📝 Modified: January 13, 2023 This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Jump to Recipe
This old-fashioned fruit salad with cool whip recipe is a sweet treat. It is made using cans of fruit cocktail, bananas, assorted canned fruit, mini marshmallows, and cool whip or whipped topping. Easy to make and easy to customize with fresh fruit or your favorite add-ins!

(Last Updated On: January 13, 2023)

Old fashioned fruit salad with cool whip is served as a side dish at Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas for our family. However, you can make this quick and simple fruit salad recipe for any special occasion. It is the perfect side dish for big family gatherings alongside sweet potato casserole, Southern cornbread dressing, green bean casserole, and baked turkey breast. After all, it’s packed with fruit, which is good for you, right? It’s also a light dessert that is creamy, sweet, and fluffy that satisfies the sweet tooth craving deliciously. This fruit cocktail salad is such an easy recipe that takes only about 5 minutes to make.

Old fashioned fruit salad with cool whip in a bowl.

🍌 Key Ingredients for Fruit Salad with Cool Whip

Fruit Salad with Cool Whip Ingredients.
Ingredients for fruit salad with cool whip.

🥣 How to Make Fruit Salad with Cool Whip (Step-by-Step Instructions with Detailed Photos)

Step 1. Drain the Canned Fruit Cocktail

Drain one can of fruit cocktail in a colander. Leave it there until all of the juice has drained from the fruit. Then, add the drained fruit to a large bowl.

Fruit cocktail drained in a colander.
One can of fruit cocktail draining in a colander.

After that, put another can of fruit cocktail in the colander. Do the same thing, let the liquid drain, then put it in the bowl with the other can of fruit cocktail. Draining one can of fruit cocktail at a time ensures that all of the juices have drained from the fruit.

See the two cans of drained fruit cocktail pictured below in a large bowl.

Drained fruit cocktail in a bowl.
Another can of fruit cocktail was drained in the colander and added to the bowl.

Step. 2 Cut up and Add the Bananas

Next, slice one banana and add it together with the fruit cocktail. We are layering the ingredients.

Bananas added to the fruit cocktail in a bowl.
One sliced banana was added to the bowl of fruit cocktail.

Step 3. Add the Mandarin Oranges

Then, drain the liquid out of the can of Mandarin oranges and add them together with the fruit cocktail salad and bananas.

Add Mandarin oranges to the fruit cocktail salad and bananas.
Mandarin oranges are added to the bowl of fruit cocktail.

Step 4. Add the Pineapple Tidbits

Then, drain the liquid out of the can of pineapple tidbits and add them together with the fruit cocktail salad, Mandarin oranges, and bananas.

Add in the pineapple tidbits to the fruit cocktail salad.
Pineapple tidbits are added to the fruit cocktail salad.

Step 5. Add More Bananas, Fruit Cocktail, and Any Extra Add-Ins

Repeat the steps above, draining the liquid from the other cans of fruit cocktail and adding it to the bowl, then adding the other sliced bananas, layering as you go. However, we haven’t stirred it together yet because we don’t want to make it mushy.

 Bananas and fruit cocktail in a bowl.
All six cans of fruit cocktail and all of the three bananas are added to the bowl.

Step 6. Add the Mini Marshmallows

If you prefer, add in about 1 cup of mini marshmallows together with the fruit cocktail salad and assorted fruit. The mini marshmallows taste fantastic in this fruit salad. Your kids are going to love it.

Add the mini marshmallows to the fruit cocktail salad.
Mini marshmallows are added to the fruit cocktail salad.

Step 7. Add the Cool Whip or Your Favorite Whipped Topping

Finally, add some cool whip or whipped topping together with the fruit cocktail, whichever brand you like the best.

Cool whip is added to the bowl of fruit cocktail and bananas.
Some cool whip is added to the bowl of fruit cocktail and bananas.

Step 8. Mix it Up

Then, continue to add more and more of the whipped topping to the fruit salad. Usually, one 16-ounce container of whipped topping is enough.

Mix the cool whip together with all of the canned fruit and add-ins until it looks like the photo below.

Cool whip thoroughly mixed through the fruit salad.
Cool whip thoroughly mixed through the fruit salad.

Step 9. Store the Delicious Fruit Salad with Cool Whip in the Freezer

Keep this old-fashioned fruit salad in the freezer until dinner is ready, so it doesn’t become semi-liquid in the refrigerator. We do not want the whipped topping to turn into liquid. So, ideally, it is best to keep it in the freezer until about 5 to 10 minutes before it is time to eat it.

Cool whip mixed into the fruit salad.
Cool whip mixed into the fruit salad.

🍍 Variations for this Easy Fruit Salad with Cool Whip Recipe

For this recipe, we used just the basic add-ins above. You can, however, add all different kinds of your favorite fruits or food to this fruit fluff salad recipe to make it your own. Lots of times we will add in the Mandarin oranges, marshmallows, and pineapple tidbits, but sometimes we won’t. This recipe is very customizable, and you can make it however you want! More ideas for add-ins include:

  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Coconut flakes
  • Apples
  • Greek yogurt
  • Nuts
  • Peaches
  • Extra bananas
  • Sour cream
  • Cottage cheese
  • Maraschino cherries
Easy fruit salad recipe in bowl ready to eat.
Ready to eat fruit salad with cool whip!

❓ FAQs About This Classic Fruit Salad

How Do You Keep the Fruit Salad from Getting Soggy?

The best way we have found to keep this cool whip fruit salad recipe from getting soggy is to keep it in the freezer until you are ready to eat it. We always make this fruit salad for all of our holiday meals, and we like to make it a few hours ahead of time. So, for a few hours, we keep it in an airtight container and put it in the freezer until dinner is served. But don’t forget to take the fruit salad out of the freezer about 5 to 10 minutes before dinner time.

What Should I Put in a Fruit Salad?

The possibilities are endless! There are many different ways to customize a fruit salad, Most fruits go great in this easy dessert salad recipe. We like to use canned fruit cocktail and other canned fruits in this recipe to keep it a simple recipe, but fresh berries, fresh pineapple, and fresh lemon juice all sound like great additions.

📋 Final Thoughts

This creamy fruit salad recipe is the perfect choice to take to church potlucks during the summer months. It is also so easy to put it in a big bowl and wrap it up with some plastic wrap and take it to your family gathering. The best part about this old fashioned recipe that my mom and her mom and her mom made is that it is so customizable with the ability to use different fruit and add-ins to make it your own. The entire family is sure to love it!

Fruit salad with cool whip pin.

💙 More Family Favorites You Will Love

This ambrosia salad recipe goes great with these other recipes:

  • Orange Balls – These orange balls are a classic treat for any holiday and use only 5 simple ingredients.
  • Mashed Potatoes – A simple recipe to make perfect mashed potatoes with milk, butter, salt, and pepper.
  • Mac and Cheese – Creamy, crunchy, and made with 3 different kinds of cheeses make this mac and cheese side dish a delicious delight.
  • Libby’s Pumpkin Pie – This is the best classic recipe for Libby’s® famous pumpkin pie! 
  • Green Bean Casserole – This green bean casserole is a quick, easy, and delicious side dish to serve on Thanksgiving Day or any time of the year.
  • Turkey Breast – Instead of cooking a whole turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, try baking a turkey breast and turkey drumsticks.
  • Thanksgiving Dressing – Easy and delicious Thanksgiving dressing with chicken livers, chicken hearts, onions, celery, chicken broth, breadcrumbs stuffing mix, and baked in the oven.
Old Fashioned Fruit Salad with Cool Whip

Old Fashioned Fruit Salad with Cool Whip (Ambrosia)

Flo
This old-fashioned fruit salad with cool whip recipe is a sweet treat. It is made using cans of fruit cocktail, bananas, assorted canned fruit, mini marshmallows, and cool whip or whipped topping. Easy to make and easy to customize with fresh fruit or your favorite add-ins!
4.45 from 25 votes
Cost $12
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course: Dessert, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings 15

Equipment

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • In a colander, drain the liquid out of the cans of fruit cocktail. This may take a few minutes for all of the liquid to drain.
  • Slice the bananas.
  • In a big bowl, layer some fruit cocktail, then some bananas.
  • Drain the Mandarin Orange and pineapple tidbits and add to the big bowl.
  • Add the rest of the bananas, fruit cocktail (drained) and any extra add-ins to the big bowl.
  • Add in the mini marshmallows.
  • Add the cool whip or whipped topping.
  • Mix all together.
  • Store in the freezer until ready to eat.

Recipe Notes

  • If you aren’t ready to eat dinner yet, you can put the fruit salad in the freezer for about 2 hours, so it doesn’t become liquid in the refrigerator.
  • If you have any fruit salad leftover, don’t throw it out, put it in the freezer and eat it another day. Frozen fruit salad doesn’t take very long to thaw, and it’s like eating a frozen fruity frosty whip creamy delicious treat. Your kids will love it.
  • Coconut flakes, apples, sour cream, Greek yogurt, or even extra pineapple, extra bananas, and extra peaches can be added to the fruit cocktail.
  • A small amount of cooked white rice can also be added to fruit salad.
Keyword bananas, cool whip, fruit cocktail, fruit salad, whipped cream, whipped topping
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Leave a Comment