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Cranberry Fluff Salad Recipe: A Sweet and Tangy Holiday Dish

beautiful cranberry fluff salad in a large white serving bowl surrounded by fresh cranberries
Indulge in the timeless delight of Cranberry Fluff Salad. Tangy cranberry, velvety cool whip, and rich cream cheese dance together for that perfect, old-fashioned holiday salad. Top it off with mandarin oranges, marshmallows, and pecans for the ultimate touch to this delectable side dish. Enjoy!

If you're looking for a sweet and tangy side dish that's perfect for any special occasion or Southern get-together this Cranberry Fluff Salad Recipe fills the bill.

This vintage-inspired dish combines canned cranberry sauce with marshmallows, cream cheese, whipped cream, and pecans to create a creamy, fluffy, and easy-to-make salad that's sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Overhead view of a beautiful homemade Cranberry Fluff Salad garnished with fresh cranberries, a dollop of sour cream and rosemary sprigs in a white serving bowl.

One of the best things about this recipe is how easy it is to make ahead of time. You can prepare the salad up to four days before your event and simply store it in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve. This means you can spend more time enjoying the company of your guests and less time in the kitchen. Plus, the combination of sweet and tart flavors in this salad makes it the perfect complement to savory main dishes like this crock pot turkey breast or delicious Christmas ham.

Whether you're hosting a holiday party, a family gathering, or just looking for a delicious dessert dish to serve at your next potluck, the Cranberry Fluff Salad recipe is a must-try. With its creamy texture, tangy flavor, and easy-to-make preparation, it's sure to become a favorite among your family and friends.

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Cranberry Fluff Salad Basics

Overhead view of ingredients used to make a vintage cranberry fluff salad recipe

Ingredients

To make cranberry fluff salad, you'll need just a few simple ingredients:

  • Whole berry cranberry sauce
  • Cream cheese
  • Cool Whip
  • Mandarin Oranges or Crushed pineapple
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Pecans
  • Fresh cranberries and Rosemary sprigs as garnish if desired

Equipment:

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Close up view of homemade cranberry fluff salad

How to Make Cranberry Fluff

Making cranberry fluff salad is easy! Here's how:

Place the drained can of mandarin oranges in a food processor and do a couple short, choppy bursts until it resembles crushed pineapple. Drain the excess juice after chopping and set aside.

Cream cheese, cool whip, and cranberry sauce in large glass mixing bowl

Place the can of whole cranberry sauce in a bowl and use a fork or other utensil to break it up so that it turns into a normal looking cranberry sauce, with no remaining big chunks.

Overhead view of cool whip, cream cheese, and cranberry mixed together as the base for cranberry fluff salad

Place the cranberry sauce, cool whip, and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and gently mix until well combined.

Cranberry mixture topped with chopped pecans, mandarin oranges, and mini marshmallows

Add the remaining ingredients and fold together until the ingredients are evenly distributed.

overhead view of a single serving of cranberry fluff salad

At this point you can totally dig in, but my personal preference is to pop it in the fridge for at least 8 hours (overnight). This gives the flavors a chance to mingle. Totally up to you – this step is all about your taste buds.

White bowl filled with homemade cranberry fluff salad on a cutting board with fresh cranberries around the bowl and a small Christmas tree in the background.

When you’re ready to serve the salad, if desired, you can garnish it with a dollop of cool whip, fresh cranberries, and a sprig of rosemary. Enjoy!

Recipe Card

Here's a recipe card you can print out and keep on hand for your next holiday gathering:

📖 Recipe

Cranberry Fluff Salad Recipe

Indulge in the timeless delight of Cranberry Fluff Salad. Tangy cranberry, velvety cool whip, and rich cream cheese dance together for that perfect, old-fashioned holiday salad. Top it off with mandarin oranges, marshmallows, and pecans for the ultimate touch to this delectable side dish. Enjoy!
Print Recipe Pin Recipe Save Recipe
Homemade cranberry fluff salad in a white serving bowl on a brown cutting board
Prep Time:10 minutes
8 hours
Total Time:8 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 15 ounces Mandarin Oranges one can, drained
  • 15 ounces Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce one can
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip one tub
  • 4 ounces Cream Cheese room temp
  • 2 cups Mini Marshmallows
  • 1 cup Pecans chopped
  • Fresh Cranberries optional garnish
  • Fresh Rosemary Sprigs optional garnish

Instructions

  • Place the drained can of mandarin oranges in a food processor and do a couple short, choppy bursts until it resembles crushed pineapple. Drain the excess juice after chopping and set aside.
    15 ounces Mandarin Oranges
  • Place the can of whole cranberry sauce in a bowl and use a fork or other utensil to break it up so that it turns into a normal looking cranberry sauce, with no remaining big chunks.
    15 ounces Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce
  • Place the cranberry sauce, cool whip, and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and gently mix until well combined.
    8 ounces Cool Whip, 4 ounces Cream Cheese
  • Add the remaining ingredients and fold together until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
    2 cups Mini Marshmallows, 1 cup Pecans
  • At this point you can totally dig in, but my personal preference is to pop it in the fridge for at least 8 hours (overnight). This gives the flavors a chance to mingle. Totally up to you – this step is all about your taste buds.
  • When you’re ready to serve the salad, if desired, you can garnish it with a dollop of Cool Whip, fresh cranberries, and a sprig of rosemary. Enjoy!
    Fresh Cranberries, Fresh Rosemary Sprigs

Notes

  • Store in a sealed container, in the fridge, for up to 4 days. Do not freeze. You may have water buildup in the bottom of the bowl, akin to what yogurt does, after storing for a day or two. If so, it’s not ruined! Simply stir it in or drain it off, whichever you choose works fine.
  • If your cream cheese is too cold and not easy to stir, simply place it in a separate bowl and stir it until creamy before adding it to the large mixing bowl with the other ingredients.
  • If you would like a stronger cranberry flavor, add more cranberry sauce or even a box of cranberry jello. Just the powder, not prepared.
  • If you don’t like the pecans, you don’t have to add them. It won’t hurt the salad to leave them out.
  • If you want to use homemade cranberry sauce, that’s just fine, but be aware of how thin it is as this could make your salad soupy rather than fluffy.
  • You can use homemade whipped cream, but be sure to add a bit of sugar if you like the sweet factor of fluff salads because homemade whipped cream isn’t as sweet as store bought, unless you add sugar to it yourself. This will all depend on your preferences.

As with any of my recipes, calorie counts and nutritional information varies greatly depending on which products you choose to use when cooking this dish.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 264kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 63mg | Potassium: 163mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 505IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 1mg
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 264kcal
Author: Mary Beth
Cost: $10.00

Now that you know the basics of cranberry fluff salad, it's time to get cooking! Try this recipe out for your next holiday gathering, and watch as your guests rave about this delicious and easy dish.

Preparation and Tips

wooden spoon filled with homemade cranberry fluff salad ready to serve

Making Cranberry Fluff Salad is very easy and requires minimal effort. Here are some tips to help you prepare this delicious salad:

  • Refrigerate for at least an hour: After mixing all the ingredients, it is important to refrigerate the salad for at least an hour before serving. This will give the salad time to set and the flavors to meld together.
  • Mix in a large mixing bowl: The recipe requires mixing the ingredients in a large bowl. Make sure you have a big enough bowl to accommodate all the ingredients.
  • Make ahead: Cranberry Fluff Salad is a great make-ahead recipe. You can prepare up to 4 days in advance and refrigerate it until you are ready to serve.
  • Prep time and total time: The prep time for this recipe is usually around 10 minutes, while the total time, including refrigeration, is around 2-8 hours. This makes it a great option for busy weeknights or holidays.

Overall, Cranberry Fluff Salad is a simple and delicious recipe that is perfect for any occasion. With just a few ingredients and minimal prep time, you can create a flavorful and refreshing salad that everyone will love.

Variations and Serving Suggestions

White serving bowls filled with cranberry fluff salad ready to serve!

Cranberry Fluff Salad is a versatile dish that can be served as a side dish or a dessert. Here are some variations and serving suggestions to make your Cranberry Fluff Salad recipe even more delicious.

Variations

  • Add nuts: For a crunchy texture, add chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds to your Cranberry Fluff Salad.
  • Use different fruits: Instead of mandarin oranges you can use pineapple, chopped apples, or pears to give your salad a different flavor.

Serving Suggestions

  • Thanksgiving and Christmas: Cranberry Fluff Salad is a perfect dish for your holiday table. It pairs well with turkey, ham, or roast beef.
  • Dessert: Cranberry Fluff Salad is sweet enough to serve as a dessert.
  • Portion sizes: The recipe makes about 8 cups of Cranberry Fluff Salad, which is enough to serve 8-10 people as a side dish or dessert. If you're serving it as part of a larger meal, you may want to adjust the portion sizes accordingly.

Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:

With these variations and serving suggestions, you can customize your Cranberry Fluff Salad recipe to suit your taste and occasion. Whether you're serving it as a side dish or a dessert, your friends and family will love this easy and delicious recipe.

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