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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 674 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


  • 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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  • 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.



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.


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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Recipe Rating


  1. Kelsey says:

    4 stars
    I made these as cupcakes and unfortunately they turned out super soft and got even softer after the jello. They did not hold together. I would advise baking til somewhat firm, or may be better as cake. Yummy taste though. Made a whipped cream with vanilla pudding powder added in.

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      Thanks for the feedback and sharing what you did!

  2. April says:

    5 stars
    Delicious!! Made it for the 4th of July and it was gone very quickly, I’ll make 2 next time.

  3. Joyce says:

    5 stars
    I have always loved this cake, nice to see that you posted it.
    Thank you,

  4. Karen Dubois says:

    Can I use dream whip

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      Yes, you could top with that instead.

  5. Bonnie says:

    This was topped with a pudding dream whip topping in the original recipe I still use it Just whip together 2 cups milk 1 small box instant pudding 1 pkg dream whip When it starts to thicken spread over the cake

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      You can totally use that too! Both are tasty options!

  6. Mindy says:

    My husbands diabetic so made it with all sugar free items! You couldn’t tell it was sugar free!!

  7. Peggy says:

    I use orange jello and Mandarin oranges on top of cool whip. My grandkids steal the oranges off the top so I buy 2 cans just in case

    1. Alyssa Triblett says:

      5 stars
      I make with orange Jello too! I make candied orange slices for the top!

      1. Lil'Luna Team says:


  8. Blanca Garcia says:

    You are the best I loved your recipes everything that you do !😋

  9. Jenni says:

    5 stars
    I mix a tub of vanilla frosting with the whip cream and it’s amazing! Everyone always comments on how perfect it is.

  10. Kent says:

    5 stars
    I loved this cake as a kid but the recipe died with my grandmother. Thanks for the memories. Tasted great. For the frosting I just mixed a packet of dream whip, a packet of vanilla pudding, and a cup of milk. So good.