Jello Layers

Bring this colorful dessert to your next party. Guaranteed to be a hit!

jello layers party tray

Whenever I find jello layers offered at parties, I find that it is one of the most popular dishes. Kids AND adults love it equally and you can never have enough to go around. There’s just something fun about eating this beautiful multi-layered dessert. And c’mon, there’s always room for jello!

Time and Space

Now this seems like a no-brainer of a recipe so why am I sharing this? I’ll tell you why…it’s because I needed it for myself. I thought that this is one thing that should be super easy to make. Turns out, I was wrong. You do need some instruction to get it right. Don’t ask me how I know.

Anyway, after having made it several times, I’ll tell you this is one dessert that you have to make in advance. It might seem like a lot of time but it’s really mostly wait time and if you are doing other things, it’s just making sure you have a timer set so you don’t forget about it.

Jello layers need to be a little firmer than regular jello to be able to hold its shape when you serve it. Therefore, you need to add gelatine to the jello. Also, you should add less water than called for to make the jello layers. Now, when you do this the jello will be much sweeter. To balance the sweetness, your milk layers should not contain any sugar. That will help to create the perfect balance for the jello layers.

The other thing you will need to know is that you will need room in your fridge to fit your jello dish. If your fridge if full, don’t start on this dessert. Make room first.

Alright, now that you have some ideas of what is needed, let’s get to the making of this popular dessert.

jello layers party platter

Jello Layers recipe

4 different flavors of Jello (try to choose the ones that are different colored—I like strawberry/raspberry, lime, blueberry, and orange). If you do have two similar colors, just don’t layer them next to each other.
5 Knox gelatine packages
3 cups milk, divided
6 cups water, divided

1. Open first flavor of Jello. Add 1/2 cup hot water to the jello powder. Stir until the crystals are dissolved. Add half a packet of Knox gelatine. Stir to incorporate gelatine well (until all dissolved). Add 1 more cup of cold water (this helps it set faster). Pour into your jello dish (I use my pyrex rectangle dish) and cool in fridge.
2. While cooling, start milk layer. Start with 1/3 cup cold milk. To that, add 1 packet of Knox gelatine (yes, I know you have a half one open already, don’t worry, you’ll be using that later). Stir until gelatine has dissolved. Add another 2/3 cup milk to the mix. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir to ensure that all the gelatine has dissolved into the milk. Cool for about 5 minutes.
3. Remove the jello dish with the first layer from fridge. Your jello should be just set. If it’s not set, put it back to harden more. If it’s set, gently pour the milk layer on (make sure that your milk layer is not too hot so that it doesn’t melt the first layer). Put back in the fridge to cool.
4. Now repeat steps 1-3 with the next 3 flavors of jello. At the end, you should have 7 layers total. If you are lazy, you can get away with 3 flavors and 2 layers of milk but if you do, use 1 whole package of knox gelatine for the first layer (so you don’t end up with a half package of unused gelatine).
5. Refrigerate the jello layers for at least several hours to really firm it up before serving. I recommend you make this at least one day before you plan to serve it. Once the last layer is on and cooled, just cover the dish and leave in your fridge till you’re ready to serve.
6. When ready to serve, remove from fridge and cut into cubes or diamond-shaped pieces and arrange on a platter.

jello layers backlit


Cheers, Annie

Other Jello layers recipes on: Ono Kine Grindz, Do Better, The Food Librarian, Recipe Girl, One Ordinary Day

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25 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Chris says:

    They look so pretty!!! I’ll keep this dish in mind for the next party. :-D

  2. renee says:

    Could you please post the recipe for the pink and white jello in te picture.


  3. Claire says:

    How pretty! I make this 7-layer finger jello with condensed milk and my Malaysian friends think it’s Kuih lapis jello! What did you do to make the pink and cream colored ones?

  4. LOL, oh, this is soooooo Hawaii! Rainbow jello! I used to make this for potlucks at school all the time. Aw, this made me all nostaglic for it although I haven’t eaten rainbow jello in years. I’ll tell you a secret: when I used to make it for school potlucks, I was very impatient so I used the freezer! Something about the gelatin keeps the water content of the jello from hardening. Also, I only kept it in the freezer during the layering process, but returned it to the refrigerator to let everything settle.

  5. SharleneT says:

    Now, this is my idea of fun in the kitchen! Thanks for the great tips and techniques! Come visit when you can…

  6. GG says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I saw it being served at a party one time but when I got to it, it was all gone. It looks the same so I think it must be the same recipe or close enough.

  7. Jenny says:

    My neighbor makes this for parties and it’s a big hit! Grownups and kids alike all will immediately try to take the layers apart. A few years a mom at school was telling me about her son’s baseball coach and his amazing 7-layer jello and I knew immediately who she was referring to. The colors are gorgeous and it’s delicious, so much better than regular jello.

  8. Peng says:

    Just wondering…how much gelatine is in one Knox package? I can’t get Knox here. Thanks.

  9. Annie says:

    @Peng–I packet of Knox gelatine is equivalent to 0.25 oz or 1 Tablespoon. So half of that would be 1/2 Tablespoon. Hope that helps.

  10. Jeannie says:

    Lovely colours, sure to tempt the kids and adults alike at parties.

  11. Cindy says:

    Oh looks great! I am so glad I stumbled upon your website today. I am definitely making this for my get-together with some friends next week :o) Thanks!

  12. Kathleen says:

    These jello are so pretty!!! I have a party to go to on X’mas day and I am definitely tempted to make this to ‘wow’ the crowd! LOL… by the way, I have never tasted any jello layer before. Is it better than the regular agar agar in Malaysia? I only tried the regular Jello.

    p.s. thanks for highlighting 1 pack of gelatin = 1 tablespoon. I have some gelatin and it comes in one bottle of loose powder.

    Thanks for the recipe.

    Cheers! n.. Merry Christmas!

  13. Beatrice says:

    Hi Annie, Merry X’mas and Happy New Year!
    Thanks for your Jello Layers recipe. I tried making it with the packets of jelly sold in supermarkets and I added gelatine into it – it didn’t set. I wonder whether jelly and the jello you mentioned is the same. The one that I bought i just need to add boiling water only, it has flavour and sugar in it already.
    The milk portion turns out very well and it was floating in the jelly.

  14. Liz Nena says:

    I came across your post while searching for new recipes…I love your post! OMG!!!! Thank you for sharing all these wonderful recipes & ideas. I got a few I’d like to try myself. For this jello treat…I have always wondered how the heck its made…and how the layers came together so beautifully..Thank goodness for Knox :))) You guys are great! woohoo :)))

  15. Ruth says:

    THANK YOU!!! I remember this dish from my childhood; its a closely guarded secret of one of the “Aunties”. I truly appreciate you sharing this (and I’m sure all the other wonderful) recipe with this coconut. I wish I knew how to cook the wonderful Filipino dishes the way my father did! THANK YOU & GOD BLESS.

  16. Ruth says:

    I tried making this dish; everything set up nicely but the bottom/red (raspberry/strawberry?) layer. It ended up looking quite horrid. :( Not sure why/if I’ll have to use 2 envelopes of Knox to the 1 box (81/2 servings) of the red layer …? Any input would be appreciated.

  17. Ruth says:

    BTW, would you please consider posting the recipe for the pink & cream layered dessert as well? It looks beautiful, and I’m sure is quite tasty as well.

  18. Milly says:

    hey just wondering if you need to use the milk because some of my friends don’t like/ can’t have milk

    • Nate says:


      thanks for your question.

      The milk layers help you to see the distinct color layers. If you can’t use cow’s milk, try soy milk instead. Or just leave it out.

  19. olivia says:

    What flavor is the pink and white jello?


  20. krish says:

    Hi all
    Do we need to add gelatin to store-bought jelly packets?
    The one I bought, just need to add boiling water and cold water into it.

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My Photo Annie is mistress of the kitchen while Nate is the master of the grill and smoker. We cook the homestyle Asian and Hawaiian foods of our younger days while also exploring the wider worlds of Western foods.

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