Creamy Cranberry Salad with pineapple and apples is a holiday favorite! This pretty side dish is sweet and tart with the perfect amount of crunch.
Dessert salads always make an appearance during the holidays. Cranberry salad is popular for both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. It is an irresistible combination of flavors and textures!
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Cranberry Salad Ingredients
The ingredients needed to make cranberry salad should all be available at your grocery store during the holiday season. You may need to look for the whole cranberries in the freezer section. See the recipe card for the complete recipe with ingredient measurements.
- Cranberries: This recipe calls for a bag of fresh cranberries. You can also use frozen cranberries, but they must be thawed beforehand.
- Sugar: The sugar sweetens the cranberry sauce and helps it thicken.
- Pineapple Juice: The pineapple juice comes from the can of crushed pineapple.
- Pineapple: We used crushed pineapple so that it is more consistent throughout the salad.
- Apple: This recipe calls for a medium apple. We used Honeycrisp. You don’t need to peel the apple, but it does need to be diced.
- Cream Cheese: The cream cheese helps hold the salad together and makes it creamy.
- Cool Whip: The cool whip lightens the texture and adds to the sweetness.
- Marshmallows: The mini marshmallows add sweetness and texture.
- Sugared Cranberries: We garnished this cranberry salad with gorgeous sugared cranberries. You can find my sugared cranberries recipe here.
How To Make Cranberry Salad
To make cranberry salad, you’ll start by making cranberry sauce. Once the sauce has chilled, the other ingredients can be stirred in.
Cranberry Sauce: Combine the cranberries, sugar, and pineapple juice in a saucepan. Cook and stir until the cranberries start to break down and the sauce is thickened. Then, chill the sauce in the refrigerator.
Fruit: Once the cranberry sauce has chilled, stir in the crushed pineapple and the diced apples.
Creamy Sauce: Beat the softened cream cheese and then stir in the cool whip. Add the cranberry sauce mixture and mini marshmallows and stir to combine.
Garnish: We garnished this salad with sugared cranberries, but you could use fresh cranberries or even mini marshmallows for a garnish.
What Others Want To Know
Yes, you can make it ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator. It does separate somewhat, so stir it before serving. Or you can leave the cranberry sauce, fruit, and cream cheese mixture separate until close to serving time.
You can store cranberry salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
You could add chopped glazed pecans or walnuts. Other popular additions include mandarin oranges and diced celery.
- Strawberry Pecan Pretzel Salad is popular year-round!
- This Apple Snicker Salad is perfect for fall celebrations.
- Blueberry Pretzel Salad is totally irresistible.
- Both kids and adults love this Strawberry Jello Salad.
- 12 oz fresh cranberries or use thawed frozen cranberries
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup pineapple juice reserved from can
- 20 oz can crushed pineapple drain the pineapple and reserving the juice
- 1 medium apple diced
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- 8 oz cool whip
- 2 cups mini marshmallows
- ½ cup sugared cranberries optional
- Drain the crushed pineapple, reserving the juice. Set the pineapple aside. Put cranberries, granulated sugar, reserved pineapple juice in a saucepan. Stir and cook over medium heat for 12-15 minutes, until the cranberries start to break down. Remove from heat and chill in the refrigerator or over a bowl of ice water.
- Stir in the crushed pineapple and diced apple.
- Beat the softened cream cheese until smooth. Stir in the cool whip. Add the chilled cranberry mixture and mini marshmallows. Stir to combine.
- Garnish with sugared cranberries, if desired.