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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)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 22 reviews

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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37 Comments

  1. Wow!!!
    I just made this and it is Yummy !!!






  2. J P van Enoo says:

    Love this recipe… would pomegranate seeds be ok to add to this recipe???? I think it sounds good, what do you think???

  3. This is really good. We love cranberries. We plan to buy extra and freeze them, so we can have this through out the year






  4. Came out great! . I made this jello salad. Cranberry jello. I added a whole small orange, peal and added a little of bit of walnut put in a bit of cinnamon. One thing, I added a little bit of ground up cloves. I used frozen cranberry’s. They were put in the food processor on slow speed. The jello was added in the mix. Then the small orange was put in a small food processor. Put everything together and processor.






  5. Donna Flores says:

    My entire family loves this salad. I did use whole berry canned cranberry sauce and added about 3/4 cup of sugar to them. Salad set up & was delicious.






    1. Jamie Sanders says:

      Thank you so much; that is so helpful!

  6. Teresa Fulk says:

    I make this with 1 3oz box Lemon jello, I cup of boiling water, 8 oz. Can crushed pineapple drained , 1 cup sugar and 2 apples chopped. So good!
    I will have to try yours!






    1. Jamie Sanders says:

      I’ve never thought of it with a citrus jello! sounds interesting.

  7. Made it and loved it. I care for elderly lady and she loves anything with cranberries and she loves it






  8. We love this salad, and have shared the recipe with several who as well.






  9. Great recipe ! I add about 3/4 — a cup of chopped celery for even more crunch. Thanks for posting!






  10. Was easy to prepare, and was a bit hit! Found a new favorite. Added coconut!






  11. It is very good and easy to make






  12. Katherine says:

    I’m making this for Thanksgiving. Should we drain the mandarin oranges before adding?

  13. Love this jello salad so easy to make !






  14. Can you use a different type of orange?

  15. Your gelatin flavor changes from raspberry to strawberry between the instructions above and the ingredients list below. Also, I’m assuming you mean the 6 oz box, not .6 oz box.
    😊

    1. Jamie Sanders says:

      sorry, I’ve used both. My favorite is the raspberry. Also it is the box with 8 1/2 cup servings. The sugar free on is .65 oz in weight and the regular sugar-full one is 6 oz! Crazy. I guess all that actual sugar wieghs more than the fake sugar

  16. This recipe was perfect for thanksgiving!






  17. Jamie this sounds wonderful! My family loves the Better Homes & Gardens recipe from 2005, which is a little different, using crushed pineapple, walnuts and whole berry cranberry sauce. I will definitely try your recipe for the Christmas holidays. I love the idea of the fresh cranberries, and don’t Mandarin oranges just belong in jello?! Thanks for sharing, and hope you had a nice Thanksgiving 🙂

  18. Very similar to my mom’s recipe which is from the 50’s. I make it every year. We don’t add the pineapple or oranges, but use celery, apples, and cranberries with raspberry jello. Family traditions ?

    1. Jamie Sanders says:

      I never did find the original recipe for the salad we had that day. I thought this was a pretty close match, but yours could also be it.






  19. Tanna Wright says:

    This is a great recipe but you forgot to list pecans! How much did you use?

    1. Jamie Sanders says:

      Oops, start with 1/2 a cup. Add more if you like.