This easy cranberry fluff salad is perfect for any potluck or holiday gathering. Made with whipped topping, marshmallows, fresh cranberries, pineapple, and pecans, it’s always a crowd-pleaser!
Cranberry recipes are a tradition at Thanksgiving, Christmas dinner, and other holidays. Our family loves cranberries in all the ways: fresh, canned, and in cranberry fluff recipes. A holiday dinner just doesn’t seem complete without the cranberries!
This cranberry fluff has the crunch of fresh cranberries, the sweetness of sugar, and the smoothness of whipped topping or heavy cream. It is very easy to prepare and is perfect for making ahead of time since it needs to chill in the fridge. And like those vintage fluff salads that are becoming popular again, this one has that delicious cloud-like texture.
Growing up, Granny would usually serve three different types of cranberries at her holiday meals.
There was a dedicated fan base for the gelled canned cranberries. Granny would turn the canned-shaped cranberries into a vintage crystal dish and then cut the jellied cranberries into slices. I still do that to this day as my grown children still prefer this type of cranberries using a crystal dish I inherited from my mom.
Granny would also serve the other kind of canned cranberries: cranberry sauce.
Finally, she would prepare some other kind of fresh cranberry dish or cranberry salad. I think this was mostly for her own benefit.
For years, I was not a cranberry eater. While my children insist on having the jellied cranberries, they have also become fans of fresh cranberries.
In the past several years, I have discovered the joy of fresh cranberry dishes and cranberry fluffs. Last year, I also served a cranberry salsa that was not only great as an appetizer but was great for leftover turkey sandwiches.
Now I can’t imagine a holiday meal without the flavors of cranberries!
The tart sweet taste of cranberries is an excellent tasting and beautifully colored dish to serve alongside all the traditional meat such as turkey and vegetable dishes. Like many fruit salads or ambrosia salad, this cranberry salad is considered a side dish, and it could also be used as a light dessert.
- 1 small container or Cool Whip
- 1 small package of mini marshmallows
- 1 small can crushed pineapple
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 package fresh cranberries, rinsed and chopped in food processor
- ½ cup chopped pecans
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- Stir together the whipped topping and marshmallows in a large bowl.
- Chill the Cool Whip mixture for at least eight hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Chop cranberries in food processor.
- Fold the crushed pineapple, sugar, chopped cranberries, and pecans into the Cool Whip and marshmallow mixture. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Timing – This recipe is best made the day before. There is an overnight part for the whipped topping and marshmallows, which allows them to kind of melt together to make a delicious marshmallow fluff. Once everything is combined, the recipe needs a few more hours for the flavors to develop its rich and smooth flavors. You could even make this a couple days ahead of time, as I think it just gets better and better!
- Storage – Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. See notes above about how the flavors continue to develop. As you get closer to a week, you may notice that the ingredients start to separate, so it may be best at that point to start over with a new batch.
- Sugar – Cranberries are a tart fruit and almost always need to have some kind of sweetener added. In this recipe we use sugar in a modest amount because the pineapples and marshmallows are also sweet. The Cool Whip adds some extra sweetness and pulls the whole mixture together. Of course, you can always taste and add a little more sugar if you still think it is a bit sour.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Use Real Whipped Cream?
For fluff salad recipes, I usually find that whipped topping (such as Cool Whip) works best because it contains ingredients that help it keep its fluffy consistency. However, in a pinch, you could substitute with one pint of heavy whipping cream beat until stiff peaks form.
Is This Recipe Dairy-Free?
There are quite a few variations of the classic cranberry salad recipe, many of which contain cream cheese. However, the cranberry fluff recipe in our recipe book did not contain any added dairy. Some brands of whipped topping DO include milk or dairy based ingredients, while some do not. You’ll want to check the ingredients list on the package to be sure.
Can You Use Frozen Cranberries For Cranberry Fluff Salad?
I find it easiest to use fresh cranberries if you can find them at the store because they are already ready to go. However, you could use frozen cranberries if needed. First, you’ll want to thaw them completely and drain any excess moisture. Then you can proceed with the rest of the recipe as written.
More Vintage Fluff Salad Recipes To Try
- Old Fashioned Grape Salad
- Watergate Salad
- Vintage Lime Jello Salad
- Creamsicle Salad
- Frozen Fruit Salad
- 7up Salad
- Blueberry Jello Salad
Cranberry Fluff Recipe (Printable Recipe Card)
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Cranberry Fluff Salad
- mixing bowl
- Serving dish
- Food processor
- 1 container Cool Whip
- 1 small package mini marshmallows
- 1 package fresh cranberries chopped
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 small can crushed pineapple
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- Stir together the whipped topping and marshmallows in a large bowl and chill at least eight hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Chop fresh cranberries in a food processor.
- Fold the the crushed pineapple, sugar, chopped cranberries, and pecans into the bowl of whipped topping and marshmallow mixture.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve
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