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.
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.
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.
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:
This recipe is a beautiful study in contrasting textures and crunch and flavors and fruit.
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. 🙂
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.
The Creamy Whipped Topping
This cranberry side dish is served with a sweetened whipped topping. Just three ingredients:
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.)
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.
Recipe Source: adapted a little from my friend, Sylvia P. (mother-in-law to my dear friend Holli)