A classic cranberry jello salad recipe made with raspberry jello, crunchy walnuts, fresh orange, and tart apple. This is not a molded jello salad, but a tangy and sweet cranberry salad that is akin to cranberry relish. This cranberry recipe has 5 minutes of hands-on time making it the easiest Thanksgiving side dish recipe ever.
This post may include affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Please read the entire post for tips and tricks to ensure a perfect recipe every time. And don't forget to tag @peelwithzeal on Instagram so we can admire your creation!
This recipe came from my mother-in-law, Cathe. And yes, I know you don't want 4 paragraphs about my life so I will keep it brief. Her love for cooking was really an act of love for the people in her life.
She inspired my husband to cook, now it is an activity we do together almost every day. And while she is no longer with us I wanted to memorialize my favorite recipe of hers.
She made it every Thanksgiving and Christmas and those holiday dinners just aren't the same without it, or without her. I sincerely hope it becomes a tradition on your holiday table.
📖Why This Recipe Works
This is an old-fashioned recipe made modern. While it does contain raspberry gelatin, no jello mold is needed.
It is made entirely in a food processor and then you allow the salad to set overnight. Give it a stir and voila! Something between a cranberry relish and cranberry salad.
This recipe has tart cranberries, crunchy walnuts, and tangy oranges. It is sweeter than our roasted whole cranberries but just as delectable.
This recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free.
For this recipe, you need fresh whole cranberries. Not dried, cooked, or canned cranberries.
For this recipe you will also need:
Green Apple- This recipe requires one tart apple. I use a granny smith.
Orange- Any fresh variety like navel or cara cara. Do not use canned mandarin oranges. We are going to use the whole orange, including the peel in this recipe.
Raspberry Jello- You can use any brand of gelatin you like. If you can't find raspberry, you can substitute cherry jello or strawberry jello.
Walnuts- You can substitute pecans, but I definitely prefer walnuts in this recipe.
Celery- Celery is the secret crunch in this recipe.
Lemon Juice- I use bottled juice, it will act as the cold water in this recipe. You can substitute orange juice but the final recipe won't be as tart.
Sugar- I use white sugar but brown sugar would be a wonderful variation.
See the recipe card for exact quantities.
⏲️How to Make Cranberry Salad
The majority of this recipe is chopped up in the food processor with the exception of your walnuts and celery. You want small dice on the celery and small walnut pieces.
Step 1- Chop
Cut the apple and the oranges into quarters. Remove the core of the apple but leave it unpeeled.
Place the orange, apple, and whole fresh cranberries in a food processor. Pulse until you have a relish consistency. If you have an older food processor, chop the apple and orange pieces up first then add the cranberries.
Step 2- Mix
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the walnuts and celery. They are going to add crunch!
In a glass mixing bowl heat the water in the microwave until just boiling. Add the lemon juice, sugar, and jello. Whisk until both are dissolved.
Pour the jello mixture over the cranberry mixture and stir together. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
Step 3- Set and Serve
The salad needs to chill for 8 hours. Your jello will be set in about 6 hours. It will take longer than the package directions for the jello to set. The additional two hours will break down a bit of the tartness.
The cranberry salad will never be totally set because of the additional items we added. Stir the salad well and transfer it to a serving dish. Top with additional chopped walnuts and orange zest.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tip
Skip the mixing bowl and chill the salad in a casserole dish for easy serving.
You can also use a Kitchen Aid 9-cup food processor and admittedly it is a tad small for this recipe. If you have this size, I recommend working in batches.
You can also use a blender, I have the Vitamix A2500 Ascent Series blender. It is a mid-price Vitamix, but I think it is perfect for what I need as a home cook.
Admittedly Vitamix blenders are more expensive, and for good reason. However, if that is not in your budget I recommend this entry-level Breville blender. We had one for years, but it did eventually break. But I was using it DAILY for 3 years.
When covered or stored in an airtight container this cranberry salad will last up to 5 days. If making it for Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner make it 1 day in advance for the best results.
🦃More Easy Recipes for Thanksgiving
💬Frequently Asked Questions
No, you cannot freeze cranberry jello salad. Any recipe using jello won't completely freeze and is not recommended for long-term food preservation.
Yes, you can substitute a vegetable-based gelatin dessert like raspberry Jel. You may have to order online because not all grocery stores will carry this type of item.
Did You Enjoy Making This Recipe? Please rate this recipe with ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ or leave a comment. It helps other wonderful people connect with our food.
Cranberry Salad with Raspberry Jello
- 16 ounces fresh cranberries
- 1 orange unpeeled and cut into quarters
- 1 green apple unpeeled and cut into quarters with core removed
- 1 cup celery chopped
- 1 cup walnuts chopped
- 1 ¼ hot water
- ½ cup lemon juice
- 1 package raspberry jello 6 ounce size
- ½ cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- Add the cranberries, orange, and apple to a food processor and pulse until chopped. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the celery and walnuts.16 ounces fresh cranberries, 1 orange, 1 green apple, 1 cup celery, 1 cup walnuts
- Whisk together the hot water, lemon juice, jello powder, sugar, and salt. Stir until the jello is totally dissolved.1 ¼ hot water, ½ cup lemon juice, 1 package raspberry jello, ½ cup sugar, pinch of salt
- Pour over the cranberry mixture. Stir to combine and chill for 8 hours or overnight. Stir the salad to loosen the raspberry jello base before serving.
- This recipe was initially made with 1 cup of sugar. But was reduced to a half cup based on feedback. If you prefer a sweeter cranberry sauce you can increase it.
- You can boil the water in a small pan on the stovetop or heat it in a glass measuring cup in the microwave. Add the juice, jello, and sugar directly to the measuring glass and stir.