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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Can this be made with sugar free jello?
Hi Joanna 🙂 Yes, sugar-free jello should work just fine. I have not tried it myself so I can’t say if it will make a small adjustment in the flavor. Let me know how it goes! 🙂
Ethel Miller says
Can’t wait to Make it..❤️❤️❤️
I hope you love it Ethel! 🙂
Dina, do you think this recipe could be adapted to use fresh cranberries (crushed) instead of canned cranberries? Thank you.
Hi Brenda, that’s a great question! I am not too sure since that consistency might be different. The cranberries in the can have a little thickness to them which slightly helps the jello holds its shape.
can I cut the recipe in half? This makes way too much for only 2 people. Thanks
Yes you can 🙂
joanne bach says
The salad was delicious, so I want to make it for Thanksgiving. Grandsons are allergic to tree nuts. What do you think about using very chopped almonds, or do you have another suggestion?
Hi Joanne, if you are concerned about tree nut allergies, the nuts can be omitted from the recipe.
joanne bach says
The salad was delicious, so I want to make it for Thanksgiving. Grandsons are allerdic to tree nuts. What do you think about using very chopped almonds, or do you have another suggestion?
Hi; my mother in law passed a similar recipe to me many years ago and we have enjoyed it so much! May I suggest that you pause after step 1 (mixing the jello ONLY); let it sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes to firm up before adding the other ingredients. This will help keep the fruit and nuts from sinking to the bottom. Enjoy!!!!
Thank you for the tip 🙂
This recipe was so easy to make and is absolutely delicious. After reading some of the comments I decided to drain the juice off of the crushed pineapple. Next time I will leave the juice in . Thank you for sharing this recipe. I will make it often!
Thank you so much for the great feedback Kathy! I am glad to hear that you enjoyed this recipe.
This didn’t gel – at all. 0%. My mother has made this for 40 years. You must DRAIN the canned crushed pineapple. Yes – the water ratio is correct. Think about this – if you’re making just the jello itself, it will gel. But if you’re adding all that crushed pineapple in the juice too, it’s now too much of a liquid ratio. Or, you could cut the water to 1 cup and 1 cup I suppose. Just drain the crushed pineapple and you should be ok.
Hi Janel, what brand of canned pineapple are you using? I just made this recipe last week and it definitely jelled up in the fridge. Maybe the brand of pineapple that you used has a higher water ratio to the crushed pineapple?
Do you drain the crushed pineapple? I am a little afraid to make this from all the comments about it being too soupy. 4 cups of water seems like a lot. Please advise.
Hi Marilyn, make sure you buy crushed and not diced pineapple. The cans look very similar. Even I once accidentally got the wrong can myself. This is usually the culprit. The jello should set well in the fridge, but if kept at room temperature for too long, it will begin to soften. I hope this helps 🙂
Kristina Dale says
Made this Christmas Eve to have for Christmas dinner. Did not set at all and was a red, soupy mess☹️
Hi Kristina I am so sorry to hear that 🙁 did you use crushed pineapple or pineapple chunks? Maybe thats where the extra liquid came from?
Deb Booth says
I also made this and it didn’t set up either. And it kept bothering me. I read and reread and thought I’d decrease the water next time around as the flavor was really good. Finally figured it out. I used 2 small boxes of jello and not the large ones. Maybe that is the issue with the others. 🤦♀️
Deb, thank you so much for sharing that information with me. There is a high chance that this could be the reason why some people’s jello didn’t set.
I made this but I cut the ingredients in half. I followed the recipe and refrigerated over night. I was very soupy,
Hi Donna, sorry to hear that happened. Did you use pineapple chunks or the crushed pineapple? Did you change any of the ingredients or did any of the ratios get adjusted more/less than half? Trying to see if I can help solve this problem for you.
This did not set up at all had to throw it all out
Hi Sherry, sorry to hear that. Not sure what happened. Did you change any of the ingredients or steps? Did you use crushed pineapple or chunks? Trying to see if I can help find out what happened.
Unfortunately I bought chunked pineapple as you have in the picture then I read the recipe after!
Hi Erica, so sorry for the confusion!! I took a picture with the wrong pineapples but I made sure to put crushed pineapples in the ingredients and instructions. Most people don’t look at the photos for the ingredients so I didn’t think to change it. I am really sorry again! I hope you still are able to enjoy this cranberry jello salad.
I make this for my father but I also add 2 small diced apples minus the nuts. It never lasts very long in the frig.
Hi Patty, that sounds like a really delicious addition 🙂
I did not drain the pineapple, it was so runny, we had cranberry soup
Hi Karen, I have made this recipe countless times and I have never had it runny. Do you think there’s a chance you might have misread the water to jello ratio? I’m trying to think of reasons why it might have been runny. How long did you let it sit in the fridge?
How solidified should this be? Mine seems a bit runny.
Hi Jill, it shouldn’t be runny at all. How long did you refrigerate it for?
Jan edwards says
Fresh pineapple will not congeal.
Patti Ellen says
Will this fit into a 9 x 13 dish?
Hi Patti, yes this recipe will fit into a 9×13 inch baking dish 🙂
Hmmm….wondering if the crushed pineapple is drained or not?
Hi Michele, I don’t drain the crushed pineapple for this cranberry jello salad.