(Last Updated On: April 21, 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.
🍌 Key Ingredients for Fruit Salad with Cool Whip
- 3 cans of fruit cocktail (one 15 ounce can and two 30 ounce cans)
- 1 can pineapple tidbits (15 to 20 ounces)
- 1 can Mandarin oranges (15 ounces)
- 3 bananas
- 1 container Cool Whip or Whipped Topping (16 ounce)
- 1 cup mini marshmallows (optional)
- Your favorite additional add-ins (optional)
🥣 How to Make Fruit Salad with Cool Whip (Step-by-Step Instructions with Detailed Photos)
Step 1. Drain the Canned Fruit Cocktail
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Step 7. Add the Cool Whip or Your Favorite Whipped Topping
Finally, add some cool whip or homemade whipped topping together with the fruit cocktail, whichever brand you like the best.
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.
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.
🍍 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:
- Coconut flakes
- Greek yogurt
- Extra bananas
- Sour cream
- Cottage cheese
- Maraschino cherries
❓ FAQs About This Classic Fruit Salad
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.
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.
There are many similarities between an ambrosia salad and this fruit salad with cool whip recipe. Both recipes are customizable and allow you to put your favorite fruits and ingredients in it, however, adding sweetened shredded coconut is the main distinctive characteristic of an ambrosia salad.
📋 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!
By the way, if you want to turn this cool whip fruit cocktail salad into an ambrosia salad, all you have to do is add some sweetened shredded coconut!
💙 More Family Favorites You Will Love
This fruit 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!
- Thanksgiving Dressing – Easy and delicious Thanksgiving dressing with chicken livers, chicken hearts, onions, celery, chicken broth, breadcrumbs stuffing mix, and baked in the oven.
Easy Fruit Salad with Cool Whip (Old Fashioned)
- 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.
A wife, a mother to a son and a daughter, and a grandmother to three granddaughters. Flo loves sharing recipes passed down from her own mother, her mother-in-law, and her grandmother as well as new recipes created with her daughter, Tamara Ray.
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