To be honest, this amazing cream cheese cranberry salad recipe is more of a dessert, but we serve it as a side dish at all of our holiday dinners… SO good, a MUST TRY recipe!
Thanksgiving Cranberry Jello Salad
I honestly don’t remember when this cream cheese cranberry salad recipe first started making an appearance at our family’s Thanksgiving dinner table. Somewhere along the way, a lovely little slice made its way to a separate plate at my place setting, and from then on it was a yearly tradition.
Wait, you caught that separate plate thing, huh?! Have I mentioned that I absolutely cannot stand to have my food touch? Can’t. Stand. It. So if you’re planning to invite me to a large dinner at your house, you’d best be sure you have extra plates available for this mama!
Back to the cranberry salad — if that’s what you really want to call it… I turned my nose up at it at first. I mean, it was made with cranberries, eeewwwww! At that age, cranberries ran a close second to asparagus. In my mind they were sour, and slightly tough, and not at all appealing to my young palate.
And then I took my obligatory bite… and my world was forever changed. Seriously.
The pineapple adds just enough sweetness to counter the tartness of the cranberries, and the cream cheese/sour cream topping — well, how can you go wrong with that combination? Top it off with plenty of toasted pecans for a bit of texture and extra flavor.
Cream Cheese Cranberry Salad: Dessert or Side?
Truthfully, it’s more of a dessert, but if you’re coming to my house for Thanksgiving, you’ll find it served as a side with the turkey and all of the trimmings. And who’s counting anyhow?!? Especially on Thanksgiving…
I should note that I don’t JUST serve this at Thanksgiving — it’s also perfect for Christmas dinner, Easter dinner, really any time. My kids request it throughout the year, and I’m always happy to make it!
Alternative Serving Idea
I’ve head from several of you that you hate to cover up the beautiful cranberry layer, and I totally get it. This is one reason why I prefer to serve it in a 9″x13″ Pyrex glass baking dish — so you can see that gorgeous ruby red color through the side. But another alternative is to refrigerate the cream cheese topping in a separate bowl. Then you can just top each slice off with a dollop when serving. Either way, don’t forget to save extra toasted pecans for the garnish!196