Friday, November 28, 2014

Recipe: Coke Salad (you asked for it!)

I was probably legally old enough to drive before I found out that "normal*" people don't know what Coke Salad is.  Or that if you try to find the recipe, "normal" people call it Bing Cherry Salad.

pfffttt...  "normal people".......

Some fun facts about Coke Salad, as far as our family** goes:

  • It's at almost all holidays, and if it's not there, you're going to find some disappointed people (my husband).  
  • Each branch of the family probably knows who makes it best (an un-named source has said that Tina makes the best Coke Salad).  
  • There is disagreement over whether or not it should be girl Coke Salad or boy Coke Salad.  At my house, we don't add nuts, so it's girl Coke Salad.  I hear that Loretta puts finely chopped walnuts in her Coke Salad (slowly shaking head in disgrace).
  • There's also the subtle nuances of which Jell-o to use (cherry vs black cherry) and which cola to use (Coke vs Pepsi vs Dr. Pepper; regular vs diet; regular vs cherry), and of course, pineapple tidbits vs crushed pineapple (Tina says tidbits, so that's what I use).  
  • Many of us have attempted to spread the Coke Salad phenomenon to our in-laws with varying degrees of success.  Tina's nephew is a Coke Salad junkie, but when I brought it to an event for Jeff's family, no one even commented on it.  I was dumbfounded...
  • And, as I've recently found out, it's not at all photogenic.

So, what is Coke Salad?  Here's the recipe for this Jell-o salad from Heaven:

Coke Salad

1 large box of cherry Jell-o
1 can dark cherries; retain juice
1 can pineapple tidbits (or crushed, or I guess even chunks, but I used tidbits); retain juice
1 block cream cheese
2 cups cold cola of your choice - if you're traditional, use Coke

  • Open your cans of fruit and pour the juices out - you'll need 2 cups total.  If you're using crushed pineapple, I find it's helpful to set a colander on the 8-cup Pyrex measuring cup/bowl, pour in the pineapple, and smoosh it down with a potato masher, to get all the juice out. If you end up with less than 2 cups, just add enough water to get up to 2 cups.
  • Boil the juices.  But be careful with that because I've boiled the juices over in the microwave more times than I care to admit.  Don't ask...
  • Add the boiling juice to the Jell-o powder, stirring to dissolve.  The box says 2 minutes.
  • Put it in the fridge for a while to let it get a little thicker.  Like 20 minutes or so (I can't actually find my written down recipe; can you tell?).
  • While the Jell-o is chillin' in the fridge, cut the cherries in half.  You can go ahead and cube up the cream cheese too.  Cutting the cream cheese is my least favorite part of this process because it's all sticky and gets soft and argh!
  • When the Jell-o has thickened a little (not set!), add the cola, fruit, and cheese.  
  • Stir.  
  • Refrigerate until set.  
  • Enjoy immensely.

Now, there is a fundamental flaw to Coke Salad.  That flaw is that the cream cheese rises to the top, so if you're like, 5th or 6th in line to get Coke Salad, and the people in front of you were greedy, or thoughtless, or, well, me, you'll be left with cream cheese-less Coke Salad, and that is not ideal.  Here's what I do to avoid that:

  • While the Jell-o is chilling, in your serving dish, layer half of your fruit, then half of the cream cheese, the rest of the fruit, and the rest of the cream cheese.  What's nice is that the weight of the layers will hold half of the cream cheese towards the bottom!  And then don't stir it,  It's worked well in the few times I've done that. 
So, what do you think?  Sound good?  If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

Coke Salad, taking over the world one family at a time...

*True story:  If you ask the members of my family, most of us will admit that we're really not "normal."  We have our own brand of craziness (i.e. humor) that really intensifies the more of us that gather.  In fact, there have been times when we were in public, and I think if I'd asked others around us, they would have thought we were drunk (never).  And there was at least once that I honestly thought we were going to get thrown out of a restaurant for being rowdy***.
**And for the purpose of this blog post, "our family" refers to my Mom's side of the family tree.
***It was when Loretta & Andy & the kids were traveling to West Virginia.  Lunch at a place right by the Oglesby off-ramp.  It was them, me, Sharon, Susana, Marcos, & Marcos Alan.  And we were seated at a big table in the middle of the dining room.  All the other diners kept looking at us, and the manager was basically circling our table.  I was having as much fun hanging out with them as I was watching everyone else.  Funniest thing ever.


  1. Thank you Kristin!! I can't wait to try it...might have to wait until we go to Anchorage so I can get all the ingredients!

  2. Fun facts debunked:

    1) I am ashamed to admit that I did NOT serve coke salad at this year's Thanksgiving dinner. Upon admitting that, I will prob. be thrown out of the family. Which most outsiders would prob. wonder why I would find that so bad. But they aren't our brand of "un-normal" they wouldn't understand.

    2) Tina CANNOT nominate herself as the best coke salad maker!!! ;)

    3) Coke salad without the nuts is a poor imitation of the REAL coke salad!!!

    4) Cherry jello, Pepsi, and crushed pineapple (in juice, not syrup). The queen has spoken!!!

    5) That's because you tried to present it WITHOUT NUTS...which is an abomination!!!

    6) I find that when taking it to a potluck or someone else's dinner...I spread a light layer of cool whip on top to disguise the look of dog vomit. ;)

    I forgot about the Olgesby story...but when your mom, Mary Ellen, Sharon and I were in Bradenton together for the first time we went to Strawberry's (an ice cream place) for dinner and we were laughing and carrying on so much that the people in the next booth got up and left. I guess they just weren't "Schrock" material!!! LOL

    1. I literally LOLed while reading that.
      1.) That's it, you're out. As you said about me giving the recipe to a stranger, "Nice knowing you."
      2.) It wasn't Tina who said that. But the person who said it said I couldn't say it was him because he didn't want Mom to know he said it.
      3.) Coke Salad with nuts = EEEEWWWWW! Gross!
      4.) Black Cherry Jell-o (if available), Diet Dr. Pepper, and pineapple tidbits. The PRINCESS has spoken.
      5.) Blasphemer!
      6.) That's a good idea!

      I would love to hear more stories of us being loud enough in public to cause other people to leave due to noise!

    2. 1) Bye. :(
      2)'ve been ratted out! LOL
      3) Wrong!!!
      4) Wrong again...
      5) And again...
      6) Every once in a while I fire on all 4 cylinders. :)

  3. hahahahaha!!! You're killin me!! XX!

  4. OK, Loretta, we're not kicking you out of the family for this incident, but you are demoted to "baby sister"!
    I do agree that Coke salad should have nuts in it, but if I don't make it< I can't say much.
    I also remember that first trip to Bradenton and we were headed over to ME's other condo after the "witching" hour of 10 pm when everyone is to be quiet. ME heard about it the next morning that we weren't quiet enough !

    Bev, aka Mom

    1. OMG...I forgot about the "witching hour" complaints! Didn't they even complain that you and I were too loud INSIDE the condo??? LOL
      Sheesh...old people. :(

  5. See...this is why I love our family. We truly put the "fun" in "dysfunctional"! I'm going to give Mom the chance to redeem herself by making Coke Salad when they come to visit for New Year's/Late Christmas. I tried to make it last year (twice!) and failed on both attempts, although the 2nd attempt was an improvement over the first, I'm ashamed to say that it most definitely would NOT have received the Schrock's seal of approval. But it was only my 1st & 2nd attempt at making it without my mom's guidance. AND, I don't really care for it with nuts. BUT, it's Coke I'll it any day, any time, nuts or no nuts.