BEST Fresh Cranberry Grape Walnut Salad

One of our best holiday salads is my Mom and Aunt Barbara’s BEST Fresh Cranberry Grape Walnut Salad, delicious for a potluck or dinner party! WATCH THE VIDEO!

BEST Fresh Cranberry Grape Walnut Salad

Friends, not only does this BEST Fresh Cranberry Grape Walnut Salad bring nostalgic memories of growing up with mom and her sisters, and the holidays meals that we shared, this recipe does not have pineapple or marshmallows! LOL. (Mom and Aunt Barb, both on the right.)

You may also enjoy these holiday salads:

How to make Cranberry Grape Salad with Walnuts

BEST Fresh Cranberry Grape Walnut Salad - aunts

It’s very fresh, with simple ingredients, and there are a few key steps why it’s so good.

Of course you use real whipping cream (it’s not ambrosia salad, so no Cool Whip and no marshmallows).

BEST Fresh Cranberry Grape Walnut Salad - Mini KitchenAid

This time I used my KitchenAid Artisan Mini Twighlight Blue Mixer!

BEST Fresh Cranberry Grape Walnut Salad - ingredients

BEST Fresh Cranberry Grape Walnut Salad

Toast the walnuts first, giving them a deeper, nutty flavor!  Yum!

There’s an art to grinding the cranberries. (Again, using my KitchenAid Food Processor)

And then, it all comes together for a most flavorful and DELISH holiday salad!

BEST Fresh Cranberry Grape Walnut Salad - food processor

When it’s time to serve this salad at a potluck, or holiday dinner, just listen to all the comments around the table about the flavors and texture!

BEST Fresh Cranberry Grape Walnut Salad - NO COOL WHIP!

Which makes me think of this quote:

“People who love to eat are always the best people. -Julia Child”

KitchenAid Artisan Mini Twilight Blue Mixer

My KitchenAid Artisan Mini Twilight Blue Mixer is my new favorite small kitchen appliance in our new kitchen.

BEST Fresh Cranberry Grape Walnut Salad

It sits in the corner, ready to plug in and put to work. The size is brilliant! And I love the Twighlight blue color!

You can order one, HERE. (Wink-wink … for Christmas!)

Did you know that the “mini” is 25% lighter, 20% smaller footprint (compared with KitchenAid Classic Stand Mixer), and it’s powerful enough for nearly any recipe, whether you’re stirring wet and dry ingredients together, kneading bread dough or whipping cream!

How to prep the salad

But for now … don’t forget that you can do some prep for this salad ahead of time.

  1. Grind the cranberries and add the sugar. NOTE: You can lessen the sugar if you want, but you do need sugar for the recipe!
  2. Freeze just that part of the recipe in a ziplock bag.
  3. Pull out of the freezer and defrost, and then add the rest of ingredients!

Enjoy for your feast!

BEST Fresh Cranberry Grape Walnut Salad
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BEST 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.
Prep Time20 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cranberry salad, holiday salad
Servings: 8


  • 1 lb. fresh cranberries coarsely ground
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 lb. seedless red grapes cut in 1/2
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts toasted and chopped
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/2 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.



Original post November 2012; updated December 2016.

BEST Fresh Cranberry Grape Walnut Salad Recipe

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17 comments on “BEST Fresh Cranberry Grape Walnut Salad”

  1. This was so good! A great addition to our Thanksgiving menu!

  2. This is so good and love the toasted walnuts!

  3. I have to try this! Such yummy ingredients!

  4. I love the addition of grapes, yum!

  5. Oh, my, this tastes just like my MIL’s recipe! SO good and perfect for the holidays!

  6. 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?

  7. 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!

  8. 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. 

  9. 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!

  10. 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!) :)

  11. My Grandmother made this every year too! She added marshmallows to hers though!

  12. oh man! I might just need to try this!!!!

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