Christmas Recipes | dessert recipes | Recipes | sides/snacks

Cranberry Jello Salad Recipe

Yummy Cranberry Jello Salad with pineapple, oranges and pecans. This amazing cranberry salad is sweet, tart and crunchy and the beautiful color makes it a perfect addition to your holiday meal.

Cranberry Jello Salad - pinterest image

Growing up, I was NOT a fan of cranberry sauce.

Turns out, I actually DO like cranberries, as long as there is enough sweetness to balance out the tartness. (Like as in a cranberry scone or white chocolate cranberry cookie.)

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The Most Amazing Cranberry Jell-O Salad Recipe

I’ve been on the hunt for a cranberry recipe that I had at a potluck several years ago. It was so good and completely changed my opinion on cranberry relish type recipes.

I never heard who brought the dish, so couldn’t ask how it was made. Over the years I’ve tested out a few recipes that sounded interesting, but ended up being not quite right. (One was this Cranberry Relish with Pomegranate and Orange – while delicious, it was not the one I was looking for.)

I’m still going through items that we had in storage from our last move and was flipping though an old cook book. I found a cranberry salad recipe that used jello as the base.

After trying a few different cranberry recipes, I knew the one I was trying to replicate had to be jello based. I figured if I added fruit and nuts to this recipe, I would be a lot closer to what I was looking for.

I am certain I found the right one with this version!!! This Cranberry Salad is probably my new favorite holiday side dish, lol.

It was so good, we could not stop eating it!!! (I am surprised there was enough left for the table by the time I finished “taste testing”.)

cranberry Jello Salad with pineapple and oranges

Why you need to make this Cranberry Salad Recipe:

  • The Cranberry Salad recipe is sweet enough to almost be considered a dessert and is perfect for those that don’t like straight up cranberry jelly from the can.
  • The sweet fruit and fresh tart cranberries come together perfectly in this salad. The apples and nuts provide just enough crunchiness to give it great texture. By stirring up the salad instead of serving it in a mold, it makes the prefect sweet cranberry relish for your turkey.
  • I love that the fresh cranberries are not cooked, so less time in front of the stove. The Jell-O does need time to set up, so it’s a prefect dish to make ahead of time.
  • This salad is perfect for holiday potucks, because even a non-cranberry lover (like me) will enjoy it.

Ingredients:

Want to try this yummy and easy Cranberry Salad? These are the ingredients to add to your list

(Ingredients at a glance, find the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.)

  • Raspberry gelatin (the larger box – .6 oz) | Strawberry and Black Cherry will work too, but Raspberry is my fave.)
  • 1 Apple | Cored and chopped. Up to you if you peel the apple or not
  • Canned Pineapple tidbits | You’ll need 16 oz. You will drain the pineapples and save the juice for later
  • Can of Mandarin oranges 
  • 12 oz of Fresh cranberries | You definitely need fresh for this recipe.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Pecans | You can sub other nuts (or leave the nuts out altogether) but pecans are my favorite.

How to Make This Cranberry Salad Recipe:

  1. Dissolve Jello in 2 cups boiling water.
  2. Drain pineapple tidbits thoroughly, saving the juice. Add pineapple juice to a large measuring cup. Add water until you have 1.5 cups pineapple juice and water combined. Add pineapple juice/water to Jello, stir and set aside.
  3. In food processor or blender, pulse together the fresh cranberries and sugar.how to make a cranberry jello salad
  4. Add chopped apple, drained mandarin oranges (drained well), pineapple, nuts and cranberries to a 9 by 13 dish or other large bowl or dish. I like to cut the oranges and largest tidbits in half.
    ingredients in cranberry jello salad
  5. Mix the fruit and nuts thoroughly. If you feel you need more than 1/2 cup of nuts, feel free to add more. (I almost always do.)
    the fruit and nut mixture in a cranberry jello salad
  6. Add Jello liquid to the pan and place in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours (or until set.)how to make a cranberry jello salad
  7. Just before serving, use a fork and break up the Cranberry Jello Salad and place in a pretty serving dish.

cranberry jello salad in a serving dish

Can I Make this Salad Ahead of Time?

Yes, I recommend you put this salad together the day before (you’ll need 4 to 6 hours for the jello to set anyway.) I don’t recommend any farther ahead than 24 hours, as the salad ages, the fruit will drain liquid and will “loosen” the salad.

Can I Use Other Jell-O Flavors?

Yes, if you can’t find raspberry, the strawberry or black cherry flavors work great too.

Can You Make Jell-O with Pineapple?

You can use canned pineapple in Jell-O, but not fresh. Pineapple contains an enzyme that breaks down proteins and since gelatin is made from protein, the enzyme affects Jell-O’s ability to set up.  The reason you can use canned pineapple is because the canning process breaks down the enzyme. (Just make sure to drain the pineapple as well as possible.)

Can You Use Canned Cranberries in this Recipe?

Truthfully, I have not tried using canned cranberries, but I think it could be fine.

I do think in a pinch, you could replace the fresh cranberries with canned Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce.

If you try this, my suggestion would be  to break the canned cranberries up and mix in a bit more sugar. Then mix the canned sauce in with the other fruits and nuts. I would not process the canned cranberries in the food processor.

Keep in mind, I have not tried this. If you have made this substitution before, please chime in in the comments.

cranberry jello salad with pineapple and oranges - close up

Can this Cranberry Salad be Made and served in a Mold?

Yes, you can make this Cranberry Jell-O Salad in a mold and serve it in slices if you prefer. One thing to note is, do not use fresh pineapple or the jello will not set.

How Long will the Cranberry Jello Salad last in the fridge?

The Jello salad will be fine to eat for at least 4 days in an air tight container, in the fridge. After a day or two, the salad will start to loosen as the fruit softens and loses water. The salad will still be fine to eat, just a looser texture.

If you end up giving this recipe a try, please come back and let me know what you think! 

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cranberry Jello Salad

Amazing Jell-O Cranberry Chutney (aka Cranberry Crack)

  • Author: Jamie Sanders

Description

Yummy Cranberry Jello Salad with pineapple oranges and pecans. This amazing cranberry salad is sweet, tart and crunchy and the beautiful color makes the perfect addition to your holiday meal.


Ingredients

Scale

For the Jell-o:

  • 1 box of Raspberry gelatin (strawberry works fine too)  (box that provides 8 and 1/2 servings)
  • 2 cups boiling water

Salad:

  • 1 apple cored and chopped
  • 28 oz cans of pineapple tidbits. Drained, but reserve the juice for later.
  • 111 oz can mandarin oranges
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped into small (use more if you especially like nuts – I usually do)
  • 1 12 oz package of fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

 


Instructions

Minimum of 6 hours before serving, but best if night before:

  1. In large bowl, dissolve jello in 2 cups boiling water.
  2. Add pineapple juice to measuring cup and add water until you have 1.5 cups pineapple juice and water combined.
  3. Add pineapple juice/water to jello, stir.
  4. Place cranberries and sugar into food processor and pulse till sugar is thoroughly combined and the cranberries are in small pieces
  5. Add chopped apple, pineapple, mandarin oranges, nuts and cranberry pieces to large serving container..
  6. Add liquid jello to dish and stir everything around.
  7. Place in fridge.
  8. When ready to serve, with a fork, stir cranberry jello salad around with a fork, breaking up the jello.
  9. Transfer to a serving dish and enjoy!

Notes

Jello box should be the size that serves 8 and 1/2 servings. The sugar free box is .6 oz and the regular sugar jello is 6 oz.

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