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Cranberry Jello Salad Recipe

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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

Why make this Cranberry Salad Recipe:

  • The Cranberry Salad recipe is sweet enough to be considered a dessert and is perfect for those who 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 best 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 can be made ahead of time.
  • This salad is perfect for holiday potlucks – even a non-cranberry lover (like me) will enjoy it.

Hunting for the best Cranberry Jello Salad

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

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

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

I never found out who brought the dish, so I 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.)

After trying a few different cranberry recipes, I decided the cranberry salad I was trying to replicate had to be jello-based. After a bit of tinkering and combining recipes, I hit the jackpot!

The Most Amazing Cranberry Jell-O Salad Recipe

This Cranberry Jello Salad is 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

Ingredients

Want to try this yummy and easy Cranberry Jello 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. It is the one that makes 8.5 servings. (6 oz box) Strawberry and Black Cherry will work too, but Raspberry is my fave.
  • 1 Apple | Cored and chopped. It’s up to you whether 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 | Cans vary in size, but mine was an 11 oz can.
  • 12 oz of Fresh cranberries | You want fresh cranberries for this recipe.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Pecans | You can substitute other nuts (or leave the nuts out altogether), but pecans are my favorite.

How to Make This Cranberry Salad Recipe:

1 Make the Jello: Dissolve Jello in 2 cups boiling water. 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.

2 Process the cranberries: Pulse the fresh cranberries and sugar together in a food processor or blender.

how to make cranberry Jello salad

3 Add the fruit and nuts: 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.

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.)

cranberry jello salad ingredients
cranberry jello salad ingredients

4 Add Jello to fruit mixture: Add Jello liquid to the pan and place in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours (or until set.)

cranberry jello salad ingredients

5 Break up the Jello: Just before serving, use a fork to break up the Cranberry Jello Salad and place it in a pretty serving dish.

cranberry jello salad in a serving dish

Notes + Recipe tips

  • The gelatin box used should be the size that serves 8 – 1/2 cup servings. The sugar-free box is .6 oz, and the regular sugar jello is 6 oz.
  • Yes, you can use sugar-free jello in this recipe.
  • Make sure to drain your fruits really well. Excess liquid can make for a looser gel. (If you are at all concerned about gelling, you can add a teaspoon of unflavored gelatin. It does not affect the taste; even if it isn’t necessary, it won’t hurt the consistency.)

Storage

Cover the cranberry salad tightly with plastic wrap (or transfer it to an airtight container) and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days.

FAQ’s

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 that 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 ok.

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.

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.

cranberry jello salad with pineapple and oranges - close up

More Favorite Holiday Recipes

Did you try this Cranberry Jello Salad Recipe?

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cranberry Jello Salad

Amazing Jell-O Cranberry Salad (aka Cranberry Crack)

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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, drained.
  • 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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38 Comments

  1. Easy and delicious this is a new family favorite






  2. Turned out fantastic!






  3. I use canned whole cranberries and it came out great!






  4. Mom has made this for ages. I was young and did not like it. Today I crave it every holiday season Mom would hand chop all the fruit in a hand chopper that had blade and spring. She would bang that chopper till all was done. She said the food processor made the fruit too fine






  5. I have made this twice…big hit each time!!






  6. I am not a big cranberry fan but this is delicious.






  7. This was a real hit at Thanksgiving. Everyone was commenting about how tasty it was. I’m making this again for our Christmas gathering.






  8. This is a good jello salad i made it every thanksgiving and Christmas!






  9. April Hubbard says:

    Tried this for Thanksgiving & it was great. Loved the sweet & sour flavors. Will definitely be using again.