Cranberry Soufflé Salad

If you want to add some midcentury flair to your upcoming Thanksgiving or Holiday feast, Cranberry Soufflé is a classic.

This is one of maybe two gelatin salads that I actually remember my grandmother making during my lifetime, and it was served almost exclusively for Thanksgiving. I wouldn’t eat it back then, though, because I was far more picky with my food at age 7 than I am now.

You can see this recipe has been well-loved based on the terrible shape the clipping is in. In my hunt to determine the exact date I researched the Sunbeam Saucepan on the back and based on this model and the ad itself, I figure it is from 1956-1958.

There are no “unusual” ingredients beyond the mayonnaise, but I’m enough salads into this crazy project that I have fully accepted mayonnaise as an acceptable addition. It is also worth noting that these salads were not advertised as desserts, but as healthy-ish sources of protein! Which they are, if you think about it.

If you’re interested in both vintage recipes and cranberry sauce, I wrote this post containing four cranberry recipes from 1919.

The Recipe

Cranberry Souffle Salad


  • 1 envelope unflavored Knox gelatine
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 C. hot water
  • 1/2 C. Best Foods Mayonnaise
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon rind
  • 1 can (1 lb.) Ocean Spray Whole Cranberry Sauce
  • 1 orange or apple, peeled and sliced
  • 1 can (8 1/2 oz) pineapple tidbits (optional)
  • 1/4 C. chopped walnuts

Note: “If Ocean Spray Fresh Cranberries are used instead of canned sauce…put 2 cups fresh cranberries through food chopper. Add 1/2 cup sugar. Let stand 10 minutes. Fold in with orange and walnuts.”

Instructions exactly as they appear on the clipping:

  1. Mix together 1 envelope Knox Unflavored Gelatine with 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  2. Add 1 cup very hot water and st[ir] until gelatine is dissolved.
  3. Add 1/2 cup Best Foods Real Mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 2 teaspoon grated lemon rind. Blend with a rotary beater.
  4. Pour into a refrigerator tray. Quick chill in freezing unit (without changing control) 10-15 minutes, or until firm about 1 inch from edge but soft in center.
  5. Beat until fluffy. Fold in 1 (1-lb.) can Ocean Spray Whole Cranberry Sauce, 1 orange or apple, peeled and diced, or 1 8 1/2-oz can pineapple tidbits, and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts. Pour into individual molds or a 1-quart mold and chill until firm.
  6. Unmold on lettuce. Top with Real Mayonnaise, if desired.

All of the instructions you need are right there, but I feel the need to add some clarification and a couple very-small-but-necessary adjustments:

Since I knew I would need to put this in the freezer for a few minutes, I just used a plastic tupperware bowl. My freezer isn’t spacious enough for a tray. I poured very hot / boiling water into the bowl to dissolve the gelatine and sugar.

After about 10 minutes in the freezer and it has started to set, beat with a whisk or by hand. The recipe says blend with a rotary beater, but my hand mixer is far too fast for me to feel comfortable using it for this. Rotary beaters were hand cranked and I think a high-speed mixer could have possibly overworked the gelatin and made a huge mess. A whisk worked just fine to blend in the mayonnaise.

When you beat the partially-set gelatin until fluffy, just use a spoon. Fold in the sauce, nuts and fruit until the color looks pretty uniform. The recipe says use apples OR orange OR pineapple, but I used both finely chopped apples and the small can of pineapple.

I attempted to use an individual mold but for some reason it didn’t work too well this time around. But the 4-cup mold worked beautifully! Next time I would just use a small bowl or a less fancy mini-mold with fewer ridges than the ones I have.

Lastly, unmold onto lettuce and top with mayonnaise, if desired. I do NOT desire. I have my limits.

The Verdict

It’s good! It tastes like it would go really well with turkey or something, which explains why it was included in the Thanksgiving meal. Cranberry Souffle is more of a side dish, not necessarily something you would eat like a dessert.

Oddly enough (or not), it reminded N and I of a thick, cranberry-flavored waldorf salad, just without the grapes and celery. Maybe it’s the apples and walnuts. This isn’t a bad thing, just an observation worth sharing.

Go ahead and give it a shot!

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