If Cranberry Frozen Salad, a “salad” that contains no greens and is sweet, sounds decidedly mid-western to you – I don’t disagree. Somehow this family recipe was my Grammy Clara’s.
Clara was far from mid-western. She said things like “well, I declare!” in a thick Virginian accent pretty regularly.
I never asked her where this recipe came from while she was still around, but what I do know is that she started making these at some point during my childhood. They’re the perfect refreshing make ahead dessert for the holidays and beyond, and I guarantee that you’ll keep going back to the freezer for one more.
These were something I never seriously thought of sharing on the blog until my friend Becky over at The Storied Recipe Podcast asked her subscribers and former guests (here’s my episode) to share their favorite holiday recipes and I shared this. It ended up on her blog “19 Easy Christmas Desserts from Around the World“, and I’m honored to report that it was a favorite amongst her kids.
That actually tracks, since these were my absolute favorite as a kid.
They’re tangy, creamy, and a little crunchy – somehow the perfect balance of flavors and textures. I hope you enjoy, and that these become a family favorite for you, too.
Cranberry Frozen Salad
The perfect refreshing and portioned out make-ahead dessert
- 3 oz cream cheese softened
- 8 or 10 oz can pineapple tidbits or crushed pineapple drained, liquid reserved
- 1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
- 2-3 tbsp sugar to taste
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 12oz can whole cranberry sauce
- 1/2 cup pecans chopped (and toasted, if you'd like extra flavor)
Lay out all of the necessary ingredients and equipment, including a muffin tin and liners of choice. Go ahead and make sure you have enough space in the freezer for these to freeze up.
Place 3 oz. softened cream cheese, 2/3 c. pineapple juice, 1/2 pint heavy whipping cream, 2 tbsp mayonnaise, and 2-3 tbsp sugar into a blender or food processor and combine until totally smooth, but not overmixed.
Pour cream cheese mixture into a mixing bowl and add cranberry sauce, pecans, and drained crushed pineapple and stir until combined.
Pour mixture into muffin tins as full as you'd like. You can either pour straight from the bowl, use a ladle, or even a small measuring cup to make things less messy. Wipe off any excess or spills, and place in the freezer until solid. This will take several hours, and I highly recommend letting them sit overnight.
Once they're frozen, pop them out of the muffin tins and store in a freezer safe bag for up to a few weeks (in my experience they don't last that long) until you're ready to eat.
- This can easily be made Vegan if you substitute ingredients like vegan mayo, vegan cream cheese, and coconut cream or vegan heavy cream.
- It’s important to transfer these to a bag from the muffin tins after freezing, after a few days they’ll develop a weird film on top if you don’t.
- Silicone Muffin Liners: I ordered these before photographing this recipe for the blog, and now I’m obsessed. They’re easy to clean, attractive, and much more economical and environmentally friendly. They also come in a small size, which somehow taste better just because they’re miniature.
- The “serving size” is kinda relative, and depends on whether or not you use mini muffins or traditional ones. Just know that it makes a whole bowl full of mixture for you to freeze.
- what do do with leftover pineapple juice:
- you could add it to a mocktail like this or just mix with some sparkling water and put it in a fancy glass for sipping
- save it for a smoothie over the next couple of days
- make a holiday punch with pineapple juice, ginger ale, and cranberry juice
- freeze it in ice cubes to use for smoothies or another recipe, later on
As always, tag me on social media if you make these and leave a comment below! I love to hear about and see folks enjoying my recipes. if you’d like to see more dessert recipes from me, head over here.
Here’s a bit more of a feast for the eyes by way of process & finished photos:
I cant wait to try this!! 🤩🤩
Thanks for the comment, Katie! I hope you enjoy if you make them 🥰