Home » Salads

Mandarin Orange Salad | 5‑Ingredient Simple

Mandarin Orange Salad

Man­darin Orange Sal­ad is a cool, citrus‑y and refresh­ing addi­tion to the menu at any spe­cial gath­er­ing. But, it is espe­cial­ly fan­tas­tic with all the savory Thanks­giv­ing fare. The sal­ad only requires 5‑ingredients and is a three-decade-plus tra­di­tion on our fam­i­ly Thanks­giv­ing and Christ­mas menus.

Man­darin Orange Sal­ad is creamy, cool and lus­cious, but it’s also loaded with palate-pleas­ing tex­ture, too. This sim­ple side dish is stud­ded with lit­tle tapi­o­ca pearls and sweet-tart man­darin seg­ments. It’s a lighter, sweet and refresh­ing treat along­side heav­ier hol­i­day dishes.

This recipe is one of my most often request­ed for fam­i­ly get-togeth­ers, potlucks or pic­nics. And, the mere sug­ges­tion of try­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent for the hol­i­days is high trea­son! lol It wouldn’t be Thanks­giv­ing or Christ­mas if this scrump­tious cit­rus sal­ad was­n’t on the table. To say it’s always a hit is an understatement. 

Man­darin Orange Sal­ad needs time to set. It’s best to make it at least 4–6 hours before you plan to serve it. Which means it’s a great time-sav­ing make ahead, too. This yum­my orange sal­ad can be made up to 2 days in advance with great success. 

I hope it can become one of your family’s favorite hol­i­day tra­di­tions, too. Enjoy!

The Ingredients

pudding mix, gelatin powder and mandarin segments

Orange Gelatin: Brand does­n’t real­ly mat­ter for mak­ing Man­darin Orange Salad. 

Vanil­la Cook and Serve Pud­ding Mix: Cook and Serve is the impor­tant thing about this ingre­di­ent. Instant pud­ding does­n’t let the sal­ad set as well. And again, I find that brand is not real­ly important.

*Tapi­o­ca Cook and Serve Pud­ding Mix: This is the one ingre­di­ent that may hang you up, right now. I nev­er used to have prob­lems find­ing it. How­ev­er, with all the ship­ping dif­fi­cul­ties, late­ly, our local Wal­mart stopped stock­ing it in-store, a year ago. 

Hap­pi­ly, I have dis­cov­ered it is still avail­able from them, but in a dif­fer­ent way. When I place a gro­cery pick-up order at Wal­mart, I still add the tapi­o­ca pud­ding mix to the cart. Even though I won’t be able to pick it up with my oth­er gro­ceries that day, it’s shipped to my doorsteps in only two days. For this time of year, I stock up. So, if you don’t find it at your local mar­ket, you can try Wal­mart online. Option­al­ly, you can order it from *Ama­zon. [affil­i­ate link]

Jell‑o is the only brand I have found that makes tapi­o­ca pud­ding mix. Pud­ding mix is impor­tant. This recipe does not work with plain tapi­o­ca pearls. Man­darin Orange Sal­ad relies on the ingre­di­ents in the dry mix­es to com­bine with the altered liq­uid amounts to prop­er­ly set.

Orig­i­nal Cool Whip: (or a non-dairy whipped top­ping of your choice) “Lite” ver­sions don’t achieve the same creamy results as the orig­i­nal versions.

Man­darin Orange seg­ments: Drain the liq­uid from the can, before adding the orange seg­ments to the salad.

Water

How to Make Mandarin Orange Salad

Com­bine the gelatin, vanil­la pud­ding mix and tapi­o­ca pud­ding mix with the water in a medi­um sauce pan.

Cook the mix­ture over medi­um heat, stir­ring fre­quent­ly to pre­vent stick­ing and scorching.

Cook until the mix­ture boils and thick­ens. It will depend on your stove and heat set­ting, but I’m guess­ing 4 to 5 minutes.

Pour the thick­ened gelatin mix­ture into a con­tain­er to cool. 

When cooled to room tem­per­a­ture, refrig­er­ate until com­plete­ly set.

Stir in the Cool Whip and the drained man­darin orange seg­ments. Stir until thor­ough­ly inte­grat­ed into the salad.

The sal­ad will light­en in col­or and will have a lus­cious tex­ture that is thick, but light and fluffy.

Refrig­er­ate until ready to serve. So easy! Man­darin Orange Sal­ad is an instant hit, no mat­ter where you serve it!

Mandarin Orange Salad

The Recipe

In writ­ing this recipe card, I scaled it to 4–6 serv­ings. I have become accus­tomed to cook­ing for 7–15 peo­ple over the years and often for­get that that isn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly “nor­mal” for the gen­er­al pub­lic. Now, that it is just David and I at home, most of the time, it’s still been a bit of a strug­gle to cook for any­thing but a crowd. lol I’m try­ing to be better.

So, click the 2x or 3x in the recipe card to show the mea­sure­ments for more serv­ings. For me per­son­al­ly, I always make the 3x batch for our fam­i­ly gath­er­ings of 15 to 20 people. 

Enjoy friends! I hope you have a fun and blessed Thanks­giv­ing, filled with deli­cious food, lots of laugh­ter and the peo­ple you love most.

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Mandarin Orange Salad

Mandarin Orange Salad


  • Author: Glen­da Embree
  • Total Time: 15 min­utes
  • Yield: 46 serv­ings 1x

Description

Creamy, citrus‑y and stud­ded with ten­der, sweet pearls of tapi­o­ca, Man­darin Orange Sal­ad is a light, refresh­ing and lus­cious fam­i­ly tra­di­tion on our hol­i­day tables, as well as at sum­mer gath­er­ings.  It’s a fan­tas­tic make-ahead salad/ side dish.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 (3 oz) box orange gelatin
  • 1 (3 oz) box vanil­la pud­ding mix (cook & serve, NOT instant)
  • 1 (3 oz) box tapi­o­ca pud­ding mix (IMPORTANT: Plain pearl tapi­o­ca will NOT work. It must be cook & serve tapi­o­ca pud­ding mix and the only brand I have ever seen is Jell‑O.)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (11 oz) can man­darin orange seg­ments, drained
  • 1 cup non-dairy whipped top­ping (I have nev­er tried home­made whipped cream in this sal­ad, but my sus­pi­cion is that it would not hold up in this recipe, chang­ing the tex­ture dramatically.)

Instructions

  1. Com­bine the gelatin, vanil­la pud­ding mix and tapi­o­ca pud­ding mix with the water in a medi­um sauce pan.
  2. Cook the mix­ture over medi­um heat, stir­ring fre­quent­ly to pre­vent stick­ing and scorching.
  3. Cook until the mix­ture boils and thickens.
  4. Pour the thick­ened gelatin mix­ture into a con­tain­er to cool and leave on the counter to come to room tem­per­a­ture before refrigerating. 
  5. When cooled to room tem­per­a­ture, cov­er the gelatin mix­ture and refrig­er­ate until com­plete­ly set.
  6. After the gelatin is firm­ly set (min­i­mum of 4 to 6 hours), stir in the non-dairy whipped top­ping and man­darin oranges.  Stir until thor­ough­ly inte­grat­ed into the sal­ad.  Sal­ad will be thick, but light and fluffy.
  7. Refrig­er­ate until ready to serve.

Notes

This sal­ad will need to be made at least 4 to 6 hours ahead.  Man­darin Orange Sal­ad can also be made up to 36 hours ahead to save time on the day of a big get-together.

  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Cat­e­go­ry: Sal­ads, Side Dishes
  • Method: Stove­top and Fridge
  • Cui­sine: Amer­i­can

Key­words: orange, man­darin, sal­ad, side dish

Mandarin Orange Salad

More Favorite Holiday Recipes

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Cranberry Apple Salad
Sweet Potato Casserole
Best 3‑Ingredient Slow Cooker Ham

10 thoughts on “Mandarin Orange Salad | 5‑Ingredient Simple”

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating