Cranberry Fluff Salad | Swanky Recipes (2024)

Cranberry Fluff Salad | Swanky Recipes (1)

If you’re looking for the next potluck side dish or dessert to bring to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, I have you covered. This vintage cranberry salad has been a family favorite for years. You may even hear it go by the name fluff salad. It’s the same great dish and there are so many different ways to change up the recipe but this is always how my grandmother made it.

Now that fall flavors are here and Thanksgiving and Christmasare approaching, it’s the perfect time to head to the grocery store and stock up on fresh cranberries.

It’s best to make this salad the night before to allow the flavors to develop and for it to sweeten up some. Cranberries are tart but when mixed with sugar, they are a real treat.

Cranberry Fluff Salad | Swanky Recipes (2)


  1. Chop cranberries in a food processor.
  2. Combine in bowl with sugars, orange juice, pineapple, and salt.
  3. Let cranberry mixture sit for several hours or overnight.
  4. Stir in mini marshmallows and whipped cream.
  5. Serve cranberry fluff salad cold as a side dish or dessert.

If you’ve ever wondered how to use fresh cranberries for the holiday season it’s easy. Once you learn to make Thanksgiving recipes for the holiday season, this recipe will always come to mind.

This cranberry fluff salad is traditionally served for Thanksgiving but we love to make it for Christmas dinner and Mother’s Day. I even made it for Easter one year, too. It’s such a classic potluck recipe that I’ll stock up on fresh cranberries and freeze them over winter to use in the spring.

Cranberry Fluff Salad | Swanky Recipes (3)


■CRANBERRY: Use seasonally fresh cranberries to make this dessert salad. Chop the berry very finely, almost minced like garlic. A food processor works best for this step.

■PINEAPPLE: Pineapple adds a little citrus sweetness to the mix. Traditionally, it is a very common ingredient in dessert salads. Crushed pineapple, pineapple chunks, or fresh pineapple all work. Be sure to drain any liquid from the can otherwise it will dissolve the marshmallows.

■WHIPPED CREAM: Creamy topping such as cool whip or homemade whipped cream adds a rich, silky texture to the salad.

■MARSHMALLOWS: Use mini marshmallows instead of regular size marshmallows. The use of these mini baking puffs adds texture, and flavor.

■SUGAR: Cranberries should be sweetened with sugar to transform the tartness. I like to let the rushed cranberries marinate in sugar.

This cranberry salad doesn’t have jello, sour cream, or cream cheese it in, but once you try my recipe it will become a family stable for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.

Do you have a special recipe that you make during the holidays? I have a few, like my Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread, Jingle Juice Holiday Punch, and Pecan Snowballs. Every year, my family asks me to make one of these special recipes for the holiday season and this cranberry salad always makes the list, too.

When I think of Thanksgiving in the Midwest, this vintage cranberry fluff salad comes to mind for potluck-style holiday parties. The holiday season has always been my favorite time of year. I have fond memories of baking with mymom in the kitchen while she would host all the holiday parties at our house. We made a lot of retro or vintage recipes like a red and green jello mold with canned pineapples and juice. This cranberry salad is just another vintage recipe we’d make in the early 1990s.

Cranberry Fluff Salad | Swanky Recipes (4)

Cranberries are a hard fruit and it’s perfectly fine to eat them raw. However, they are a little bitter and tart so it makes sense to serve them with sugar. In this recipe, I prepare the fruit ahead of time by finely chopping it and allowing it to soak in sugar overnight.

This way, the cranberries have time to slightly soften in the sugar as it turns to liquid. This step makes for an amazing salad that is so delicious, you’ll eat it by the spoonfuls! If you can’t get your hands on fresh or frozen cranberries or you want to bring this dish to a potluck party out of season, try canned cranberries. Be sure to cut the amount of sugar back since canned cranberries are packed with sugar.

Cranberry Fluff Salad | Swanky Recipes (5)


For a taste of Thanksgiving, try my no-bake Cranberry Fluff Salad. Featuring seasonal fresh cranberries, pineapple, marshmallows, and whipped cream, this fruit salad has a lot of fresh and satisfying ingredients that will satisfy your taste buds this Thanksgiving.

  • Thanksgiving Roast Turkey
  • Classic Slow Cooker Ham
  • Honey Baked Ham Recipe
  • Classic Crock Pot Turkey Breast
  • Cranberry SauceorCranberry Relish
  • Crack Brussels Sprouts
  • Crack Broccoli
  • Maple Roasted Butternut Squash
  • Crack Roasted Carrots
  • Sweet Potato Casserole with Crunchy Pecan Streusel Topping
  • Cornbread Dressing
  • Sweet Cornbread
  • Buttery Mashed Potatoes

Can I make this a day or two in advance before a holiday party? Yes. However, just chop the cranberries and mix them with everything but the whipped topping and mini marshmallows. Adding the marshmallows any more than 15 hours in advance may change the texture and appearance of the dish since the marshmallows will dissolve in any liquid.

Cranberry Fluff Salad | Swanky Recipes (6)

Cranberry Fluff Salad

Favorite Recipe

Cranberry Fluff Salad is the perfect potluck side dish to serve for Thanksgiving and Christmas. You’ll love this 6-ingredient holiday classic for an easy Thanksgiving recipe the whole family will love.

4 from 1 vote

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Prep Time 10 minutes mins

Resting Time 4 hours hrs

Total Time 4 hours hrs 10 minutes mins

Course Appetizer, Side Dish

Cuisine American

Servings 8 servings

Calories 219 kcal


  • 12 ounces ( about 3 cups ) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 20 ounces crushed pineapple, juice drained
  • cup granulated sugar
  • teaspoon salt
  • cups mini marshmallows
  • 8 ounces whipped cream topping


  • Drain and discard pineapple juice.

  • In a food processor/chopper, chop fresh cranberries. If using frozen, make sure any liquid is drained then chop.

  • In a large bowl, combine chopped cranberries, crush pineapple, sugar, salt, and marshmallows. Stir to combine.

  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

  • Whip up 8 ounces whipped cream or use premade whipped cream.

  • Fold whipped cream into cranberry fluff to combine.

  • Serve cold.


Calories: 219kcalCarbohydrates: 53gProtein: 2gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 71mgPotassium: 155mgFiber: 3gSugar: 42gVitamin A: 111IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 45mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate and it’s accuracy is not guaranteed to be exact.

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Cranberry Fluff Salad | Swanky Recipes (7)

updated 11/2020

Cranberry Fluff Salad | Swanky Recipes (2024)


What is cranberry salad made of? ›

  • 2 (12 ounce) packages fresh cranberries.
  • 1 cup white sugar.
  • 1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained.
  • 1 cup chopped pecans.
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream.
  • 7 ounces miniature marshmallows.

What is strawberry fluff made of? ›

What is strawberry fluff? Strawberry fluff is a simple dessert made by combining strawberry jello, whipped topping, crushed pineapple, sweetened condensed milk, and fresh strawberries. It is mixed and then served chilled.

What is a good substitute for cranberries in a salad? ›

Substitution List
  • Dried Cherries. Dried cherries are one of the best substitutes for cranberries because they have a similar tartness that can complement sweet and savory dishes. ...
  • Pomegranate Seeds. ...
  • Raspberries. ...
  • Black Currants. ...
  • Blueberries. ...
  • Sour Cherries. ...
  • Goji Berries. ...
  • Dried Apricots.
Apr 14, 2023

Why should cranberries not be eaten raw? ›

Is it safe to eat cranberries raw? Cranberries are generally considered safe whether they are cooked or raw. However, because of their notoriously bitter, sharp taste, most people prefer not to eat them raw or unsweetened. This bitterness is due to the high tannin content of cranberries.

Why is my cranberry salad runny? ›

Mistake #2: Your Cranberry Sauce Is Too Runny

You may have added too much liquid to the cranberries. In addition to pectin, cranberries contain water, which means you only need to add a splash of liquid to get the cooking going. Add too much and you'll be stirring at the stove much longer than expected.

Was Raspberry Fluff discontinued? ›

No, Raspberry Fluff was discontinued in 2013.

What is marshmallow fluff made of? ›

Fluff's ingredients include corn syrup, sugar syrup, vanilla flavor, and egg whites. Fluff continues to be a regional tradition in the Northeastern United States.

What is the white fluff on strawberries? ›

If you find white fluffy stuff on your berries that looks a bit like cotton candy, that is mold. Mold is a fungus with spores that feed on the berries and grow thin threads that can look like fluff or cotton. This particular type of mold is common among fruits and is known as Botrytis fruit rot or gray mold.

What not to mix with cranberry? ›

Possible Interactions
  1. Warfarin (Coumadin): Cranberry may raise the risk of bleeding, especially if you already take medications to thin the blood such as warfarin. ...
  2. Aspirin: Like aspirin, cranberries contain salicylic acid. ...
  3. Other medications: Cranberry may interact with medications that are broken down by the liver.

What flavors compliment cranberries? ›

  • Thyme (Orange) citrus. grassy. woody. floral.
  • Sage (Common) savory. herbal. menthol.
  • Rosemary. savory. herbal.
  • Mexican Tarragon. citrus. anise.
  • Zaatar Marjoram. woody. floral.
  • Marigold Flower. citrus. grapefruit. grassy.
  • Epazote. oregano. anise. mint. gasoline.
  • Basil (Purple Ruffles) cinnamon. anise. menthol.

Are Craisins dried cranberries? ›

Dried cranberries may be marketed as craisins due to the similarity in appearance with raisins, although the word "Craisin" is a registered trademark of Ocean Spray. Craisins were introduced as part of a packaged cereal produced by Ralston Purina in 1989.

What are the main ingredients in cranberries? ›

Raw, unsweetened American cranberries contain mainly 87% water and 12% carbohydrates, with lesser amounts of protein, fats and fiber (Table 1) [11]. Small cranberries accrue 2.1–4.9% titrable acidity with citric acid contributing 1.8–2.6%.

What are the ingredients in cranberries? ›

The antioxidants in cranberries include:
  • Quercetin. The main antioxidant in cranberries is quercetin, which may be a powerful protector against cancer. ...
  • Myricetin. This is another antioxidant that might help prevent cancer.
  • Ursolic acid. This compound is found in cranberry peels. ...
  • Anthocyanins. ...
  • Proanthocyanidins.
Jan 5, 2024

What are cranberries mostly made of? ›

Raw cranberries are 87% water, 12% carbohydrates, and contain negligible protein and fat (table). In a 100 gram reference amount, raw cranberries supply 46 calories and moderate levels of vitamin C, dietary fiber, and the essential dietary mineral manganese, each with more than 10% of its Daily Value.

Is cranberry a fruit or vegetable? ›

Cranberries are a native North American fruit and a Thanksgiving staple for many families. Cranberries are potent sources of antioxidants, specifically from a subclass of flavonoids called proanthocyanidins, which are unique to and abundant in cranberries.

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