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Cranberry Fluff Salad

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Cranberry Fluff Salad is practically a required side dish for Thanksgiving. Both my mom and mother-in-law occasionally served their delicious versions of Cranberry Fluff Salad for Thanksgiving.

Ground cranberries, crushed pineapple, mini-marshmallows, and whipped cream are the basic ingredients. They each had their own variations. This is mine.

Cranberry Fluff Salad in a white bowl

Cranberry Fluff Salad

My mom would add nuts to this mixture and so did my mother-in-law along with chopped apples and sliced grapes. The options are endless. My version is very basic. No nuts in case one of my children or hubby would dare to take a taste.

It’s a winner whether it’s scaled-down or packed full of a variety of textures and flavors. This is a blast from the past. I first had it back in the 1970s, when jello salads were de rigeur. That was my mom’s version. But then later in life, my MIL served it one holiday we were visiting them.

So this recipe comes with sweet memories. We lost my MIL this year and my mom the year before. Both were terrific cooks, with my mom being more adventurous with her palate and recipes and my MIL the queen of good old fashioned comfort food. Eating at either home was always a pleasure and I am blessed with many of their handwritten recipes.

Cranberry Fluff Salad in glass dishes

Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes

You’d think a Thanksgiving salad would be full of classic autumnal ingredients like this Roasted Sweet Potato and Wild Rice Salad.  Plus I’d expect an actual salad with fresh greens and vegetables. But on holidays, the rules can be bent, and salads full of cream and marshmallows like this cranberry fluff salad fly under the radar!

When it comes to Thanksgiving, I’m really not allowed to shake up the menu. I can always add an extra dish, but there some that are a tradition and must be included. My Spinach Souffle, Holiday Fruit Salad, Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing, Turkey (of course!), and Gravy are a given. Classic Pumpkin Pie for dessert plus a second, usually chocolate, pie.

But sometimes I add a little something that only I will eat. In homage to both my moms, I recreated this salad (more like a dessert, but heck, it’s Thanksgiving!) for our holiday table. 

Can You Make Cranberry Fluff Ahead of Time?

Yes! In fact, it must be started the day before, so the cranberries and sugar have a chance to meld. This salad will last for a few days in the refrigerator, just stir again before serving if needed.

Does Cranberry Fluff Freeze Well?

The Cool Whip version might freeze well because of all the artificial ingredients and nature of that ingredient. I haven’t frozen this cranberry fluff made with real cream before, but I’d be concerned the whipped cream could deflate, separating into solids and water.

Instead, I’d prepare all the ingredients ahead of time. Grind the cranberries, drain the pineapple, measure out the marshmallows and store them in an airtight container. This will definitely streamline the process.

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Ingredients for Your Shopping List:

  • Pantry staples: sugar
  • 1 bag fresh cranberries
  • 8 ounces crushed pineapple
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup heavy cream

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Cranberry Fluff Salad in a white bowl

Cranberry Fluff Salad

A dreamy cranberry salad perfect for Thanksgiving.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Yield 8 servings


  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries, frozen, then thawed cranberries (fresh or frozen also work)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 8 ounces crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2 cups mini-marshmallows
  • 1 cup heavy cream


  1. Chop cranberries in a food processor. Remove to a bowl. Mix in sugar, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Add well drained pineapple and marshmallows. Mix to combine.
  3. Whip heavy cream to stiff peaks. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the cream into the cranberry mixture. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Total time does not include chilling time.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 232Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 20mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 2gSugar: 27gProtein: 1g


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Cranberry Fluff Salad Pinterest collage

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43 comments on “Cranberry Fluff Salad”

  1. Love the colors in this! So fun!!

  2. I’m craving a bowl of this! Gorgeous picture Liz!

  3. This looks fantastic! I’ve had cranberry salad, but not the fluff! I’m trying it this year!

  4. This looks delicious!

  5. Classic salad! You have very good color on this one!

  6. Can you just use Cool Whip in place of the heavy cream?

  7. If this tastes as good as it looks I sure will earn that crown of the best cook. Cant wait to surprise my family.

  8. Yum! Looks like dessert to me. I love a good fluff salad, especially one that includes cranberries!

  9. I love a good fluff salad and this one sounds SO tasty!

  10. This salad totally takes me back to sunday lunch growing up! So good!

  11. This looks so fun and festive! It will be a perfect addition to the Thanksgiving menu!

  12. Do you have to add the pineapple

    • Hi, Tammy,

      I’ve never tried it without the pineapple, but I think it could work. I looked for some recipes without pineapple and I found one using diced apples and grapes instead if you want to try that or just omit them all together. If you try it, let me know how it goes!

  13. This is such a pretty stand-out on your holiday table!

  14. A classic recipe for TG indeed. Thank you!

  15. We LOVED this seasonal fluff recipe!!

  16. A perfect Thanksgiving side dish!

  17. Simple and so delicious!

  18. I love this! Such a gorgeous side dish!!

  19. This is literally my favorite holiday side dish!

  20. I LOOOOOOVE this salad!

  21. Can this be made one day ahead or will the whipped cream get watery?

  22. Can I make this without letting the chopped cranberries sit overnight with the sugar? Since I know it is better the next day, I was thinking of doing it all tonight. Thanks!

    • Hi, Joni, I’ve only made it as written, but I just checked another recipe to compare and it said to mix, cover and refrigerate for just an hour. So, I think you’d be OK! Fingers crossed it’s a hit. Happy Thanksgiving!

  23. wow, these glasses looks really really SWEET!! 😍😍😍 I would love to make it immediately!
    = Natalie

  24. My mom used to make a version of this with cottage cheese. No one but my siblings and cousins will eat it – I guess because we grew up on it. Yours sounds much more appealing.

  25. This salad looks so beautiful ! It will be nice at Christmas time.

  26. Looks very delicious! Thank you for the ideas for side dishes!

  27. Can I make this the day before, or will the whipping cream melt in the fridge? I’m at least making the sauce ahead of time…hopefully that is ok

  28. Classic salad! You have very good color on this one!

  29. Hello Liz, I reduced the sugar to 1/4 cup and added walnuts. It came out great, although I just read that someone added vanilla to the cream/crm cheese mixture and I might do that next time. This was amazing, and so easy! Thank you for sharing this recipe! A new holiday tradition has been born.

  30. Hi Liz, this is gorgeous! That color! Sounds so delicious! Definitely trying this weekend

  31. the little ones love marshmallows and this is so colorful I know they are going to love this thanks Liz!

  32. Made this for Thanksgiving! Absolutely wonderful!! Added a sprinkle of pecan chips for an extra crunch. Thanks so much for sharing this great recipe! 5 stars.

  33. this is gorgeous! That color! Sounds so delicious!, Beautiful ideas I can’t wait to try this recipe, Thank you for share! i like this

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