This cranberry jello salad combines raspberry gelatin with cranberry sauce, pineapple and orange zest for a delicious side dish or dessert that’s perfect for the holidays.
Ah, the gelatin mold. Such an old school classic that has the ability to be super delicious or not-so-appealing depending on how you make it. My husband’s grandmother used to make a red jello mold with celery and mayonnaise. No thank you! When I was a teenager we spent Thanksgiving at a family friend’s house and they served this amazing cranberry jello salad. My mom asked for the recipe and we’ve been making it ever since.
This recipe starts with raspberry flavored gelatin. After the gelatin is melted cans of whole berry cranberry sauce and crushed pineapple are stirred in. The final touch is the zest from one orange, then the whole mixture goes into a gelatin mold to set up. Don’t have a gelatin mold? A 9 inch square pan will work just fine, or you could put it in a pretty glass bowl like a trifle dish. I love all of the flavors and textures going on here – most of the cranberry sauce melts into the jello but you end up with plenty of whole cranberries and pineapple in each bite. You can serve this cranberry jello salad plain as a side dish or dress it up with a little whipped cream to transform it into an impressive looking dessert.
How pretty is that? It’s fun, festive and quite easy to make. The hardest part is getting it out of the mold. It took me a few tries, but after a couple of brief dips in hot water I was able to safely get the gelatin out of the pan and onto the serving platter. Your guests will be delighted to see this treat on your holiday table, and they’ll be even more delighted to find out that it doesn’t contain any celery!
Cranberry Jello Salad
- 6 ounces of raspberry gelatin 2 small boxes or 1 large
- 20 ounce can of crushed pineapple in its own juice
- 1 14 ounce can of whole berry cranberry sauce not jellied
- the zest of 1 orange
- Cooking spray
- Optional Garnishes:
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
- fresh cranberries mint sprigs and orange zest for garnish
- Spray a 6-cup gelatin mold or a 9-inch square pan with cooking spray. This recipe makes approximately 5 cups of gelatin, so you could also use a 4 cup mold and have some leftover to put in a separate container.
- Place the raspberry gelatin in a large bowl. Add 1 cup boiling water and stir with a metal spoon continuously for 2 minutes until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir in 1/2 cup cold water. Add the pineapple and juice, cranberry sauce, and orange zest. Stir with a metal spoon until all ingredients are completely incorporated. Pour the mixture into the prepared mold, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, for a minimum of 6 hours or up to 3 days in advance.
- To unmold the gelatin, submerge the bottom 2/3rd of the mold in very hot water for about 30 seconds. Place your serving platter on top of the open part of the mold and flip it over. If it doesn't immediately come out you can repeat the hot water dips until it comes out.
- Place the gelatin mold back into the fridge until you're ready to serve it.
- Right before serving, make the whipped cream if you're using it. Beat the cream with a mixer until stiff peaks form, about 3-4 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for another 30 seconds. Place the whipped cream on top of the gelatin and top with cranberries, mint sprigs and orange zest.
The gelatin mold can be made a few days in advance and stored, loosely covered in the fridge. Add the whipped cream and garnishes right before serving.