Make-Ahead Cranberry Icebox Cake Recipe

In this post: A cranberry icebox cake recipe that is the perfect, make-ahead dessert for the holiday season. Easy to serve, festive, and pretty!

piece of cranberry icebox cake cranberry and mint garnish

Ready or not, Christmas is coming! I can’t believe this year has gone so quickly, but here we are almost at the end. I had a couple of reader requests for a Christmas icebox cake, so this Cranberry Icebox Cake is what I came up with. It’s quite delicious and the cranberry layer has a fresh, tangy taste. My only disappointment was that I was hoping it would be a darker red. That slight issue can be remedied with a drop or two of red food coloring added to the cranberry layer. 

cranberry icebox cake recipe pieces with cranberry garnish

The basic recipe for icebox cake filling is the combination of cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, and Cool Whip. I normally use Cool Whip Lite, but any kind will work. The fourth ingredient adds the “flavor.” I have found that juice concentrate and pudding works the best, but anything that adds flavor can be used.

Dressing up an icebox cake is easy and adds a little whimsy. For this cranberry icebox cake, cranberries and mint add a pretty, more formal look. On each piece of cake before serving, place three cranberries like flower petals and use the mint for the leaves. For a fun and more casual presentation, simply garnish with Christmas sprinkles. The sprinkles would be a popular choice if there are going to be kids around!

The best thing about icebox cakes is that you can make them ahead of time. In fact, they really need to sit in the refrigerator overnight to set up and cut well. 

cranberry icebox cake fi

Cranberry Ice Box Cake Recipe

A cranberry icebox cake recipe that is the perfect, make-ahead dessert for the holiday season. Easy to serve, festive, and pretty!
No ratings yet
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 9 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 21 minutes


  • 8 oz. cream cheese softened
  • 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate thawed
  • 16 oz. container Cool Whip or Cool Whip Lite
  • 1 box graham crackers
  • sprinkles/fresh cranberries and mint for garnish


  • In a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk. Beat for 1 to 2 minutes until very smooth.
  • Add the cranberry juice concentrate and mix again.
  • Fold in almost the whole container of Cool Whip. Mix until all combined.
  • In a 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pan, spoon a thin layer of the Cool Whip mixture.
  • Top with a layer of graham crackers.
  • Repeat this process until you have 4 or 5 layers of graham crackers, ending with the Cool Whip mixture.
  • Refrigerate 6 hours or overnight is best.
  • Run a sharp knife under very hot water for easier cutting.
  • Garnish with holiday sprinkles or mint with fresh cranberries.


Using an 8 x 8 pan, I got five layers of graham crackers with a little bit of filling left over. For a 9 x 9 inch pan, plan on getting four layers. 
Like this recipe?Follow me at @onsuttonplace

Cranberry Icebox Cake Recipe Tips:

  • Before cutting, run your knife under very hot water. The warm knife will cut the icebox cake much easier and there won’t be any ragged edges. The first piece is sometimes hard to get out of the pan. Save that one for yourself!
  • I’ve been asked many times if real whipped cream can be substituted for the Cool Whip. If you are planning on making and eating your cake within hours of each other, I think the whipped cream will work. However, it won’t hold up overnight. 

cranberry icebox cake pieces christmas plates and forks

Affiliate links included. Click HERE for my disclosure statement. 

For other icebox cake recipes click the image below!

Easy no bake icebox cake recipes from On Sutton Place


subscribe box christmas