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Looking for an easy spring or Easter dessert? These Pastel Rainbow Gelatin Cups are simple, kid-friendly, and so beautiful! Serve them plain, or top them with whipped cream and sprinkles!
Thank you to International Delight for sponsoring this post
Pastel Rainbow Jello Recipe
Rainbow gelatin is a great way to make a somewhat boring dessert exciting. (Sorry, gelatin, but it’s true!) Plain gelatin cups are a snooze. But rainbow gelatin cups? Rainbow gelatin cups are a party!
These pastel gelatin cups are inspired by the immensely popular Easter No-Bake Mini Cheesecakes. They’re always one of SugarHero’s top spring recipes, and many people love them and request similar recipes. We also get requests from people who don’t like cheesecake, but still want to get in on the springtime rainbow fun. So here we go—a pretty striped pastel treat, no cream cheese required!
Getting the Perfect Gelatin Texture
These Pastel Rainbow Gelatin Cups are as delicious as they are beautiful. They feature five—FIVE!!—creamy, fruity layers, all stacked together in single-serving cups and topped with lots of whipped cream and sprinkles.
It took a little fiddling to figure out how to strike the perfect balance between getting a pretty pastel color, not overwhelming the fruity flavor of the gelatin, and making sure that the texture was neither too soft nor too rubbery. (Because no one, in the history of the world, has ever asked for their dessert to be more rubbery, right?)
How to Make Pastel Rainbow Gelatin Cups
Contrary to their layered appearance, making these 5-colored gelatin cups is really easy! The only tricky part is budgeting enough time, because you will need to briefly chill the cups in between each color. But as far as assembly itself, it couldn’t be simpler. Here’s how it all goes down:
- Pour 5 different colors of flavored gelatin into 5 different bowls, and whisk hot water into each bowl.
- Let the bowls cool to room temperature, then whisk in yogurt and creamer (or milk)
- Add a few tablespoons of your first color to each glass, then refrigerate the glasses for 15 minutes, or freeze for 7-8
- Repeat with the remaining colors, chilling between each color
- After the final color, refrigerate for at least 4 hours, so the cups are completely set
- Top with whipped cream and cute sprinkles, and serve!
Tips and Questions About Pastel Rainbow Jell-o Cups
What Gelatin Should I Use for Pastel Rainbow Gelatin Cups?
The gelatin I used was typical fruit-flavored gelatin you can find in any grocery store. I tried several brands (both Jell-o and store brands) and they all worked well, so feel free to buy whatever’s available. I did experiment with sugar-free gelatin, which also works, but be aware that the weight of the gelatin package is different (due to the sugar substitute used) so the recipe is written with standard gelatin, to keep things as simple as possible.
I also used standard flavors, with one exception. The regular strawberry and raspberry flavors available all produced a bright pink color—not pastel enough for me—so I used a “natural” strawberry lemonade variety I found, made with natural food coloring. This color was much softer and gave me a nice subtle pink. If you can’t find something similar, your pink color might be brighter than mine. I found the natural flavor at my local Target, and it was made by Jell-o.
How Do I Make the Gelatin Actually Look Pastel?
Here’s the secret for turning bright gelatin pastel: dairy!! You need an opaque dairy product to make that soft pastel color.
My secret weapons for pastel-izing gelatin were vanilla yogurt, and International Delight Sweet Cream coffee creamer. These mellowed the strong fruit flavor of the gelatin, while also giving it a creamier texture and making it a beautiful soft, opaque color.
You can use another yogurt flavor if you’d like—plain works fine, or another fruit-friendly flavor, like coconut, would probably be very good. If you like your desserts a little tangy, try swapping in sour cream instead of yogurt!
The International Delight Sweet Cream coffee creamer I used was a really nice addition to the other flavors. It has a subtle taste that’s almost like melted vanilla ice cream, and it was perfect for complementing the various fruity flavors. I also tried it with French Vanilla and White Chocolate Raspberry, and both of those worked well too.
Can’t find International Delight creamer?
If you can’t find the recommended creamer, you can use an equal amount of milk in the recipe instead.
Can I Make These In Advance?
Yes! Gelatin is a GREAT make-ahead dessert. You can make them up to a week in advance. The biggest problem with gelatin desserts in general is that the top dries out and gets rubbery, so be sure that you individually wrap each cup well, to keep the tops from getting dry.
The other concern with these cups is the dairy used. Be sure that you use fresh yogurt (and milk, if you’re substituting milk) so that spoiling dairy is not a concern if you’re making them in advance. I recommend decorating them within a few hours of when you plan to serve them–the whipped cream decorations will not hold up to prolonged storage.
Can I Make A Rainbow Jell-O Cake Instead?
Would you rather make a large rainbow gelatin cake instead of individual gelatin cups? You can do that too! You have a couple choices—you can use a square or rectangular baking dish, or a bundt pan.
If you use a bundt pan, make sure you grease it well, and after the gelatin is completely set, the pan can be inverted and the gelatin popped out, just like a cake. Cut that baby into slices and enjoy!
If you use a 9×9 or 9×13 baking dish, you can cut the gelatin up into small squares and serve like little happy appetizers. The smaller pan will produce big tall pieces, while the pieces from the larger pan will be much thinner. This is a good choice if you want to stretch the serving size or if you’re making this for young children.
Ready to learn how to make this dessert? It’s so easy! I hope you’ll give them a try, and share a picture in the comments or in our Facebook group if you do!
MORE PASTEL RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE:
Pastel Rainbow Gelatin Cups
- 3.75 cups water divided use
- 5 (3 oz) packages flavored gelatin I used purple, blue, red, yellow, and green (see Note below)
- 1.25 cups International Delight Sweet Cream coffee creamer divided use
- 2.5 cups vanilla yogurt divided use
- Whipped cream for topping
- Sprinkles or other decorations
- If you are using individual glasses, set your 12 glasses on a baking sheet. If you are using a cake pan or bundt pan, spray it lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
- For each layer, you will use one 3-oz gelatin package, ¾ cup boiling water, ¼ cup International Delight Sweet Cream coffee creamer, and ½ cup vanilla yogurt.
- Pour each 3-oz package of gelatin into its own medium bowl. Add ¾ cup boiling water to each bowl, and whisk well, for about 30-60 seconds each, to make sure all of the gelatin granules are dissolved.
- The gelatin needs to be room temperature before you can add the dairy components. Most of the layers can sit at room temperature and cool, but you can speed up the process for the first layer and refrigerate it for 10-15 minutes, until it is no longer warm. It should not be starting to set, but it should feel neutral to the touch. If it has started to set around the edges, microwave it for just 10 seconds or so, then whisk well so that it is completely fluid.
- Add ¼ cup of International Delight Sweet Cream coffee creamer and ½ cup of vanilla yogurt to the bowl, and whisk well, until you have a smooth, creamy pastel mixture. Divide it evenly between your glasses, using about 2 TBSP per glass. (If you are using a large pan, pour the entire contents into the bottom of the pan.)
- Place the tray of glasses into the refrigerator to set, for about 15 minutes. (If you’re in a hurry, you can place it in the freezer for about 8 minutes, but don’t let it freeze completely!) Note that the timing might be slightly different if you are using a cake or bundt pan. When you touch the top of the gelatin with your finger, it should feel mostly set, but it’s okay if your finger leaves a slight mark in the top.
- Once the first layer is set, make sure that the gelatin for the second layer is room temperature, then whisk in the creamer and yogurt. Pour the second color on top of the first, and chill again for 15 minutes, until mostly set.
- Continue to repeat this process with the remaining 3 colors. The gelatin that you mixed up in the beginning should be fine sitting at room temperature, but if you find that it does start to set around the edges, microwave it briefly and whisk well to make sure it’s fluid before adding the dairy.
- After all 5 colors have been layered, refrigerate the cups for at least 4 hours before serving, to make sure they’re set all the way through.
- Top each cup with a swirl of whipped cream, and whatever sprinkles or other decorations you’d like! These Pastel Rainbow Gelatin Cups keep very well in the refrigerator, so you can prepare them several days in advance and wrap them in plastic wrap, so the tops don’t dry out, until you’re ready to decorate and serve them.