An easy Cranberry Salad made with fresh cranberries, pineapple, cream cheese, and whipped cream. It’s a fluffy holiday side dish or dessert that people go CRAZY for!
There isn’t anything on my Thanksgiving menu that my kids love more than this Cranberry Salad. Let’s be honest, I LOVE it too; almost as much as homemade stuffing and sweet potato casserole.
Did your Grandma ever make this Cranberry Salad for Thanksgiving? Or maybe another relative? This is kind of an old-school recipe that I secretly really, really love. I sometimes pretend I’m too good for the fluff marshmallow “salads,” but I absolutely love them. It’s like eating dessert during your meal, but it’s acceptable!
We affectionately refer to this salad as “cranberry fluff”. I friend made the recipe years ago from here and it’s been a family favorite ever since!
Only SIX simple ingredients!
- Fresh cranberries
- Crushed pineapple
- Mini marshmallows
- Cream cheese
- Whipping cream
Cranberry Salad in 5 steps:
1. Chop cranberries. Add the cranberries to a food processor and pulse until they are well chopped, but not mushy.
2. Mix fruit and sugar. Pour the cranberries into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and pineapple and mix well.
3. Refrigerate. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or longer. Drain most of the juice.
4. Whip cream and cream cheese. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Pour in the cream and whip until stiff peaks.
5. Combine and refrigerate. Fold the creamy mixture into the salad. Fold in marshmallows. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Tips for Success:
- Stiff peaks. Before folding in the whipped cream, make sure to beat it to very stiff peaks. The cream cheese also helps to stabilize the mixture.
- Refrigerate cranberry salad for several hours (or overnight) before serving to allow it to set up.
Make ahead and storing cranberry salad:
To make ahead: I definitely recommend making cranberry salad ahead of time. In fact, for best results, make it 1 day before serving.
To store: Store cranberry salad covered, in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
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Cranberry Fluff Salad
- 12 ounce package fresh cranberries
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 8 ounce can crushed pineapple , undrained
- 2 cups mini marshmallows
- 4 ounces cream cheese , softened
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- Add the cranberries to a food processor and pulse until they are well chopped, but not mushy.
- Pour the cranberries into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and pineapple and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or longer. Drain most of the juice.
- In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Pour in the cream and whip until stiff peaks form. Fold the creamy mixture into the salad. Fold in marshmallows.
- Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
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Have you tried this recipe?!
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I originally shared this recipe November 2015. Updated November 2019 with new process photos and improved instructions and tips.
Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.
Love this cranberry fluff! I will definitely make again… and again…
OMG! This was so easy and soooo good. I will be making this any opportunity I get. Wow! This is a 10 out of 10! This will forever be a thanksgiving staple.
Made this today for our Thanksgiving meal, and it was a hit! Will be adding to the regular holiday rotation going forward.
Can you put this salad into a mold to make it more attractive?
This was easy to follow and turned out delicious. Thank you!
Fantastic recipe easy to make I’m the man of the house and I do most of the cooking the dish turned out great and was a big hit much much better than buying it from your local Deli, very yummy
The first year I made this for Thanksgiving my granddaughters called it “ice cream.” Cranberry Fluff has now become a tradition at our house.
I have been making this for years. I add chopped pecans can pomegranate seeds to mine. I usually triple the recipe too so there’s leftovers.
This sounds really good, but I have an idea, Why not make or buy a graham cracker crust to put it over. There you have a Cranberry Pie.
Absolutely amazing! Super creamy, not too sweet!
We’ve been making this recipe for the 3 years. My kids look forward to eating it on Thanksgiving now. We’re now reserving the juice to splash in some seltzer with lime.
Delicious base for the salad. We add diced apples, quartered grapes, and sometimes pecans. Any way you make it, everyone will love it.
I am trying your cranberry recipe & will add the cream cheese & whipping cream later today or this evening.
Lauren, can you use Half & Half in place of the whipping cream? 3 stores later and still can’t find whipping cream.
I’m sorry, half and half wont whip sturdy enough. You could use a container of cool whip from the freezer section, if you’re in a pinch.
don’t throw away the juice you drain off. Fill a shaker with ice cubes, add 2 oz vodka, 1 oz peach schnapps, and the juice from the cranberries/Pineapple. You have a delicious “sex on the beach” cocktail
I like your style. Thank you for your post now I can have a cocktail while I cook tomorrow. 😊
Thanks for the tip. My drink is delicious!!
Best cranberry fluff salad ever!! I make this every year!
Could you put the mixture in a graham cracker crust and serve like pie or is it too liquid for that?
You could—it’s not liquid, its just full and fluffy, so you wont get a “clean” pie slice from it.
Hi! I just wanted to say this is my go-to recipe around the holidays…I looooove anything cranberry! And ever since I started making it a few years ago, my family always requests that I bring it to our get-togethers. There’s hardly ever any left, so I’m going to make extra so that I actually get to take some home lol. Thinking of adding some chopped pecans, but otherwise, this recipe is amazing!
i love your recipes
My step-sister made this for Thanksgiving last year and it was delicious. She was trying to recreate a recipe her grandma made growing up. This was my sister’s last Thanksgiving, she passed away this past spring from Melanoma. I will make this a tradition and continue to make this delicious recipe every Thanksgiving and Christmas from here on out. EVERYONE loved it, even the children and people who didn’t think they liked cranberries.
Ashley I’m so very sorry for your loss. It’s never easy to loose a sibling. God bless you. Hugs to you.
I found this recipe a few years ago and I absolutely love it every time. My kids are also big fans.
I make this every year for Thanksgiving. All my family loves it and so easy.
I just made it for the first time. Delicious! I can see why it will be better tomorrow’
Would you be able to substitute and fold in cool whip, instead of whipping cream?
Yes, that will work.
Can I use less sugar and like Watergate salad, can I use a pudding mix?
Sounds like you’re creating your own recipe 🙂 I’m sure it will be great.
❤ Delicious 😋
This sounds incredible. Have you tried making it with thawed out cranberries? I already have a large bag of frozen cranberries so I’d love to use those instead of buying fresh if possible. Thanks 🙂
I haven’t but that should be fine as long as you drain them really well :-).
Great! Thank you for your reply 🙂
Could this be frozen? I made too much!
Sorry, once you add the whipped cream it will not freeze well.
Arlene: This is 4th time I have made this recipe in this Month of Dec. 2019. 3 pot lucks and now for xmas day dinner.
Everubody likes it. It is quite simple and I will keep on making it. Give this recipe a try
Do you think I could prepare the recipe then freeze it? I’m trying to find something I can prepare ahead of a family gathering and simply thaw when we travel.
I would not freeze it. It will not thaw well. But it can be made ahead and refrigerated. It would travel well if you are with an hour.
Easy and delicious. The more it sits the better it gets. Flavors really come together.
This was delicious! My kids want me to make this with strawberries instead of cranberries. Since strawberries are already sweet, would you add any sugar to them? If so, how much? I’m thinking it would need to be much less than 1 cup.
I agree, I wouldn’t add too much extra sugar. Sounds delicious!
I am not a fan of cream cheese except in hot, savory foods. But I also know that you can make ambrosia with sour cream, and it doesn’t taste like sour cream because of the marshmallows and fruit. So my question is, how cream cheesy is this? Like, I don’t like cheesecake or cream cheese frosting or cream cheese on a bagel. But I’m kind of intrigued by this recipe.
I don’t think it’s “cream cheesy” at all, but if you re worried about it at all you can leave it out, no problem.
I added some sliced pecans however, it would have been just as delicious without. Yummy stuff either way that’s for sure.
The name of this couldn’t ring any more true, “Everybody’s favorite Cranberry Salad”, from the littlest to the eldest this is a HIT. It’s not overly sweet and it’s the perfect pop from the cranberries to the sweet gooeyness of the marshmallows. Even the leftovers are yummy – if it makes it to leftover. 😉
I made this yesterday for my family and it is exactly what my grandma used to make! I don’t have her recipe, so I am delighted to find this! I will be making this for every special family function ❤️
Made for Christmas dinner delious.
This is one of your recipes that I made today. This cranberry dessert was so delicious!! I will be making this for Sunday dinners, too. Thanks!! 🙂
So simple to make, beautiful, festive, and absolutely delicious! The perfect balance is sweet, tart and creamy! Huge hit this year for thanksgiving!
Loved this recipe and so did all of our extended family for our Thanksgiving feast!
Have you ever tried chopped pecans on top?
I’m sure that would be delicious!
Can I use marshmallow cream in place of mini marshmallows?
No, just omit the marshmallows if you don’t have them.
Love this recipe, it is a family favorite!
We make a salad with 1 tub of whip topping, pistachio pudding,and 1 can of crushed pineapple. Yummy.
Family tradition for years passed on from an Aunt.
Always for Thanksgiving and once more thru the year.
DELICIOUS!!!!! Made this for Thanksgiving two years ago, it is now a family tradition. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
My new favorite cranberry recipe!
Can I use fat free 1/2 and 1/2 instead of the heaving whipping cream?
No, sorry 1/2 and 1/2 will not whip up like is needed for this recipe.
Loved it! So creamy and a delicious use of cranberries. Thank you!
I reduced the sugar to 1/4 cup and added walnuts. It came out great, although I just read that someone added vanilla to the cream/crm cheese mixture and I might do that next time. This was amazing, and so easy! Thank you for sharing this recipe! A new holiday tradition has been born.
I loved this recipe. I made it tonite for Christmas Eve tomorrow. I love the way the cream cheese made a thick Devine whipped cream. I added vanilla . Great recipe can’t wait to try it in the morning after all the luscious flavors marry. Thank u for this it’s a keeper
I made this for a Thanksgiving… soooo good!!!
Made this today and left out the marshmallows . It is great! We are not big on marshmallows. I am going to have this for breakfast!
The first time I made this my young granddaughters called “ice cream” and wanted seconds! It’s a standard dish every year now. Thank you for the recipe!
I am planning to make this for Thanksgiving can I add Chopped pecans?
Absolutely! Sounds delicious. I’d love to hear what you think. Happy Thanksgiving!
Can you use frozen cranberries?? Its 2 days before Thanksgiving and fresh are hard to come by.
That should work great– thaw them, drain the excess juice and try to pat them dry 🙂
I would love to be able to make this wonderful looking salad! Only have one thing keeping me from making it. I am deathly allergic to pineapple. Is there a fruit I could substitute for it?
No problem! Try mandarin oranges 🙂
Do you cook The Cranberries
No, they are added to the food processor uncooked. 🙂 Enjoy!
I have made this recipe a few times. It is delicious! I put the raw, fresh cranberries in the blender with the sogar and pulse until berries are well chopped.
do you cook the cranberries first or just use them fresh not cooked straight from the package??
You don’t cook them–just raw from the bag 🙂
I had some cranberries in the freezer from thanksgiving. Can I use thawed cranberries. I noticed they are not as firm as when they were fresh. Thanks!
Hi Adriann, I’m bet they would still work fine 🙂 . Just be sure to drain them really well.
I have made this recipe about three times since Thanksgiving for different events.
It is easy and has been a BIG hit every time. Thanks so much for a recipe Keeper!
Thank you for this great recipe. I made it for Thanksgiving and it was such a hit that I am making again for Christmas Eve.
That’s what I love to hear! Thanks so much for sharing and for following TBFS 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful holiday!
I made this for our family Thanksgiving dinner – it was delicious and very easy to make!!
Thanks so much for sharing! It’s one my favorites at Thanksgiving and I’m so happy you liked it!
I made this a few years ago and now have to have it at every holiday function. Always the hit of the party!
If I do not have food processor could I just chop the cranberries by hand with a knife? Also draining the juice, how do you know how much to drain? Thanks
Yes, you can definitely chop them by hand. Drain all the juice you can from them. Hope you enjoy it!
so after allowing the cranberries, pineapple and sugar set for an hour you drain the juice from this mixture?
Do you think it would be possible to make this with raspberries instead of cranberries? We loved this recipe so much, and my husband Loves raspberries.
Hi Emily, I think that could be really yummy! I would leave out the sugar completely, and don’t mix the raspberries and the pineapple or they will get mushy. Drain off some of the juice from the pineapple. Beat the cream cheese and whipped cream together (I’d also add a 2-3 tablespoons of powdered sugar here, to sweeten the whipped cream) and then fold in the pineapple, raspberries and marshmallows. I’d love to hear how it turns out!
-hi Looks great! could I used other berries than cranberries?
Hi Salma, that should work fine..I would just make sure to drain some of the juice if you’re using a juicy fruit (like berries)
Loved this recipe!
Looks amazing! There are so many cranberry fluff recipes. But this one just looked and sounds like the best.
I am making this salad for the first time ever. I have ALWAYS made the wonderful Watergate salad. But, after 30 years I wanted to try something new. I hope I do it right! Lol. Can’t WAIT to try it.
Thanks Julie! I hope you love it as much as we do!
Step 1 says to process until the cranberries are mushy? Really? Mushy??
Hi Jan, sorry for the typo–the cranberries should be well chopped, but “not” mushy!
I have made this recipe for probably 25 years and it is a family favorite! Interestingly my recipe does not have the word ‘fluff’ in the title! I use the old school hand crank grinder to grind the cranberries. We have issues in our family with lactose intolerance so I substitute the whipping cream with cool whip. Obviously adding cream cheese would also be a no no for us. I know these days people are moving to natural products but when there are issues with said products you have to improvise in order to keep making a favorite cranberry salad. A lot of people have varying degrees of lactose intolerance so cool whip provides an option that allows you to make this tasty salad. It works great and tastes just fine.
Thank you for sharing this recipe! I need to serve 22 people a 4oz. sample size of this salad. Will one batch be enough?
Hi Colleen, If we were to say 4oz was about 1/2 cup, this recipe will make about 20 (1/2 cup) 4 oz servings. So it would be cutting it a little bit close…. You could always 1 and 1/2 the recipe. Good luck–I hope everyone loves it!
That is extremely helpful, Lauren. I greatly appreciate your response and recommendation.
My boyfriend accidentally bought dried cranberries. Should I go out and buy fresh cranberries or try the recipe using what I have?
Hi Holly, the recipe wont work very well with dried cranberries–the taste and texture would be off…
How long will this last in refrigerator ?
It should be great for 2-3 days in the fridge 🙂
You’re pouring the heavy cream over the beaten cream cheese and then whipping it into peaks? Not whipping it in a separate bowl? Thanks!
Hi Julie, That’s right! You could whip it separately if you want, but you’ll save doing dishes this way and it works the same 🙂
can you use cool whip instead of whipping cream?
Hi Pat, you could definitely use cool whip instead. (I just like the taste of fresh whipped cream better). Hope you enjoy it!
I did… it came out good
Pictures look delicious. Can’t wait to make the cranberry fluff and then eat it.