This scrumptious Cranberry Jello Salad is always on our holiday table. The combination of tart and sweet go perfectly together.
This is the perfect side dish to my Thanksgiving Turkey recipe and bacon green bean salad.
Table Of Contents
Cranberry Jello Salad Recipe Details
Cranberry Jello Salad is a must for our family on Thanksgiving because we love the way it tastes with turkey. You are going to adore this festive recipe.
- TASTE: Sweet, tart, and a little nutty, this dish has a lot of delicious fruity flavor.
- TEXTURE: Smooth and light, this Cranberry Jello Salad has plenty of chunks of juicy fruit and crunchy walnuts.
- TIME: This recipe will only take you 12 minutes to make.
- EASE: Super easy and with only 4 ingredients, you can even make it ahead of time.
What You’ll Need
- Walnuts- These little nuggets of crunchy, nutty flavor are the perfect complement to the smoother, fruitier flavors here. They can aslo be replaced with pecans as well.
- Crushed pineapple- Because this is crushed, it mixes seamlessly into the jello and adds just enough texture. The bright, sweet taste of pineapple is amazing here. Just make sure NOT to get pineapple chunks. There is too much liquid in there.
Add-ins and Substitutions
- Add orange zest- Zest packs a lot of bright, strong flavor, so adding this to the Cranberry Jello Salad will enhance the citrusy notes with delicious results.
- Make it with celery- This is an alternative that some people really like because of the added texture the celery gives. Just remember to chop it fine.
- Use another jello flavor- In place of raspberry jello, you can also make this with other jello flavors, such as cherry and cranberry and it will taste equally good.
- Make it in a mold- If you like the look of a mold, you can pour the mixture into one and let it set. If you’re having trouble getting it out, use hot water on the outside to loosen it.
How to Make Cranberry Jello Salad
- Dissolve the jello. In a large measuring cup, dissolve the raspberry jello powder with hot water. Then add cold water.
- Add the rest of the ingredients. In a large bowl, combine the whole berry cranberry sauce, crushed pineapple, and chopped walnuts. Then pour in the jello and stir until mixed thoroughly.
- Let it set. Pour the jello into either a large pan with raised edges or individual cups. Refrigerate overnight until it sets.
Pro Tip: Use boiling hot water to dissolve the jello powder because it will mix faster and you’ll have fewer clumps to break up.
- Dissolve the gelatin in hot water- This helps it break up more quickly and thoroughly so there are no clumps left. Then add the cold water once this is done.
- Use crushed pineapple- When it’s crushed, the pieces are a lot smaller and it’s easier to mix into the jello mixture than tidbits or rings you’ve cut. It also incorporates lots of juice. If you leave some of the liquid from the crushed pineapple. Then it is better to enjoy this recipe cold. Since it can be a little runny from the additional liquid.
- Chop the walnuts finely- While this Cranberry Jello Salad is chunky, you don’t want to overwhelm it with walnuts. Chop them small so they mix and blend with the fruit.
- Let it set overnight- Don’t rush this or the texture will be too watery. If you’re worried about time, make this a day or two ahead so it’s fully set and ready to be served.
Yes, you can make this with cranberry jello to give it a really strong sweet-tart flavor. I like the combination of the cranberry sauce with the raspberry jello, but you can make it either way.
Jello usually sets in about 2-4 hours, but for this recipe, you want to be sure to give it extra time since there are other ingredients inside that will cause it to break if it’s not fully set. Let it set overnight whenever possible.
This Cranberry Jello Salad is a tasty side dish that works great at holiday meals. Here are some ways to serve it.
- Meats: This sweet-tart side dish is delicious with Juicy Thanksgiving Turkey, Garlic Herb Crown Roast of Pork, and Roasted Chicken.
- Vegetables: Serve this Cranberry Jello Salad with Bacon Green Bean Salad, Crispy Air Fryer Broccoli, Bacon Wrapped Asparagus, and Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts.
- Potatoes: Try this side dish alongside Scalloped Potatoes Recipe, Super Creamy Mashed Potatoes, Crispy Air Fryer Baby Potatoes, or Air Fryer Baked Potatoes.
- Dessert: This makes an elegant dessert, so you can dress it up with some Chantilly Cream and serve it with Pumpkin Cheesecake (VIDEO) and Homemade Apple Pie.
Make This Cranberry Jello Salad in Advance
Make ahead: You can make this a couple of days in advance. Just cover it with plastic wrap and leave it in the refrigerator until it’s time to serve. If you’re using a mold, leave it in the mold until you are ready to plate and serve it.
Storing: Store this Cranberry Jello Salad in the refrigerator, covered, for up to one week. After that, the texture will begin to change.
Freeze: It’s not a good idea to freeze this dish because as it thaws, it becomes watery and clumpy. Best to keep it in the fridge.
More Delicious Holiday Dishes!
Full Recipe Instructions
Cranberry Jello Salad
- 2 (6 oz) packages raspberry jello
- 2 cups boiling hot water
- 2 cups cold water
- 2 14 oz cans whole berry cranberry sauce
- 2 20 oz cans crushed pineappple (NOT pineapple chunks)
- 1 cup walnuts toasted and chopped
- In a large measuring cup, mix the 2 (6 oz) packages of raspberry Jell-O powder with 2 cups of boiling water using a whisk. Then add 2 cups of cold water and whisk until everything is dissolved.
- In a large bowl, combine the 2 (14 oz) cans of whole berry cranberry sauce, 2 (20 oz) cans of crushed pineapple (lightly drained), and 1 cup of toasted chopped walnuts. Then pour in the jello and stir until well mixed in.
- Pour the cranberry jello into either a large pan with raised edges or individual cups. Refrigerate overnight until it sets.
- Make sure to use crushed pineapple and NOT pineapple chunks. The cans look very similar but they are not the same thing. The chunks have more liquid which can result in soupy jello.
- Don’t skip out on toasting the walnuts. It adds a more nutty flavor to the dish.
- If you can’t find raspberry jello, you can use cherry, cranberry, or even strawberry jello instead.
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Sandra R Trull says
How big is the serving size?
A serving is about 1/12 of the full dish. This recipe serves about 12.
This is a very large serving amount. I used a deep 13×9 casserole dish. I may not be able to transport it into the refrigerator. Way too much. I would suggest cutting in half unless you are taking it to a group of 20+ people. It’s too thick to serve from the dish I put it in. I’ve not tasted it yet but hopefully it’s good.
Thank you for the honest feedback Candice. It’s definitely a larger portion. Because it’s a holiday recipe, most people make larger batches since its usually served at larger gatherings.
marianne repka says
i have not yet made this recipe because i don’t know if i should use pineapple in juice or pineapple in heavy syrup? i wish recipes would specify which one to buy. i definitely can made a great difference.
Hi Marianne 🙂 You want to use pineapple in juice for this recipe. I also have ingredient pictures to show the products that I buy. This way it can further clarify if needed. I hope that helps and I hope you love this recipe! Let me know how it goes! 🙂
Love this recipe! The raspberry jello gives good flavor with the whole cranberry sauce. I also added fine chopped celery. Yumm
Yay! 🙂 So happy to hear you loved this cranberry jello salad! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave your feedback, Tina! I hope you find more delicious recipes on my blog! 🙂
Jane Borgstedt says
This is the same as my mom used to use. I’ve been a bit nostalgic and found this recipe. It is really, really good for Thanksgiving. I used pecans instead of walnuts (personal preference) and I diced 3/4 cup of celery very fine. Thanks for putting this up!
You are very welcome Jane! So happy that you found this recipe and love it! Thank you so much for your feedback and support! 🙂
Cecelia areHi Jane ! My Mom made this too can I ask are you from Ohio ?
I USE CRANBERRY RELISH FROM THE DELI INSTEAD OF THE SAUCE PLUS I CHOP A APPLE OR 2 TO FILL IN PLUS SCRUSHED WALNUTS
Hi Cecelia 🙂 I love the addition of the apples! Thank you for your feedback! 🙂
I only have black cherry gelatin. Is that ok?
Hmm, I have not tried it with cherry jello, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work 🙂 As long as the qualities stay the same.
Can I use celery with this recipe?
I have not tried it with celery, so I am not too sure.
Mike Conway says
My Grandmother & Mom always made this Cranberry Jello Salad at Thanksgiving with fine celery while i was going up. I feel it wouldn’t be the same without it!!!
My Dad always commented it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without this Cranberry Jello Salad!!!!
Enjoy & Happy Thanksgiving!!!!
That is so awesome to hear Mike! This really is a classic recipe that is a must at Thanksgiving! Happy Thanksgiving to you as well! 🙂
Yes, you can use cherry gelatin…yum.
CECELIA GILT says
I CHOPP I OR2 APLLES AND I USECRANBERRY RELISH ALREADY MADE AND RASBERRY JELLO PLUS CRUSHED PINEAPPLE DRAINED AND MIX TOGETHER AND FRIG OVER NITE SOME TIMES I PUT CRUSHED WALNUTS TOO
Best cranberry salad that I’ve ever eaten.
I am so happy to hear that Grace! Thank you for taking the time to write your kind feedback 🙂
Jane Imber says
Just made the recipe this morning for Thanksgiving dinner. Keeping my fingers crossed it sets 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻. I have store bought relish just is case . I cut the recipe I. Half since it’s only my husband & I, but still I followed the recipe TO THE LETTER! 🤞🏻
I hope you all love it Jane! Thank you for the feedback 🙂
Sandi Dolbee says
If you cut this in half do you use 1 cup hot water and 1 cup cold? I ask because 6 oz box of Jello mix calls for 2 cups hot and 2 cups cold
Hi Sandi, if you cut the recipe in half, you will need to cut the water amount if half as well.
Can I add mandarin oranges to this recipe for Cranberry jello salad?
Hi Debbie, I have not tested this recipe with mandarins, so I am not too sure how it will taste.
Alisha Robinson says
I have a question. What does lightly drained mean? How much of the liquid is ok to add in?
Hi Alisha, it’s mainly to reduce the amount of liquid so that the jello remains more firm at room temperature. I have honestly done it without draining and it still turned out great. But if you fully drain it, it will still be great! Just more firm 🙂 Enjoy!
Can you cut the recipi in half?
Hi Sherri 🙂 Yes, you can cut this jello salad in half. Let me know how this recipe turns out! 🙂