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Jello Poke Cake is cool, creamy, and perfect for any get-together. Use any flavor of Jello to make this crowd-favorite dessert!

Poke Cake is one of our favorite summer desserts! Be sure to check out some of our other poke cake variations: Banana Pudding Poke Cake and Boston Cream Poke Cake.

Strawberry jello Cake

I have fond memories of family gatherings and parties that involve this long-time-family-favorite dessert – Jello Poke Cake. We love it so much we’ve made so many variations.

It’s perfect for BBQs and summer parties because of its cool and creamy texture. Let’s be honest, I crave it year round.

You can change the flavor of Jello depending on your mood. We almost always make Strawberry Jello Poke Cake, but our other favorites are raspberry and cherry. I’ve also done lime, blue raspberry, and orange before, but those are definitely a little more adventurous!

Jello Poke Cake has been around since 1976, at least that is when it first appeared in print. The General Foods Kitchen printed the recipe in an advertisement booklet and from there it reached kitchens all over the country.

The popularity grew because it was an easy, quick dessert that could be made ahead of time. Not to mention it is easy to customize and delicious. 

Poking a fork into a cake to make a Jello poke cake.

How to make Jello Cake

This Jello Cake is really so simple, which is probably why we make it ALL the time.

CAKE. Prepare cake mix as directed and bake in a 9×13 pan. Let cool for 15 minutes. Poke holes in the cake with a fork at ½-inch intervals.

JEllO. Prepare Jello as directed. Spoon over the cake mix until the Jello liquid is all gone.

CHILL + ENJOY! Chill for 3 to 4 hours and top with Whipped Cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve. ENJOY!

Make cupcakes

Instead of making a 9×13 cake, make cupcakes according to the directions on the box. Once the cupcakes have cooled, poke them with a fork or skewer. Use a soup spoon to drizzle Jell-o into the holes and chill.

Making jello and pouring it over the cake for jello poke cake.

Poke cake Recipe tips

Tips for poke cake:

  • Use a cake made from scratch, a box mix, or a store bought cake.
  • For a nice clean slice, wipe the knife after each cut.
  • Garnish with coordinating fresh fruit. Fresh strawberries are especially delicious.

Setting the Poke Cake. It won’t set up like normal gelatin does, but it will take at least a few hours for the Jell-o to soak into the cake and cool completely. So plan ahead when making this Poke Cake!

Speed up the cooking time. 

  • Buy a pre-made, unfrosted white cake at a local bakery.
  • Stick the cake in the freezer for 30-60 minutes, long enough to set the jello but not freeze the cake.

Flavor variations.

  • Use chocolate cake mix. This recipe can be used to make any flavor of cake mix paired with a complimentary flavor. Chocolate cake with raspberry or black cherry jello would be delicious!
  • White cake pairs well with all flavors of jello.
  • Add a layer of similar pie filling to the top of the cake then top that with Whipped Cream. Strawberry jello would pair well with strawberry pie filling.

more Poke Cake delicious-ness

We love Poke Cake so much and have made several varieties. It’s so easy to change up with any flavor of jello. The possibilities are endless!

Here are some of our favorites on the site:

Storing Info

STORE. Because of the jello, keep the cake chilled. Tightly cover the cake and keep it in the fridge for 2-3 days.

To FREEZE, wrap the Poke Cake with plastic wrap, then again with aluminum foil. Label and freeze for up to 3 months.

If the cake is frosted, flash-freeze first. Flash-freeze a whole cake by placing individual pieces on a baking sheet, making sure they are not touching.

Freeze for 2-3 hours or until the outside is frozen. Wrap in plastic and foil, label, and return to the freezer.

For more cool cake recipes:

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5 from 675 votes

Jello Poke Cake Recipe

By: Lil’ Luna
Jello Poke Cake is cool, creamy, and perfect for any get-together. Use any flavor of Jello to make this crowd-favorite dessert!
Servings: 15
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Chill Time: 3 hours
Total: 3 hours 35 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 (15.25-ounce) box white cake mix plus any ingredients listed on box
  • 1 (3-ounce) box strawberry Jell-O (or raspberry or cherry)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 (8-ounce) tub whipped topping (or 2 cups whipped cream)
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Instructions 

  • Prepare cake as directed on the box and bake in a 9-x-13-inch baking dish. Let cool for 15 minutes.
  • Poke cake with a fork at ½–1-inch intervals.
  • Use hot and cold water to make Jell-O as directed on the package.
  • Spoon Jell-O liquid over the cake gradually until it is all absorbed.
  • Chill in the refrigerator for 3–4 hours. Top with whipped topping right before serving.

Video

Notes

Storage: Because of the Jell-O, this poke cake must be kept chilled. Tightly cover the cake and keep in the refrigerator for 2–3 days.
Cupcake Version: Instead of making a 9-x-13-inch cake, make cupcakes according to the directions on the cake mix box. Once cupcakes have cooled, poke them with a fork or skewer, drizzle Jell-O into the holes and chill as directed above before adding whipped topping.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g, Calories: 205kcal, Carbohydrates: 0.1g, Protein: 0.01g, Fat: 0.01g, Saturated Fat: 0.01g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.001g, Cholesterol: 0.001mg, Sodium: 2mg, Potassium: 0.1mg, Fiber: 0.001g, Sugar: 0.1g, Vitamin A: 0.05IU, Calcium: 1mg, Iron: 0.001mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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5 from 675 votes (602 ratings without comment)

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262 Comments

  1. Deborah says:

    My first try the cake way way too spongy. I felt it was too much liquid. So I read some other recipes and cut it down to one cup of water in the Jell-O. I use half a cup of boiling to melt the Jell-O and then put in half a cup of cold. And it turned out just right. Thanks for posting this recipe. I haven’t made one of these in years!

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      Thanks for the feedback! So glad you enjoyed the cake!

  2. Kathleen ALEXANDER says:

    I make this but add vanilla pudding with cool whip for the frosting. Yum

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      Ooh yummy!!

  3. Jennifer McGuffey says:

    5 stars
    This is the best cake ever. Lol. I know it’s been around awhile. But never thought to make one. I’m making a second one with lemon and candied lemon as a garnish. Also I found using a brand new hair pick works really good, a lil bit bigger holes and it’s precise.

  4. Michelle Valentich says:

    I am so happy to find this recipe! My mom and I used to make this all the time but I lost the recipe. I think she used to cut the water in half to make it more strawberry like. I know that sounds silly. The one thing she did was after the cake and Jell-O was cool and ready to serve she put a layer of vanilla instant pudding. And then the Cool Whip. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    1. Cindy says:

      Your recipe is how we do it!! Either way it’s going to be delicious.