Thanksgiving Recipes


Cranberry Jell-O Salad


Cranberry Jell-O Salad

When you think of fruit at Thanksgiving, the first thing that probably comes to your mind is pumpkin. An equally delicious fruit to serve at Thanksgiving that's often underrated is the cranberr. Forget about that cranberry sludge that slides out of a can with a giant plop, this Cranberry Jell-O Salad is where it's at this Thanksgiving.

Not Tart-y For The Party

Cranberries are both sweet and tart, making them the perfect accompaniment to the heavy, rich dishes served at Thanksgiving. This Cranberry Jell-O Salad recipe brings forth a superb mix of sweet, tart, and crunchy in one unbelievable dish.

The delicate cranberry layer packs a crunchy surprise with the chopped pecans. The sweet pineapple juice balances out the tartness of the cranberries and the pineapple pieces gently pop in your mouth for yet another satisfying crunch. There's no doubt that your Cranberry Jell-O Salad will be the hit of any Thanksgiving party.

A Smooth Center

Perhaps the most astonishing part of this dish is the unique, creamy layer in the middle of it all. The combination of cream cheese and mayonnaise may seem unusual, but the mayonnaise adds an extra smoothness to the cream cheese that can't be matched. While mayonnaise is typically thought of as an ingredient in savory dishes, it's the perfect component in this Cranberry Jell-O Salad recipe.

Jello Setting Tips

If you've ever struggled with getting gelatin to set, you're not alone. Many Thanksgiving cooks have slaved tirelessly over their gelatin salad for hours, only to have it all fall apart once it's turned out onto the serving dish.

To avoid this catastrophe, keep these tips in mind when making the gelatin for this salad:

  • Use really hot water to dissolve the gelatin or it will end up grainy.
  • Allow the gelatin to sit in the refrigerator until it is completely firm before adding the next layer.
  • Before serving, place the bowl with the gelatin inside of a bowl of warm water to gently loosen it from the sides.
  • Place a serving plate on top of the gelatin bowl and then quickly flip the bowl and plate. The salad should slide out easily.
  • If the salad does not slide out easily, flip the bowl back over and loosen the sides with a butter knife, then repeat the previous step.

Recipe Variations

You can really mix up this recipe any way you'd like. In addition to the crushed pineapple and pecans, add in one cup of finely chopped celery for even more crunch. You can also change up the taste of the gelatin by mixing one package of cranberry gelatin with one package of strawberry gelatin.

For nut allergies, leave the pecans out entirely or use another nut, such as walnuts or almonds. You can also sprinkle the finished salad with some toasted coconut for a crunchy, sweet twist on this classic, tart side dish.

A Family Tradition

However you serve it, your family and friends are sure to love it. Don't be surprised if you get asked for the recipe more than once. It'll quickly become a staple at your Thanksgiving table and may even make an appearance on Christmas and Easter. It's also the perfect accompaniment to ham as the sweetness and tartness of the cranberries and pineapple balance out the saltiness of the popular meat choice served at other holiday gatherings.

This salad is guaranteed to be devoured up at your next Thanksgiving. Keep that can of cranberry sludge in the cupboard and serve up this tasty dish instead!

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Cranberry Jell-O Salad

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  • Author: MomsWhoThink


  • 2 (3 ounce) packages cherry flavored gelatin mix
  • 1 (16 ounce) can whole cranberry sauce
  • 1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 Tablespoon mayonnaise


  1. Drain crushed pineapple and save ¼ cup of the juice. Dissolve gelatin in 2 cups of hot water. Stir in cranberries and crushed pineapple. Pour ½ of the mixture in a bowl and leave at room temperature, set the other ½ in the refrigerator until firm.
  2. In a separate bowl mix together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, reserved pineapple juice and chopped pecans. Spread mixture over chilled gelatin.
  3. Place in refrigerator for 10 minutes. Pour the room temperature gelatin over the top of the cream cheese layer and refrigerate until set.
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