Christmas Cranberry Salad

What is it about this silly salad that evokes such holiday memories, it makes me salivate for Christmas.  I mean really, the all-purpose holiday Jell-O salad is hardly the star of the table, but there is something about it that is very comforting, very retro and very satisfying.

However, my kids don’t trust the Jell-O salad, it could be a generational thing  They eye it very suspiciously as it jiggles its way around the table. They don’t like it.  I think they are missing out, but I understand.

In fact, I have had my own issues with Jell-O salad as a kid.  You see, I always wanted the topping to be sweet.  I expected it.  It looked like whipped cream, I wanted whipped cream.  However, after taking a bite, the topping was always savory…sour cream or cream cheese mixed up with unsweetened whipped cream.  I hated that.  I vowed that as an adult, my topping would be sweet.  And it is.

Who knows if we are all using the same recipes, which seem to be passed through families over the years.  No real secrets, except at one point I do remember celery in this salad and notice it is NO longer in here. 

This is just a yummy salad served on the side that screams CHRISTMAS to me.

Christmas Cranberry Salad

1 can (14 ounce) whole-berry cranberry sauce
2 packages (3 ounce) raspberry gelatin
2 cups boiling water, divided
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 package (8 ounce) cream cheese, room temperature
Cooking spray
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Dissolve gelatin in 1 cup boiling water.  In another bowl, mix together cranberry sauce and the remaining water; add the gelatin mixture and lemon juice.  Pour into a 13 x 9 dish or any size dish you like that has been coated with cooking spray.  A smaller dish will give you a thicker salad (which I like) and take longer to gel together.  Refrigerate until firm.

Beat cream and sugar until stiff peaks form.  In another bowl, beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup of the whipped cream you just made.  Fold in the remaining whipped cream.  Spread over the gelatin mixture and sprinkle with the nuts.  Refrigerate for several hours.

One Year Ago: Coconut Cream Pie
Two Years Ago: Autumn Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

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14 Comments

  1. leslie 1

    I can’t do jello. Too many years of my grandma’s pretzel salad have left me scarred for life. http://thetaleofgoingnatural.blogspot.com

  2. CC 2

    I thought I was the only one who would hope against hope that the topping on my fruit salad was cool whip and not mayonnaise?

  3. Family holidays are the prefect time for Jello, Cool Whip and all the goofy food products we grew up with. Think of them as a connection. My sister made a “Christmas Salad” with green jello, olives, cheddar cheese and who knows what else. ……I miss it!

  4. That is beautiful, and I bet just as yummy!

  5. Ah, being an adult does have its jello-y revenge. Love the christmas salad (it’s amazing what a name change can do!)

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  7. Barbie with a T 7

    The color alone makes this dessert very tempting! I have a lot of leftover homemade cranberry sauce, and I plan to use it to make this dessert. I just love the color of that cranberry layer, and the snowy white topping makes it even more beautiful and perfect for the season. Thanks for this one!

  8. Bwahahahaha! I hate Jell-O! I reminds me of being sick. Isn’t that awful?

  9. my mom makes something similar to this, but i believe her layers are inverted. i’ll ask her for her recipe so i can compare hers to yours. i love the cream cheese layer topping yours! yum.

  10. I love this recipe, but have not made it in years. It is just right for the holiday season because of the beautiful color. Taste good, too.

  11. Karen 11

    what a great way to use leftovers!

  12. Laura 12

    The only thing missing is the bottom layer of pretzels baked in butter!! This is one of my favorite holiday dishes.

  13. Linda 13

    I was thinking about making a cranberry salad at Thanksgiving…maybe can get it done for Xmas. We used to always have one. I also grew up on the green jello, green olives, cheddar cheese, grated carrots, etc. When I got married I couldn’t get “his” side of the family to eat it much, so haven’t made it for years. Love your blog.

  14. Terry Covington 14

    My mom makes a very similar salad/dessert (she says it’s your choice), but with grated apple added to the cranberries, and whipped cream, only very lightly sweetened, on top. It is then sprinkled with chopped walnuts and frozen. You take it out of the freezer about an hour before you want to serve it, and the leftovers are easy to re-freeze (if there are any).

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