My ultimate Frozen Fruit Salad is bursting with flavor and chock full of pineapple, cherries, and pecans. It’s perfect for serving at showers, luncheons, and holiday brunches and it deserves a place of honor in your repertoire of “go-to” recipes.
This old-fashioned salad/dessert is one that I’m sure you have had at some point in your life. It seems to have fallen out of favor along with jello salads and molds, but it’s a delicious southern classic and I know you will love it as we do.
Why you will love this recipe:
- Light and refreshing, this Frozen Fruit Salad takes less than ten minutes to prepare.
- You can make it ahead and it’s gluten-free!
- Even though this luscious dish is technically a salad, it’s no stretch to call it a dessert with all of its creamy sweetness. You decide.
Yesterday, I ate some for lunch, then had another serving after dinner for dessert, and just might have a bite for breakfast this morning. After all, with all that fruit, it has to be healthy, right? Well, maybe not healthy, but healthy-ish? At least that’s how I rationalize it!
Here’s what’s in it:
You will need the following ingredients: canned dark sweet cherries (not pie filling), canned pineapple chunks, toasted pecans, frozen whipped topping (you can substitute homemade whipped cream), lemon yogurt, lemon zest, and mayonnaise.
Don’t balk at the mayonnaise, you will have to trust me on this.
Here’s how to make it:
Gather the ingredients and combine the cherries, pineapple, and pecans in a large bowl.
Combine the thawed whipped topping, lemon yogurt, mayonnaise, and lemon zest in another bowl and mix until well combined.
Add the whipped topping mixture to the fruit mixture and gently fold everything together.
Spoon the mixture into an 8×8 dish; cover and freeze at least 8 hours, or until firm.
Take the dish out of the freezer 15-30 minutes before you are ready to serve it, to let it thaw just a little. Cut into squares and serve on lettuce leaves if desired.
This frozen fruit salad recipe is versatile. While I used pecans, as well as canned cherries and pineapple, you can easily substitute your favorite fruits or nuts.
How about mandarin oranges, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, halved grapes, or peaches? Frozen, fresh, or canned, they all work. You could also add a handful of coconut and swap out walnuts for the pecans.
Leftovers and storage:
Because this is a frozen dish, leftovers should be stored tightly covered in the freezer for up to three months.
- To toast the pecans, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 8-10 minutes in a 350-degree oven. Watch them carefully; they can go from perfect to burned in a matter of seconds.
- If you can’t find the canned dark sweet cherries in the canned fruit section of your grocery store, try looking where the pie fillings are kept. But, don’t use cherry pie filling.
- You can substitute homemade whipped cream for the frozen whipped topping.
- To make individual servings of this dish, add paper liners to a regular size muffin pan and then add the mixture. Cover and freeze as directed.
- Feel free to add a dollop or so of whipped cream to each serving if you like.
For an unforgettable Easter or Mother’s Day Brunch menu, how about serving Sweet Potato Biscuits with Country Ham and Cranberry Aioli, Southern Cheese Grits Casserole, and a yummy Lemon and Blackberry Bread Pudding for dessert along with the frozen fruit salad?
Need even more menu ideas? Check out my roundup posts for 38 Easter Dinner Recipes, Easter Dinner Side Dish Recipes and Menu Ideas, 45 Dazzling and Delicious Easter Desserts, and my easy 32 Mother’s Day Breakfast and Brunch Recipes!
★ If you make this dish, please leave a comment and give this recipe a star rating. I would love to know how you liked it!
Thank you so much for visiting Grits and Pinecones!
Ultimate Make-Ahead Frozen Fruit Salad Recipe
- 16.5 ounces dark sweet cherries canned, drained and pitted
- 15.5 ounces pineapple chunks canned, drained
- 1/2 cup pecans toasted and chopped*
- 8 ounces frozen whipped topping thawed, I used Cool Whip
- 5.5 ounces lemon yogurt regular or Greek
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- Combine the cherries, pineapple, and pecans in a bowl.
- Combine the thawed whipped topping, lemon yogurt, mayonnaise, and lemon zest in another bowl and mix until well combined.
- Add the whipped topping mixture to the fruit mixture and gently fold in.
- Spoon the mixture into an 8x8 dish; cover and freeze at least 8 hours, or until firm.
- Take the dish out of the freezer 15-30 minutes to let it thaw just a little before you are ready to serve it. Cut into squares and serve on lettuce leaves if desired.