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.

A clear cup full of cranberry salad fluff with three fresh cranberries on top.

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!

  1. Fresh cranberries
  2. Sugar
  3. Crushed pineapple
  4. Mini marshmallows
  5. Cream cheese
  6. Whipping cream

Fluffy Cranberry Salad in a bowl with a spoon.

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.

A food processor with chopped cranberries and a mixing bowl with the cranberries, crushed pineapple and sugar.

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.

Crushed cranberry mixture in a bowl and then whipped cream added on top.

5. Combine and refrigerate.  Fold the creamy mixture into the salad. Fold in marshmallows. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Marshmallows added to the top of a cranberry salad in a mixing bowl.

Tips for Success:

  1. 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.
  2. Refrigerate cranberry salad for several hours (or overnight) before serving to allow it to set up.

Cranberry fluff salad in a cup with a handle.

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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A clear cup full of cranberry salad fluff with three fresh cranberries on top.
Prep 3 hours
Total 3 hours
Save Recipe


  • 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.


To Store: Store cranberry salad covered, in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Make ahead Instructions: I definitely recommend making cranberry salad ahead of time.  In fact, for best results, make it 1 day before serving.


Calories: 569kcalCarbohydrates: 62gProtein: 3gFat: 35gSaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 129mgSodium: 105mgPotassium: 180mgFiber: 3gSugar: 51gVitamin A: 1475IUVitamin C: 11.6mgCalcium: 81mgIron: 0.4mg

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RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.

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.

Cranberry Fluff Salad is an easy holiday side dish that's always a crowd favorite! It's creamy, sweet and delicious! | Tastes Better From Scratch

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This salad is definitely 5 stars! I made this for our Thanksgiving and everyone was asking who made the salad. Do yourself a favor and just make it!! It will be one recipe you mark “keeper” in your favorites. So delicious!

  2. 5 stars
    This salad is AMAZING! Made it for the family for Thanksgiving and everyone loved it! I also made another one with just my husband and I and used half the sugar and it was still completely delicious. You will not be disappointed I promise.

  3. This is a delicious recipe – thank you, Lauren. It went to thanksgiving 2023 and fam is busy making it for other gatherings. It’s going to a family Christmas celebration today. Delightful! Merry Christmas to you.

  4. Holy crow!! I made this, but I added an entire orange rind and all that I pulsed, celery and 2 peeled apples. I used an entire brick of cream cheese. Wasn’t sure if I wanted to take it to family dinner or eat it all myself! Thank you for the recipe

  5. 5 stars
    This was easy to make. I didn’t refrigerate the berries, sugar and pineapple as long as called for because I needed to hurry it. Also thought about putting walnuts in it, but because I was taking to a potluck, decided against it.

  6. 5 stars
    Made it in September and just finished making again for tomorrow’s feast. Once again I added walnuts in the processor with the cranberries. DELICIOUS!!!!

  7. 5 stars
    Delicious! I made this for a party and it was a hit! I was asked multiple times to share the recipe! Definitely agree with making it a day in advance! This will be on our thanksgiving table for many years to come!

  8. 5 stars
    This was such a hit for a staff party. I quadrupled the recipe (probably not totally necessary). It made SO much. But not against the leftovers.

  9. Wonderful recipe. Subbed sugar for monk by adding to the cream cheese/cream mixture. And only mixing pineapple with berries and draining. I was wondering if I could freeze this?

  10. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious!! I usually make a cranberry salad recipe that’s been passed down for years. It has walnuts and everything is pulsed in the food processor. Then whipping cream folded in the next day. I really enjoyed this one especially with the addition of cream cheese. I did put the marshmallows in the processor to chop them up some. 10 star rating 🤤🤤😁

  11. 5 stars
    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.

  12. 5 stars
    Made this today for our Thanksgiving meal, and it was a hit! Will be adding to the regular holiday rotation going forward.

  13. 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

  14. 5 stars
    The first year I made this for Thanksgiving my granddaughters called it “ice cream.” Cranberry Fluff has now become a tradition at our house.

  15. 5 stars
    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.

  16. 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.

  17. 5 stars
    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.

  18. 5 stars
    Delicious base for the salad. We add diced apples, quartered grapes, and sometimes pecans. Any way you make it, everyone will love it.

  19. Lauren, can you use Half & Half in place of the whipping cream? 3 stores later and still can’t find whipping cream.

    1. 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.

  20. 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

  21. 5 stars
    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!

  22. 5 stars
    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.

  23. 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 🙂

  24. 5 stars
    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

  25. 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.

    1. 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.

  26. 5 stars
    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.

  27. Question:
    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.

    1. 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.

  28. 5 stars
    I added some sliced pecans however, it would have been just as delicious without. Yummy stuff either way that’s for sure.

  29. 5 stars
    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. 😉

  30. 5 stars
    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 ❤️

  31. 5 stars
    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!! 🙂

  32. 5 stars
    So simple to make, beautiful, festive, and absolutely delicious! The perfect balance is sweet, tart and creamy! Huge hit this year for thanksgiving!

  33. Family tradition for years passed on from an Aunt.
    Always for Thanksgiving and once more thru the year.

  34. 5 stars
    DELICIOUS!!!!! Made this for Thanksgiving two years ago, it is now a family tradition. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

  35. 5 stars
    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.

  36. 5 stars
    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

  37. 5 stars
    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!

  38. 5 stars
    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!

  39. 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?

  40. 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.

  41. 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!

  42. 5 stars
    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!

  43. 5 stars
    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.

    1. That’s what I love to hear! Thanks so much for sharing and for following TBFS 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful holiday!

  44. 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

      1. so after allowing the cranberries, pineapple and sugar set for an hour you drain the juice from this mixture?

  45. 5 stars
    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.

    1. 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!

    1. 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)

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. Hello Lauren,

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! I need to serve 22 people a 4oz. sample size of this salad. Will one batch be enough?

    1. 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!

  49. My boyfriend accidentally bought dried cranberries. Should I go out and buy fresh cranberries or try the recipe using what I have?

  50. 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!

    1. 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 🙂

    1. Hi Pat, you could definitely use cool whip instead. (I just like the taste of fresh whipped cream better). Hope you enjoy it!