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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. Laura Mountjoy says:

    My hubby is the baker!! I am always looking up recipes for this and that and when I saw this option i thought what a great idea!

    1. Krystal-Marie says:

      5 stars
      I made this last 4th of July using blueberries and sliced strawberry to make an American flag on top.
      It’s was such a hit!
      Everyone loved it!
      I’m making it again tonight for easter tomorrow but this time using strawberry cake mix, added 1/2c sour cream and using strawberry jello. It comes out just as good.
      Thank you!
      Happy Easter everyone! 🐰🐣

  2. Linda Helland says:

    I never found how to make the jello for the jello poke cake

    1. emmy says:

      maybe 1 cup hot water, whisk until dissolved, then 1 cup cold water

    2. Lil'Luna Team says:

      I’d recommend just following the directions listed on the recipe card. It will walk you through step by step how to make this recipe. You can also watch the video to see how we made up the jello for the cake as well.

  3. Nancy says:

    Can this recipe be made successfully using sugar free jello?

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      Yes, it should still work fine with sugar free jello.

  4. katie says:

    I have seen recipes for both jello poke cake and pudding poke cake. It may be weird but could you use half jello and half pudding or would that just be a big ol’ mess?

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      You know, I have had jello poke cake and pudding poke cake, but not necessarily together. You could totally experiment and give it a try to see how it turns out though. You’ll have to let us know!

  5. Laurie says:

    I tried this recipe using a box white cake mix and lemon jello. I omitted the 1 cup of cold water when making the jello, as suggested by one of the other commenters. It turned out perfect. I didn’t want the whip cream frosting, so instead I covered it with a can of raspberry pie filling. It was delicious! I will definitely make this again.

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      Sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing how you made the cake!

  6. Theresa Vargas says:

    5 stars
    I have made cupcakes instead of the cake they were very good Strawberry cake mix and Strawberry Jello Great

  7. Carolyn says:

    Can the cake be iced instead of cool whip

  8. Stephanie T says:

    Is there a way to make the cake come out less dry and spongy and more dense and moist like brownies tend to be? I hade poke cake at a party and it tasted the same as this but the consistency was a lot more creamy almost like mixed with pudding or something and not lioe dry cake exactly.

    1. Grayson says:

      You can use pudding in stead of jello that would help check online for a pudding poke cake

    2. Lil'Luna Team says:

      Yes! We have a few different poke cake recipes that are more of that texture you are thinking. They use pudding rather than jello, which makes the cake more dense/moist.

      This one uses caramel and sweetened condensed milk:
      This one uses coconut cream and sweetened condensed milk:
      These poke cakes use pudding: or or

    3. Chrissy says:

      We actually make vanilla pudding and fold the cool whip in before putting it on the cake. We also make sure to add enough jello to where it soaks it up, we never had a dry cake doing it this way. I hope this helps.

  9. Kenzie says:

    Can I use a round cake pan? If so do I do two instead of one?

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      Yes, you would use 2 round cake pans (either 8 or 9 inch should work).

  10. Shirley Mickley says:

    When preparing the jello portion of this recipe, it calls for one cup of boiling water and one cup of cold water. My cake was very sponge. Too much liquid. So, I checked other recipes for jello poke cake. They call for one cup of boiling water only. Please correct your recipe so others will not be disappointed in their dessert.

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      Thank you for pointing that out and for the feedback!

      1. Colleen says:

        Nutrition Label is not correct…the cake alone has more than .1 grams of Carbohydrates, not including the added jello.
        Diabetics calculate properly

      2. Lil'Luna Team says:

        Thanks for catching that. It looks like the nutrition facts got miscalculated. We’ll work on getting that fixed. Thanks!

    2. Camille says:

      Wish I had read this comment 🙁
      Sadly I have a 3 layer sponge, haha!
      Yes, I agree that the recipe may wish to be updated to lessen the liquid in the initial instructions.