Twinkie Jell-O Casseroles

Schatzi: When I was little, my sister Malia gave my brother-in-law (a chef), a copy of White Trash Cooking as a joke for Christmas one year. I remember paging through it at my sister’s house, fascinated by the pictures and by such arcane and foreign references as “oleo,” “cooter,” “short’nin bread,” “pone,” “Chocolate Dump Cake” and “Ice Box Rainbow Cake.” Exotic fare indeed. This past New Year’s Eve brought a blast from the past, as one of the guests at Annaliese & Jeremy’s party brought a treasure from his Twinkie Cookbook, “Grandma Jo’s Twinkie Jell-O Dessert.” Though many of the other guests were revolted or shy of it, my sister and I both enjoyed the refreshing, creamy treat.

Fast-forward a few months to my and Beef Cheek’s burgeoning relationship: In order to impress him with my demonstrate my culinary artistry, and knowing his fascination for gelatin-based creations, I decided to try my hand at the Twinkie Jell-O Dessert, thoughtfully passed along to me by TL via Annaliese.

Grandma Jo's Twinkie Jell-O Dessert

The Original Twinkie Jell-O Dessert

Grandma Jo’s Twinkie Jell-O Dessert
10 Twinkies
2 (3 oz) packages orange Jell-O
1 cup boiling water
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple in juice, drained
1 cup lemon-lime soda
1 qt melted vanilla ice cream
1. Arrange Twinkies in bottom of 9×13 inch baking dish.
2. In a bowl, mix together Jell-O and boiling water, stirring till
dissolved. Stir in pineapple and soda, then mix with ice cream, mix
till smooth. Pour over Twinkies and refrigerate until set.

To some it may sound nasty and nightmarish, but if you close your eyes and relax, it’s a cool, Creamsicle-flavored dessert. It’s also very pretty, a soothing shade of pastel orange. Needless to say, it went over BIG TIME with Beef Cheeks, who immediately began planning a strawberry version. Phrases like “strawberry jam,” “Tiger Tails,” and “Zingers” were tossed around, but this weekend, Beef Cheeks finally created his delicious monster.

Eli: First off I would like to say that I am glad that we are finally doing our inaugural entry into the Gourmanderie after being busy, slightly dilatory, and undecided on what our maiden entry should be. I have been so excited to do this blog, especially with my beautiful Rugelach, my partner in culinary conquest.

Jell-O desserts have always fascinated me. They jiggle, are brightly colored, and are curiously satisfying. I think they are beautiful when filled with fruit or sometimes vegetables. I especially like the look of adding whipped cream, or ice cream as in our current venture, to give it a beautiful opaque and pastel quality.

I went over to Schatzi’s house expecting one of her delicious baked cakes. The desert I was about to meet was not at all baked–except for the Twinkies. I still am unsure if Twinkies are actually baked, though I suspect that they really are. Once I saw “Grandma Jo’s Twinkie Jell-O Dessert,” I was amazed by it’s cool Creamsicle color. I was even more excited once I found out there were also Twinkies involved. It was as delicious as it was beautiful, and I found the crushed pineapple chunks suspended within particularly refreshing.

Soon after I had my first helping, my mind started racing with other possibilities in the realm of Twinkie/Jell-O casseroles. Then the obvious and logical approach came to mind: strawberry. When I made it, I attempted half a recipe with a few changes in ratios. This is the recipe I am most comfortable with.

Twinkie Trifle

Strawberry Twinkie Jell-O Casserole

Eli’s Twinkie-Style Strawberry Little Bucket Parfait Casserole
10 Twinkies
2 (3 oz) packages Strawberry Jell-O
24oz strawberry preserves
1 cup boiling water
20 oz frozen, sweetened, sliced, and drained strawberries
1 cup lemon-lime soda
1 qt melted vanilla ice cream

1. Melt preserves in saucepan on medium until liquefied and pour in the bottom of 9×13 dish. Arrange and set Twinkies upside down in preserves.

2. In a bowl, mix together Jell-O and boiling water, stirring till dissolved. Stir in strawberries and soda, then mix with ice cream. Mix till smooth. Pour over Twinkies and refrigerate until set.

3. After dessert is fully set, set dish in warm water to help free Jell-O from the dish for a couple of minutes. (I did this part in a clean kitchen sink.) Place a large enough dish, pan, cookie sheet, or serving tray on top of the Jell-O dish. Now invert the dessert onto its final resting place. Take a moment to enjoy its beauty before eating.

I was very happy with the way it turned out. If you are a fan of strawberry shortcake, Twinkies, and Jell-O, then this should hit the spot.

Schatzi’s note: Those who remember the glory days of Kentucky Fried Chicken and its “Strawberry Little Bucket Parfait” will enjoy Eli’s version, as it tastes exactly like I remember them.


5 responses to “Twinkie Jell-O Casseroles

  1. Well, I have to say, despite the at first odd issue of mouth -feel, the samples I had of Grandma Jo’s confection were indeed refreshing. However, I must still protest that I received no accompanying sample of the strawberry delight. It must be repeated in order to remedy this slight!

  2. Pingback: Coca-Cola Cake « the Gourmanderie

  3. Hey there, just wanted to let you know that it looks like someone stole your Twinkie Casserole photo from Flikr and posted it on I assume it’s stolen since whomever posted it had a wildly different take on the recipe than what was described here: “24 Twinkies topped with caramel, mini marshmallows and brown sugar topped with caramel icing.”
    Thought you should know, and from a fellow Portlander to boot! 🙂

  4. Whoa, thank you! I’ll look into that.

  5. here it is!!! I found the recipe!

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