A colorful blend of fresh cranberries, fluffy mini marshmallows, crunchy nuts, and juicy pineapple in one salad. We love making Millionaire Cranberry Salad for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and special occasions. Especially if we want to wow our guests with an extra fantastic dish.
It is almost like Ambrosia Salad, but with a few substitutions and add-ons. Oh, and in terms of flavor, it’s nothing like Ambrosia, it’s better!
Although some folks can find those ingredients uncommon to be mixed in one dish, the sweet and tart combination simply ''works'' in this recipe. And no cool whip or cream cheese is needed!
My few comments on the ingredients + don't forget to read the Tips section!
The full recipe and ingredients can be found in the recipe card below this post.
- Yogurt - can sub with sour cream at least 20% fat. This can be also substituted with the Cool Whip but the texture will be different and the recipe will have more calories in it.
- Pineapple - if you can get a plain, with no-sugar-added canned pineapple, is better. But even a fresh one could work. Substitute with sweet fruit, mandarin oranges, apples, and even bananas. We sometimes love to use grapes instead or in addition to pineapples.
- The more fruit, the merrier - the star of the show here is obviously cranberry. The sauce is based on cranberries and orange juice with a touch of cinnamon. The tangy and tart flavor of these berries helps to balance the sweetness of other ingredients. However, you can substitute with mixed berries, blueberries, lingonberries, blackcurrants, or red currants (very close flavor to cranberries but sweeter, if you can find those of course). Fresh is better but as we are going to make a sauce out of berries, you can also use frozen.
- Coconut is a refreshing tropical add-on, but it can be left out entirely.
- Crunchy nuts - Pecans, walnut,s or almonds add the needed crunch here and help to balance the sweet ingredients with their bitter flavor.
This recipe has become one of our favorite desserts to serve on our holiday menu. It's different, fluffy, and creamy with bursting sweet and fruity flavors.
Make the homemade Cranberry sauce. In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, sugar, orange juice, and cinnamon.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 12 minutes. Let the mixture cool completely. The sauce will thicken upon cooling).
In a large bowl add yogurt, juicy pineapple, marshmallows, walnuts, coconut.
Pour in the cooled cranberry mixture (only about 1 ½ cups) and mix to combine. Let sit for 3 hours in the fridge.
In the end, you’ll be left with some extra cranberry sauce which you can use for pancakes, waffles, and cereals.
Serve the salad any time of year, especially popular for Potlucks, and during the holiday season, with roasted turkey and at Christmas dinners.
It's the perfect dish from the traditional classics, with a twist.
FLAVOR & TEXTURE: I would describe this millionaire salad as ultra fluffy, cool, creamy, fruity, and refreshing with a little crunch here and there.
- It’s a great meal prep - it takes only 15 minutes to whip up and some chill time. This is perfect because you’ll have enough time for casual entertaining and enjoying eating dinner.
- We like to complete any festive dinner with this fruit dessert salad (which it actually is) but I know some folks just like to serve this as a side dish together with the main course. This is however not my vibe at all and I would still call it a dessert salad.
- Chilling time is necessary. It helps the soft marshmallows to increase in size and absorb the sauce. After cooling the salad becomes fluffy and more delicious. Just don’t ‘’over chill’’ this.
- For this creamy cranberry salad, I like to keep the cranberries whole, but you can puree the sauce once it’s cooked in a food processor or an immersion blender. If you gonna puree this, use more cranberries or reduce the orange juice so the sauce is not too runny in the end.
- Related: leftover turkey wraps, leftover turkey shepherd's pie.
Freezing And Storing Instructions
- This salad is easy to make ahead and a good candidate for meal prep. You’ll need to combine all the ingredients and let them chill for 3 hours before ready to serve. Don’t skip this step, this is what makes this salad remarkable.
- Properly sealed and stored his salad will be good in the fridge for 1-2 days.
- No freezing is recommended. Fruit and creamy dressing just don’t freeze well. Fruit will become soggy, the flavor will be off and yogurt become runny.
More Cranberry & Thanksgiving Recipes
For more festive recipes be sure to take a look at our Christmas recipes.
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Millionaire Cranberry Salad Recipe
- 2 cups plain greek yogurt
- 2 cups canned pineapple
- 2 cups mini marshmallows, I used tri-color
- 1 cup walnuts chopped, or pecans, almonds
- 2 cups coconut flakes
For Cranberry Sauce
- 3 cups fresh cranberries
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 cup orange juice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Homemade Cranberry sauce. In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, sugar, orange juice and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer 12 minutes. Let the mixture cool completely. The sauce will thicken upon cooling).
- In a large bowl add yogurt, juicy pineapple, marshmallows, nuts, coconut. Pour in the cooled cranberry mixture (only about 1 ½ cups) and mix to combine. Let sit 3 hours in the fridge.
- In the end you’ll be left with some extra cranberry sauce which you can use for pancakes, waffles, and cereals.
- Serve the salad any time of year but it's more commonly enjoyed during the holiday season, at Christmas dinners. It's the perfect dish from the traditional classics, with a twist.