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The Best Jello Dessert Salad With Cranberries Recipe

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If you’re searching for a refreshing and delicious side dish to complement your next holiday meal, look no further than this easy recipe. 


It’s one of my favorite recipes for Thanksgiving dinner because it can be served as a salad, side dish, or dessert!

 It’s one of those easy recipes the whole family will love. 

There are a lot of new recipes that are perfect to make for your Thanksgiving menu however, this is one of those old fashioned jello salad recipes that has never gone out of style! 

Jello Dessert Salad

There is a large round white serving platter with a domed cranberry jello salad on it. There is a red and green plaid cloth napkin next to the platter. Items are on a white marble dsurface.

This vintage recipe has been a family tradition for the holiday season for as long as I can remember.

The index card that my Nana wrote it on is old, torn around the edges and doesn’t even have the instructions on it because we all just knew how to make it! 

Made with only seven simple ingredients, this classic jello salad is the perfect addition to your holiday table or Christmas dinner.

It’s a festive dish that adds a pop of color to all your holiday meals!

There is a large rectangular glass dish with a cranberry jello mixture in it. There are small pieces of lemon peel sprinkled on the top. The dish is on an angle laying on a white marbled surface.

Why We Love Cranberry Jell-O Salad

Taste: Both sweet and tart, this salad is packed with wonderful different flavors.

Texture: Chopped walnuts and celery add a unique crunchiness to the Cranberry Salad with Jell-O.

Simple Ingredients: This dish is made with basic ingredients of Jello, cranberries, nuts, celery, sugar, and water. 

Can Be Made Ahead Of Time: This Cranberry Jell-O salad is a great recipe that is best when made the day before.

It is super easy and doesn’t take up any oven time!

Year Round Dish: This cranberry salad is enjoyed during the holidays as a perfect side dish for a roasted turkey.

It can also be spread on a sandwich, compliment a pork tenderloin, or a roasted chicken dinner.

Serve it as a salad or add a dollop of whipped cream and serve it for a yummy desert!

My Nana loved it with a spoon full of sour cream on top.

Ingredients For This Easy Jello Salad Recipe

There is a silver mesh strainer with whole raw cranberries in it. There is a white bowl with crushed pineapple in it. There are two smaller white bowls. One of the bowls has white sugar in it the other bowl has walnut pieces in it. There are two stalks of celery and two boxes of powdered lemon Jell-O. Items are on a white marbled surface.

What You Will Need

  • Raw whole cranberries
  • Celery
  • Walnuts
  • Canned crushed pineapple
  • Lemon Jello – 2 small boxes or 1 large box
  • Sugar
  • Boiling water / hot water
  • Cold water

Equipment And Useful Tools

  • Food Processor
  • Large bowl
  • Microwave safe bowl
  • Glass dish, gelatin mold, or a ring mold
  • Whisk or wooden spoon
  • Measuring cup
  • Plastic wrap

How To Make The Best Jello Dessert Salad With Cranberries 

There is a small white plate with a dark red cranberry mixture on it. There is a spoonful of a white whipped cream on top of the mixture. There is a silver spoon resting on the plate. In the background there is a portion of a round white serving platter with cranberry mixture on it. Items are on a white marbled surface.

How To Make The Best Jello Dessert Salad With Cranberries 

There is a rectangular wooden cutting board with a mound of chopped walnuts and a mound of chopped celery on it. Board is on a white marbled surface.
  • Chop walnuts and celery into small pieces.
  • Set aside.
  • Rinse and pick through the cranberries, removing any that are under ripe or blemished.
  • Add cranberries to a food processor and pulse.
  • Transfer chopped cranberries to a large mixing bowl.
  • Stir in a can of crushed pineapple.
  • Next add the celery and walnuts. 
  • Mix together.
  • In a separate bowl, boil water in the microwave.
  • Carefully add Jello powder to the hot water. 
  • Stir until the powder is dissolve.
  • Add the sugar to the gelatin.
  • Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. 
  • Next stir in the cold water. (see Top Tips)
  • Slowly pour the gelatin mixture into the large bowl with the cranberry mixture.
  • Blend throughly.
  • Pour into dish or mold.(see Top Tips)
  • Cover with a tight fitting lid or plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, until set, or overnight.

Garnishes: I like to garnish this with a combination of homemade Whipped Cream, fresh cranberries, lemon zest, orange zest, or mint leaves.

It also tastes great with Cool Whip if you prefer that over whipped cream.

Recipe Variations

Crushed pineapple: pineapple chunks or mandarin orange segments can be substituted.

Walnuts: Pecans are a great option.

This cranberry jello salad recipe has the perfect balance of sweetness combined with the tartness of the cranberries which makes it a great addition to serve with your Thanksgiving turkey, Stuffing, and Green Beans.

Complete recipe details can be found in the recipe card below.

How To Serve Fresh Cranberry Salad

  • If using a Jello mold, just before serving, jiggle the container a little. 
  • Place a serving platter on top, upside down. Flip the platter and mold over, holding them tightly together.
  • Carefully pull up the mold off of the salad and right onto the serving plate.
  • If using a casserole dish, the Cranberry Jello Salad can be cut or scooped out and placed on a serving dish.

Top Tips

  • Make sure your cold water is VERY cold when adding it to the hot gelatin. This will help the Jello cranberry mixture to congeal faster and better.
  • Vintage Jello molds are often on the smaller side, like mine. The smaller mold usually hold about 4 to 5 cups.
  • If you are using a small mold for this recipe you will have extra Jello mixture. Place the extra in a smaller casserole dish.
  • This is great when you need two dishes, one for a dinner party, one for the family gathering when you have multiple holiday tables! 
There is a large rectangular glass dish with a cranberry jello mixture in it. There are small pieces of lemon peel sprinkled on the top. The dish is on an angle laying on a white marbled surface.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Flavor Of Jello Can I Use To Make Cranberry Jello Recipe?

Raspberry jello is used in a raspberry cranberry jello salad and is a very popular Thanksgiving recipe.

Strawberry Jello and black cherry Jello are also popular flavors that are used in Jell-O salad recipes. 

I grew up with my Nana’s recipe which uses lemon Jello and I love the zesty flavor it gives to this delightful sweet side dish. Use any of the Jello flavors you prefer!

Can I Use Frozen Whole Cranberries For A Cranberry Gelatin Salad?

Frozen whole cranberries as well as canned cranberries are great options when you want to make cranberry recipes for special occasions that aren’t during autumn. 

Fresh Cranberries are in season mid-September though mid-November which makes them the popular choice to use for holiday dinners.

Can I Use A Blender Instead Of A Food Processor To Grind Up Raw Cranberries?

Yes, you can use a blender to grind up raw cranberries.

Pulse cranberries in a blender or food processor 4 to 5 times or until coarsely chopped.

What Is The Difference Between Cranberry Relish And Whole Cranberry Sauce?

The difference between cranberry sauce and cranberry relish is that cranberry relish is made from raw fresh fruits mixed in a food processor or blender. It has more texture and tartness.

Whole berry cranberry sauce is cooked and often much sweeter than relish.

There is a small white plate with a dark red cranberry mixture on it. There is a fork laying to the left of the plate. In the background there is a corner of a glass dish with cranberry mixture in it. Items are on a white marbled surface.

Looking For Other Great Holiday Recipes?

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Yield: 12 to 14 servings

The Best Jello Dessert Salad With Cranberries Recipe

There is a small white plate with a dark red cranberry mixture on it. There is a spoonful of a white whipped cream on top of the mixture. There is a fork resting on the plate. In the background there is a corner of a glass dish with cranberry mixture in it. Items are on a white marbled surface.

If you're searching for a refreshing and delicious dish to complement your next holiday meal, look no further than this easy recipe. 

Made with only seven simple ingredients, this classic Jello dessert salad is the perfect addition to any holiday table!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces raw whole cranberries
  • 1 cup celery
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 can of crushed pineapple ( 20 ounces in heavy syrup)
  • Lemon Jello - 2 (3 ounce boxes) or 1 (6 ounce box)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup very cold water

Instructions

  1. Chop walnuts and celery into small pieces. Set aside.
  2. Rinse and pick through the cranberries, removing any that are under ripe or blemished.
  3. Add cranberries to a food processor and pulse until chopped into pieces that are about 1/4 the size of the whole cranberries, or slightly smaller.
  4. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  5. Stir in can of pineapple (crushed and undrained).
  6. Next add the celery and walnuts. 
  7. Mix throughly.
  8. In a large microwave safe bowl or a large large glass measuring bowl, boil water. 
  9. Carefully add jello powder to the hot water. 
  10. Stir until the powder is dissolve.
  11. Add the sugar to the gelatin.
  12. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. There should be no visible granules on the spoon or bowl.
  13. Next stir in the cold water. (see Top Tips)
  14. Slowly pour the gelatin mixture into the large bowl with the cranberries, crushed pineapple, celery, and walnuts.
  15. Mix throughly.
  16. Pour into dish or mold. If using a mold, lightly spray with cooking spray. (see Top Tips)
  17. Cover with a tight fitting lid or plastic wrap.
  18. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Notes

Equipment And Useful Tools

Food Processor

Large bowl

Microwave safe bowl

Deep 8x8 or 9x13 casserole dish, gelatin mold, or a ring mold

Whisk or wooden spoon

Measuring cup

Plastic wrap

Garnishes: I like to garnish this with a combination of homemade whipped cream, fresh cranberries, lemon zest, orange zest, or mint leaves.

Top Tips:

  • Make sure your cold water is VERY cold when adding it to the hot gelatin. This will help the Jello cranberry mixture to congeal faster and better.

  • Vintage Jello molds are often on the smaller side, like mine. The smaller mold usually hold about 4 to 5 cups.
  • If you are using a small mold for this recipe you will have extra Jello mixture. Place the extra in a smaller casserole dish.
  • This is great when you need two dishes, one for a dinner party, one for the family gathering when you have multiple holiday tables! 

How To Serve:

If using a Jello mold, just before serving, jiggle the container a little. 

Place a serving platter on top, upside down. Flip the platter and mold over, holding them tightly together. Carefully pull up the mold off of the salad and right onto the serving plate.

If using a casserole dish, the Cranberry Jello Salad can be cut or scooped out and placed on a serving dish.

How To Store Cranberry Jello Salad:

Cover with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container. This cranberry salad will last up to 5-7 days in the fridge. 

Freezing jello is not recommended.

Did you make this recipe?

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