{Easy!} Creamy Fruit Mousse

I have always had a strong emotional connection to food, in the way that it ties family, traditions, and memories together.  Since my Mom doesn’t remember a lot of things, due to some serious health challenges, my siblings and I really cling to the food-centered traditions and memories she created when we were growing up, and this is one of them.  What’s funny is just like that ‘huge’ hill you used to bike down when you were a kid, that in reality is nothing more than a slight incline, so many of our food traditions were SO fancy and special and exciting as children, and now that I’m an adult, I’m surprised at how simple many of our favorites are.  This fruity mousse, for example (which in my family will forever and always be called “Peach-Jello-Fluff” no matter what flavor we’re making it).  When I dug up the recipe, and then texted my sister just to make sure I had it right, I was stunned at how easy it was.  The funny thing is that my Mom would make this in a worn-out tupperware container for an after-school snack, yet the very same recipe would fill little individual crystal bowls and be topped with a pillowy cloud of Cool Whip and adorn our Christmas and Easter tables with the fancy China and gold-plated flatware. This is one of those great recipes that can go from quick and casual, to special and fancy.  It’s such a great little treat to whip up when you’re short on time and ingredients, but want something fun and homemade.  It was a family favorite when I was a little girl, and now it’s a family favorite for my three boys.  It literally takes minutes to make and my kids think it’s soooo special, just like I did.

You can use any flavor of Jell-0 in this recipe.  Honestly, I’ve never made it with a flavor I didn’t like.  Lemon seems so fresh and springy, and since it was dumping snow at my house on the first day of spring, I’m desperately channeling “fresh-and-springy!”  You can also use a small box, or a large box of Jell-o, regular, or sugar free.  Aren’t we so nice to provide so many options for you?  I thought so.  I’m going to write this recipe out using a small box, but obviously, just double everything for a large box.

Start by dissolving Jell-o in one cup of boiling water.  Just give it a quick stir, it only takes a few seconds.

Pour the mixture into a blender and add 4 ounces of cream cheese.  You can use low-fat cream cheese, but I usually stay away from fat free for recipes.  The hot Jell-o will melt that cream cheese super fast and it will soon be a lovely pastel color.

When that’s blended, add a half cup of very cold water and pulse to combine.  Next up is half of an 8-ounce container of light, creamy Cool Whip.

Place it right in the blender and blend until the mixture is smooth- just a few seconds!

We’re already about done- what was that, like 2 1/2 minutes??  You can now pour the mixture into one large serving bowl, or into individual containers.  You know I always pick individual serving dishes!  At this point, just pop it in the fridge to chill.

After it’s chilled, it’s time for topping.  The quickest and easiest route is just to use a dollop of the remaining Cool Whip and you can even sprinkle on some citrus zest if you’re feeling fancy.

The mousse sets up like gelatin, but softer and creamier.  Combined with the fluffy topping, it’s a little cup of heaven (that only took you about 5 minutes of prep time!)

But let me show you how to make it even better.  My mom would top it with something extra special when we had it on the holiday table and it’s still my favorite way to eat it.  Take the remaining half of the block of cream cheese and beat it with a little powdered sugar, a splash of vanilla,

and some orange (or clementine!) zest and juice.

After that’s beaten until it’s smooth and creamy, fold in the remaining Cool Whip.  When you ‘fold’ something, it’s a process that helps keep the light and airy texture of something like egg whites, whipped cream, or in this case Cool Whip.  Take a spoonful and stir it in, just to lighten the mixture and then add the remainder.  At this point, don’t stir.  You want to use your spatula and cut down the middle of the mixture, scraping along the bottom of the bowl moving outward and then ‘fold’ it over the top of the mixture.  Continue doing this until it’s all folded in and combined.

At this point, feel free to add in extra orange juice for consistency.  The mousse is nice and light, so you want your topping to be light and spreadable.  Different brands of cream cheese have different consistencies, so you can adjust the orange juice accordingly.

Spread, dollop, or pipe the topping on the mousse just before serving.  I put the topping in a piping bag and used a jumbo swirl tip to pipe it on the top.  I reached instant super-mom status when my kids saw these little mini glasses with swirly cupcake-style topping.  A perfect example of how a really simple recipe, can be turned into something special and extra fun- all with presentation!

My boys asked me if we were having a party and their eyes lit up when I said, “Nope, I made them just for you!”

I love making these in a rainbow of colors; these would be great for an upcoming Easter meal in pretty pastels.

And speaking of rainbows- if you want to get really creative, let layers solidify in the fridge and then add another flavor on top.  This looks great in individual serving dishes and also larger ones where you can scoop out servings.

Any way you cut it (or scoop it!) this one is sure to be a pleaser with both kids and adults.  Enjoy!




woman in denim shirt holding a salad bowl
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. My mom used to make these for us! I was recenty asking her if she remembered how she made those parfait things. 🙂 I’m really glad you posted this. I couldn’t decide what I was taking to her house where my family gets together for easter. Easy Peasy! Thanks~

  2. If you live in a place where cool whip does not exist, Dream whip might work. It is a powder found near the Jello that whips up with milk and vanilla into a whipped topping. (I use it mixed with pudding for eclair filling)

  3. You had me at Jell-O.

    Really, I’m impressed. I love the last bit with the layering. I mean really, why not! I am such a sucker for layering of Jell-O. Nothing could be more beautiful. I really love you for posting this. It’s going to be so delicious!

  4. just made this with peach and grape jellos, delicious, even without the topping! The texture is perfect! We have a similar jello mousse recipe in brazil, but it’s made with jello, coconut cream and table cream (creme de leite).

    1. THAT sounds like Heaven!! I actually am not a jello lover, typically. I think it is so sweet. Not sure how that works since I am a sugar addict, lol, but I think the creme de leite & coconut cream sound very good in it. I made this recipe yesterday and it was a hit! ((I used key limes in the topping… hooly YUM))

  5. I use this as a filling with a graham gracker crust then top with cool whip and fresh fruit after it sets….just love this!

  6. I sure wish there was a way to include a picture when I print the recipe! It would help remind me of the recipe and how delicious that it looks!

    1. If you’d like a photo with the recipe you could try this: cut and paste the recipe onto a word document or email, and do the same with the photo over the recipe. Then send it to yourself.

  7. I just made these, and I used my own whipped cream (heavy cream + vanilla & powdered sugar to taste) and they are SO good!! 🙂

  8. Have either of you two ever heard of Jello 1,2,3 or was it some kind of rural New York thing for the poor farmers? You took hot liquid jello and used an electric mixer to beat the liquid til it made 3layers of liquid 1 regular and a foamy and the third layer other kind of frothy.

    1. Oh my goodness….Jello 1 2 3. was in my lunchbox every day. My mom made it for my brother and me. We LOVED it. It was a sad day in my house when they stopped making it. I think my mom stocked up on a year’s supply on the last shipment.

  9. This looks yummy and so easy – the best of both worlds. What do you think about using the flavored cool whip? They usually have a strawberry one soon and a french vanilla. Do you think it would make any difference flavor wise, as in make it even better or would it not really make any difference?

  10. OK, so I love the little serving glasses (both varieties). Where did you find them? I think anything served in those would feel “special”!

    1. Aren’t those fun Alicia? My kids LOVE anything I put in them! I got those ones at Pier One. They have all sorts of adorable mini-dishes. The mini trifles and mini glass mugs are to DIE for!

      1. Sara, I have the same glasses that you used (or exact replicas)! Alicia, look for Libbey’s Just Desserts or Just Cocktails glasses from their Just Tasting line. You can find them at Bed, Bath and Beyond as well as Smith’s Marketplace. I love the mini flare glasses and am always looking for something to put in them. I got my little trifle dishes from Walmart, of all places, for only $2 each!

  11. In place of the cream cheese we’ve always made these with two small containers of flavored yogurt. Its a good way to sneak a little ‘healthy’ into a yummy treat. When making this treat your immagination is the only obstacle, you really can’t mess this up. It is wonderful ~ I have used whipping cream in these while we were abroad and cool whip was hard to come by, but the texture changes no matter how stiff the cream. Stick with cool whip is you can~

  12. Question: If I used real whipping cream and froze them from a fun summer time treat (popsicle) do you think that would work?

    1. I’ve never tried it, but I don’t see why not. If you experiment, let us know how they turn out!

  13. I think in the printable version you forgot to put to fold in the remaining cool whip?? Maybe? Or maybe I am reading it totally wrong! This looks great and we will be having it this weekend! Could you sub real whipped cream?

    1. Oh thanks, nice catch! I only make this recipe with Cool Whip, so you’d have to experiment with any substitutions.

  14. This is PERFECT! My mother in law keeps on giving me jello, and I never use it, but I would definitely make this! You ladies are awesome!

  15. Yum! We make this a lot in the summer with a few changes, we sub yogurt for the cream cheese – and let the blender mix the hot water and jello – one less step 🙂 I might have to try this with cream cheese though – yum! I recently made this with blackberry jello and cherry yogurt. My niece couldn’t get enough of it.

    1. I put it all in the blender sometimes too, but because of the square shape of my pitcher, I sometimes end up with little globs of undissolved gelatin in the corners so I stir it first!

  16. Holy cow! I can’t believe how fun and easy these are! They are beautiful, too. My family would be thrilled if I made them. It gives me some great ideas for our Easter-weekend-family-get-together.

  17. One question: In the paragraph where you are explaining how to make the special topping, it says “After that’s beaten until it’s smooth and creamy, fold in the remaining ” Remaining what? 🙂 (my guess is the remaining cool whip) This looks like so much fun. I love fun jello recipes. Thanks!

    1. Yep, Cool Whip 🙂 The words are all there on all of my devices so I’m not sure why you can’t see it!

  18. I don’t eat Cool Whip but I will definitely try it with whipped cream and see if it works!

  19. I have food memories with my mother too! Which is ironic, because she didn’t really cook much. But I remember her tater tot casserole (crazy easy) and cheeseburger meatloaf (again…ridiculously easy) were big treats when we were growing up!

    As for this beauty, never heard of it before, but I can already see serving it up as dessert for my Mother’s Day Lunch this year in a big torte bowl. I need to find a big torte bowl!

  20. I love this!! My mom made something similar, but she didn’t beat it smooth, so it was more speckled looking. So pretty for easter!!

  21. Oh my goodness, what a fabulous recipe! So festive, pretty and fun. And delicious too, of course! Thanks for this great recipe.

  22. I cannot wait to make these for my littles and see their eyes light up with delight, too!

  23. I would love to make these but live in Australia and we don’t have cool whip here!! Do you have any other suggestions??? They look so good;)

    1. Charlotte, Cool Whip is a brand of non-dairy whipped topping. In the states, it’s found in the freezer section of the grocery store. If you live in a country that doesn’t carry Cool Whip (how sad! ;)) You *might* be able to sub fresh sweetened whipped cream, but honestly, Cool Whip works better- and is much easier, so you’d just have to experiment to see if it worked.