This Fruit Salad is a family favorite with a light and flavorful fruit salad dressing. It’s easy and perfect for snacks, sides and school lunches! Ready to eat in a matter of minutes, this healthy snack can be easily customized to include your favorite fruits.
This fruit salad makes a delicious snack, side dish or dessert. The secret fruit salad dressing is a childhood favorite, frequently made by my Great Aunt Mildred.
This easy recipe is a delicious way for adults and children to enjoy an array of fruits.
As a child, I remember stopping by Aunt Mildred’s on the way to the farm to visit Grandma and Grandpa. She always welcomed you with a smile and left you with a full stomach and a jar of jam – the simple things in life.
I could always count on her to make my favorite fruit salad – she used a can of fruit cocktail, whatever fruit she had on hand and a package of instant vanilla pudding. I couldn’t get enough of it! This really is a family favorite recipe!
I’ve simplified Aunt Mildred’s fruit salad, using fresh fruit, a splash of lemon juice and lightly sprinkling the fruit (inspired by the fruits in with instant pudding mix). It’s light and refreshing but gives you the same vanilla flavor that I loved.
If you have some extra strawberries left over after making this fruit salad, try some of my amazing strawberry recipes that make a great summer treat!
Fruit Salad Ingredients
- Fruit – You can use all of your favorite fruits in this recipe. I like to use grapes, apples, pears and strawberries. Feel free to add in melon, blueberries and peaches, use whatever you have in your fridge!
- Lemon Juice – Lemon juice not only adds flavor the finished fruit salad, but it also helps to stop fruit like apples and pears from browning. Use fresh squeezed lemon juice if possible. You can substitute 100% lemon juice if needed.
- Vanilla Pudding Mix – The vanilla mix is stirred into the fruit for a wonderful subtle sweetness. I use a package of instant pudding, but regular works as well.
The options are endless! You can use all your favorite fruits to customize this amazing fruit salad recipe.
- Strawberries – Select strawberries with beautiful color, no spots or mold. Trim the green off and slice thin.
- Pineapple – Select a ripe pineapple that has a sweet scent. Exterior should be slightly yellow and soft.
- Bananas – Ripe bananas (no green) tossed in citrus to maintain freshness and prevent browning.
- Red Grapes – Firm, plump and beautiful color.
- Green Grapes – Firm, plump with vibrant color.
- Blueberries – The plumper, the sweeter.
- Blackberries – Plump!
- Kiwi – Ripe kiwi that are slightly soft to the touch.
- Mango – Soft and fragrant.
- Mandarin Oranges – Fresh or canned, drained.
- Apple – Toss in lemon or lime juice first to prevent browning and maintain freshness.
- Pear – Toss in citrus first to prevent browning and maintain freshness.
How To Make Vanilla Fruit Salad
- Prepare Fruit – Chop fruits, toss bananas, grapes, apples and pear in citrus first and strain.
- Combine Fruit – Toss in a large bowl to mix thoroughly.
- Mix – Add in 2 tablespoons vanilla pudding mix.
Fruit Salad Dressing
The natural fruit juices create an amazing dressing. Little is needed to enhance this simple fruit salad.
Just a couple tablespoons of vanilla pudding mix combined with the natural fruit juices creates a light and refreshing fruit salad dressing.
In lieu of pudding mix you can substitute 2 Tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
- Toss fresh cut fruit to release their natural juices.
- Add 1 Tablespoons vanilla pudding mix and toss.
Can You Make It Ahead Of Time?
You can make it just before serving or a day in advance.
I love to make a big batch of this vanilla fruit salad as it stores really easily. Because of the added lemon juice, the fruits stay wonderfully fresh and vibrant. Once you have made the salad, store in in an airtight container and it will keep well in the fridge for 3 to 5 days. It’s perfect to take with you when you are out and about and have little mouths to feed!
Can I Use Frozen Fruit?
Fresh fruit is always preferred for the best flavor and consistency. It’s a versatile recipe so use what you have on hand and in season fruits.
Make it For a Crowd
Recommended serving size of fruit salad is 4 ounces per person. For a group of 50 you’d use approximately 12 1/2 pounds of fruit. You can use the sliding scale in the recipe card to make as little or as much of this recipe as you need.
Tips To Make Fruit Salad
- Use Fresh and Ripe Fruit for the best tasting salad. Use organic if you can and use seasonal fruits to enjoy this salad all year long.
- Make it Fun – Cut your fruits into evenly shaped cubes. You can even cut out the fruit with shape cutters for a really pretty bowl!
- Wait to Add Softer Fruits – If you plan to use softer fruits like bananas or raspberries, it’s best to add these just before serving so that they don’t become mushy.
- Use a Variety for Color and Flavor – Mix up your fruit salad with different colors and textures to make it interesting.
If you try this recipe, please come back to share using my 5 star rating in the comments below! Not only do I appreciate it, but I know readers do, too!
Simple Fruit Salad
- 4 cups fruit
- 1 cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons vanilla pudding mix instant or regular
- in a bowl, pour lemon juice over fruit that browns (like pears and apples) and strain.
- Toss fruit in a large bowl to mix thoroughly. Gradually add in 2 Tbsp vanilla pudding mix.
- Use the freshest and ripest fruit for the best tasting salad. Use organic if you can and use seasonal fruits to enjoy this salad all year long.
- Cut your fruits into evenly shaped cubes. You can even cut out the fruit with shape cutters for a really pretty bowl!
- If you plan to use softer fruits like bananas or raspberries, it’s best to add these just before serving so that they don’t become mushy.
- Mix up your fuit salad with different colors and textures to make it interesting.