Old Fashioned Cranberry Salad Ice Box Cake - Major Hoff Takes A Wife

Old Fashioned Cranberry Salad Ice Box Cake

Cranberry Salad turned into an icebox cake dessert

This recipe for

Old Fashioned Cranberry Salad 

Ice Box Cake 

won’t win the best looking dessert award,
but it will win “The best throwback to Grandma’s Recipe Award”.

Old Fashioned Cranberry Salad Ice Box Cake. This dessert is inspired by old fashioned cranberry salad. This dessert recipe combines cranberry sauce with pineapple, whip cream, cream cheese and crushed pineapple with a vanilla wafer crust. You'll remember the popular old fashioned Thanksgiving side dish when eating this delicious dessert!

 For today’s post, I’m thinking back to both my Grandmothers. One was “famous” for her Ice Box Cake. The other, my maternal grandmother, used to make Cranberry Salad at Thanksgiving. From the time I was born, until my junior year of college, I spent every single Thanksgiving at her house. I have so many memories of holiday meals around her table. When I was perusing my cookbooks for inspiration for recipes for  Cranberry Week, I came across several for cranberry salad. I had totally forgotten about this side dish. As kids, we loved it because it tasted like a dessert rather than a “salad”. I decided to combine old fashioned cranberry salad with icebox cake and the result was well received. As in, none of it was left 2 hours later. So if you remember Grandma making a cranberry salad with pineapple, marshmallows and cream cheese, you might just love this trip down memory lane!

Cranberry Crush a week of recipes on Major Hoff Takes A Wife

Yes, it’s true. Y’all love my Make Ahead Cranberry Sauce (my most popular post EVER), that I’ve devoted a whole week to cranberries!

cranberry salad recipe turned into a cranberry dessert

The cranberry salad top to this dessert is chocked full of marshmallows, whipping cream, cranberry sauce, crushed pineapple and cream cheese. A lot of the older recipes I found for cranberry salad called for mayo and celery. I went ahead and ditched these, opting to make sure it was a true dessert!

Nilla Wafer crust for an icebox cake

Sprinkled on top are crushed vanilla wafer cookies. It’s a little nod to the vanilla wafer crust that the cranberry salad rests on.

cranberry salad with nilla wafers

The crust is delicious. It gives a nice solid cookie like shortcrust flavor and texture, but it doesn’t overpower the delicate whipped cranberry mixture.

cranberry dessert recipe

My kiddos seemed to enjoy the mini marshmallows, and I remember loving them as a kid too.

yield: 12-18 squaresprint recipe
Old Fashioned Cranberry Ice Box Cake A Throwback Recipe

Old Fashioned Cranberry Salad Ice Box Cake

prep time: 15 MINScook time: 8 MINStotal time: 23 mins
This ice box cake may not win for the best looking dessert, but it will win for “The best throwback to Grandma’s Recipe Award”. Based on a classic Cranberry Salad recipe and an Ice Box Cake recipe this dessert will tempt your tastebuds. A "salad" never tasted so good!


For The Crust
  • 1 box vanilla wafer cookies (11 oz), crushed
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
Cranberry Salad Topping
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup drained crushed pineapple
  • 1 cup cranberry sauce (canned or use my popular recipe!)
  • 2 TBSP granulated sugar
  • 1 (8oz) bar cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups mini marshmallows


For the Crust:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Crush the vanilla wafers in a bag with a rolling pin or place in a food processor and crush until they are crumbs.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all the wafers, sugar and butter.
  4. Remove 1/8th of a cup for later - to sprinkle on the top
  5. Press the wafer mixture firmly into a 9 x 13 baking sheet. Bake for 6-8 mins, allowing it to cook. Remove before edges turn brown.
  6. Rest on a cooling rack and allow to cool.
For the Cranberry Salad
  1. In a large mixer, beat the whipping cream until it turns into whipped cream. Add in 2 TBSP's sugar very slowly, allowing it to incorporate but not become over whipped. Fold in the drained pineapple and the cranberry sauce. Add in the cream cheese and whip until combined. Fold in the mini marshmallows by hand.
To assemble the dessert:
  1. After the crust is cooled, spread the cranberry salad onto the crust. Cover with cling wrap and allow to chill in a freezer for at least 2 hrs. Serve with in a few hours. The crust can get soft after a day or two.
  2. ENJOY!
Created using The Recipes Generator

So what do you think? Are you excited to give this throwback recipe a try? Are you a fan of cranberries? If so, please continue to follow my blog this week as we celebrate all things cranberry!

From savory dishes, appetizers, breakfast and dessert, we will have something for everyone!
See All The Cranberry Recipes Here. Check back daily as we continue to add more in!

Cranberry Crush Week. All Cranberry recipes for the Thanksgiving and Holiday Season

1 comment

  1. This did not last long in our house, please make some more!


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