Make Ahead

Mama's Cranberry Salad

November  6, 2010
Photo by Bobbi Lin
Author Notes

I usually eat this with the main portion of my Thanksgiving meal, but as I double the recipe and make it from the time ripe cranberries appear in the stores until they no longer do, it serves very well for dessert too. And for breakfast and for a late-night snack, for that matter. This has been on every holiday table I can remember, and its origins are lost in time—I'm not sure if it was a grandmother's recipe, or if Mama came up with it—but I can no more imagine Thanksgiving or Christmas without it than I can the one without turkey, and the other without ham! —Kayb

Test Kitchen Notes

In 2017 and 2018, our traffic numbers show us that this cranberry salad was the most visited recipe page in the month of November.

Featured in: Our Most Popular Thanksgiving Recipe for 2 Years Running. —Eric Kim

  • Prep time 8 hours
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 12, unless one of them's me; in that case, 6
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 large Granny Smith or other tart green apple
  • 1 large orange
  • 1 large Honey Crisp or other red apple
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 large (6-ounce) box raspberry jello
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
In This Recipe
  1. Zest the orange, peel, and liquefy in the food processor.
  2. Chop all the other fruit in the food processor, and add to large bowl with orange and zest. Add nuts.
  3. Bring water and sugar to a boil until sugar dissolves completely. Remove from heat, let cool just a bit, and whisk in jello. Don't be hating on the jello here; it's not really noticeable, but helps things hold together. You could use unflavored gelatin and additional sugar if you wish.
  4. Pour jello over fruit, give a good stir, and refrigerate overnight.

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See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Cheryl Bruner
    Cheryl Bruner
  • Miss_Karen
  • monkeymom
  • dymnyno
  • Kayb
I'm a business professional who learned to cook early on, and have expanded my tastes and my skills as I've traveled and been exposed to new cuisines and new dishes. I love fresh vegetables, any kind of protein on the grill, and breakfasts that involve fried eggs with runny yolks. My recipes tend toward the simple and the Southern, with bits of Asia or the Mediterranean or Mexico thrown in here and there. And a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a float in the lake, as pictured, is a pretty fine lunch!