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Best Cranberry Apple Salad

My delicious, beautiful and easy Cranberry Apple Salad is a show-stopping side dish everybody loves! It’s a perfect holiday and fall celebrations salad.

Cranberry Apple Salad in a small mason jar on a wooden table with cranberries, apple slices and pecans strewn around
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Cranberry Apple Salad is one of two salads that are so much a part of our family’s Thanksgiving tradition, it is unthinkable not to serve them. This jewel-tone lovely has been on our holiday table for more than 30 years.

Tart cranberries, crisp fall apples, celery, orange zest and pecans are set in a tangy raspberry gelatin mixture that makes this best ever Cranberry Apple salad a perfect complement to turkey, ham or roast chicken.

Cranberry Apple Salad not only hits all the best flavor notes, but it’s also bursting with texture. It has the mouthfeel of a chunky relish and all the sweet-tart notes to cut through the creamy, fatty dishes it’s served alongside.

It’s so easy to make and can be made even a day or two ahead. Once you and your family taste it, it will become one of your favorite holiday traditions, too.

Cranberry Apple Salad in a small mason jar on a wooden table with cranberries, apple slices and pecans strewn around

The Ingredients

  • Fresh Cranberries (12 oz.) I grind these dry in my food processor. If you are going to use a blender, put them in the blender pitcher, cover with water and pulse to grind them. Then drain.
  • Apples : I use Honey Crisp or Gala
  • Celery: It sounds wrong, but trust me. It’s so good!
  • Chopped Pecans
  • Orange: 1 large one. You’ll use both the zest and the juice
  • Sugar
  • Raspberry Gelatin: 2 (3 oz. boxes)

How to Make Cranberry Apple Salad

  1. Grind the cranberries. You will want them to be about the size of really coarse sanding sugar, which helps spreads the tartness throughout the salad more evenly.
  2. Peel and small dice the apples. Cut the celery into thin slices.
  3. You can buy the pecans already chopped or chop pecan halves into pieces.
  4. Zest the orange and set it aside. Juice the zested orange and add just enough water to bring the juice to 2 cups.
  5. In a medium (at least 2.5 quarts) bowl, mix the cranberries, apples, celery, pecans and orange zest. Stir to distribute everything evenly.
  1. Heat the juice, sugar and water to boiling. Then add the raspberry gelatin to the hot liquid and stir until the sugar and gelatin are dissolved.
  2. Pour the gelatin mixture over the cranberry apple mixture and stir to coat all the ingredients.
  3. Refrigerate until set.
  4. Once it is set, I usually stir the salad to redistribute anything that has floated to the top of the gelatin. There won’t be much, because the gelatin is fairly equal to the amount of other ingredients, but gelatin should be broken up and stirred throughout all the fruit.
  5. Cover the salad with a lid or plastic wrap until ready to serve it. You can make it up to two days ahead.

The Recipe

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Cranberry Apple Salad in a small mason jar on a wooden table with cranberries, apple slices and pecans strewn around

Cranberry Apple Salad


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.9 from 9 reviews

  • Author: Glenda Embree
  • Total Time: 4 hrs 15 min
  • Yield: 1012 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Cranberry Apple Salad is a jewel-tone lovely that includes tart cranberries, crisp fall apples, celery, orange zest and pecans.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries, ground in food processor
  • 2 large (3 small) Gala or Honey Crisp apples; peeled, cored & small diced
  • 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 2 (3 oz) boxes raspberry jello
  • 1 lg. orange, juice and zest
  • water to bring juice level to 2 cups
  • 1 cup sugar

Instructions

  1. Use a food processor or blender to grind the cranberries. You will want them to be about the size of really coarse sanding sugar.  That small size helps spreads the tartness throughout the salad more evenly.  I grind these dry in my food processor. If you are going to use a blender, put them in the blender pitcher, cover with water and pulse to grind them. Then drain.
  2. Peel and small dice the apples. Cut the celery into thin slices. 
  3. You can buy the pecans already chopped or chop pecan halves into pieces.
  4. Zest the orange and set it aside. Juice the zested orange and add just enough water to bring the juice to 2 cups.
  5. In a medium (at least 2.5 quarts) bowl, mix the cranberries, apples, celery, pecans and orange zest. Stir to distribute everything evenly.
  6. Heat the juice, sugar and water to boiling. Then add the raspberry gelatin to the hot liquid and stir until the sugar and gelatin are dissolved.

  7. Pour the gelatin mixture over the cranberry apple mixture and stir to coat all the ingredients. 

  8. Refrigerate until set. Once it is set, I usually stir the salad to redistribute anything that has floated to the top of the gelatin. There won’t be much, because the gelatin is fairly equal to the amount of other ingredients, but gelatin should be broken up and stirred throughout all the fruit. Cover the salad with a lid or plastic wrap until ready to serve it. You can make it up to two days ahead.

  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 0 min
  • Category: Salad, Side Dish
  • Method: Cold Prep
  • Cuisine: American

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homemade summer sausage on a wooden board with cheese and crackers
glenda embree

About Glenda

I believe cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be complicated and that YOU can do it. My simple recipes, tutorials, and cooking tips will help you get weeknight dinners on the table with less stress. Forget takeout or the drive-thru. Let me show you how to make homemade easy. Read more...

18 thoughts on “Best Cranberry Apple Salad”

    • Maureen, I have never tried this, but I feel like they would have to be VERY dry. Any bit of extra moisture could keep the gelatin from setting properly. Maybe you could decrease the water amount slightly, too. If you try this, I’d love to know if it worked for you. Wish I had more concrete advice, but I have no experience with subbing pineapple in this recipe.

      Reply
  1. Thanks a lot for this amazing and super easy to make cranberry apple salad recipe! It’s really tasty and very flavorful! Will surely have this again! Highly recommended!






    Reply

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