Rainbow Jello Recipe

by Melissa
Rainbow -Jello -Recipe-and Tutorial-13 layered Jello Recipe

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Taste the rainbow with this colorful Jello. Rainbow Jello is a fun side dish for St. Patrick’s Day, Thanksgiving Dinner. or just a regular Sunday dinner. The flavors of the gelatin come together so perfectly, creating a refreshing compliment to a heavy, comfort meal. 

Rainbow- Jello- Recipe

The Famous Rainbow Jello

Rainbow Jello (or 13-layer Jello as it is sometimes called) is a favorite at our house. You see…

My mom was famous for this jello. For nearly every extended family gathering whether it be a baby blessing, reunion, Thanksgiving dinner, or holiday party, relatives would requested that my mom bring her Famous Rainbow Jello.

She happily obliged. Sure, the process to make Rainbow Jello was a bit time-consuming, but it was worth it for the taste and the oohs-and-ahs it would create every.single.time.

Related: Lucky Lime Jello Popcorn 

Perfect for Special Occasions

Since my mom passed away when I was 15, she can no longer be the famous Rainbow Jello creator. And even though I’m not the biggest Jell-o fan (I only eat it at Thanksgiving and Christmas), I love making Rainbow Jello because I feel closer to her. And by golly, it tastes SO good as a side for Thanksgiving dinner.

Rainbow Jello is a fun side dish for Thanksgiving, family parties, or special holidays or parties including St. Patrick’s Day or a Rainbow Party!

A Few Disclaimers

I’ll tell you up front, this recipe is not the quickest one in the world. You’ll need a good chunk of time (about 4 hours) from start to finish. But before you close out of this post, let me tell you this:

It will be worth it.

Plus, it won’t take 4 hours of hands-on time. You’ll need a few minutes here and a few minutes there to add each layer on after the previous one sets. You can start this days in advance and just add to the Jello when you have time.

Although it takes time, this rainbow jello recipe is simple!

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The good news…. you can start making this Rainbow Jello a few days before your holiday or party. You can do a layer here and a layer there while you are already in the kitchen.

Ok, first, let’s take a look at how pretty this jello is! I especially love this jello on Thanksgiving because I love how the bright colors add some cheeriness to an otherwise bleak November.

Rainbow -Jello -Recipe-and Tutorial-13 layered Jello Recipe

What You Need to Make Rainbow Jello

You’ll need 6 boxes of Jell-o or flavored gelatin. You can buy Jell-o or the store-brand. It doesn’t matter. Some store-brands don’t come in all the flavors, so chances are you’ll have to have a variety of brands.

If you plan to make a regular 9×13 pan size, you will only need a 3 oz. box of the following flavors: Cherry, Orange, Lemon, Lime, Berry Blue, and Grape.

Tip: I’ve noticed that some big box stores don’t carry Berry Blue gelatin, so be sure to grab some when you see it so you aren’t running around like crazy to find it when you need it!


My mom’s recipe calls for sour cream for the lighter color layers. You are welcome to sub the sour cream for greek yogurt if you prefer.  And then you’ll need whipping cream or Cool Whip for the top.

In review, this is what you need:

  • 3 oz box gelatin including orange, red, yellow, green, blue, purple
  • water
  • glass measuring cup like my favorite glass measuring cup
  • 9×13 pan- preferably glass so you can see the pretty layers!
  • 2 cups greek or vanilla yogurt or sour cream
  • 8 oz fresh whipped cream or frozen whipped topping

What if I want to double the recipe?

My mom would always double the recipe when she made rainbow jello. Everyone loves this, so she would double the recipe (using a 6 oz. box of gelatin in each color) and use a large roasting pan as opposed to a 9×13. Of course, you can do 2 9×13 pans, but if you want to save time, use a big pan.

For a double batch, use a pan like this inexpensive one.

Which order should you layer the Jello?

This question is asked often, and truth be told, it doesn’t really matter.

My mom would make it with the yellow layer first, but I’ve ordered it like the rainbow using the ROYGBV order. I find it easier to remember with that fancy acronym. Haha.

  1. Red
  2. Orange
  3. Yellow
  4. Green
  5. Blue
  6. Violet

You can easily remember the order by memorizing ROYGBV. Feel free to do the opposite direction, meaning you could start with purple and end with red.

Right before you serve your Jello, add a layer of fresh whipped cream or Cool Whip for the 13th layer!

Click here for a Step-by-Step Rainbow Jello Tutorial 

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Here’s the Recipe!

Rainbow -Jello -Recipe-and Tutorial-13 layered Jello Recipe

Marilyn’s Famous Rainbow Jello

  • Prep Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Yield: 9x13 pan- 24 squares 1x


Taste the rainbow with this 13-layer rainbow jello! It’s easy to make and great for holiday dinners, St. Patrick’s Day, or parties!



  • 3 oz box of jello in the following flavors: lemon, lime, orange, cherry or raspberry, blueberry, and grape.
  • 1 cup boiling water for each flavor
  • 2 cups sour cream or greek yogurt
  • 12 Tbsp cold water
  • whipped cream or cool whip topping


  1. Spray 9×13 pan and set aside.
  2. The key is to make one layer at a time.
  3. Start with red. Boil 1 cup water and add it to the cherry jello powder. Stir will. Then, divide that in half into 2 bowls.
  4. To one half, add 2 Tbsp. cold water.
  5. To the other half, add 1/3 cup sour cream and mix until incorporated.
  6. Pour the cherry gelatin with cold water into the pan.
  7. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
  8. Then pour the red jello with sour cream onto the first red layer.
  9. *Then, you will just repeat for all the layers. You can do them in any order, but I prefer red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet.

To recap: 1st layer: red jello with water; refrigerate 20 minutes; 2nd layer: red jello with sour cream; refrigerate 20 minutes; 3rd layer: orange jello with water; refrigerate 20 minutes; 4th layer: orange jello with sour cream; refrigerate 20 minutes.

  1. Repeat for all layers. Right before serving, top with cool whip or whipped cream.
  2. *Make sure the jello you are adding is cool so that it won’t melt the previous layer. To speed up the process, you can make two flavors at a time and let the other one cool while the first one is setting up.

  • Category: Side dishes

Keywords: jello, rainbow jello


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Ashlyn November 18, 2018 - 6:09 am

My grandma would always make this On Christmas Eve with a red/green pattern. We call it Christmas jello! So yummy!

sofestivemel November 26, 2018 - 2:10 pm

i love that!


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