Creamy, Mandarin Orange Fluff is not too sweet and a delicious accompaniment to a meal. But is it a salad or a dessert?
I think the answer is it can be both. For some people it is a salad. For others it is definitely a dessert.
To me it is an amuse-bouche for your meal, a small dab on a dinner plate to add fun and novelty. Think… ham dinner… and it then makes sense to serve it alongside the ham to complement the saltiness of the meat.
No doubt the versatility of fluff salads and desserts is what has made them popular for decades. But they definitely gained in popularity with the introduction of Cool Whip whipped topping in 1966. The convenience of a ready-made whipped cream product, plus the sweet flavor and creamy texture of Cool Whip is perfect for fluffs.
In the late eighties I was told by a food marketing specialist that Cool Whip was the most successful, newly launched food product ever. It was so popular that stores could not keep it in stock!
So, enough history… let’s take a closer look at what might be called a perfect side dish.
About Fluff Recipes
The general recipe for a fluff contains five ingredients:
- Dairy (cream cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt)
- Fruit Flavored Gelatin (Jell-o)
- Whipped Topping (Cool Whip)
- Fruit (canned, fresh, or thawed frozen)
- Mini Marshmallows
As you can see, all you have to do is change the flavor of the gelatin and pair it with a fruit and your fluff has an entirely different flavor!
If you do a little research, you will find that most versions of orange fluff contain cottage cheese for the dairy ingredient and include canned pineapple in addition to the mandarin orange segments.
I personally don’t care for cottage cheese in this recipe, and I don’t think the canned pineapple adds anything other than to make the fluff sweeter.
So, my version uses Greek yogurt for the dairy ingredient. I like it for its creamy texture plus it is lower in calories and sodium than cottage cheese.
I also do not add the canned pineapple. To me orange fluff should only contain oranges and orange flavors. I promise you will not miss the pineapple at all!
The ingredients for Mandarin Orange Fluff are: plain Greek yogurt, whipped topping, mandarin oranges, orange gelatin, and fruit flavored mini marshmallows.
Before you begin to make the orange fluff, be sure to take the frozen whipped topping out of the freezer and let it thaw. You can thaw it on your countertop for about an hour or place it in the refrigerator the night before you make the fluff.
Next, drain the mandarin oranges and gather all of the ingredients and your tools. I have found that a dry goods measuring cup is handy to measure the Greek yogurt and a liquid measuring cup is great for the mini marshmallows.
Step 1 - Use a wire whisk to mix the Greek yogurt and orange gelatin in a large mixing bowl.
Step 2 - Whisk in the thawed whipped topping and beat well until all is well combined.
No streaks of orange or white should show, when the yogurt, gelatin, and whipped topping are well combined.
Step 3 - Fold in the drained mandarin oranges and pastel mini marshmallows.
Step 4 - Cover the bowl and refrigerate the orange fluff dessert at least 2 hours.
After chilling the Mandarin Orange Fluff can be served in a bowl for buffets or casual dinners or portioned out in small cups and garnished with whipped topping, a mandarin orange, and a sprig of mint.
I think the Greek yogurt gives just the right amount of tartness to offset the sweetness of the orange gelatin. But you might like your orange fluff to be a bit sweeter or you might like it even less sweet.
❤️ SUBSTITUTE COTTAGE CHEESE - for the Greek yogurt for a sweeter flavor and an increase in texture. If you want a smoother texture, put the cottage cheese in a food processor and pulse until the cottage cheese is smooth.
❤️ SUBSTITUTE SOUR CREAM - for the Greek yogurt for a less sweet flavor.
Bunny Treat Variation
Another way to serve orange fluff is in small cake style ice cream cones. I decorated these cones with white candy melts and pastel sprinkles. You will need a few more ingredients to make these adorable cones.
The additional ingredients for the bunny treat cones are: white candy melts, small cake style ice cream cones, marshmallow bunnies, sprinkles, jelly beans, and tooth picks.
The steps to make the bunny cones are:
- Melt the white candy melts.
- Dip the cones in the white coating.
- Roll the cones in the sprinkles.
- Let the cones dry.
- Fill the cones with Mandarin Orange Fluff.
- Garnish each cone with a Peeps marshmallow bunny and a few candies.
Follow the package directions to melt the white candy. Let the candy cool slightly so that it is not runny. Dip each cone and let any excess candy drip off. Then, let the cone sit for a few minutes before pressing the rim into the sprinkles.
Pressing the edge of the cone sideways into the sprinkles gives good sprinkle coverage.
Let the cones dry for about an hour before filling them with the mandarin orange fluff.
Decorate each cone with a Peeps marshmallow bunny. A toothpick inserted into the bunny lets you secure the bunny into the cone filling. Add a few small jelly beans to the side of the bunny.
The dipped cones also make an adorable treat for other gatherings. To make these treats I used a small cookie scoop to top off the filled and decorated cones.
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Mandarin Orange Fluff
- 2 Cups Plain Greek Yogurt
- 1 Package Orange Gelatin, Small Package - 3 Ounces
- 8 ounces Frozen Whipped Topping, Thawed
- 14 Ounces Mandarin Oranges, 1 Can - Drained
- 2 Cups Fruit Flavored Pastel Mini Marshmallows, ½ of a 10 Ounce Package
- Whipped Topping
- Mandarin Orange Segments
- Fresh Mint Leaves
- Use a wire whisk to mix the Greek yogurt and orange gelatin in a large mixing bowl.
- Whisk in the thawed whipped topping and beat well until all is well combined.
- Fold in the drained mandarin oranges and pastel mini marshmallows.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate the orange fluff dessert at least 2 hours.
- If desired, garnish each serving with a dollop of whipped topping, a mandarin orange segment, and some fresh mint leaves.