Cranberry Fluff – Old School Cranberry Salad

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Cranberry Fluff is an old school cranberry salad with fresh cranberries and walnuts. This treat is the perfect holiday side dish to take you back to the good old days.

Vintage salads like this one add a bit of nostalgia to your dinner table and can be served as a side dish or dessert. It is that versatile.

What is cranberry fluff?

Cranberry fluff is an old fashioned recipe that has been served at Christmas, Thanksgiving and even Easter for decades. It’s likely that your Grandma (or Mom) served this up at Christmases past.

This old school cranberry salad is flavored with fresh cranberries that get ground up into small pieces. The result is a perfectly pink color that accents the entire dinner table.

We love this type of old-fashioned salads and we have SO MANY here on our blog. Some of our favorites are Ambrosia Salad, Cherry Fluff, Pink Lady Salad and Watergate Salad.

What do I need to make Cranberry Fluff with fresh cranberries?

Cool Whip Cranberry Salad Ingredient List

Fresh Cranberries, ground up

Sugar

Crushed pineapple, drained

Chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Small marshmallows

Whipped Topping

Can you make cranberry salad ahead of time?

Yes, old fashioned cranberry salad is the perfect recipe to make ahead for the holidays. By making it a couple weeks ahead of time, and then freezing it, you’ll have more time to focus on the other recipes.

Make the recipe as directed, place in an airtight freezer container, and freeze. I recommend getting the cranberry fluff out of the freezer the night before serving. Let it defrost in the refrigerator, and stir well before serving.

Old Fashioned Cranberry Salad with Walnuts

The ground cranberries get sweetened with a handful of vintage Cool Whip salad ingredients.

I feel like every old school Cool Whip salad has a variety of these same ingredients. This cranberry fluff has crushed pineapple (drained well), chopped walnuts (or pecans), mini marshmallows and whipped topping (Cool Whip).

My favorite part of the whole salad is the mini marshmallows, they soak up the cranberry flavor while getting perfectly soft and melt in your mouth.

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How do you make cranberry fluff?

  1. Combine ground cranberries, drained crushed pineapple, and sugar. Let set for 20 minutes.
  2. Add mini marshmallows and chopped nuts; stir together.
  3. Stir in whipped topping (Cool Whip) until your desired consistency.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to serve; or freeze in an airtight freezer container.

For the full ingredient amounts and recipe steps for easy cranberry fluff, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post. 

How to grind fresh cranberries?

If your recipe calls for ground cranberries, do not fret. It’s super easy.

To easily grind fresh cranberries, use a food processor, Ninja or Vitamix.

Place the cleaned and dried fresh cranberries in a food processor, and pulse until the cranberry is roughly chopped.

Notes About Easy Cranberry Fluff Recipe

  • This recipe uses fresh cranberries.
  • To grind fresh cranberries, place in a food processor and pulse.
  • Be sure to drain the crushed pineapple well.  A fine-mesh sieve works great for this.
  • For the Cool Whip, add between 1 and 2 small containers to your desired consistency.  I typically use around 1 1/2 tubs.
  • Feel free to make this cranberry salad ahead of time and freeze to save yourself time at the holidays.
  • Check out our Amazon Store for our favorite kitchen items (like our Vitamix) and pantry essentials (like crushed pineapple).

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Instant Pot Cranberry Glazed Ham

This Instant Pot Cranberry Glazed Ham recipe is so simple that it only has three ingredients, a ham, canned cranberry sauce and brown sugar.

Baked Cranberry Pork Chops

Looking for a new way to jazz up pork chops? The sauce for these Baked Cranberry Pork Chops includes just three ingredients but packs a flavorful punch. For best results, mix together the sauce and marinate the pork chops overnight.

Hot Cranberry Punch

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Cranberry Fluff - Old School Cranberry Salad

Cranberry Fluff is an old school cranberry salad with fresh cranberries and walnuts.  This treat is the perfect holiday side dish to take you back to the good old days.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dessert, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cranberry fluff, cranberry salad, old fashioned cranberry fluff, old school cranberry salad
Servings: 24 servings
Author: Barbara

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh cranberries, ground
  • 20 ounces crushed pineapple, drain well
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
  • 10 ounces mini marshmallows
  • 8 - 16 ounces Cool Whip (Whipped Topping)

Instructions

  • Combine ground cranberries, drained, crushed pineapple and sugar, and let set for 30 minutes. Stir in chopped nuts and marshmallows.
    Cranberry Fluff is an old school cranberry salad with fresh cranberries and walnuts.  This treat is the perfect holiday side dish to take you back to the good old days.
  • Add in whipped topping, one tub at a time to your desired texture.
    Cranberry Fluff is an old school cranberry salad with fresh cranberries and walnuts.  This treat is the perfect holiday side dish to take you back to the good old days.
  • Chill until ready to serve.
    Cranberry Fluff is an old school cranberry salad with fresh cranberries and walnuts.  This treat is the perfect holiday side dish to take you back to the good old days.

Notes

  • This recipe uses fresh cranberries.
  • To grind fresh cranberries, place in a food processor and pulse.
  • Be sure to drain the crushed pineapple well.  A fine-mesh sieve works great for this. 
  • For the Cool Whip, add between 1 and 2 small containers to your desired consistency.  I typically use around 1 1/2 tubs.
  • Feel free to make this cranberry salad ahead of time and freeze to save yourself time at the holidays.
  • Love vintage salads? Try this Watergate Salad recipe.

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