Loaded with the tangy flavor of fresh cranberries, succulent grapes, and crunchy walnuts, this festive salad is perfectly balanced and oh-so-delicious! Easy, impressive, and colorful, this is a must-try side dish at your festive feast! 

spoonful of Cranberry Salad with Walnuts

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Friends, this is a treasured family recipe. My mom and aunts would make this amazing salad and share it at potlucks and family meals. It would be served on every holiday, and I maintain the tradition with my own family by sharing this amazing salad with them for Christmas and Thanksgiving meals.

Cranberry Salad with Grapes and Walnuts

This is a super easy salad to make. Plus, there’s no pineapple or marshmallows in it;  this is not a riff on ambrosia salad! Instead, it’s a simple salad that lets the tangy and juicy freshness of cranberries and a few other delish ingredients really shine.

spoonful of cranberry salad

Why I love this recipe

  • This is an heirloom recipe that I’m sure your family will also love!
  • It’s simple to make and only has a handful of ingredients.
  • You can freeze the leftovers and even serve the salad frozen!

ingredients for Cranberry Salad with Grapes and WalnutsGather these ingredients

  • Fresh cranberries 
  • Sugar – Granulated white sugar.
  • Red grapes – Seedless; cut in half.
  • Walnuts – Toasted and chopped.
  • Whipping cream
  • Powdered sugar – Also called icing sugar or confectioners sugar.
  • Vanilla – Real or artificial vanilla extract is fine.

mixing grapes and walnuts

How to buy cranberries

Cranberries are ripe when they’re packaged and sold, but you still want to have a quick look at the bag and make sure they’re firm and dark red. If too many of the berries are soft and squishy or brown, then the bag isn’t fresh. If you can’t get good fresh cranberries, frozen cranberries may be available.

how to make Cranberry Salad with Grapes and Walnuts

How to make this holiday Cranberry Salad with Grapes and Walnuts

This easy cranberry salad is perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas or anytime you want a deliciously different side dish!

  1. Coarsely chop the cranberries in a food processor. Use the pulse function so that you don’t grind them too finely. You want some larger chunks.
  2. Mix the cranberries and sugar in a bowl and chill it overnight.
  3. Toast the walnuts in the microwave for 2 minutes, or use the oven or a dry skillet. Chop them and set them aside.
  4. Whip the whipping cream until very stiff in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or use an electric hand mixer. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until combined.
  5. Combine the cranberry and sugar mixture with the walnuts and chopped grapes in a large bowl. 
  6. Fold in the whipping cream until just combined. 
  7. Chill until ready to serve.

mixing cranberry salad

How to prep Cranberry Salad with Grapes and Walnuts ahead of time

Save time in the kitchen and chop the cranberries ahead of time. Then mix them with the sugar and freeze them! You can freeze the cranberries and sugar for up to a month, and just thaw it in the fridge overnight and finish the rest of the salad.

spoonful of Cranberry Salad with Grapes

Tips & substitutions

  • Red grapes and walnuts are traditional in my family, but green grapes and pecans could also be used.
  • Toast the walnuts for extra nutty flavor and crunch! 
  • You can lessen the sugar in this recipe, but don’t eliminate it otherwise the cranberries will be too tart.
  • If you have extra cranberries, make this easy cranberry sauce

serving cranberry salad

Serving suggestions

This easy Cranberry Salad recipe is perfect with your Thanksgiving or Christmas feast and it is great along with other delicious dishes like roasted turkey, stuffing, and of course, a pumpkin dessert.

cranberry whipped cream


This easy Cranberry Salad with Grapes and Walnuts is best eaten fresh, but you can also freeze the leftovers. Pop them into an airtight container and freeze it for up to a month. You can even eat it as a frozen dessert! 

a bowl of Cranberry Salad with Grapes and Walnuts

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spoonful of Cranberry Salad with Walnuts
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Fresh Cranberry Grape Walnut Salad

Nostalgic fresh cranberry salad that is perfect for the holidays, making me think of my Aunt Barbara and mom, Millie.
Loaded with the tangy flavor of fresh cranberries this Cranberry Salad with Grapes and Walnuts is perfectly balanced and so delicious!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 10
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  • 1 lb. fresh cranberries, coarsely ground
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ lb. seedless grapes, cut in ½
  • 1 ½ cups walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla


  • With a food processor, coarsely pulse and chop the cranberries. Do not grind them too fine; leave in larger chunks (see photo).
  • In a small bowl, mix together the cranberries and sugar and chill in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Toast the walnuts either in microwave (2 minutes), or oven. Chop and set aside.
  • Whip 2 cups whipping cream; add the powdered sugar and vanilla. The whipping cream should be really stiff.
  • In a large bowl, add the cranberry mixture, walnuts, chopped grapes. Fold the thick whipping cream into the cranberry mixture. Gently toss; chill the salad until ready to serve.
  • Leftovers can be frozen and served as a frozen salad later.


reposted from November 2018
Cuisine: American
Course: Salad
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Cranberry Salad with Grapes and Walnuts