This Cranberry Fluff Salad is the BEST marshmallow and cool whip salad for the holidays! Just 5 ingredients and a super quick prep time needed to make it.
Does your family serve fluff salads and jello salads as dessert or as a side with your holiday dinners? They are firmly dessert at our house, but granny’s house… is a different story 😂
No matter when you serve your Cranberry Fluff, it’s an absolute must-make for Thanksgiving and Christmas for us. My girls love how pink it is, I love how simple it is… And we all love the sweet and tangy taste!
Ingredients you’ll need
This is just an overview, for exact quantities scroll to the recipe card at the bottom.
- Cranberries: I do often reach for the canned cranberry sauce, but in this recipe I LOVE the taste and texture of fresh cranberries. Frozen cranberries are absolutely fine. I let them defrost for 10 minutes and then chop them in my good old food processor. If you don’t own a food processor, you can chop them by hand once they’re fully defrosted – takes a little longer, but works just fine.
- Whipped topping: Feel free to make your own whipped cream. 1 cup heavy cream, 1/4 cup icing sugar and 1 teaspoon cornstarch whipped to stiff peaks will do the trick.
- Extra add-ins: We love our cranberry fluff very simple, but feel free to add diced green apple and/or chopped pecans. I personally do not enjoy green apple in the salad, but I know many people do. I do use chopped pecans (and extra whipped topping!) as a garnish, but do not fold them into the salad.
Step by step photos
First, combine the pineapple and marshmallows in one bowl, and the shredded cranberries and sugar in a second bowl. Let them sit at room temperature until the cranberries are foamy and soupy – takes about 30-60 minutes.
The cranberries will change a lot – they will release a lot of juices. The pineapple and marshmallows will just soak a little.
Once these have soaked separately, you combine them in a large bowl and let them sit in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Then just fold in thawed whipped topping and you’re done!
Once the salad is done, the longer it sits, the thicker it gets. But at some point, it can actually turn watery. I like to leave it for no more than 30 minutes with the whipped topping folded in, then serve it garnished with whipped topping, chopped pecans and a handful of mini marshmallows.
- If you’re short on time, you can get away with letting the salad sit for just a few hours instead of overnight. The salad will be less pink in color though, and the marshmallows will be less soft.
- Fold in the whipped topping gently – you don’t want to knock out any air. It’s called FLUFF for a reason!
- Feel free to fold in an 8-oz container of sour cream as well if you want your salad extra-creamy.
- I have seen a few people make this with raw pineapple – please absolutely don’t use fresh pineapple in place of canned. Fresh pineapple will turn extremely bitter from the whipped cream. Canned pineapple is safe to use with dairy products.
You can serve this as a side with your holiday dinner – at granny’s house, there’s always a large bowl served family-style, with pretty piped whipped cream on top.
Like I said in the beginning, we reserve this for the holiday dessert table. It’s delicious served chilled in small bowls or cups and looks pretty if you garnish each serving!
More easy holiday recipes
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- 2 cups cranberries, finely shredded
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups mini marshmallows
- 1 (8-oz) can crushed pineapple, undrained
- 1 (8-oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
- extra whipped topping, marshmallows and chopped pecans, for garnish (optional)
- Combine cranberries and sugar in one bowl, and marshmallows and pineapple in a second bowl. Let sit at room temperature until cranberries have released a lot of juices and look foamy, about 30-60 minutes.
- Combine both mixtures in a medium-large bowl and stir well. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or up to 24 hours.
- Once ready, remove from refrigerator and stir well. Fold in thawed whipped topping. Chill for 30 minutes or serve immediately. Garnish with more whipped topping, chopped pecans and more marshmallows, if you like.
If you’re short on time, you can get away with letting the salad sit for just a few hours instead of overnight. The salad will be less pink in color though, and the marshmallows will be less soft.
Fold in the whipped topping gently – you don’t want to knock out any air. It’s called FLUFF for a reason!
Feel free to fold in an 8-oz container of sour cream as well if you want your salad extra-creamy.