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Cranberry Apple Jello Salad

A little bit nostalgic, a little bit jiggly, a whole lot of flavor.

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A lot of families fight over whether a can of jellied cranberry sauce or homemade whole berry cranberry sauce is the one that belongs on the holiday table. But maybe, just maybe, if they were making something more like Cranberry Apple Jello Salad, they wouldn’t have anything to fight over at all. It’s the kind of “jello salad” that you might remember your grandmother making — firm enough to pour into a mold, but still plenty jiggly, and studded with fruit and nuts and other goodies. Basically, it has something to please everyone and it’s a blast from the past.

I know it says cranberry-apple in the name, but there’s also a fair bit of pineapple in this “salad.” It adds sweetness and a bit of acidity; it’s a great addition. You’ll want a can of crushed pineapple, which you’ll drain off, but reserve the juice.

You’ll add some orange juice to that pineapple juice and then enough cold water to take that level up to three cups. That goes into a saucepan and you’ll bring the liquid to a boil before immediately removing it from the heat and adding two boxes of raspberry jello. I know that seems odd but when this is all said and done you can’t really identify the raspberry flavor, it’s just fruity-tart jello salad. And it works.

Whisk, whisk, whisk until that jello has totally dissolved…

… and stir in a can of cranberry sauce. (The whole berry kind here please.)

Transfer that jello/cranberry mixture to a bowl and chill it until it has cooled down and started to thicken…

… and then stir in plenty of chopped apples, walnuts, and that can of drained pineapple.

Here, you can decide if you want to serve it in a molded form or straight out of a bowl, but either way it will need to chill for a few hours to firm up. If you’re using a mold, err on the side of caution and plan for at least five hours, but overnight is safer. If you’re serving it from a bowl, it’s not the end of the world if it’s scoopable but not solid yet, so four hours will do.

This isn’t the kind of dish you see on dining tables that often anymore but it absolutely makes sense for the holidays, where nostalgia and food traditions come together. I love a good food memory and every bite of this reminds me of something my grandma used to serve that always fascinated me with both its jiggle and its flavor.

Serves 9

15m prep time

10m cook time

4h inactive

4.9
Rated 4.9 out of 5
Rated by 56 reviewers
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Ingredients
  • 1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple, undrained
  • Juice and zest of 1 orange
  • 2 (3 oz each) packages raspberry gelatin
  • 1 (14 oz) can whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1 medium apple, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Preparation
  1. Open pineapple and drain, reserving the juice. Pour juice into a 4-cup measuring container.
  2. Add orange juice to pineapple juice, then add enough cold water to measure 3 cups. Pour liquid into a large saucepan.
  3. Place over high heat, bring to a boil, then remove from heat immediately.
  4. Whisk in gelatin until completely dissolved, 2 minutes.
  5. Add cranberry sauce and stir; mixture should be starting to thicken.
  6. Pour mixture into a large bowl and chill until slightly thickened, 15-30 minutes.
  7. Stir in pineapple, apples, orange zest, and walnuts or pecans. Pour into serving bowl or mold and chill until completely firm, about 4 hours. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Nums The Word.