You’ve seen strawberry and peach versions of it before, but now we’re doing a cranberry pineapple version of our very favorite jello salad. We used pretzels and a sprinkling of brown sugar as the base of our crust before, but not this time; instead, we used spiced, chopped-up pecans to create a sweet, nutty crust for our addictively delicious cream cheese filling and cranberry pineapple jello top layer. This stuff, you guys. It’s so, so good.
You could use any jello flavor combination you like to create this more wintery version of a summery, fruity staple, but we really like this cranberry-pineapple duo and think it’s a perfect blend of flavor. Plus, it complements the crunchy bottom layer and creamy center layer amazingly! So, if you’re wondering whether there are any tips and tricks to know about before getting started with this recipe, there are, and they are the following: make sure to let your layers cool and/or set before adding the next layer.
That means letting your pecan crust cool (at least slightly) before putting the cream cheese layer on top, then make sure your cream cheese layer is chilled and set before you pour the jello on top. This step is crucial because if your cream cheese filling isn’t set, pouring the hot jello mixture onto it will result in the cream cheese melting and rising to the surface in (edible, but) unappetizing chunks. Cool your layers! While it does mean a bit more of a time commitment, once you dig into your delicious, layered confection, you’ll be glad you took the time – this dessert tastes and looks fantastic!
Cranberry Jello Salad
30 minutes active; 2+ hours inactive to prepare serves 9-12
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 (8 oz.) package frozen whipped topping
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 (3 oz.) packages pineapple gelatin
- 2 (14 oz.) cans whole berry cranberry sauce
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 cup cold water
- pineapple rings, garnish, optional
- cranberries, garnish, optional
- Preheat oven to 350º F and lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with non-stick spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt until combined.
- Stir in melted butter so that everything is thoroughly coated, then press mixture into greased baking dish in an even layer.
- Place in oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let cool.
- In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy, then mix in sugar and frozen whipped topping.
- Spread cream cheese mixture over cooled crust and refrigerate until next step.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together jello packets with 2 cups boiling water. Once sugar has fully dissolved, stir in cranberry sauce, then pour in cold water and stir to combine.
- Pour cranberry jello over set cream cheese layer, then top jello with pineapple rings.
- Place in refrigerator until set. 3-4 hours.
- Slice, serve and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Norine's Nest