This cranberry jello salad is fantastically fruity. It makes a great jello salad for Thanksgiving dinner or for Christmas dinner (or both!) It’s made with juicy fresh cranberries with their sweet tart taste, along with mandarin oranges, pineapple, jello, and more. Although you could serve cranberry orange jello salad as a dessert option, it also makes a nice replacement for canned cranberry sauce, and certainly offers a fresher flavor. This salad is perfect for potlucks and holiday parties with even non-cranberry lover will enjoy it.
If you’re planning your Thanksgiving dinner spread, don’t forget the homemade cranberry jello salad with pineapple and oranges! This recipe is made with jello, giving it a different consistency, and the fruity taste goes perfectly with your Thanksgiving turkey!
Why You’ll Love It
Nice and easy: You probably have enough dishes to make for your holiday table, so learning this one is easy is great, as you can prep it quickly and then just refrigerate until needed.
Really tasty: The combination of fresh cranberries and other fruits promises a lot of flavor in the cranberry jello salad recipe. The walnuts add crunch and the strawberry jello holds it all together. You could even serve it as a dessert with homemade whipped cream.
Customizable: You can tweak the recipe to suit your palate, using a different kind of nut, different fruits or even another flavor of jello.
Ingredients for Jello Cranberry Salad
This Thanksgiving jello salad is made with jello, fresh cranberries, oranges, pineapple, sugar, and chopped walnuts. You really don’t need many ingredients to make a delicious cranberry jello salad!
How to Make Thanksgiving or Christmas Jello Salad
For more detailed instructions with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card.
Puree the cranberries: After rinsing and picking over the cranberries, drain and pulse in a food processor until pea-sized.
Prepare the canned fruit: Drain the liquid form the canned crushed pineapple and oranges, and keep it separate from the solids.
Make the jello: Whisk the jello powder in boiling water until it dissolves, then add the sugar and canned fruit juices.
Add the remaining ingredients: Now stir in the cranberries, fruit solids from the cans and the chopped walnuts.
The finishing touches: Pour the cranberry jello salad mixture into a serving dish, then cover and chill for at least 4 hours, keeping it refrigerated until you’re ready to serve it.
Substitutions and Variations
Possible tweaks include changing the strawberry gelatin for cherry or raspberry jello instead, and subbing almonds or pecans for the walnuts.
Some people like to add diced apples to their berry cranberry sauce and that would also work in this cranberry jello salad. Oh, and if you do like apples, you might like to whip up this extra-special maple apple whiskey sour as well!
How to Serve a Holiday Jello Salad
The most popular pairing for this lovely cranberry salad is Thanksgiving turkey. You can add some to your turkey sandwiches after Thanksgiving or else try it with something different, turkey-based or not.
Whole berry cranberry sauce, or cranberry jello, is beautiful with brie, camembert and similar soft cheeses. Oh, and save some to enjoy with this leftover turkey shepherd’s pie too!
How to Store Cranberry Jello Salad
Store: Leftovers will keep for up to 5 days if stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Freeze: If you freeze this, you’ll find the texture changes quite a lot. Tiny liquid pockets will harden and expand in the jello mixture while the gelatin component itself stays flexible. Try freezing some if you’re curious how it tastes thawed!
Thanksgiving Jello Salad FAQs
If you don’t want to use canned fruit in fruit juice or syrup (either of those is fine to use, by the way) then you can use fresh, so long as you add 1 1/2 cups of water (to replace the juice or syrup from the can).
If you try, you’ll end up with a mess! This cranberry jello salad is too loose in consistency to hold its shape if you attempt to unmold it, so choose a pretty serving bowl and present your festive cranberry salad in that instead.
Cranberry Jello Salad Recipe
Cranberry Jello Salad
- 1 Pound cranberries fresh
- 1 Can mandarin oranges 15 Ounces
- 1 Can pineapple tidbits 20 Ounces
- 2 Boxes strawberry flavored gelatin 3 Ounces boxes
- 1 Cup water boiling
- 1 Cup granulated sugar
- 1 Cup walnuts chopped
- Thoroughly rinse and pick over cranberries to remove any debris, drain.
- Pulse cranberries in a food processor 10 to 12 times until they are about pea sized.
- Drain liquid from the oranges and pineapple, reserve liquid, this will be used in mixing the gelatin.
- Empty gelatin powder into a large bowl. Bring water to a full boil, carefully measure 1 cup of water and add water to gelatin, whisking for 1 minute until dissolved.
- Add sugar to gelatin mixture and whisk until combined. Add the liquid from the oranges and pineapples, stir to combine.
- Add cranberries, oranges, pineapples, and walnuts, stirring gently to combine.
- Pour into serving dish, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- This cranberry salad does not set up firm enough to try to unmold. It is important that the water be brought to a rolling boil, if water is not boiling it will not activate the gelatin and salad will not set properly.
- Tip: Do not boil just 1 cup of water, boil 2 then measure out the 1 cup. Boiling just one cup of water will result in some of the water being lost to evaporation.
- The oranges and pineapple can be packed in juice or syrup, both will work in this recipe.
- Fresh pineapple and oranges can be used in place of canned, but 1 ½ cups of water will have to be added to the gelatin mixture in place of the juice from the can.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
This recipe for cranberry jello salad is the perfect accompaniment for your Thanksgiving turkey or perhaps you’d prefer it with your Christmas meal this year instead. It’s a blend of cranberries, pineapple, orange, walnuts, and more. Jello salads can be prepared in advance and simply kept in the fridge until serving the meal, so if you plan ahead you can make this ahead then forget about it until dinner.
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Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella is a storyteller, food lover, dog mom and adventure seeker living on the Pacific coast. She shares her passion for recipes, dogs, sustainability, adventures, travel and philanthropy, in hopes of encouraging followers to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places and stand for a cause. Bella lives with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.
Bella Bucchiotti is a freelance food, travel, and lifestyle writer for MSN and the Associated Press Wire.