This Cranberry Fluff salad recipe combines cranberries, crushed pineapple, and mini marshmallows all folded together in a sweet, cream cheese mixture. It’s perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas as an easy side or light dessert!
It’s practically a law that cranberry fluff must be served at Thanksgiving and Christmas, right? Well, it should be! Surely your grandmother used to make it. This recipe is old-school, dating back years, along with the best jello mold recipes. Some foods are just timeless.
What is Cranberry Fluff?
Also known as cranberry fluff salad, cranberry cheesecake fluff, or just cranberry salad, this is a classic side dish or dessert, usually served at holiday time. It’s very similar to Watergate salad or ambrosia, incorporating fruit, marshmallows, and a whipped cream base that holds it all together.
Cranberry Fluff Recipe
When recipes like this have been around for such a long time, naturally there will be a million different variations. I’ve seen it made with different fruits, nuts, and usually with Cool Whip. This is my favorite way to make it! Here’s what you’ll need:
- Fresh cranberries
- Granulated sugar
- Powdered sugar
- Cream cheese, softened
- Heavy whipping cream
- Crushed pineapple, drained
- Mini marshmallows
How Do You Make Cranberry Fluff?
It’s so incredibly easy to make this. Here’s a brief rundown (scroll down for the detailed printable recipe card.)
Mulch those cranberries – in a food processor, blend together the cranberries and granulated sugar until very well chopped (but not pureed.)
Make the cream mixture – with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth, then add in the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla; whip until stiff peaks form.
Fold everything together – fold the mulched cranberries and crushed pineapple in with the cream cheese mixture until well combined. Then fold in the marshmallows.
Cover and chill – cover the mixture and chill in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
- You can add in a bit of chopped pecans or walnuts for some crunch.
- Frozen cranberries can be used, but thaw them and remove any excess moisture.
- Thawed Cool Whip can replace the whipped cream and powdered sugar.
- If you’ve got the time, you can let the chopped cranberries and sugar mixture sit for a few hours, which helps the cranberries sweeten. I’ve never really found this necessary, though, since the sweetness of the pineapple, powdered sugar, and cream cheese balance out the tartness fine. Try it both ways and you decide!
Making Ahead and Storing Leftovers
Can you make cranberry fluff ahead of time? You can make this cranberry fluff salad recipe up to 2 days ahead of time. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Make sure to stir it again before serving.
Can you freeze cranberry fluff? This particular recipe does not freeze well due to the real whipped cream. Once thawed, it deflates and becomes watery.
Watch it Being Made
Similar Recipes To Try!
Other Cranberry Recipes
- 12 ounce package fresh cranberries
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 8 ounces cream cheese , softened
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 8 ounce can crushed pineapple , drained
- 2 cups mini marshmallows
- Add the cranberries and granulated sugar to bowl of a food processor and pulse until they are very well chopped, but not completely pureed. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add in the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla; whip until stiff peaks form.
- Fold in the chopped cranberries and crushed pineapple; mix well until combined.
- Fold in marshmallows.
- Cover and refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight.
- Give it a gentle stir, serve and enjoy!