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5 Popular Cranberry Salads - You can't go wrong!

December 15, 2017

Top 5 Cranberry Salads

By Angie Sutton, www.mothersapronstrings.com


There it is on the table. A tubular-shaped gelatinous glob with the telltale rings indented into its circumference. The infamous can of cranberry sauce that inhabits a small space amongst the other usual suspects on the Thanksgiving dinner table. Nestled perhaps between the dinner rolls and the green bean casserole, the host hopes that someone will take the obligatory slice.


Worry no more. This week’s article from Mother’s Apron Strings highlights some of the best cranberry salad recipes from Sutton Central. I like to use fresh cranberries to create these recipes, but you can always use canned whole cranberries. Something about the way the house smells as the cranberries are cooked and ground just wraps you in the warmth of the holiday like a jacket on cool fall evening.


Perhaps one of these recipes will become your “go-to” holiday dish for years to come. Warm wishes from my kitchen to yours this Thanksgiving holiday. May you enjoy the gratitude for all we have and enjoy, for a safe and bountiful fall harvest and for the rest that the holiday brings.


From the Freezer Cranberry Salad

This dish is more like a dessert but is popular with the younger set that may have an aversion to the traditional cranberry salad concept. I like to make it in a cupcake pan and then drop the portions into short clear plastic cups. This looks pretty and protects the frozen concoction from mixing with the turkey gravy or potentially melting on its way to the table.


1 bag fresh cranberries

1 1/2 c. granulated sugar

1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese

1/2 c. pecans, chopped

1/2 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained

1/2 (8-oz.) container whipped topping, thawed


1. In a food processor, finely chop cranberries and pour into a large bowl. Stir sugar into cranberries until well combined. Stir in chopped pecans.

2. In a food processor or with a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until creamy. Stir into the cranberry mixture.

3. Stir in drained pineapple and whipped topping. Continue to stir until all ingredients are well combined.

4. Lightly spray two loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray. Evenly divide the mixture into the pans, tap on the counter twice and place on flat surface in the freezer overnight.

Apron Strings Tips: To serve, remove pan from freezer and let sit for 10 minutes to slightly thaw. Flip onto cutting board and remove from mold. Slice into portions. You can also use a mini muffin tin or small cupcake pan lined with festive liners.


Festive Cranberry Salad

The mix of cranberries, oranges, apples and pecans just screams holiday season in this salad. Celery is the key to the perfection of this tasty dish. If you have room in your refrigerator, this gelatin-based dish can be poured into clear plastic cups to create portable individual servings.


1 bag fresh cranberries

2 large oranges

2 large Granny Smith apples, unpeeled and cut into quarter-inch chunks

2 c. pecans, chopped

1/2 c. finely chopped celery

1 orange peel, grated

1/2 c. crushed pineapple, undrained

2 c. granulated sugar

1 (3-oz.) pkg. strawberry gelatin

1 c. boiling water


1. Grate one orange peel and set zest aside. Peel the oranges and cut oranges into half-inch chunks.

2. Combine all ingredients except gelatin in a large bowl and stir to combine, making sure sugar is evenly distributed.

3. Mix one cup boiling water with gelatin and stir until it has dissolved. Pour over the fruit mixture and stir. Immediately dump into a glass serving dish. Slightly cool, loosely cover and refrigerate overnight or until set.

Apron Strings Tips: This dish actually tastes better when made two days prior to serving. The fruits and celery have a chance to meld and the flavor is amazing!


Cream Cheese Cranberry Salad

Not your traditional salad but I promise the serving dish will be empty by the end of the meal!


2 (3-oz.) pkgs. raspberry gelatin

1 1/2 c. boiling water

1 (20-oz.) can crushed pineapple, undrained

1 can whole cranberry sauce

3/4 c. cranberry juice

1 c. pecans

1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1 c. sour cream


1. In a large bowl, stir gelatin with boiling water until dissolved.

2. Stir in crushed pineapple, cranberry sauce, cranberry juice and 3/4 c. pecans until combined.

3. Pour mixture into a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish and refrigerate until firm.

4. With a mixer, cream together cream cheese, sugar and sour cream until smooth. Spread evenly across the top of the gelatin. Sprinkle top with remaining chopped pecans. Refrigerate until topping is firm.

Apron Strings Tips: I typically make the gelatin portion of this salad the evening before I want to serve it. This allows the gelatin to set well. The next morning I top it with the cream cheese mixture and by meal time it is ready to serve.


Most Popular Cranberry Salad

The name says it all. This salad likely appears in most family buffet lines on Thanksgiving for a good reason. It’s just that good! Reserve a few whole fresh cranberries to garnish the top of the dish before serving.


1 bag fresh cranberries

1 c. granulated sugar

1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple, undrained

1/2 c. chopped walnuts

2 c. mini marshmallows

1 pint heavy whipping cream


1. In a food processor, chop cranberries.

2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together cranberries, sugar, crushed pineapple and walnuts. Refrigerate for one hour. Give it another stir and set aside.

3. In a stand mixer, beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. With a large spoon, fold in the marshmallows and cranberry mixture until evenly distributed. Dump into a pretty serving dish and refrigerate overnight.

Apron Strings Tips: I’ve used a contained of whipped topping before to short cut this recipe, but I really encourage you to make the homemade version.


Mom's Cranberry Salad

This is one of my favorite salads! The flaked coconut sets it apart from the other recipes the cranberry salad world. I save a few of the whole fresh cranberries and garnish the top with the cranberries and about a tablespoon of coconut just before serving.


3 cups fresh cranberries

3/4 c. granulated sugar

1 cup tap water

1 cinnamon stick

2 c. sour cream

2 c. pineapple tidbits

2 c. mini marshmallows

1 c. chopped pecans

2 c. sweetened flake coconut


1. In a sauce pan over medium heat, combine cranberries, sugar, water and the cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Cool completely. Sauce will thicken as it cools. Remove any remaining cinnamon stick.

2. In a mixing bowl, add 1 1/2 c. of the cranberry mixture with remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Refrigerate overnight and spoon into a serving dish.

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