Cranberry Fluff is full of fresh cranberries, crushed pineapple, freshly whipped heavy cream, and sweetened cream cheese. Cranberry fluff is so light, fluffy, sweet, tart, and the perfect mix of textures for a side dish at Thanksgiving dinner.
I love to serve this cranberry fluff alongside these other side dishes for Thanksgiving dinner like my buttery soft one hour rolls, sweet corn casserole, and these maple cinnamon roasted sweet potatoes.
Cranberry Fluff With Fresh Cranberries
Don't let this cranberry fluff fool you! It's so difficult to photograph and the pictures will never do it justice. Just know that it's hands down, even after all these years, the dish I look forward to the most at Thanksgiving.
The tart fresh cranberries, homemade whipped cream, sweetened cream cheese, and the pineapple flavor this cranberry fluff to perfection. The texture is pretty perfect too!
What Is Cranberry Fluff?
I get asked this question all the time about this recipe. I assume it's not a super popular recipe here on the site because people just don't know what it is!
If I had it my way, every single person would make this for Thanksgiving or any Holiday dinner. It is so insanely delicious. Perfect mix of flavor, sweet, tart, creamy, and don't get me started on all that texture!
Cranberry fluff is essentially like a fluffy Jello salad but without the Jello mix. Instead, it uses real cranberries, cream cheese, and heavy whipping cream to create that fluffy, light texture.
I serve it at Thanksgiving every single year as a sweeter type side dish. It's also really good when eaten with some Turkey! It acts like a cranberry sauce would when eaten with turkey.
How To Make Cranberry Fluff Recipe
It's easy to make cranberry fluff. It does take some time and planning ahead because it needs to refrigerate for an hour and then refrigerate overnight before serving. It's the perfect side dish to make ahead of time.
- Place the whole fresh cranberries into a food chopper or food processor and chop/pulse until it's small pieces. If you have a small food chopper (like me!) then do 2-3 batches of cranberries.
- Add the crushed pineapple into the food chopper and pulse that a few times.
- Add the chopped cranberries and pineapple along with granulated sugar. Stir that together and refrigerate it for 1 hour. As it sits in the fridge the mixture will turn more into liquid which is what you want.
- Add mini marshmallows along with some whipped cream + cream cheese (whipped together according to the directions in recipe). Stir everything together.
- Refrigerate overnight and until it's time to serve it the next day.
Tips For Success
- Plan Ahead : Plan ahead and make this the day before you need it because it has to refrigerate overnight. As it refrigerates it gets fluffy, the flavors come together, and it's what gives this the 'fluff' part of it's name. It must be refrigerated overnight!
- Don't Use Cool Whip : Please do not try and substitute a tub of Cool Whip instead of beating the heavy whipping cream. It will not give this fluff it's fresh and bright flavor if you use Cool Whip.
- Texture : You don't have to chop/pulse the crushed pineapple. I do that so it's a really fine texture and so there are no small pieces of pineapple in the salad. If you prefer more of a hearty texture with the cranberry chunks and pineapple, then don't chop the pieces very small. Leave them larger if wanted.
- Overnight Fridge Time : After mixing it all together (before refrigerating overnight) the fluff will be very pale in color as you can see in the step-by-step photos. This is why the overnight is essential because the color darkens and the salad gets fluffier.
TRY THESE OTHER CRANBERRY RECIPES
- 1 bag (12 oz) fresh whole cranberries
- 1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups miniature marshmallows
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- In a food processor or mini food chopper (you can also use a blender or by hand with a knife), pulse/chop the cranberries until they are coarsely or finely chopped, depending on your preference. You may end up having to do 2-3 batches depending on the size of your food chopper.
- Dump the can of crushed pineapple (juice and all) into the food chopper and pulse/chop for a few times.
- Add the chopped cranberries, pineapple, and granulated sugar into a large mixing bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Add the miniature marshmallows into the cranberries.
- In a small bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Pour the heavy whipping cream into the cream cheese and continue beating for several minutes until thick peaks form and it's a stable mixture.
- Add the whipped cream into the cranberries and marshmallows and gently stir to mix everything together. Cover with lid and refrigerate overnight. Keep in the fridge until you're ready to serve it.