Cranberry Salad with Grapes and Walnuts
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!
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.
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!
Gather 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.
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 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!
- 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.
- Mix the cranberries and sugar in a bowl and chill it overnight.
- Toast the walnuts in the microwave for 2 minutes, or use the oven or a dry skillet. Chop them and set them aside.
- 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.
- Combine the cranberry and sugar mixture with the walnuts and chopped grapes in a large bowl.
- Fold in the whipping cream until just combined.
- Chill until ready to serve.
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.
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!
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.
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!
Check out these awesome recipes while you’re here
Get the Recipe:
Fresh Cranberry Grape Walnut Salad
- 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.
I had this for the first time at a restaurant tonight and went looking for a recipe. I’m glad you use real whipped cream. I’d like to keep some of the berries whole though
I wouldn’t keep the cranberries whole for this recipe. They really need to be ground! :)
I make this every Thanksgiving and Christmas. I always have to make extra for my oldest son and his family. Everyone LOVES THIS!
HI…. I really want to try this… Question – the note above the recipe says to freeze the ground cranberries and sugar, but the actual recipe below says to refrigerate over night. Which one is correct? I don’t know that it matters, but don’t want to assume… Thanks
Hi, Lori. That section is for meal prep, if you want to do it in advance (just an option).
How far ahead of time can this salad be made? Is 2 days too long to stay in the fridge?
I usually prepare all the ingredients, including the whipped cream. Then I assemble it right before serving!
My mom makes this every year, and it’s a hit. She uses Cool Whip (in reply to another comment/question) and also mixes in one chopped naval orange, including the peel. It’s a real treat!
Sounds delish. Although I do not like Cool Whip. LOL
I would eat this for dessert all year round. In Florida we cannot get fresh cranberries except during the holidays. Wondering if it is like this everywhere? I am going to try using frizen cranberries. Sure hope it works and is not mushy. Will re-post the results.
The perfect holiday salad.
This was so good! A great addition to our Thanksgiving menu!
This is so good and love the toasted walnuts!
I have to try this! Such yummy ingredients!
I love the addition of grapes, yum!
Oh, my, this tastes just like my MIL’s recipe! SO good and perfect for the holidays!
Is it possible to use crushed pretzels instead of nut? Would that possible serve as a substitute? Some members of my family are allergic to nuts, but pretzels might work….any advice?
I would think the pretzels would get soggy. I have not tried this, but come back and let me know if it worked! :)
I cannot have dairy , so can cool whip work in this recipe? Also, have you tried less sugar? A cup and a half seems like too much for my taste , and the recipe looks so delicious,
I have tried less sugar, and it works! I have not tried Cool Whip. I would think it would work, but you’d need to mix it all togehter right before serving. But again, I have not tried this. ENJOY!
Thank you, thank you thank you for sharing your family’s recipe. This is the one my grandmother and mom used every year for Christmas. We skipped out on it because we had 2 daughters and a niece and nephew who wouldn’t eat nuts. Now that they are grown I can have my favorite salad at Christmas again! I could not find my mom’s recipe and she passed away this year but thank you for loving old family recipes.
This salad is the best. I made it in a cooking class in the 90’s and I’ve made it every Thanksgiving since. I even had to make it once using a blender to grind the cranberries, and it was still delicious!
That’s a great tip, although I’ve never tried the blender. SO YUMMY!
Can you make it, freeze and then the day of let it defrost at room temp without changing the consistency?
Hi, Holly. I personally would not freeze this salad. Although I have not tried it, whipped cream tends to weep when frozen (and already mixed in a salad) and also, the fruit would just be mushy! Sorry! (But if you try it, come back and tell us here!) :)
My Grandmother made this every year too! She added marshmallows to hers though!
oh man! I might just need to try this!!!!