Cranberry fluff is a super easy dish for the holidays (kids love it) – all you need are four ingredients and 5 minutes to make this creamy, sweet and tangy no-bake dessert. Try using homemade cranberry sauce instead of canned! Great as a shareable dessert for Thanksgiving dinner if you’re sick of pumpkin pie.
Thanksgiving is notorious for being the holiday that involves overworking your oven, your neighbor’s oven, and enlisting the help of anyone else’s oven that lives in a ten mile radius.
Between the turkey, squash, bread, pies and casseroles, you end up heating up the house to approximately 7982°F and making yourself stress out and miserable on what should be a joyous and warm (not sweltering) time with friends and family.
So why not make dessert easier on yourself and make something no-bake? I’ve heard this one called many different things over the years, but I’ve always known it as Cranberry Fluff.
It’s sweet, it’s tangy, it’s marshmallow-y… really, what more do you want? It’s also so easy it’s ridiculous. I’ve laid out the steps, but quite frankly you could just dump everything in a huge bowl and shake it like a Polaroid picture and it would probably turn out just fine.
This 5-minute cranberry fluff salad is super quick and easy to make, but the hard part is letting it set in the fridge to fully develop all it’s flavors before serving!
Steps to making the perfect cranberry fluff
Note: We’re going to make cranberry fluff with canned cranberries, but if you have homemade cranberry sauce you can totally use that instead.
- Grab a 20 ounce can of crushed pineapple – make sure it’s crushed, not chunks or slices – and drain it well.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the drained crushed pineapple and 14 ounces cranberry sauce. I highly recommend making a double batch of my homemade cranberry sauce and using half of it for this recipe, but you can always use a can of whole cranberry sauce.
- Stir to combine well – if you find that you still have a good amount of pineapple juice floating around, tip the bowl and carefully drain it out.
- Add your Cool Whip and use a spatula to combine.
- Add mini marshmallows – add in two batches if you find it might be overwhelming to stir in all at once. If you want to add fresh orange zest, add that and stir to combine.
- Use your spatula to stir to combine well, and then cover with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge to cool for at least 2 hours.
Other tips for delicious cranberry fluff
- Texture: I like mine to be more creamy, but I know people who prefer it to be chunkier. If that’s the case, add another half a jar of whole cranberry sauce and an extra cup of marshmallows. Alternatively, you could omit 2 ounces of Cool Whip.
- Make ahead: This is the sort of dish that you WANT to make ahead of time – so make life easier on yourself, and make this the day before Thanksgiving. Cover the bowl and let it sit in the fridge – it only gets better as it sits, if you ask me. But don’t make it too far ahead of schedule… you wouldn’t find it quite as appetizing after three days or so.
- Serving: You can serve it in a big bowl and let people serve themselves at the table, or spoon into trifle dishes and top with a few cranberries and mini marshmallows for individual servings.
- Store bought vs. homemade: Of course if you prefer to go homemade with all the ingredients, be my guest. I’ll never scoff at a person for doing that, since that’s what I prefer as well! However, the whole point of this recipe is that it’s a quick and easy cranberry fluff salad – but if you want to make it less quick and easy, that’s your prerogative.
After you’ve made this recipe, please consider coming back to share your experience with others by leaving a comment below with a star rating!
- 1-20 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
- 1-14 ounce can whole berry cranberry sauce or homemade cranberry sauce
- 8 ounces Cool Whip, thawed
- 2 cups mini marshmallows
- ¼ cup orange zest, optional
- Fresh cranberries for garnish
- In a large bowl, combine cranberry sauce and crushed pineapple. If you find that there’s still too much pineapple juice in the bowl, tip the bowl and carefully drain it before you move on.
- Add Cool Whip and use a spatula to stir until well combined.
- Add mini marshmallows and stir again until well combined. Also add orange zest at this time (if you’ve chosen to include it).
- Cover and chill for at least a couple hours (but no more than 24 hours before serving). Top with fresh cranberries and mini marshmallows and serve. Enjoy!