This Easy Fruit Salad is the perfect side for a picnic, party, or just a busy weeknight supper. Add any fruit you have on hand for a deliciously refreshing dish!
Fruit Salad with Cool Whip and Pudding
This Fruit Salad is a simple, refreshing side dish that complements just about any meal! We ate this salad, or a variation of this salad a lot growing up. Most family picnics and barbecues included this scrumptious, fruity recipe. We always call it “blackberry salad” but in reality it’s made up of whatever fruit we have on hand. It’s the best way to use up extra fruit in the fridge before it goes bad, and there are so many ways to change it up! With the pudding mixture it tastes more like a dessert than a salad. Perfect for church potlucks, summer picnics, birthdays, or just a side to a quick hot dog dinner on a busy weeknight, your whole family will love this creamy, yummy salad!
Fruit Salad Ingredients
This salad is ideal because you can literally throw in any fruit you have on hand. It’s really up to you what ingredients you want to add or take out, but for reference here’s what we start with:
- Crushed pineapple – pineapple tidbits will work too. Just don’t drain the juices, because it adds a ton of flavor to the dressing.
- Siced strawberries – fresh works best but you can use thawed frozen berries too
- 3 bananas, sliced. I use extra bananas sometimes because they’re my kids’ favorite, and I love that they’re getting some added potassium.
- Grapes – I like to keep these whole but you can slice them in halves
- 1 large can of mandarin oranges – you can peel and use fresh orange segments too for added vitamin C. But the mandarin oranges are so easy to use in this great recipe.
- Blackberries or raspberries – blueberries work great too!
Fruit Salad Dressing
Now for the best part, the delicious dressing! The key ingredient here is instant pistachio or vanilla pudding mix! Mixed with the crushed pineapple and juices, along with a tub of regular Cool Whip, the pudding gives this dressing a rich, creamy texture and a beautiful whipped topping consistency. Here’s how to get just the right texture:
- Mix the dry instant pudding mix into a bowl with the crushed pineapple and juices.
- Next, gently fold in the Cool Whip.
- Pour over the sliced fruit and fold it all together.
- Serve immediately or store in the fridge until serving. It doesn’t keep as well the next day, especially if you add bananas or other fruit that can brown or get soggy.
Variations for Fruit Salad with Cool Whip
- We use a regular tub of Cool Whip, but you can use the sugar free, fat free version too, and it tastes delicious!
- You can also use heavy whipping cream. Whip it up before adding the pudding and sliced fruit.
- Use up fresh fruit from your refrigerator, or incorporate frozen fruit too.
- Blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries can be quite pricey, especially when they’re not in season, so use a few of each of these, then use apples, pears, bananas, grapes and other cheaper fruits to give this salad a bit more bulk.
- Peaches, huckleberries, melon, cantaloupe, or boysenberries taste yummy in this salad too.
- Add pecans, raisins, craisins, or coconut flakes for extra texture and flavor.
- Make a tropical salad by using fresh pineapple, mandarin oranges, coconut, maraschino cherries and bananas instead of other berries.
- Stir in a cup of mini marshmallows to make it more of a fluff salad – kids love these!
- Feel free to use any flavor of pudding mix to change up the flavor. We’re partial to pistachio, but vanilla, lemon or any other flavor would taste terrific!
- Add a dash of lemon juice to the dressing for an extra zing.
- For an extra thick sauce or dressing, mix in a few spoonfuls of plain or vanilla Greek yogurt, room temperature cream cheese or sour cream. Cottage cheese would add a nice flavor and texture too and will give you an extra boost of calcium. It’s practically a health food!
More Delicious Fruit Salad and Jello Recipes
Try some of these delightfully simple and scrumptious salad recipes and watch your kids devour all that healthy goodness.
- Waldorf Salad
- Nuts About Berries Salad
- Snickers Apple Salad
- Strawberry Pretzel Jello Salad
- Blueberry Jello Salad Recipe
- Grape Salad with Crunchy Coconut Topping
How to Make Fruit Salad
Easy Fruit Salad
- Mix pudding mix and crushed pineapple in a large bowl.
- Add Cool Whip and mix well.
- Stir in fruit.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.