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close up shot of fruit salad in white serving bowl

Meaningful Eats

Thanksgiving Fruit Salad

This Thanksgiving Fruit Salad is the perfect fruit side dish for thanksgiving. It's a fluffy, creamy, crowd-pleaser that's welcomed at any holiday meal.
Looking for a fruit side dish for the big feast? You're in the right place! This fruit salad is EASY-to-make from scratch with no Jell-O or Cool-Whip in sight. It's my kids favorite part of Thanksgiving!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Diet Gluten Free
Prep Time 20 minutes
Resting Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 20 minutes
Servings 6 -8 servings


For the Pineapple Custard:

  • 3 tablespoons pineapple juice from the can of Dole Pineapple Chunks
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon butter

For the Fruit Salad:

  • 20 oz pineapple tidbits drained (save 3 tablespoons for the pineapple custard)
  • 1 cup jarred cherries drained (not cherry pie filling or topping)
  • 15 oz mandarin oranges drained
  • 1 cup grapes
  • 2 cups marshmallows mini or large (halved if using large)
  • 1 cup whipped cream beat into firm peaks
  • 2 bananas sliced
  • 1 green apple diced


For the Pineapple Custard:

  • In the bowl of a double boiler, combine the pineapple juice, lemon juice, sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch and butter.
  • Set over a double boiler and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. This usually takes 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool before adding to the fruit salad.

For the Fruit Salad:

  • Combine all the ingredients except the whipped cream and bananas. Fold in the cooled pineapple custard and whipped cream.
  • Refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours. Add the sliced bananas and apples just before serving. Enjoy!



Recipe Tips
  • What makes this salad especially special is the addition of marshmallows that get soft and sponge-like as the salad sits overnight. Be sure to let it sit for at least 6 hours.
  • Use the right kind of cherries! You want jarred or canned cherries packed in thin, liquid juice. Do not use cherry pie filling or topping.
  • This fruit salad is incredibly versatile! You can use any fruit you have on hand. I also sometimes like to add ½ cup shredded coconut.


Calories: 360kcal | Carbohydrates: 75g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 110mg | Sodium: 50mg | Potassium: 476mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 52g | Vitamin A: 1580IU | Vitamin C: 40.7mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 1.5mg