No-Bake Mandarin Orange Cranberry Trifle (video)

a mandarin orange cranberry trifle on a table with berries and fruit

A stunning dessert centerpiece for the holidays! No-bake mandarin orange cranberry trifle with orange whipped cream filling; ladyfinger cookies dipped in orange juice; homemade cranberry sauce; and a raspberry cranberry jell-o layer. This Christmas trifle is one of the most delicious no-bake desserts ever! The tart cranberries combined with the zesty orange filling is simply divine!

Watch My Cranberry Trifle Video Tutorial

Watch my YouTube cranberry trifle video tutorial for step-by-step instructions and see how I assemble this incredible Christmas dessert! Want to stay up to date on my newest recipes? Subscribe to my website email list and my YouTube channel for notifications.

Ingredients for a No-Bake Trifle Recipe

Here are my tips for the main ingredients you’ll need to prepare this stunning orange cranberry trifle. Find the full list of ingredients in the printable recipe card below.

  • Mandarin Oranges – freshly peeled and chopped mandarins taste amazing in this recipe. Regular oranges will also work well, but mandarins work best for the outer ring. You can use canned, drained mandarins, too.
  • Oranges – use just for the orange zest. You can also squeeze out the juice and use it for dipping the cookies.
  • Cranberries – for making homemade cranberry sauce. Fresh or frozen will work for the sauce.
  • Cranberry Sauce – if you’re not making homemade sauce, buy whole berry cranberry sauce instead.
  • Cranberry & Orange Juice
  • Ladyfinger Cookies – I use the crispy, hard variety for this recipe. I get mine on Amazon!
  • Heavy Cream – make sure the cream is very well chilled for the best results.
  • Cream Cheese – soften the cheese at room temperature while you’re preparing for the recipe.
  • Raspberry Jell-o – any brand of raspberry flavored gelatin will work well. You can even make this recipe with sugar-free jell-o.

Supplies & Tools for the Recipe

Need some supplies or tools to make this cranberry trifle for Christmas? Shop my Amazon Affiliate links for the items I recommend. See Disclosure Statement.

An orange cranberry Christmas trifle on a table with berries

Preparing & Cutting the Mandarins

For this cranberry trifle, you’ll need chopped and sliced mandarins. Peel the mandarins first, then chop about 7 to 8 small mandarins to make ½ cup for the jello, 3 cups for the filling, plus an additional cup for the topping.

Peel about 5 additional mandarins to create the mandarin ring inside the trifle and for garnishing. Cut each mandarin into thin rings; I usually get 3 to 4 rings from each one. Use the ends for the filling.

Preparing the Jello Trifle Layer

This no-bake trifle recipe comes together quickly and easily! You’ll want to start with the jello layer as it can take a little bit of time to set.

  1. Start with the jello layer. Add the raspberry gelatin powder into a large mixing bowl and pour in 1 ½ cups boiling water. Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Next, add in the cranberry juice and ½ cup ice and stir until the ice dissolves.
  2. Pour the prepared jello mixture into the bottom of a large trifle bowl/dish. Add ½ cup of mandarin segments and about ½ cup of fresh or frozen raspberries.
  3. Place the trifle bowl into the refrigerator and allow the gelatin to set completely, for about 1 to 1 ½ hours. This step can be completed a day before.
a closeup image of a fruit Christmas trifle in a bowl, on a table with fruit and berries

Easy, Homemade Cranberry Sauce

While the gelatin layer is setting, it’s a great time to make a batch of my Homemade Cranberry Sauce. You can also make the sauce ahead of time and keep it stored in the refrigerator. Check out my recipe and video tutorial here.

You can also use store-bought, whole berry cranberry sauce. Simply remove it from the can and use a spoon to blend it together, to get rid of larger pieces.

Making the Orange Whipped Cream Filling

This orange cranberry trifle is layered with the most delicious orange whipped cream filling made with cream cheese and orange zest! Here’s how to make it:

  1. For the whipped cream filling, start with the cream cheese. Place the softened cream cheese into a large mixing bowl. Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat the cheese for 4 to 5 minutes, until it’s smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the zest of 2 large oranges or 4 mandarins to the cheese, along with the vanilla extract and powdered sugar. Slowly beat the sugar and zest into the cheese, for about a minute until smooth.
  3. Pour in 1 cup of heavy cream at a time, mixing well after each addition. Switch the mixer attachment to a whisk. Whisk the cream on high speed for 4 to 6 minutes, until stiff peaks form.
  4. Place the filling into the refrigerator to chill until you’re ready to use it. If the filling falls flat or loses its volume, whisk it again before using.

Preparing the Cookies & Dip

Break the crispy ladyfinger cookies in half or into thirds and place into a large bowl.

Into a separate bowl or small casserole dish, pour in the orange juice and orange liqueur. You can skip the liqueur for an alcohol-free version. Keep extra juice on hand in case you need more; the cookies can soak up quite a bit of juice!

a closeup image of mandarin cranberry trifle with mandarin wedges, berries, and whipped cream

How to Make an Orange Cranberry Trifle

  1. Once the gelatin has set, you can assemble the trifle. First, divide the whipped cream filling, placing 2 cups into a separate bowl for the topping. Add 3 cups of chopped mandarins into the remaining filling and fold in with a spatula.
  2. Add a small amount of the whipped cream filling over the gelatin layer. Next, place the mandarin slices around the edges of the trifle bowl, creating a ring. The filling should help them stay in place.
  3. Add half of the whipped cream filling to the trifle bowl. Next, top the filling with ½ cup of cranberry sauce spread gently over the top.
  4. Soak 4 to 6 pieces of the ladyfinger cookies at a time in the orange juice and place into the trifle. Work quickly so the cookies don’t get too soggy! Layer the cookies over each other, creating a thick layer of cookies.
  5. Add the second layer of whipped cream filling over the cookies. Spoon the remaining ½ cup cranberry sauce over the top. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of chopped mandarins over the top.

Topping & Garnishing the Cranberry Trifle

Remove the reserve whipped cream filling from the refrigerator. Whisk it again for a few minutes until stiff peaks form. Transfer the cream into a pastry bag tipped with a star tip; I used Ateco tip 847.

Pipe dollops of whipped cream right over the cranberry sauce and mandarins. Garnish the top with more mandarin rings, raspberries, cranberries, pomegranate arils, and sprigs of fresh rosemary.

Serving & Storing Suggestions for Trifles

If you’re not serving the trifle right away, keep it stored in the refrigerator. Loosely cover the trifle with plastic wrap before refrigerating. The trifle will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

For serving, use a large spoon to scoop from the bottom of the trifle bowl, getting a little bit of everything in each serving!

a woman standing in a kitchen, holding a trifle bowl

More Recipes to Try!

Enjoyed this incredible Christmas trifle? Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!

  • Blueberry Lemon Trifle – a decadent and fruity trifle with lemon cake, blueberries, lemon curd, and lemon zest whipped cream filling!
  • Peppermint Chocolate Trifle – another great one for the holidays! Rich chocolate cake with peppermint whipped cream and crushed mint cremes!
  • Orange Cranberry Bread – super soft and delicious bread dotted with orange zest and cranberries; finished with an orange glaze!
  • Orange Cranberry Muffins – the best, Costco-style muffins! Moist, delicious and perfectly muffin-y, with orange zest, cranberries, and a streusel topping.

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a mandarin orange cranberry trifle on a table with berries and fruit
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No-Bake Mandarin Orange Cranberry Trifle (video)

1 hour prep + 0 minutes cook + 1 hour 30 minutes Setting Time
20 cups
The most beautiful Christmas trifle! No-bake orange cranberry trifle with ladyfinger cookies, cranberry sauce, orange whipped cream, and a j-ello layer!

Ingredients 

For J-ello Layer:

  • 6 oz package raspberry-flavored Jello
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup cranberry juice, can be a juice cocktail
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 1/2 cup mandarins, chopped
  • 1/2 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen

For Filling:

For Whipped Cream Filling:

  • 16 oz cream cheese, softened at room temp; two, 8-oz packages
  • zest from 2 large oranges
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream, well-chilled
  • 3 cups chopped mandarins

For Cookie Layer:

  • 24 ladyfinger cookies
  • 1 1/2 cups orange juice
  • 1/4 cup orange liqueur

For Topping:

  • 1 cup chopped mandarins
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
  • 3 to 4 sprigs fresh rosemary

Instructions

Preparing the Mandarins:

  • For this cranberry trifle, you’ll need chopped and sliced mandarins. Peel and chop about 7 to 8 small mandarins to make ½ cup for the jello, 3 cups for the filling, plus an additional 1 cup for the topping.
  • Peel about 5 additional mandarins to create the mandarin ring inside the trifle and for garnishing. Cut each mandarin into thin rings; I usually get 3 to 4 rings from each one. Use the ends for the filling.

Making the Jello Layer:

  • Start with the jello layer. Add the raspberry gelatin powder into a large mixing bowl and pour in 1 ½ cups boiling water. Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Next, add in the cranberry juice and ½ cup ice and stir until the ice dissolves.
  • Pour the prepared jello mixture into the bottom of a large trifle bowl/dish. Add ½ cup of mandarin segments and about ½ cup of fresh or frozen raspberries.
  • Place the trifle bowl into the refrigerator and allow the gelatin to set completely, for about 1 to 1 ½ hours. This step can be completed a day before.

Making Cranberry Sauce:

  • While the gelatin layer is setting, it’s a great time to make a batch of my Homemade Cranberry Sauce. You can also make the sauce ahead of time and keep it stored in the refrigerator.
  • You can also use store-bought, whole berry cranberry sauce. Simply remove it from the can and use a spoon to blend it together, to get rid of larger pieces.

Making the Whipped Cream filling:

  • For the whipped cream filling, start with the cream cheese. Place the softened cream cheese into a large mixing bowl. Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat the cheese for 4 to 5 minutes, until it’s smooth and creamy.
  • Add the zest of 2 large oranges or 4 mandarins to the cheese, along with the vanilla extract and powdered sugar. Slowly bea tthe sugar and zest into the cheese, for about a minute until smooth.
  • Pour in 1 cup of heavy cream at a time, mixing well after each addition. Switch the mixer attachment to a whisk. Whisk the cream on high speed for 4 to 6 minutes, until stiff peaks form.
  • Place the filling into the refrigerator to chill until you’re ready to use it. If the filling falls flat or loses its volume, whisk it again before using.

Preparing the Cookies & Dip:

  • Break the crispy ladyfinger cookies in half or into thirds and place into a large bowl.
  • Into a separate bowl or small casserole dish, pour in the orange juice and orange liqueur. You can skip the liqueur for an alcohol-free version. Keep extra juice on hand in case you need more; the cookies can soak up quite a bit of juice!

Assembling the Trifle:

  • Once the gelatin has set, you can assemble the trifle. First, divide the whipped cream filling, placing 2 cups into a separate bowl for the topping. Add 3 cups of chopped mandarins into the remaining filling and fold in with a spatula.
  • Add a small amount of the whipped cream filling over the gelatin layer. Next, place the mandarin slices around the edges of the trifle bowl, creating a ring. The filling should help them stay in place.
  • Add half of the whipped cream filling to the trifle bowl. Next, top the filling with ½ cup of cranberry sauce spread gently over the top.
  • Soak 4 to 6 pieces of the ladyfinger cookies at a time in the orange juice and place into the trifle. Work quickly so the cookies don’t get too soggy! Layer the cookies over each other, creating a thick layer of cookies.
  • Add the second layer of whipped cream filling over the cookies. Spoon the remaining ½ cup cranberry sauce over the top. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of chopped mandarins over the top.

Garnishing the Trifle:

  • Remove the reserve whipped cream filling from the refrigerator. Whisk it again for a few minutes until stiff peaks form. Transfer the cream into a pastry bag tipped with a star tip; I used Ateco tip 847.
  • Pipe dollops of whipped cream right over the cranberry sauce and mandarins. Garnish the top with more mandarin rings, raspberries, cranberries, pomegranate arils, and sprigs of fresh rosemary.

Serving & Storing:

  • If you’re not serving the trifle right away, keep it stored in the refrigerator. Loosely cover the trifle with plastic wrap before refrigerating. The trifle will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • For serving, use a large spoon to scoop from the bottom of the trifle bowl, getting a little bit of everything in each serving!

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 392kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 144mg | Potassium: 220mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 1255IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 1mg