This fresh cranberry jello salad has a vibrant look and flavor that’s bursting with every bite, thanks to the fresh fruits and nuts. Bring a taste of nostalgia to any occasion with this delightful and flavorful jello salad that you can unmold and serve.
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Old-Fashioned Cranberry Salad with Jello
Cranberries are a popular fruit during the latter part of the year, especially since they are in season.
Many families have enjoyed serving cranberry salad during the holidays for generations; it was very popular in the 1950s and 1960s. Party hosts would impress their guests with the unique and eye-catching molded jello!
So, if you want your dish to steal the show, you should give this traditional cranberry apple jello salad a spot on your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner table! The sweet yet tart salad perfectly pairs with roasted turkey, dinner rolls, and other holiday foods.
Why This is the Best Cranberry Salad Recipe with Jello
Make this classic Cranberry Jell-O Salad for your Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner or any celebration! It is the perfect addition to a holiday feast, bringing back nostalgic and comforting memories of grandma's recipe. Your family won’t believe how incredible it looks and tastes.
This isn’t a boring recipe in the slightest. Your tastebuds will be met with many delicious flavors and textures due to the fresh cranberries, crisp celery, crunchy nuts, and apple pieces! The best part is that it’s a walk in the park to make, and when you unmold it, it has a fascinating presentation.
Here's what you'll need to make this easy cranberry salad recipe:
- Fresh cranberries
- White granulated sugar
- Unflavored gelatin
Make sure your water is cold so that the gelatin can properly bloom.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
What kind of nuts to use in a cranberry jello salad: You can make cranberry jello salad with pecans, walnuts, or pistachios. I enjoy the taste and texture of buttery pecans, but it is entirely up to you.
Fresh or frozen cranberries: If fresh cranberries aren’t available, you can use frozen cranberries, but you must thaw and drain them first for best results.
Apple: Choose whichever variety of apple you like. For a puckery addition, you can use Granny Smith. You can’t go wrong with Honeycrisp or Red Delicious if you want something sweeter.
How to Make Cranberry Jello Salad with Apples
Here are the simple steps to make this cranberry jello salad recipe:
- To prepare the cranberries, first wash them thoroughly. Then, take a medium-sized pot and add one cup of water to it.
- Cook the cranberries over medium heat, allowing them to soften. Do not bring it to a boil. Mix in the sugar and allow it to cook for 5 minutes.
- To prepare the gelatin, soak it in ½ cup of cold water. Then, dissolve the gelatin in hot cranberries.
- Chill the mixture until you notice it begins to stiffen.
- Add the mix-ins (nuts, celery, and apple pieces) to the jello mixture.
- Stir to incorporate everything evenly before you pour it into an oiled ring mold.
- Chill until the jello is firm.
Although this recipe suggests using a jello mold, other options exist, such as simply using a large bowl. You might be wondering, “What kind of bowl should I put my cranberry jello salad in?” luckily, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy!
You can use any glass bowl that you have. Make sure it is large enough to fit the mixture without coming up to the rim but small enough that the jello will have shape and won’t look too flat if you unmold it.
Make it Zesty. Include some crushed pineapple, diced fresh pineapple, or orange zest, which pairs quite nicely with the tart cranberries!
Decorate it. Break out a piping bag and decorate the top with whipped cream before serving. You can also throw on some fresh or dried cranberries to take its presentation to new heights.
Add Fruit Flavor Accents. Replace ½ cup of the water with unsweetened cherry juice or the juice from freshly squeezed mandarin oranges.
How to Serve Serve Cranberry Jello Salad
This fresh cranberry jello salad looks amazing when you unmold it! All you need to do is dip the gelatin mold in warm water to loosen the edges of the firm jello. Then, take your serving platter and carefully flip the jello onto it. Even if you use a glass bowl as a mold, you can still do this.
Alternatively, if you made the cranberry salad in a bowl, you can serve it straight from the bowl with a serving spoon, although it doesn’t look as whimsical this way.
Whichever way you serve it, garnish it with fresh mint, rosemary, chopped walnuts or pecans, or even Cool Whip.
Go decadent with a homemade cream cheese topping. Use a hand mixer to mix 4 ounces of softened cream cheese, ¼ cup of powdered sugar, and ½ cup of sour cream. Dollop it on top like you would whipped cream.
What to Serve with Cranberry Jello Salad with Celery
Use this as a side dish for a holiday feast or a nice Sunday dinner. It is a light, refreshing accompaniment for hearty dishes. Some incredible dishes that go well with it include baked ham or Thanksgiving turkey, Golden Potatoes, Canned Asparagus Casserole, and Pumpkin Pie Dip.
You can also serve this sweet and fruity jello salad as a dessert.
How Long Does Cranberry Jello Salad Last?
When you store this salad correctly, it can last up to a week. However, it is best to enjoy it within five days after serving it because the longer you have it in the fridge, the more it will get watery.
How to Store Fresh Cranberry Salad with Jello
Transfer the jello salad to a clean container and tightly wrap it or cover it with a lid. It is important to wrap it so it stays fresh and doesn’t come in contact with other foods or refrigerator odors,
Can You Make Jello Salad in Advance?
Yes, you can make this yummy dish up to 2 days in advance. When things get busy around the holidays, it is nice to find a recipe like this to make ahead of time to reduce stress.
If you make it the day before, it is nice because you don’t need to worry if it will set in time, and you can worry about other things. Their convenience is part of the reason why jello salads were so popular back in the day.
How to Freeze Jello Cranberry Salad
I do not recommend freezing the jello salad because it changes the consistency of it once it thaws. This is due to the gelatin in the recipe.
More Salad Recipes
- 24 Hour Fruit Salad
- Candle Fruit Salad
- Lime Jello Salad
- Orange Cottage Cheese Jello Salad
- Watergate Salad
Cranberry Jello Salad
- 2 cups fresh cranberries washed
- 1 ½ cups cold water divided use
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
- ½ cup chopped nuts
- ¾ cup diced celery
- 1 small apple finely chopped (do not peel)
- Place the cranberries and 1 cup of water in a medium-sized pot. Cook over medium heat until tender. Add the sugar and cook for five more minutes.
- Soften the gelatin in ½ cup of cold water, and dissolve in the hot cranberries. Chill until the mixture begins to thicken.
- Add the nuts, celery, and apple to the gelatin mixture. Mix thoroughly. Pour into an oiled ring mold. 3. Chill until firm.