That Cranberry Salad: Recipe Included

Last weekend was the Hunters Dinner here in town.  They put on a big meal complete with all the Thanksgiving fixings, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, beans, corn, roll, orange fluff, dessert, AND “that cranberry salad”.

For years and years, I have loved that cranberry salad.  I could just eat and eat it but sadly, it comes in a container like this…

They are teeny tiny if something is in there that you really love.  But alas…only one per customer.  Each year I pick the cranberry salad and each year, I really enjoy it.

Sadly… my family hasn’t found a love of cranberries.  I do…my family not so much.  I end up not getting cranberries even at Thanksgiving.  No one in the past ate them except me…and I’m not very good at eating a whole can myself.

I should buy cranberry juice more often but there are sugary calories in it and I shouldn’t have a lot of sugar but you can bet if there is a breakfast at a hotel and they offer cranberry juice, I snap some up for myself.  YUM!!

Well fast forward a few years and somehow Kalissa acquired a taste for cranberries.  YAHOO!!  Someone else was on my team.

At Thanksgiving that year Kalissa said she’d bring the cranberries.  I said that would be great.  She ended up buying three cans of cranberries and opened all three cans putting them on a plate.  Then was shocked when only she and I ate them.

Fast forward again to the recent Hunters dinner.  I picked up our meals for takeout.  I got to the spot where I was to pick up salads.  I picked a cranberry salad for both Kalissa and my orders.  When it was time to eat, Kalissa raved on and on about the cranberry salad.  I loved it too.  For all of the years the fundraiser has been going on, I have loved that salad.

Then Kalissa started taking mini bites trying to figure out what was in the salad. I started guessing too.  Then just like that, it hit me.  I was pretty sure I had the recipe.  I dug and dug and I did.  I had the recipe.

Years ago one of the organizers of the dinner and I were on the library board together.  She was also working on the historical society board.  She was at the library meeting with me and sold me tickets to the historical society dinner.  At the next meeting, she asked how I liked my meal.  I said it was great and commented that I would love the cranberry salad recipe.  I never expected to get the recipe but at the next meeting, she came and gave me the recipe for the coveted cranberry salad.

I never made it because by then I had given up on my family eating anything that was cranberry flavored.

Here is the recipe…

Guess what???  Kalissa and I are going to make it for Thanksgiving dinner even if it’s only the two of us that eat it.  Who knows? Maybe we convince one of the grandkids to eat it and slowly we can even out the number of people who love cranberries in the family.

So fingers crossed for Thanksgiving Day.  I have high hopes to convert some of the people in the family to this AWESOME cranberry salad.

I’d love to hear how all of you are…do you like cranberries or do you have a cranberry story to tell?  I’d love to read them in the comment section!

84 thoughts on “That Cranberry Salad: Recipe Included”

  1. I have always loved cranberry sauce but hubby wouldn’t touch it. Two years ago he put some on his plate and now is a huge fan. Come to find out he never ever tried it. We’ve been married nearly sixty years. I’m making that salad for us this year!

  2. I love cranberries with a turkey dinner and the rest of my family does not. Some years ago a woman I worked with told me she likes her turkey sandwich on a crusty roll with cranberry sauce and cream cheese, it is delicious!! My cranberry sauce doesn’t go to waste any more.

  3. We love cranberries. Every year growing up we went cranberry picking and my Mom, Grandma , and Great Grandma would make and can cranberry sauce for the year. That recipe sounds very similar to the Waldorf salad my Great grandma made every year except she used cranberry juice instead of water and I don’t think it had pineapple. I grew up on the eastern end of Long Island and there were a lot of cranberry bogs.

  4. I only like the solid cranberry sauce. My husband and both my parents love the whole berries. The kid’s not seem to like either style.

    1. We like to take a package of fresh cranberries (works better if they are frozen). 1 apple(core taken out). I put the frozen cranberries and apple through a food processor and add a cup of sugar. Easy.

      1. I do the same thing except I use a whole orange, rind and all. Then I add cinnamon with the sugar. Tastes even better the next day so you can make it ahead.

  5. I like cranberries. It was always a part of thanksgiving dinner. My mom often made her own orange-cranberry relish and another relish with whole cooked cranberries. I remember cranberry cookies that were good. I’ll have to look for the recipe.

      1. I make cranberry port sauce. Fresh cranberries from a farm. This year we couldn’t go as both hubby and I were sick.However ,his 2 sisters went and picked a bucket full for us.I made the sauce this week and got 7 -250 ml jars, from a double batch. Making more this week. It is made with port, sugar ,lemon and berries.I squeeze some orange juice as I am allergic to lemon. If anyone wants the recipe-email me at

  6. Kathleen in Mississippi

    We always made fun of my mom because she plopped a can of cranberry sauce on a plate with all the aluminum can ridges on it. We told her how low class it looked. Now she’s gone thirty years and we all put a plate of Josephine’s Honorary Cranberry sauce on the table. Sorry Mom.

  7. Cranberry sauce on pancakes or French toast. Omg so good. And on hot biscuits and butter with cranberry sauce. YUMMY

    1. Every Christmas I make red cabbage because it makes my house smell like Grandma’s. Only 4 eat it, but it’s good warmed up so there’s more for me the next few days !

  8. Cheryl randleman

    Our family loves the jellied cranberry. My mom actually takes the cranberry and corn and mixes it all up with the mashed potatoes – she’s done this for years and we all get a laugh from it. So far no one else has taken on this method!

  9. I am the only one who likes cranberries. But I buy a can of the whole berries and eat it myself! Jo, see if you can find Langer’s Cranberry Juice. It’s 5 calories per serving. No sugar added. It’s delicious.

  10. That sounds really good..might try it one of these days. We always had something cranberry with our holiday meal but I didn’t like the one my sister made because it always tasted bitter to me. My DH liked the canned jellied cranberry sauce and then he ate it on his sandwiches using the leftovers. No one else liked the jellied stuff. YEARS ago, on one of our vacays, we visited Ocean Spray and at the end of the tour, they had a few items you could try using Ocean Spray products (along with the recipes if you wanted). I tried this ( and LOVED it and still occasionally make it. My fave so far for using cranberry anything.

  11. I only like regular cranberry sauce. The kind you cook the cranberries till they pop and add the sugar. I don’t like any jello with veggies or nuts in it. My mom likes this kind tho. pam

  12. I really like that salad, as does my husband. I like to make cranberries – cook in oven with sugar and then add either small amount of orange juice or rum – delicious on turkey or other meat!

  13. Clipped a similar recipe from a magazine years ago. It calls for only two boxes of Jello and one can of whole cranberry sauce. This is easier than messing with a bag of cranberries and no need to add sugar. Also, easy to make any time of year. Yum!

  14. My mom started out with the cooked cranberry recipe and then tried the one you have. None of us ate either of them so she ended up with the canned jelly style that none of us ate either. She got a lot of ribbing about it until she gave my sister the “family cranberry mold” one year for Christmas. I like dried cranberries but never developed a taste for any other type.

  15. Nope for cranberries. I must have had your recipe at one time because I remembered that it had pineapple in it and yours did too. I do like Red Lobsters Boston iced tea that has some cranberry juice and a slice of orange. My mother would just flip if she didn’t have her jellied cranberries from the can. Those ridges made it easy to slice. Rest In Peace Mom.

  16. I love the jelled cranberry on Thanksgiving day. With the left over turkey I make a turkey, jelled cranberry and stuffing sandwhich on lightly toasted bread spread with mayo on the turkey side. Wonderful!

  17. Love cranberry sauce. I add it to pan fried pork chops with a little bit of red wine – sounds posh but I tend to buy little bottles of wine – we don’t drink it but it’s nice to cook with and a big bottle would be a waste! I’ve been wondering if I should get a cranberry bush or two so I can grow my own! Yummy recipe! Thank you.

  18. Marsha from Kansas

    My family always ate cranberry sauce out of the can with the aluminum can ridges on it like a previous person stated. Only my Mom had a very pretty cranberry dish. I was the only one who didn’t eat it. Years later I got a Paula Deen cookbook that had a recipe for a Jello cranberry salad using the canned whole cranberry sauce. I bought the Jello mold from Tupperware and made it and as I recall there was a cream cheese mixture I made and served with it. Only my daughter and I ate it. I tried one other time and still no takers so I quit making it. For my cranberry fix, I get the turkey dinner on Thursday at Cracker Barrel. Like at your dinner, there is a very small portion of a very good whole cranberry side included. I always leave it for last for my “dessert”. I’m pretty sure I would like your recipe and would be the only one eating it.

  19. Love cranberries. My favorite way to make it for the holidays is a can of the whole berries, add some orange juice, some diced sweet onion, and some cinnamon. Simmer on the stove. Perfect for turkey or to baste on a pork roast. The recipe is from Parents Magazine.
    A now funny story about the cranberry sauce, about 25 years ago we had just gotten new beige carpet before the holidays (big mistake). Had just finished cleaning up after the Xmas holiday dinner. Put the leftover sauce in the fridge. When my daughter opened up the fridge later that afternoon, the plastic container of the sauce dropped from the too full fridge, fell on the kitchen floor and exploded onto the new carpet. Somehow my husband was able to get it all off the carpet. When we moved a few years ago, I still found a tiny spot of it on the ceiling. That is part of our holiday stories to this day.

  20. I love cranberry sauce and cranberry orange relish. I have never had cranberry salad. My dad (he is gone 12 yrs) loved cranberry sauce from a can, but called it canberry sauce because it came from a can. My grandfather would take a can of cranberry sauce add a little water and melt it in a sauce pan, he would use that to base a roast pork, basting every 20 to 30 minutes and out of the oven would come a beautiful dark ruby pork roast delicious.

  21. I live in the middle of cranberry country (central Wisconsin)! I am going to give this a try. Sounds better than the cranberry/orange mix my mom would make. Thanks for sharing!

  22. Cathy O. in Kansas

    We make cranberry relish. One pound raw cranberries ground, one whole orange ground (leave the peal on), and one cup of sugar. Let it sit in the fridge, so the flavors blend. Keeps for a month in the fridge, freezes well too. My father-in-law ate this on toast until it as gone. He loved it.

  23. If you can find raspberry jello – try that. And add some finely ground clove. Adds incredible scent and flavor.

    My godmother and I were the only cranberry lovers at our table, and she’s been gone since 2012. I still won’t set the table without the cranberry sauce, even if i am the only one to take a bite.

    Such a huge part of the tradition, and one that brings a smile to my face and heart.

  24. Love cranberry juice blends, and I try to get those that are all juices with no added sugar. I also am a fan of dried cranberries, used anywhere you would use raisins . Finally, I like making and eating little cocktail meatballs with the sauce being a can of whole cranberry sauce and an envelope of dried onion soup mix…great in the crockpot.

  25. Cranberries at our house? We must have 3, yes THREE, kinds. There’s the good old jelly in a can, the fresh orange cranberry relish and then I put some of that and a few other things in a salad much like yours. I’m not at all a jello fan, but this cranberry jello salad is incredible. Mom likes the fresh orange/cranberry relish so much I make a double batch so some can be frozen for later when cranberries aren’t available.

    Pssst, a good gateway cranberry dish for the kids is Cranberry Fluff with cranberries, apples and grapes and nuts and marshmallows in it. It’s weirdly pink, but so, so good. I’ve been known to eat that and my aunt’s Sweet Potato Supreme casserole for my dessert.

  26. Love cranberries! For many years, I preserved cranberry relish. It was always on the table at the holidays, and the whole family ate it.

  27. I like the whole cranberry sauce, hubby prefers the jellied cranberries. I use a can of the cranberries, either whole or jellied and mix it with about a cup of water and a package of onion soup mix pour it over some pork chops and slow cook. Yum.
    We also like craisins and I add them to my wild rice pilaf. That too is yummy.

  28. Maybe you could ease them into a love of cranberries? I started by mixing cranberries and mandarin oranges and applesauce. But I’ll try anything, so I’ve even mixed the cranberry-orange relish with my strawberry-rhubarb compote. And my very favorite drink is Crystal Lite raspberry lemonade with a splash of Welch’s Light cranberry-raspberry juice.

  29. I love that cranberry salad. When I was growing up it was a staple at family holiday dinners, both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Unfortunately that tradition ended with the passing of my mom’s generation. The only time I’ve had it since is when it’s served at the annual Lord’s Acre Day dinner at my mom’s country church every October. And it still tastes soooo good.

  30. My mom’s recipe was very simple – the bag of cranberries, a couple of diced apples, maybe a bit of water and sugar to help in cooking the cranberries. Once the cranberries burst and the apples were soft, she tasted it for sweetness and would add sugar as needed. It all depended on how sweet the apples were that year. The sauce would always jell into a nice jam consistency.

    I eat this with the turkey, on sandwiches, with yogurt, and so on. I will buy extra bags of cranberries and freeze them so I can make the sauce during the year.

    I cook pork loins with apples and apple juice, but I saw a recipe that used cranberry juice as the cooking liquid as well as the juice and cranberry sauce in the BBQ sauce. I’m going to try it soon. The link is below..

  31. A simple cranberry salad my family likes: 1 1/2 cups water and 3/4 cup sugar bring to a boil and stir in 1 bag fresh or frozen cranberries. Cook 10 minutes and listen to the berries pop ;) I usually mash up the berries as they soften but not too smooth. Remove from heat and stir in 1 small package of jello – I use raspberry and stir to dissolve jello. Let sit at room temperature to cool then refrigerate. Best if it can sit at least 24 hours. I usually buy a few bags of cranberries and keep them in the freezer to make this throughout the year.

  32. I have a christmas cranberry cake that i make….and not just for Christmas. Love fresh cranberries added to my home made applesauce too.

  33. I always have several bags of cranberries in my freezer. We eat them all during the year usually just made like the recipe on the bag. With chicken, pork, meatballs every thing. I also have several dessert recipes like cranberry dessert with warm butter sauce. Yum! They are good for you too!

  34. I love cranberries. I always bring them to thanksgiving dinner. Recently I tried Trisha Yearwoods cranberry relish, it is a big hit and I now make it every year for turkey day dinner. Yum for cranberries!

  35. OMG ,,,,,,,, Was going to send you by separate mail my cranberry jello salad, but since you had so many readers interested I decided to send it to you here. I make this every year and have modified it for the grandkids (no wine or walnuts) – it’s been a tradition in my family for 40 plus years.

    1 large package of rasberry jello ( you may need additional sm pkg if using a large bowl to fill)
    1 can whole cranberries
    1 to 2 red delicious apples with seeds removed and skin intact – cut into small cubes
    1 can crushed pineapple (drained)
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
    1/2 cup Port Wine (optional)
    Prepare jello per package. Jello pkg calls for a total of 4 cups of water-2 c. boiling water to dissolve jello – here is where you can substitute 1/2 c wine as part of 2 remaining cups of cold water. After preparing jello add all ingredients and chill to set. (I no longer add walnuts or wine because of grandkids – and it still is delicious. It is a holiday standard in my family and goes well with turkey or ham.
    Enjoy!!! – Terry in So. California

  36. I have that recipe too (so good)…minus the celery, but my family are cranberry purists so I cook them on the stove. Always have to double the recipe because it’s our favorite accompaniment to our smoked turkey. We love all things cranberry! I make a strawberry/cranberry Christmas Jam and I’ve made a birthday cake for Jesus every Christmas for over 30 years – a Sour Cream Cranberry Pound cake. It’s not Christmas without it.

  37. You might not want to use THREE boxes of jello to start with. Small can of crushed pineapple, one box of jello made normally, NO additional sugar, and a can of whole cranberry sauce. Add nuts or celery or bits of orange as you like. That’s enough for both of you at Thanksgiving and with leftovers the next day.

  38. That does sound good! My mom would open a can of the jelly kind but I enjoyed the berry one elsewhere. I tried making it from a bag of cranberries and loved it even more and so easy

  39. Our family and my husband’s always make cranberry orange relish. We all have German relatives, so that may be the origin. It’s my favorite thing about holiday meals, too. My grown daughter and I grind the cranberries and oranges the night before, using our old metal hand cranked grinder fastened to the seat of a wooden kitchen chair. Add sugar and stir. Great on a turkey sandwich.

  40. Love cranberries- my mom would cook up a package every holiday and we’d have the canned type, too. I was visiting in Maine one year when I had this delicious cranberry appetizer. I begged for the recipe and have made it. So good. When I find it, I’ll send it to you.

  41. I grew up with a similar recipe and it won me the “favorite daughter-in-law” title for over 30 years. I grind the cranberries and apples together with my Kitchenaid mixer, doubling the amounts and freezing the extra for potlucks or Christmas. Let the machine do the work!

  42. Love cranberries in any form❤️ A family holiday favorite is Cranberry Raisin pie. Soooo Good! I keep cranberries in the freezer all year.

  43. Angela Waldroup

    I make a relish from my grand-mother.1 box of red jello (doesn’t matter what flavor ) made as directed , 1 orange with the peel , 1 bag of cranberries , 1 cup of chopped nuts .She put the cranberries , the oranga and the nuts through the food processor and mixed it all together and chilled . I like it so much that I will eat it on toast !

  44. I make a cranberry orange relish and I am the only one that eats it. I use the leftovers in muffins.
    Cranberry orange salad
    I bag raw cranberries
    1 whole orange, cut into chunks, peel and all, remove any seeds if necessary
    1 cup of sugar (I like it tart and usually use 3/4 cup)
    Grind all ingredients in a food processor until chopped. Chill and serve.
    It has a great very fresh taste.
    PS cranberries and raspberries work well together, too.

  45. This salad brings back wonderful memories for me. When I was growing up, we always had all my aunts and uncles and cousins on my mother’s side over to our house for Thanksgiving. There were 40 of us and I loved having my cousins there because I was an only child and after dinner and clean-up, we’d go down to the basement (which was finished) and my dad would get out his accordian and my other uncles would play the drums and the women would sing and us kids would dance around. Anyway…my mother always fixed the turkey and mashed potatoes, but my aunts would bring other side dishes and one of them was this exact cranberry salad. I think it was my favorite thing…besides the pumpkin pie :) Such fun times.

  46. Jo, if you Are watching your sugar, please be careful as that recipe looks super high in sugar. I am diabetic and would not be able to eat this. But it sure looks like an amazingly good recipe!

    1. I am never afraid to substitute in things that make it less sugar. Sugar-free jello and cut the sugar down to 1/2 cup or use sweetener substitutes.

  47. Hey Jo, Ocean Spray has a 5 calorie cranberry drink that has no added sugar. It also comes in other flavors like Cran-Apple. Cran-Grape and Cran-Cherry and more. I drink an 8 oz glass of this every day and it does not affect my blood sugar. Cran-Apple is currently my favorite.

  48. I love cranberries all year long. For my daughter, I have to make the old-fashioned recipe where you heat the cranberries until they pop and add sugar, stir until the sugar melts and then put it in a bowl and pop it in the fridge. I prefer the fresh cranberries recipe. I toss a bag of cranberries, a cut up navel orange (skin and all) and a cored apple into the food processor and whizz away until they break down. Then I just add sugar to taste. I love it because I can put the leftovers in the freezer and when I take it out to eat it, it is like eating it for the first time – it still tastes nice and fresh. Like your family, only my daughter and I eat the cranberries.

  49. I have made that recipe for Thanksgiving several times, except that my recipe calls for canned whole cranberry sauce. I don’t like cranberries, but my son does and I don’t mind this jello, so I thought this would be a good compromise and still provide the requisite traditional Thanksgiving cranberry dish. On a side note, I recently found out that my youngest sister cannot stand fruit of any kind in jello. My mom always made jello “salads” so I had no idea she didn’t like them! I love most of them!

  50. Thank you for sharing your recipe! I really enjoyed reading all the stories your readers shared, as well as many recipes. Who knew cranberries would evoke so many great memories and strong feelings! I grew up in rural Illinois, and we’d always have Jello salads at big family get-togethers. I adored those, especially since we could have servings along with our mail dish because they were called “salads.” One year, I visited my daughter and family for Christmas. She served sugar-crusted cranberries while we played board games. I evidently imbibed a bit too much and lost them all during the night. It took a couple of years to enjoy anything with cranberries in them again, but cranberry sauce is something I always make from scratch, but often forget to put it on the table until after everyone is gone.

  51. We make Mama Stamberg’s Cranberry Relish every year. (Susan Stamberg’s mother-in-law’s recipe — repeated on NPR Morning Edition the Friday before Thanksgiving. Years later Susan found out that the recipe was in Craig Claiborne’s column in the New York Times. She had Claiborne perform the annual message. He said because of her the recipe had gotten more mileage than the NYT every gave it.).

  52. We had cranberry relish at Christmas time. Don’t remember who all ate it but I liked it. Even better when
    I was older. Good memories. Have a good day now. Thanks for everything.

  53. Jo, I received an email yesterday with your name at top instead of Country Threads(I did something wrong in entering you into my system so you and Mary are the same.) I can’t seem to have the knowledge to change it. I know that you wouldn’t know if it would be ok but just was wondering if you had done a posting for us yesterday. Thank you for your help. I Just don’t want to open it if is scam.

    1. Same here – I looked, but didn’t click on any link. It originally went to junk folder. Title of the email just said Jo Kramer and on the page says Hello From Jo – and the company was “Mailer lite” I still have it in the deleted folder, but wasn’t sure either. Very strange indeed to have a different one pop up.

  54. Love cranberries ! We always have several bags frozen so I can make cranberry salad through out the year.
    It tastes so fresh , my quilting group always enjoyed it when I brought it to retreat.

    Here is the recipe I use.

    2 cups ground raw cranberries ( 12 oz pkg)
    2 pkgs. lemon gelatin or 1 lg. family size
    4 cups water ( 2c. hot to dissolve jello, 2 c .cold)
    1 orange, whole (peel too ) , ground
    2 cups sugar
    1 cup celery, diced
    1 cup nuts ( pecans are fav here in TX)

    Combine ground cranberries and sugar, let stand. Dissolve gelatin in hot water. Chill until partially set. Add other ingreds. Put in fridge and let firm. This serves 12-14 people.

    When its just the two of us I make half a batch and it is plenty for several meals.

  55. I canned cranberry sauce this year. I hope it turned out. We will try it in a couple of weeks. I make a recipe that has been handed down from my grandmother every year that tastes like ice cream with cranberry sauce in it. This is about the only time of year we eat this goodness.

  56. Hi Jo! If you and Kalissa like cranberries I bet you would like sugared cranberries – they are pretty and delicious, Sweet, sour and they sort of pop when you bit them. There are a bunch of recipes on pinterest and I planned on posting a link here but what I do is from a recipe I can’t find right now —

    1 – 12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries
    2 cups sugar + about a half cup for coating cranberries
    2 cups water
    Make a simple syrup from the 2 cups sugar and water by boiling together for a minute. Let cool for a couple of minutes. Wash and sort out ‘bad’ cranberries. Pour the raw washed whole cranberries into the syrup. DO NOT COOK. Put the syrup/cranberries in a covered bowl in the refrigerator overnight. Next day – sprinkle 1/2 cup sugar in a jelly roll pan, strain the cranberries our of the syrup for a couple of minutes and put them in a single layer on the jelly roll pan and roll them around in the pan (I pick up the pan and shake them around) until the cranberries are covered with sugar. I add more granulated sugar until the cranberries are nicely coated and let them dry on the pan for about an hour. After they are dried, the sugar sort of hardens on the cranberries. I use a pancake spatula to carefully move them to a pretty bowl for serving. Supposedly they last in the frig for about a week. I can’t attest to that, there are never any left past the first day. (I also save the syrup that I made and used to soak cranberries to make the next batch!)

    Anywhere I have taken these between November and January (fresh cranberry season) they have been a huge hit and pretty as well.

    Like I said, there are many recipes on Pinterest but I haven’t tried them so I am not sure about the sugar amounts and processing – I might try something different this year!

  57. Can you stand any more words about cranberries? My mother’s recipe is a lot like yours. I use sugar-free jello, celery, apple, and well-drained pineapple. It calls for 1/2 cup chopped nuts but my husband doesn’t like them, so I leave them out. Mom’s recipe is written on the back of an old IBM punch card. On the bottom it says, “Serve on lettuce with mayo as salad or out of dish as relish.” It can be made way in advance , but I’ve never tried to freeze it. I have also quadrupled the recipe with good results. Took it to a summer barbecue once, which didn’t work out too well – it melted. (No added sugar in my recipe. )

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