Fresh Cranberry Salad Recipe

by Jimmie

This delicious gelatin salad is made with fresh cranberries, canned pineapple, celery, and nuts. It is more like a relish than a typical congealed salad.

I love the tart taste of cranberries. And although canned cranberry sauce is nice with a turkey dinner, there is no comparison to the texture and flavor of using fresh cranberries in your cooking.

The cranberry salad I share here is a long-time family recipe. My mother made it every year for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now I make it just as she did. I love it so much that I eat it for breakfast as well as with lunch or dinner.

This cranberry salad recipe is jam packed with anti-oxidants and healthy fiber.  

A food processor is essential for this recipe because you need to grind an orange. You can hand chop the cranberries, but it is a challenge to keep them from rolling all over the cutting board. I use and recommend the Ninja Blender and Chopper. It makes the chopping a breeze.

Get the Health Benefits of Cranberries by Eating Fresh

Cranberry Salad Made With Fresh Cranberries
Cranberry Salad Made With Fresh Cranb...
Fresh Ingredients
Fresh Ingredients

Assemble All Ingredients and Kitchen Tools

Ingredients and the Ninja
Ingredients and the Ninja

Ingredient List

Cranberry Salad
  • 1 12 ounce bag of cranberries, washed
  • 1½ cup of sugar (or decrease to 1 cup)
  • 1 entire orange, peel and pulp, seeded
  • 1 package of flavored gelatin (strawberry, orange, lemon, or raspberry)
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • ¼ cup of juice -- cranberry or orange (or substitute cold water)
  • 1 8 ounce can of crushed pineapple 
  • 4 stalks of celery, chopped or sliced thin
  • 1 cup of nuts, coarsely chopped (pecans or walnuts)

Directions for Making Fresh Cranberry Salad

Prepare the Orange

Cut the orange into at least four pieces. Remove any seeds, but do not peel. Put the entire orange -- peel and flesh -- into the Ninja food processor and grind. 

You can see from the photo on the right what consistency you are looking for. It's a fine mash but still with visible bits of peel.

Prepare the Cranberries

There is no need to wash the food processor bowl. Just add in the washed cranberries and chop them coarsely. Don't grind them to bits; leave some large chunks. Your cranberries will be a mix of finely chopped tidbits and larger chunks.

Pour the cranberries onto the chopped orange, and add the sugar. Stir and let the fruits macerate. I prefer less sugar, so I use only 1 cup. If you have a sweet tooth or do not like sour flavors, up the sugar to 1½ cups. Actually, mom's original recipe calls for 2 cups of sugar! But I truly think that is too sweet especially with the addition of flavored gelatin which is mostly sugar.

Chop the Celery

Wash and dry your four celery stalks and chop them into a fine dice or into thin slices. I prefer diced pieces just because it takes less precision on the cutting board than a fine slice. But this is a matter of personal preference. You do want fresh, crisp celery. Wilted and limp celery will not be appetizing in this cranberry salad. If your celery is limp, just leave it out of the recipe. It is still good without the celery. Add the celery to the fruits.

A Note about Pineapple

You cannot use fresh pineapple in this recipe because it has an enzyme that breaks down the gelatin. Your salad will never congeal and will instead be soupy. You must use canned (cooked) pineapple. There is no need to drain it. The recipe factors in the juice that is in the can. Just open the tin and dump it all into your fruits and celery mixture.

Prepare the Gelatin

Pour one cup of boiling water over the gelatin and stir to dissolve. [I keep an electric kettle on my kitchen counter so that I have instant boiling water for cooking (and for tea). See the link below for my Oster hot water kettle.] When the gelatin is fully dissolved, add in the ¼ cup of juice or cold water. 


Now you need to mix all your ingredients together. You already have the cranberries, sugar, orange, celery, and pineapple in your large mixing bowl. Finally add the nuts and the gelatin. Stir to combine. Then pour into a casserole dish. Store the cranberry salad in the refrigerator to set. It takes several hours, so plan ahead on this recipe.

Photo Tutorial for Making Cranberry Salad

Grind the Orange
Grind the Orange
Orange Pulp and Peel
Orange Pulp and Peel
Chop the Cranberries
Chop the Cranberries
Add Chopped Celery
Add Chopped Celery
Mix Well
Mix Well
Cranberry Salad
Cranberry Salad

Enjoy Your Fresh Cranberry Salad

Healthy Eating

I hope that you enjoy your fresh cranberry salad as much as I always do. Besides the delicious taste, I know that I am infusing my body with the healthy benefits of cranberries:

  • anti-oxidants
  • vitamin C
  • phytonutrients
  • fiber

Research has proven that eating fresh, whole cranberries gives more health benefits than eating dried cranberries or drinking cranberry juice.

More Food Articles

In The Kitchen with Jimmie
How to cook homemade blueberry muffins from scratch using whole wheat flour and honey. These muffins are clean eating and full of nutrients.
Love sausage balls but hate the nitrates in sausage and the weird fats in processed baking mixes? Make sausage balls the healthy clean eating way with this recipe and tutorial.
The zing of lemons balances the dense texture of a traditional pound cake. In this recipe, you juice and zest fresh lemons for the maximum lemon flavor.
Updated: 02/27/2012, Jimmie
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


nightbear on 12/31/2011

I'm not sure I would like the celery included. but I learned something very valuable and time saving. Just grind the orange peel with the orange. why waste time zesting? Loved your photos.

sheilamarie on 12/31/2011

Sounds great, Jimmie. We're a real cranberry-loving family, so I'll definitely try it.

Marie on 12/31/2011

My goodness this Cranberry Salad looks delicious. I love cranberries with their fresh, zingy taste and pineapple too. Will love to try this when the weather warms up a bit!

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