The BEST Cranberry Jello Salad Recipe
on Nov 26, 2019, Updated Nov 07, 2023
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Cranberry Salad is the perfect addition to your big holiday meal this year.
This easy cranberry jello salad recipe makes an edible wreath that will wow your guests and will dominate your Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas tablescape!
The combination of tart cranberries, fresh fruits, and other simple ingredients makes a delicious side dish for your holiday dinners. Find out what makes this one of our most popular cranberry recipes!
This old-fashioned salad is perfect for the holiday season and is one of our many Amish and Mennonite recipes.
Table of Contents
What is cranberry jello salad?
Our Cranberry Salad recipe comes to you from the Mennonite Community Cookbook.
It’s the only cookbook that lived in the kitchen cupboard above my mom’s busy oven in our big Mennonite farmhouse.
Wisconsin is the cranberry capital of the world, so when fall rolls around, our grocery stores have piles and piles of fresh cranberries. They have become one of our favorite ingredients for making fall and holiday recipes.
Some of my favorite cranberry recipes include this incredible cranberry bread with cream cheese and nuts, our homemade cranberry relish, and cranberry pancakes made with orange zest. These are all really good cranberry recipes that you should look at!
Cranberry salad ingredients
- Whole Cranberries – We prefer fresh cranberries for this holiday salad, but you can use frozen ones. Make sure you thaw them in a colander first and pat them dry with paper towels when ready to use.
- Apples – You can use whatever apples you like for this cranberry jello salad. My favorites are Honeycrisps, which add a little sweetness to balance the tart cranberries. Plus, they help satisfy my sweet tooth. Another good option is Granny Smith apples. They are tart and crisp and pair well with the cranberries.
- Sugar – Use white sugar for this recipe.
- Oranges or Crushed Pineapple I love using oranges in this cranberry jello salad recipe. I prefer to use naval oranges because they are seedless, sweet, and easy to peel. Oranges and cranberries go together like peas and carrots!
- Cherry, Strawberry, or Raspberry Gelatin – This is a matter of personal preference and what you have on hand.
- Water – You’ll need 1 cup of boiling water for this recipe. This needs to be boiled for the gelatin to dissolve properly.
- Walnuts – These are optional but add a nice autumn flair. If anyone has nut allergies, don’t put them in the recipe.
Expert Cooking Tip – When adding nuts to a recipe like this, toast them first. This will give you a ton of extra flavor and give their texture a little “tooth”, making the whole thing taste even better!
How to make this festive cranberry jello salad
After washing some fresh cranberries, you’re going to chop them up. A few pulses in a food processor work perfectly.
Next, you will pare and core a few apples, then finely dice them and add them to a mixing bowl with the fresh cranberries.
This cranberry jello salad takes a distinct holiday turn when you add some nuts and oranges (or fresh pineapple) to the mix.
For this cranberry salad, you will dissolve a packet of either cherry gelatin or strawberry gelatin into a cup of hot water.
Then, you will some cold water to the mixture and whisk it all together.
When the gelatin is cool, use a large bowl to combine it with the cranberry mixture. Gently fold it all together until it’s mixed well.
- Use boiling water to dissolve the jello powder.
- Stir gelatin with the hot water for a full two minutes
- For best results, allow the gelatin to start to thicken a bit before combing the gelatin with the other ingredients.
Be sure and follow the above steps or else the gelatin may not set!
Now it’s time to pour the mixture for this cranberry pineapple salad into a salad mold and allow it to congeal.
If you don’t have a salad mold, use a bundt cake pan and just give it a quick spray with some non-stick cooking spray.
A bed of greens on the serving platter makes this cranberry salad the perfect bridge between a traditional salad and a holiday dessert for your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
We would love for you to make this cranberry salad for your big holiday dinner. Be sure and leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts!
More Holiday and Christmas Salad Recipes for you to enjoy.
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The Best Cranberry Jello Salad Recipe
- 1/2 lb Cranberries, Washed and chopped
- 3 Apples, Pared and cored.
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
- 2 oranges, Chopped. Or 1/2 cup crushed pineapple
- 1 package gelatin, (3 oz) strawberry or cherry
- 1 cup water, boiling hot
- 1 cup water, cold
- Wach and chop cranberries. A few pulses in a food processor works well.
- Pare and core apples then chop finely. Add chopped oranges, nuts, and. sugar to the cranberries.
- In a separate mixing bowl, dissolve the gelatin in hot water and whisk vigorously for two minutes. Add the cold water and mix well. Allow the gelatin to cool and to start to set and then stir in the cranberry mixture.
- Pour the mixture into a salad mold or a bundt pan prepared with a non-stick cooking spray. Allow cool and congeal completely and then unmold onto a bed of salad greens.
- Garnish with additional whole cranberries, if desired.
- Dissolving the Gelatin: Ensure that the gelatin powder is fully dissolved in boiling or very hot water. This is essential for achieving a smooth texture and ensuring the jello sets properly.
- Adding Cold Water: After the gelatin has been fully dissolved in hot water, it’s crucial to add cold water (or sometimes ice water) to begin the cooling and gelling processes.
- Chilling: Pouring the mixture into molds or a container and placing it in the refrigerator to set is essential. The jello must be chilled for several hours (usually 3-4 hours or overnight for best results) to achieve the desired consistency.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.