Layered Jell-O {4th of July Edition!}

Layered Jell-O is a fun treat that’s perfect for holidays because you can customize your colors. (Another fun one is our Glass Block Holiday Jello.) It’s fun to make in a rainbow of colors, or just a few, depending on your preference. Today we’re going with red, white, and blue for the 4th of July. Layered Jell-O combines layers of colored gelatin interspersed with layers of a sweet and creamy sweetened condensed milk gelatin layer. It’s both festive and delicious!

layered patriotic jello

Ingredient Notes

  • Flavored Jell-O – You’ll need four 3-ounce packages of Jell-O (your choice of colors).
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk – This creates your creamy white layers!
  • Unflavored Gelatin – This is used to solidify the creamy condensed milk layers. Unflavored gelatin is usually on the top shelf above the flavored varieties.
  • Sweetened Whipped Cream – Optional, but makes a great topping for serving!
  • Non-stick Cooking Spray – This helps the Jell-O release from the pan nicely once it has firmed up.

How To Make Layered Jell-O

Colored Layers: Your color layers are small boxes of Jell-O with additional unflavored gelatin mixed in. This keeps the layers firm for layering, but not too firm to enjoy!

Creamy Layer: This layer is made by combining sweetened condensed milk, water, and unflavored gelatin. It’s a sweet, creamy Jell-O- which might sound strange, but it is actually such a great compliment to the fruity layers.

Here’s what the process looks like:

  1. In a small mixing bowl you’ll mix one 3-ounce package of Jell-O with 1 1/4 teaspoons (1/2 a packet) of unflavored gelatin and dissolve it in 1 cup of boiling water. Pour this mixture into your 9×13 pan sprayed wtih cooking spray and place that pan on a level shelf in the refrigerator. Because the Jell-O layers are so thin, each one should be set rather quickly, in about 10-15 minutes.
  2. While your first layer of Jell-O is setting, you’ll make your sweetened condensed milk layer. This single batch will be the full amount and you’ll simply use one cup of it at a time between your colored layers.
  3. Each time you finish a layer and put it back into the fridge, you’ll start mixing your next layer. Letting it sit on the counter while your previous layer chills gives it a chance to cool off.
  4. When all 7 layers are complete (4 colored layers and 3 white layers) and have set up, carefully cut them into squares and serve!
layered patriotic jello

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this ahead of time?

You bet! Prepare the Jell-O in the pan and then store, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to serve. It’s good for a couple days at least! Cut as desired and enjoy!

Can I use sugar-free Jell-O?

Yep! Sugar-free, store brand, whatever you can find- as long as it’s the smaller sized packages, they will work here.

Can I make this dairy free?

You can buy coconut sweetened condensed milk. While I have not tried it personally, I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work in this recipe!


layered red white and blue jello

Layered Jell-O

5 from 5 votes
Mix and match colors you love for with layered Jell-O! Pretty to look at and fun to eat.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Refrigeration Time 1 day 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 day
Servings24 servings



  • 4 3 ounce packages of Jell-O align your flavor choices with the preferred holiday color scheme
  • 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 packets unflavored gelatin
  • boiling water we suggest keeping a tea kettle warm
  • Optional for topping: sweetened whipped cream or cool whip


  • Spray a 9×13″ pan with non-stick cooking spray and wipe out the excess with a paper towel. Set the pan aside.
  • Mix 1 package of Jell-O with 1 ¼ teaspoons (½ packet) of unflavored gelatin. Add 1 cup boiling water and stir to combine completely. Pour the first layer into the prepared pan and refrigerate in a completely level shelf of the fridge for 20 minutes.
  • While the first layer is setting, mix 1 cup boiling water with the can of sweetened condensed milk in a smallish-medium mixing bowl. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, sprinkle 2 packets of gelatin over ½ cup cold water. Allow it to stand for 2-3 minutes or until the gelatin has absorbed the water and it becomes grainy. When it is ready, add ½ cup boiling water and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Add the dissolved gelatin mixture to the sweetened condensed milk mixture and stir completely. Leave at room temperature.
  • When the first layer of Jell-O has set, carefully pour just 1 cup of the sweetened condensed milk mixture over the Jell-O layer and return the pan to the refrigerator. Chill for 15 minutes or until set.
  • After you return the pan to the refrigerator, repeat the Jell-O step (1 package Jell-O + 1 ¼ teaspoons unflavored gelatin + 1 cup boiling water). If you do it immediately after you put the pan back in the fridge, it should be room temperature by the time the sweetened condensed milk layer has set up. Pour it over the milk layer, chill, repeat with milk, then Jell-O, then milk, then Jell-O. You should begin and end with Jell-O layers and have 4 layers of Jell-O with 3 layers of milk in between. As you go, if the milk begins to set up, microwave it for 5-10 seconds to soften.
  • When the last layer has set up, carefully cut into cubes.  If you run your knife under hot water for a few seconds and then dry it, it will help make nice clean cuts. You can optionally top squares with some sweetened whipped cream or cool whip!


Whipped cream topping is included in nutritional value.
You’ll want to plan to make this 1 day ahead of time to allow time for all the layers to cool. The steps are very simple, but it does take some time.
If you run your knife under hot water for a few seconds and then dry it, it will help make nice clean cuts.


Serving: 24servings, Calories: 1kcal, Carbohydrates: 0.2g, Protein: 0.2g, Fat: 0.004g, Saturated Fat: 0.002g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.001g, Cholesterol: 0.01mg, Sodium: 1mg, Potassium: 0.2mg, Sugar: 0.2g, Vitamin A: 0.1IU, Vitamin C: 0.001mg, Calcium: 0.2mg, Iron: 0.002mg
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Keyword: layered jello
Calories: 1kcal
Author: Kate Jones
Cost: $5
Did You Make This Recipe?Snap a picture, and hashtag it #ourbestbites. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @ourbestbites!
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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. 5 stars
    This was time consuming yet easy, and really worth it! It was a big hit with both adults and kids, and I will use this recipe again with different colors for other holidays. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I wish I would have found this before Independence Day! Really phenomenal idea. When presented, it looks so difficult to make. Your guide makes it seem quite simple, though.

    Thanks for the great looking recipe!

  3. I have lost my original recipe, (daughter took it). I am used to making this with one large red layer with strawberries or rasberries and a blue layer with blueberries. It looks great in a clear pyrex dish. The white layer you gave recipe for is exactly the middle of this.

  4. How would these come out with sugar free jello? Husband got all excited when he saw an end cap of jello and didn’t realize he bought the sugar free stuff. Trying to use the stuff up! This looks fun enough my people might try it!

    1. I’m sure it would be fine! Let us know how it turns out if you try it!

    2. I commented above before I saw your post. Personally, the unsweetened Jell-O doesn’t set up as firmly as the original Jell-O so you might need to let each layer cool longer before adding the next layer or take more care pouring the next layer onto the previous layer. I’ve even seen recipes that stated that you should not use unsweetened Jell-O.

  5. I made this today & it looks really good, one suggestion that I have when pouring the second(third,fourth, fifth etc) layers pour the jello over the back of a spoon so it disperses more gently, my first layer got a little messed up but it was smooth sailing after that.

  6. Also works great if you skip the gelatin and just mix every other jello layer with the condensed milk. Those layers will come out paler but makes for pretty rainbow layed jello

  7. Thank you for the recipe! A note for your Readers – please DO be sure to let the first white layer cool to room temperature (as the recipe says) before pouring it in the pan. Otherwise, you will have a pink layer like I do – Ooops!!! =)

    1. I always seem to end up with one layer that breaks through even though I think I’ve let it cool to room temp. I always pour the new layer over a spoon or rubber spatula held just above the lady layer to spread out the force of the new layer hitting the old layer – confusing?

  8. You know, my mom always made this for Thanksgiving (a multi-colored version, 14 layers!) but she passed away before she was able to teach me how she made it. Thank you for putting this up. It brings back so many happy memories. 🙂

  9. This is so cool! Would be totally cute cut using a star cookie cutter!

  10. Growing up (and in true Mormon fashion), my mom always made a red, white & blue striped jello mold of the United States for the 4th of July. (My brother & I always fought over who got to eat Texas.) It still doesn’t feel like the 4th to me unless I have jello.

    Love your blog, guys. Keep it up!

  11. Beautiful! My question is why do you leave out the cold water? In my experience doing that I have never liked how thick the jello tastes with less water, just wondering if this is an issue with this recipe. Would it mess it up to add more water and just have thicker layers? Thanks!

    1. If you put more water, the jello won’t firm up as much. You would have to spoon it out onto plates, it would not hold its shape. This is basically the difference between plain jello and jello jigglers.

  12. 5 stars
    I made these for the first time and they were a hit and so simple, just takes a little time. I am planning on changing the colors up for many holidays to come. My kids loved peeling the layers apart. I even ate 2 squares and I really never eat Jell-o.


  13. I will have to try this. One of our Thanksgiving traditions is Rainbow Jello – similar to this but with a translucent layer and a whip cream opaque layer for each color – 8 layers total.

  14. 5 stars
    I made these for a church contest yesterday and won several prizes! They looked beautiful and tasted great. Thanks so much for a great recipe (and for making me look good =)

  15. These look so beautiful!! I’m making them for our 4th of July/my daughter’s 8th birthday party. How far in advance can I make them before they start to get yucky? By the way, I’m just taking the brownie crust out of the oven for the ice-cream cake (your mint choc chip ice-cream squares recipe!!) – I made it on Easter, and now everyone wants it for their birthday cake!! Thanks so much for all the fabulous recipes, girls!!

    1. Donna, you can definitely make it a day or two ahead of time. Enjoy the ice cream squares too!

  16. Boy am I happy you did this post! I had planned on making these and was not in the mood to sift through my recipe collection to find these. One question *no judgment, please!*- think I could make these into Jell-o… shots? Or will the texture (and not just my guests) get sloppy?

      1. 5 stars
        No worries- However, if anyone does drink, I added 1/4 c vodka per layer and it worked like a charm! 🙂 Thanks for the great and lovely recipe!

  17. I was just thinking yesterday that I would look around on your blog for one of the cool Jell-O recipes and make a patriotic version for next week… Thanks for saving me the trouble! Looks good!!

  18. how fun! I’m curious what the layer with the sweetened condensed milk tastes like? Is there anything to compare it to?

    1. It’s just sweet and creamy and neutral, kind of like a vanilla cream layer. It’s yummy, and Jello milk creeps me out, lol.

    1. For sure! They’d be adorable! I would probably let the Jell-O sit overnight and then warm up the cookie cutter first, though–that will help you get really pretty cuts.

  19. Approximately how long did this take you to make? I want to make this but I work full time so I want to make sure I have enough time to have each layer set!

    1. Once you get into the swing of things, it doesn’t really take that long–a couple of hours, tops, and that’s with lots of down time. The first 2 layers take the longest because you’re waiting for them to cool, but the rest of the time, the cooling happens while the Jell-O’s setting.

  20. Love this!! And so glad you linked back to the older post. I think I’m going to make the jumble squares with blue and white, and then this layered one with red and white… and then put them on a platter to look like a flag?!! Maybe thats going a little too far…

  21. Super cute! I love these festive patriotic posts! Hope you’re feeling good and getting close to having that baby…..