This delicious cranberry pomegranate jello salad is loaded with cranberries, pomegranate arils, pineapple and apples. And that creamy, sweet topping is so good!

I was introduced to this amazing “salad” late last year, and it has become a fast favorite. Not only is it festive and perfect for the holidays, but it is really, really delicious.

The best (and bittersweet) part is that it reminds me of my sweet friend, Holli, who passed away earlier this year. It’s her mother-in-law, Sylvia’s, family favorite recipe.

Holli was the one that insisted I needed to try it, adamantly saying it was “the only jello” she would eat (and that she looked forward to it all year). One taste and I fell in love, too. So many textures! So many flavors! It is fantastic.

square of cranberry pomegranate salad on white plate with dollop of sweet whipped topping

Jello: Love it or Hate it?

Jello is a polarizing topic. I find people either love it or hate it. And it definitely inspires a lot of strong feelings (I saw this firsthand when I asked about it in my Insta stories – WOW!).

I actually find myself in the middle ground somewhere. I grew up on orange jello stuffed with canned mandarin oranges. It was a huge favorite. I slurped that stuff up every Sunday afternoon and I feel really good about those life decisions from my youth.

But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found I don’t eat jello as much as I used to. I’m no food purist, but the aftertaste and artificial color(s) have kind of put me off of jello over the years.

However, I find myself coming back to the jello recipes that are unique and interesting and usually loaded with add-ins (no, I’m not talking about green jello with carrots and mayo, not that kind of interesting).

This cranberry pomegranate jello salad* is just that. It has so much going on with a punch of delightful textures and flavors that you almost forget jello is even involved.

*a different post for a different time is how jello recipes got the approval to call themselves “salad”; I tried a million ways to Sunday to figure out how to rename this without salad in the title, because I guess I feel like salad should have at least one vegetable, but I gave up. Nothing else sounded right. So. Salad it is.

square cut out in 9X13-inch white dish filled with cranberry pomegranate jello salad

What Kind of Jello to Use

You can use any variety of red jello for this recipe. Top preference goes to: cherry, cranberry or raspberry.

I add a smidge of sugar as well, because this recipe is loaded with tart cranberries and pomegranates, and the additional sugar helps balance the flavors.

For the cold water portion of the jello, use the drained pineapple juice plus enough cold water to equal two cups.

We’re making jello!! What a day.

pouring boiling water into jello and sugar in white pan

Loaded with Fruit

Once the jello is dissolved and all the liquid is added, it’s time to start piling in the real stars of the recipe:

  • chopped fresh cranberries (and lots of them)
  • pomegranate arils
  • crushed pineapple
  • chopped apples

This recipe is a beautiful study in contrasting textures and crunch and flavors and fruit.

crushed pineapple in dish with pomegranate arils, cranberries and jello
diced apples in dish with pomegranate arils, cranberries, jello and sugar

I mean, if that isn’t a gorgeous jello salad, I don’t know what is.

P.S. don’t worry about the bubbles and foam; you can stir a bit to get rid of it, or just leave it. It won’t matter once it is served. I am far from a jello perfectionist. I hope I’m not stressing anyone out. 🙂

top down view of cranberry pomegranate jello salad in white dish

Let it Set Up

Like any good jello recipe, this cranberry pomegranate jello salad needs to set up until firm, anywhere from 6-10 hours. It can easily be made several days in advance.

Because it is loaded with fruit, it scoops out of the dish quite well. I cut it into squares and serve it with a spatula, but you could dig in with a spoon and go for a more rustic scoop.

square of cranberry pomegranate jello salad on metal spatula

The Creamy Whipped Topping

This cranberry side dish is served with a sweetened whipped topping. Just three ingredients:

  • heavy cream
  • sour cream
  • marshmallow fluff

Yep. Go with it. It’s lightly sweet, super creamy, and really tasty.

Follow the notes in the recipe to avoid getting lumps in this delicious concoction.

The topping can be spread on the entire dish of jello before serving, or it can be dolloped on top of individual servings. (I always serve it on the side; it helps keep the leftovers from getting liquidy and also allows those who don’t want any topping to leave it off.)

glass bowl filled with marshmallow cream topping

Favorite Holiday Side Dish

This cranberry pomegranate jello salad is everything festive and yummy about cranberry and pomegranate season rolled up into one sweet and tart and crunchy and tasty side dish.

I love it so much. It has definitely won a spot as a holiday staple recipe.

Every time I make it, I find myself sneaking spoonfuls out of the fridge. There’s just something about the bright, fresh flavors that keep me coming back for more.

Special thanks to Sylvia for giving me the recipe and for sweet Holli for bossing me around (she had the same talent for bossiness that I do) and demanding I try it. It’s now a forever favorite.

spoon scooping bite of cranberry pomegranate jello salad on white plate

One Year Ago: Creamy Baked Mashed Potatoes with Buttery Parmesan Crumbs {Make-Ahead!} 
Two Years Ago: Skillet Chicken Fajita Pasta 
Three Years Ago: Fresh Cranberry Apple Relish
Four Years Ago: Simple Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey {Oven Bag Method}
Five Years Ago: Triple Chocolate Fudge Peanut Butter Cookies 
Six Years Ago: Amazing Crustless Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes 
Seven Years Ago: Melting Roasted Potatoes
Eight Years Ago: Black Bean Pizza with Whole Wheat Crust
Nine Years Ago: Cheesy Chicken Quesadilla Pie
Ten Years Ago: Lasagna Soup

square of cranberry pomegranate jello salad on white plate with whipped topping

Cranberry Pomegranate Jello Salad

4.93 stars (13 ratings)

Ingredients

  • 6-ounce package cherry, raspberry or cranberry jello
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 20-ounce can crushed pineapple
  • 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries, chopped (see note)
  • 1 to 1 ¼ cups pomegranate arils, from about 1 large pomegranate
  • 2 cups chopped apples (see note)

Creamy Topping:

  • 6-ounce jar marshmallow cream or marshmallow fluff
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup sour cream

Instructions 

  • In a 9X13-inch pan, combine the jello and granulated sugar. Pour in the boiling water and stir until the sugar and jello is fully dissolved.
  • Drain the pineapple, reserving the juice. Set aside the pineapple. Add cold water to the pineapple juice to equal 2 cups. Stir the water/pineapple juice mixture into the jello.
  • Add the chopped cranberries, pomegranate arils, reserved crushed pineapple, and chopped apples. Stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set up, 6-8 hours (or up to 2 days ahead of time).
  • For the creamy topping, scoop the marshmallow cream into a bowl and whip with an electric mixer (handheld or stand mixer) until smooth and slightly runny with no lumps. Gradually add the heavy whipping cream and mix until smooth and slightly thickened, 1-2 minutes. Add the sour cream and continue mixing until thick.
  • Spread the sweet topping over the entire dish of jello salad and scoop and serve that way OR dollop the topping over individual servings.

Notes

Cranberries: I use a food processor to chop the cranberries. They should be in small pieces, about the size of the pomegranate arils or slightly larger. 
Apples: I prefer to use a sweet-tart apple like honey crisp. Peel and core the apple and chop into small pieces.
Heavy Cream: I use Darigold 40% heavy cream; it thickens great in this recipe without having to whip it first. If you are using heavy cream with less milkfat, you may want to whip the cream to soft peaks before using in the recipe so it thickens fully.
Whipped Topping: this makes quite a bit of sweet whipped topping. If you want a lighter ratio of topping to jello, cut the topping ingredients by 1/4 (so, use 4 ounces marshmallow cream, 3/4 cup heavy cream, 3/4 cup sour cream).
Make Ahead: the jello can be made several days in advance, covered, and refrigerated. The sweet topping can be made a day ahead of time (if you are spreading it on top of the jello, I would wait to spread it on top until right before serving). 
Serving: 1 serving, Calories: 175kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 15mg, Sodium: 65mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 28g
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Recipe Source: adapted a little from my friend, Sylvia P. (mother-in-law to my dear friend Holli)