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You only need 5 ingredients to prepare this sweet and easy old-fashioned Cranberry Jello Salad! The flavorful combination of raspberry or cherry Jell-O, cranberries, pineapple, oranges, and pecans, is the perfect make ahead side dish or dessert for the holiday season. Serve the cranberry salad alongside a Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas ham, or beef tenderloin, or top it with a dollop of whipped cream.

Close up side shot of a fork with a bite of cranberry jello salad with mandarin oranges on a plate

Raspberry Cranberry Jello Salad

Jello salads totally remind me of my grandmother. Her vintage recipe box is full of tattered cards with handwritten recipes for all different types of gelatin mold dishes, from salmon mousse to vegetable sides and this cranberry jello salad. I’m not adventurous enough to try the savory jello salads that are studded with veggies like celery and tomatoes, but I sure do love a sweet fruit salad!

Whisking together jello in a white mixing bowl.

This easy cranberry salad recipe is perfect for the cooler weather months, thanks to ingredients like pineapple, oranges, and cranberries! Whether you serve it at Thanksgiving, on Christmas, or just for your next Sunday supper with a roast chicken, this simple and delicious side dish or dessert takes the stress out of mealtime. You can’t beat the ease of a 5-ingredient prep-ahead recipe!

Adding oranges and pecans to a big bowl.

Ingredients for Cranberry Pineapple Jello Salad

This is a quick overview of the simple ingredients that you’ll need for cranberry orange jello salad. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Raspberry jello or cherry jello: the gelatin base that flavors the salad and holds everything together. Pick your favorite flavor!
  • Water: both boiling water and cold water to make the jello.
  • Orange: I prefer diced fresh oranges here, but canned mandarin oranges are also a great option.
  • Canned pineapple: I use crushed pineapple that’s very well drained. Pineapple tidbits would also work.
  • Whole berry cranberry sauce: I like Ocean Spray cranberry sauce for this dish, but you can also use homemade cranberry sauce.
  • Pecans: add a bit of nutty crunch and flavor to the salad. Walnuts are also a great option!

Stirring together fruit and gelatin in a white mixing bowl.

How to Make Cranberry Jello Salad

You don’t need a special jello mold to prepare this easy cranberry salad. Just a large bowl and an 8-inch square dish will do the trick!

  1. Dissolve the Jell-O in boiling hot water. Whisk for 2 minutes, and then add cold water.
  2. Chill the Jell-O in the fridge and allow it to thicken for about 1 hour.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl; stir.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a square dish that’s lightly greased with cooking spray.
  5. Chill in the refrigerator until it’s completely set (at least 4 hours or overnight).
  6. Slice into squares and serving on a larger serving platter or individual plates.

Square shot of cranberry jello salad on a wooden table.

Serving Suggestions

If you’re serving the dish for dessert, top the cranberry jello salad with cool whip or homemade whipped cream. For a side dish with Thanksgiving dinner, garnish the salad with fresh parsley or other chopped herbs for a bright, savory contrast.

Entrées that Go Well with Cranberry Orange Jello Salad

There are so many other savory dishes that go well with this cranberry salad. Here are a few options:

Side shot of two plates of cranberry jello salad on a dinner table

Storage

Wrapped tightly, the jello salad will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days.

Can you freeze cranberry jello salad?

No, I do not recommend freezing this dish. The jello changes structure when frozen and will not hold its structure when thawed.

Close up side shot of cranberry raspberry jello salad in a white dish surrounded by pumpkins.

Recipe Variations

  • The recipe calls for raspberry jello or cherry jello. Really, any similar jello flavor will work. Try cranberry jello, strawberry jello, or orange jello, too. Just make sure to use the small 3 ounce box.
  • To serve a larger group, double all of the ingredients and prepare the salad in a 9 x 13-inch pan.
  • Instead of 1 small orange, substitute with two smaller clementines or mandarin oranges, or use a can of well-drained mandarin oranges.
  • Some cranberry salads with Jell-O also call for celery. I leave that out of my salad, but you can feel free to add about ½cup diced celery to the mix.
  • Use chopped walnuts or almonds instead of the pecans. You can also omit the nuts if you don’t like that added crunch.
  • Instead of crushed pineapple, use pineapple tidbits. Do not use fresh pineapple, since an enzyme in the fresh pineapple will prevent the Jell-O from setting (a great tip from a blog reader)!

Overhead shot of a white dish full of the best cranberry jello salad recipe

Tips for the Best Cranberry Jello Salad Recipe

  • You can easily boil water for your Jell-O by microwaving the water on high for about 2 ½ – 3 minutes.
  • Once you put the Jell-O in the refrigerator to thicken slightly, be sure to set a timer so that you remember to go back and check it after about 45 minutes or an hour. You want the Jell-O to thicken slightly, but you don’t want it to set completely before you stir in the remaining ingredients. Don’t forget about it!
  • Whisking the Jell-O mixture will likely result in some bubbles or foam on the top. That’s fine! Just use a spoon to gently skim off the foam before you stir in the rest of the ingredients.
  • Prep the cranberry salad well in advance of when you want to serve it. You don’t want to be stressed out wondering if it will set in time! The salad should only require about 4  hours of chilling time, but you can certainly cover it with plastic or foil and leave it in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley for a savory touch, or top it off with whipped cream or Cool Whip for a sweet, creamy contrast!

Close side shot of slices of cranberry orange jello salad with pumpkins in the background

More Cranberry Recipes You’ll Love

Close up side shot of a fork with a bite of cranberry jello salad with mandarin oranges on a plate

Cranberry Jello Salad

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes
Chilling Time 5 hours
Total: 5 hours 10 minutes
Servings 9 people
Calories 155 kcal
You only need 5 ingredients to prepare this sweet and easy old-fashioned Cranberry Jello Salad. It's a great make-ahead side dish or dessert for the holiday season!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 (3 ounce) package raspberry jello or cherry jello
  • 1 cup boiling water*
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1 small orange (or 2 clementines), peeled and diced
  • ½ cup crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 1 (14 ounce) can whole cranberry sauce
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • Optional garnish: chopped fresh parsley or whipped cream

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, dissolve Jell-O in boiling water, whisking for 2 minutes. Whisk in the cold water. Cool in the refrigerator just until slightly thickened (about 45 minutes – 1 hour).
  • Gently skim off any foam or bubbles on top of the Jell-O.
  • Stir in oranges, pineapple, cranberry sauce, and pecans. Pour into an 8-inch square dish that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Chill in the refrigerator until completely set (at least 4 hours or overnight).
  • Slice into squares and garnish with optional toppings.

Notes

  • You can easily boil water for your Jell-O by microwaving the water on high for about 2 ½ - 3 minutes.
  • Once you put the Jell-O in the refrigerator to thicken slightly, be sure to set a timer so that you remember to go back and check it after about 45 minutes or an hour. You want the Jell-O to thicken slightly, but you don't want it to set completely before you stir in the remaining ingredients. Don't forget about it!
  • Whisking the Jell-O mixture will likely result in some bubbles or foam on the top. That's fine! Just use a spoon to gently skim off the foam before you stir in the rest of the ingredients.
  • Prep the cranberry salad well in advance of when you want to serve it. You don't want to be stressed out wondering if it will set in time! The salad should only require about 4  hours of chilling time, but you can certainly cover it with plastic or foil and leave it in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley for a savory touch, or top it off with whipped cream or Cool Whip for a sweet, creamy contrast!

Nutrition

Serving: 1squareCalories: 155kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 1gFat: 4gSodium: 58mgPotassium: 72mgFiber: 1gSugar: 27gVitamin A: 50IUVitamin C: 9.4mgCalcium: 13mgIron: 0.3mg
Keyword: cranberry salad, cranberry salad with jello, easy cranberry salad recipe
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in October, 2018. The photos were updated in November, 2021.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. Sounds delicious, but do not use fresh pineapple in a jello salad. It contains an enzyme that will prevent the jello from setting up. Canned pineapple has been cooked, so that enzyme has been denatured, and the jello will set up. Fresh pineapple is delicious; it just doesn’t work in jello salads.

  2. 5 stars
    ❤️It’s a hit!!!! 5-Stars !!!!❤️
    This is exactly what I was looking for to complete my Thanksgiving Dinner..
    Classy and Delicious.

  3. Sounds so delicious, can’t wait to make it this year. Just wondering if i can make a cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries instead of using the canned sauce??

    1. Hi, Chris! I’ve never tried making this particular recipe with homemade cranberry sauce. I think it would probably work well, though.