Jello Poke Cake

This jello poke cake is an old Southern recipe passed down by my grandmother. Vary the flavor of gelatin used to get a specific color for any holiday, such as lime for St. Patrick's Day. You can top this cake with berries or sprinkles if you like!

close up view of a slice of Jell-O Poke Cake with green jello with white icing on a white plate
Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
25 mins
Additional Time:
1 hr 30 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 10 mins
1 (9x13-inch) poke cake

This Jell-O poke cake recipe calls for convenient ingredients and it comes together quickly – there’s a reason this simple and colorful dessert has stood the test of time. 

Jell-O Poke Cake Ingredients

These are the ingredients you’ll need to add to your grocery list to make this old-fashioned Jell-O poke cake recipe: 

  • Cake mix: This easy recipe starts with a package of yellow cake mix.
  • Water: You’ll need a cup of water for the cake mix, ¼ cup of cold water to soften the gelatin, and a cup of boiling water to dissolve the granules. 
  • Eggs: Three large acts lend moisture to the cake batter and help bind the ingredients together. 
  • Oil: A neutral oil, such as vegetable oil, adds moisture without imparting flavor. 
  • Gelatin: This recipe calls for a package of strawberry-flavored gelatin, but you can use whatever flavor you prefer. 
  • Whipped topping: A container of whipped topping is the perfect finishing touch. 

Tip from recipe creator mollie: “Substitute vanilla frosting for the whipped topping if desired.”

How to Make Jell-O Poke Cake

You’ll find the full, step-by-step recipe below – but here’s a brief overview of what you can expect when you make this vintage Jell-O poke cake: 

  1. Make the cake batter, pour it into the prepared pan, and bake in the preheated oven.
  2. Soften the gelatin, then stir in boiling water until the granules are dissolved. 
  3. Poke holes over the cake and pour gelatin into the holes. 
  4. Refrigerate until set, then spread the topping over the cake. 

How to Store Jell-O Poke Cake

Store the Jell-O poke cake, tightly covered with storage wrap or foil, in the refrigerator for up to three days. 

Editorial contributions by Corey Williams


  • 1 (15.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix

  • 1 cup water

  • 3 large eggs

  • cup vegetable oil

  • ¼ cup cold water

  • 1 (3 ounce) package strawberry-flavored gelatin mix (such as Jell-O)

  • 1 cup boiling water

  • 1 (8 ounce) container whipped topping (such as Cool Whip)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.

  2. Combine cake mix, water, eggs, and oil in a large bowl; beat with an electric mixer on low speed until moistened. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan.

  3. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 24 to 29 minutes. Let cool completely, at least 30 minutes.

  4. Pour cold water into a bowl. Sprinkle gelatin mix on top. Let stand until softened, about 1 minute. Add boiling water and stir constantly until granules are completely dissolved.

  5. Poke holes all over the cake using a fork; pour gelatin mix into the holes. Refrigerate cake until gelatin is set, about 1 hour or up to 6 hours.

  6. Spread whipped topping over cake.


Substitute vanilla frosting for the whipped topping if desired.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

310 Calories
16g Fat
39g Carbs
4g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 310
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 16g 21%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 42mg 14%
Sodium 286mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 39g 14%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 26g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 56mg 4%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 48mg 1%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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