Our family likes to coordinate things well in advance (even if not everybody follows through with those plans!) and that’s the way I like it. Thanksgiving is the biggest day of the year for us when all of our family members drive to get together and have a feast. Many have to drive for several hours, while others are just around the corner, and I happen to be one of the people in the former category.

Each family is tasked with bringing one dish to Thanksgiving, and I’m always sure to be first in line to bring dessert. I love it because I can prepare the dessert before I start to make the trip and can simply put it into a cooler in the trunk, and it’s still great for the morning of Thanksgiving. It’s my creamy cranberry salad, and even though it takes 12 hours until it’s perfectly ready, it only takes a few minutes to prepare this dessert for the refrigerator.

When I was young, I never even wanted to try my mother’s cranberry salad just because of how odd it looked and I didn’t believe it would taste anything like actual fruit. Once I tried it for the first time, though, I was hooked and I’ve been making it ever since. I’ve had to do some convincing to get younger members of both my immediate and extended family to give it a try, but they fell in love with this cranberry salad the second that they tried it!

I think you’ll be hooked, too. Not only because of the amazing taste, but also because of the fact that it’s incredibly easy to make yourself. The list of ingredients is incredibly short for something that looks so complex, and the hardest things that you’ll have to do are make Jell-O (which is incredibly easy) and wait for the dessert to refrigerate!

Nothing quite says the holidays quite like cranberries, but during certain times of the year, you can mix up the recipe a bit and use different fruits! Strawberries are a great substitution during the summer months, and I’ve found that it’s a perfect dish to take to a picnic. There’s really no wrong way to make this type of salad as long as most of the other ingredients remain the same, and the fruit preference is up to your imagination!

So if you’re in one of those families that doesn’t like the standard cranberry sauce that seems to pop up on every Thanksgiving table (and I’m in one of those myself), allow me to tell you about the way to keep the cranberries in the mix while also mixing it up a bit. You could pick up some random dessert from the grocery store, but I’ve always had that feeling of wanting to make something on my own. It impresses the family and I get a sense of accomplishment when I see everyone enjoying the fantastic dessert that I made for everyone.

If you want to be the talk of your family, there’s just a few simple steps that you need to follow. I have a recipe here that should be enough for eight hearty servings, though you can split it up into smaller portions for up to 16 people so that it’s great for any get together. Since this recipe is so easy to make, I usually try to make two large servings so that I’m sure everyone gets a taste!

If there’s anything left from our holiday feast, I just throw it right back into the cooler and bring it home for dessert the next day! It’s also a good way of making sure that I remembered to bring my pan home. I don’t want to lose that! Here’s what you’ll need to get started on your own creamy cranberry salad, and the steps that are easy to follow!

Preparation Time: 12.5 Hours

Serves: Eight People

Nutrition (Per Serving):

Calories: 525
Fat: 30 g
Protein: 6 g
Carbohydrates: 62 g
Sodium: 150 mg
Cholesterol: 70 mg

What You’ll Need:

  • 12 Ounces of Fresh Cranberries
  • 1 Package (6 Ounces) of Red Jell-O Mix
  • 1 Cup of White Sugar
  • ¾ Cup of Orange Juice
  • 1 Can (8 Ounces) of Crushed Pineapple, Drained
  • 1 Cup of Whipping Cream
  • 1 Cup of Chopped Pecans
  • 1 Apple, Grated and Unpeeled
  • 1 Package (8 Ounces) of Softened Cream Cheese

Cooking Directions:

  1. To make things a bit easier on yourself, use a blender or a food processor to blend your 12 ounces of cranberries. Once blended, pour a cup of white sugar over the cranberries, and continue to stir the mixture until the sugar has dissolved into the cranberries.
  2. Set the stovetop to medium-high heat, boiling ¾ cups of water. Add in your package of red Jell-O and continue to stir until finished. Then, let the Jell-O cool and then stir the Jell-O into the cranberries.
  3. Pour the ¾ cups orange juice, one cup of apples, one cup of pecans and can of crushed pineapples into the mix. Stir them all together until you have a nice even mixture all in a large dish. Take aluminum foil or saran wrap and cover the mixture, leaving it in the refrigerator overnight (around 12 hours).
  4. The next morning, whip your whipping cream and then add the package of cream cheese, beating it into the whipped cream. Now get your serving dish ready, adding in half of your cranberry mixture. Add a layer of whipped cream mixture on top, and then use the rest of your cranberry mixture for the top layer.
  5. You’re now ready to serve your creamy cranberry salad, which should be enough for up to eight people! If anything is left when you’re done, simply place it into the refrigerator and it will be ready to eat as a leftover as soon as you want!