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Individual Layered Dessert Parfaits

These no-bake parfaits are a nice, light dessert that take less than 20 minutes to put together. They only need an hour to chill making them perfect for the nights you need something quick.

Three parfaits layered with cookies, oranges and lemon cream topped with whipped cream.

These little parfaits are a quick and easy no-bake dessert made with frozen whipped topping, fruit, jello, and cookies.

If you love easy, no-bake desserts, you may also enjoy Lemon Icebox Pie or Fruity Marshmallow Salad.

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This is a dessert that I’ve been making for well over 20 years.

We don’t have dessert very often, but when we do we prefer something light.

These layered dessert parfaits are are made with a lemon cream, vanilla cookies and mandarin orange slices, then topped with some additional whipped topping, a cookie and an orange slice.

Why We Love This Recipe

These are a nice, light dessert that are perfect for any occasion.

These simple parfaits require only a few ingredients, take less than 20 minutes to prepare and only need one hour of chilling time.

They are no-bake and there are endless flavour combinations.

Top view of parfaits with whipped cream and a cookie.

Ingredients & Substitutions

The ingredients for these parfaits are simple. The best part is that it is ridiculously easy to change the flavours if you decide you want something different.

By simply swapping the yogurt, jello and fruit for different flavours you can create endless combinations. I’ve done these with strawberry, raspberry and even lime and they are always a hit.

The main ingredients you need are:

  • Yogurt – I’ve used everything from 2% yogurt to Greek yogurt and they all work well. Choose a flavour that matches the Jello you select.
  • Sugar Free Jello – For these jello parfaits we are using lemon, but you can use whatever flavour you like. I normally stay away from sugar-free varieties, but in this recipe it really works best as it dissolves better in the small amount of water we are using.
  • Frozen whipped topping – This is what will make the cream layer fluffy. You can use regular, light or fat free variety. They all work well.
  • Vanilla cookies or lady fingers – I use Nilla wafers, but any vanilla cookie seems to work. Chocolate cookies work well too.
  • Fruit – I’ve used oranges to pair with the lemon for a citrus parfait. You could use peaches, mango, berries, or any other fruit you like.
Ingredient to make layered parfaits.

Step by Step Instructions

These parfaits are really simple to put together. After you’ve made the lemon cream you are just layering the ingredients in whatever glass or serving dish you like.

Each finished parfait yields about one cup, so just keep that in mind when choosing your serving dish.

One – In a small bowl, mix the boiling water with the jello until the jello is fully dissolved and well mixed.

Two – In a large bowl, fold together the whipped frozen topping, yogurt and jello until it is well blended. Be careful not to over mix, you only need to mix until all the ingredients have come together.

Process shots showing how to make lemon cream.

Break the cookies into small chunks. I just use my fingers, but if you want really fine crumbs you can place the cookies in a ziplock bag and smash them with a rolling pin.

Place some of the crushed cookies in the bottom of the dish, add a layer of the oranges, then a layer of the lemon cream. Repeat this process one more time ending with the lemon cream.

Place the parfaits in the fridge to set. These only need one hour, but you can leave them overnight if you like. The longer you leave them the softer the cookies get becoming more cake-like.

Expert Tip – The smaller you break the cookies the softer they will become. If you prefer you can even leave them whole and just layer them in the dish.

Parfait topped with whipped topping, garnished with a cookie and orange sprinkles.

Before serving, garnish with a swirl of whipped topping, an orange slice and a cookie. You can add sprinkles or crushed cookie crumbs as well.

Expert Tip – To create the swirl of whipped topping you can place the thawed whipped topping in a small ziplock bag. Simply cut the corner off the bag and pipe it on, if you have a piping tip you can use that as well.

Top Tips & FAQS

Why isn’t my jello dissolving?

If the jello isn’t dissolving your water probably wasn’t hot enough. Make sure you use boiling water and stir quickly.

Printable Recipe

Layered Dessert Parfaits

These no-bake parfaits are a nice, light dessert that take less than 20 minutes to put together. They only need an hour to chill making them perfect for the nights you need something quick.
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Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Chilling Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 290kcal
Author: Deanna


  • 2 Cups Frozen whipped topping thawed, plus extra for serving
  • ¾ Cup Lemon yogurt
  • 1 package Sugar free lemon jello
  • ¼ Cup Boiling water
  • 20 oz Canned mandarin oranges drained
  • 1 Cup Nilla wafers or Lady fingers broken into pieces


  • In a large bowl, fold the yogurt and whipped topping together.
  • In a small bowl, mix the jello and boiling water. Stir vigorously until well mixed and the jello is fully dissolved.
  • Add the jello mixture to the yogurt mixuture and stir just until fully combined.
  • In sundae dishes, jars or glasses, add a layer of broken cookies, followed by oranges and a layer of the lemon cream. Repeat these layers one more time ending with the lemon cream.
    Be sure to save a few orange slices for garnishing the top.
  • Place the parfaits in the fridge for at least one hour or overnight.
  • Before serving top with additional whipped topping and garnish with oranges and cookies.


  • I simply break the cookies with my fingers, you can also put them in ziplock bag and smash them with a rolling pin. The smaller you break them the softer they will become in the parfait.
  • Sugar free jello works best for this recipe as regular jello will not fully dissolve in the small amount of water used.
  • You can use any combination of jello and yogurt flavours you like and change the fruit for different flavour parfaits.
  • Any type of yogurt will work, 2%, Greek, etc. 
  • The finished volume of each parfait is about 1 Cup.  


Estimated Nutrition Facts
Layered Dessert Parfaits
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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