303 can – 16 oz.
#5 can – 64 oz.

Have had this taped inside my pantry door for years, don’t know where I got it. Old recipes frequently used these terms instead of measurements. Hope this helps!!

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 11:12 am

Thank you so much for the information Debi! Interesting to see how can sizes have changed. Now a #2 can would be 14.5 ounces. It was 16 ounces for a while. Smaller packaging seems to take over through the years.

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Linda | The Urban Mrs January 21, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Oh my my, I’ve never tried this before. Cocacola salad? Definitely the kind of salad that I want to try.

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 11:12 am

Thanks Linda!

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Brandie (@ Home Cooking Memories) January 22, 2013 at 5:09 am

I’m not familiar with Coca-Cola Salad’s but yours sure looks pretty! My husband is actually quite the fan of retro gelatin salads like this. I bet he’d love it.

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 11:13 am

You will have to make it for your husband since he loves gelatin salads. What a treat for him.

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Sarah January 22, 2013 at 8:34 am

ok I have to honest and say that I have never heard of a coca cola salad but if I was to have jello, I would like for it be made this way. So much I missed in the 60′s. lol Looks delicous Renee!

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Renee January 22, 2013 at 11:16 am

Thanks Sarah. I was born in the 60′s so this is something I saw frequently in my childhood. Not so much anymore.

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Karen Hartzell (@InTheKitchenKP) January 23, 2013 at 8:11 am

Wow, Renee! Your photo is so gorgeous! Love the retro coke bottles too! I’d def give the jello a try too. Never had anything like it.

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Renee January 23, 2013 at 11:41 am

Thanks Karen. I’m so glad I could borrow those coke bottles from my friend Terry and Jim. They were perfect for the photos.

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Alaiyo Kiasi January 23, 2013 at 8:37 pm

You know, this is one salad I’ve never tried but have always been curious about. Now that I see your recipe and the gorgeous photo, I know what to expect. Beautiful!

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Renee January 26, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Thanks Alaiyo!

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allilau January 24, 2013 at 5:10 pm

So retro-tastic! Being Australian I’ve never tried a jello salad (but) heard of it of course! Yours looks incredible and the simple styling does it much justice. Looks awesome :)

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Renee January 26, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Thank you so much!

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Amanda @ MarocMama January 27, 2013 at 5:57 pm

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve made Jell-O! This is so unique I may save it for some summer potlucks!

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Renee January 28, 2013 at 11:59 am

Thanks Amanda. It is a great thing to bring to a potluck.

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Hmmmmm May 2, 2013 at 9:31 am

What! I have made Coke Sald for years at evey holiday occasion. It is a substitute for cranberry sauce, Your recipe is so different.
I grew up in Atlanta so I am well aware of the many uses for Coke ( My Dad went to GT in the shadow of Coke World Headquarters)

My recipe uses
black cherry jello
1can Coke (no Pepsi)
1 can Bing Cherries
Pecans

No Pinapple. I have never seen that. Maybe give it a try…not sure :-)

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Renee May 3, 2013 at 10:13 am

I think there are a lot of variations of Coca Cola salad. The pineapples add a nice extra flavor so give it a try.

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Karen @ The Food Charlatan November 18, 2013 at 11:32 am

Hi Renee!! I LOVE this jello salad! It is so fun, super easy, and delicious to boot. It will be making an appearance for Thanksgiving I think! Thanks for a fabulous recipe, I love that it is one that was passed around to your family. I blogged about it over here: http://thefoodcharlatan.com/2013/11/18/coca-cola-jello-salad-with-cherries/

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Renee November 21, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Thanks so much Karen and I really enjoyed seeing how yours turned out.

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Alaiyo Kiasi-Barnes November 24, 2013 at 9:53 pm

I’ve heard about the Coca-Cola Salads for years but have never seen or tasted one. The recipe looks easy enough. I just might try it! Thanks Renee.

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Renee November 26, 2013 at 4:09 pm

It is easy Alaiyo and it is really good too. It’s something that is frequently made for my family celebrations.

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Robin February 5, 2014 at 10:03 pm

My family has made this for the past 50 years for holidays and church suppers. Brings back lots of memories.

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Renee February 19, 2014 at 11:32 am

Oh fantastic! Amazing how much this is enjoyed for so long and by so many people.

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Mary Ann March 28, 2014 at 10:10 am

Goodness, you cannot take a gelatin salad out to a picnic or to a church salad, it melts! My college foods teacher introduced me to it, but it had cream cheese, makes it much better. Sorry I lost her recipe. I’ve been frustrated with can size changes when using older recipes…often given them up. Also noted 3 oz. cream cheese size no longer available.

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Renee March 29, 2014 at 9:19 am

Yes, it is best to take gelatin salads to indoor events during the hot summer. I wish the 3 ounce size of cream cheese was still available. I now buy the 8 ounce package and use the amount I need. Besides, it is not a bad thing to have extra cream cheese in the fridge.

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Renee August 17, 2013 at 8:54 am

There must be two different #10 cans because the one I’m familiar with is a lot smaller than a gallon.

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