Holiday Fruit Salad!

I call this "Holiday Fruit Salad" because it's the fruit salad my mother has made for years for most holiday meals or one of the various salads we will have at a holiday meal.  This recipe probably originated back in the 1970's or maybe even the sixties.  I know that I grew up with it, but I am not sure when it actually got started.  I remember my late mother-in-law making it also back in the day.  

It's really such a simple little fruit salad to prepare, but I think it's one of the favorites to this day. 
My husband loves it.  Sometimes, I think he just mindlessly eats what I put in front of him, but since I have been writing for this site, he is thinking a bit more about food and what's good and what people might like more than others.  After I made this particular fruit salad for this post, he said he thinks it's still his favorite fruit salad after all of the varieties we make in our family. 

When you look at the list of ingredients, it might seem too simple and uncomplicated, but I think that might be what makes it so popular.  The instant pudding is the key.  The original version called for vanilla pudding.  You also sprinkled the bananas with about a 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to keep them fresh looking longer if you used the vanilla pudding.  I just use instant lemon pudding and I think it gives it a little more zip and flavor.  Feel free to use either one.  They both work!  

Here is what you will need:

1 (20 oz.) can of pineapple tidbits or chunks in juice (do not drain)
1 (3.4 oz.) instant lemon pudding mix (can use vanilla)
2 (15 oz.) cans of good fruit cocktail, drained
3-4 bananas, sliced
1 cup maraschino cherries, drained and sliced in half

Combine the pineapple tidbits and the pudding mix until the pudding has dissolved.  Add in the fruit cocktail and the sliced bananas.  Some of you will ask, what I mean by 'good fruit cocktail'.  Not all fruit cocktail is created equally.  The slightly better brands have better stuff in them.  I like Del Monte.   Some canned goods you can scrimp on, some it's best not to.

 Place in a pretty salad bowl.  Sprinkle the cherry halves over the top.   Chill for about an hour before serving! 

This is also good served for a holiday brunch or luncheon! 


  1. My grandmother use to make this when I was very small in the 1950s. Instead of buying cans of fruit cocktail, then we used the fresh fruit we had. (ie: grapes, bananas, apples, oranges or tangerines, cherries, the canned pineapple, and my grandfather sometimes threw in a handful of coconut. We found that we liked it a lot better without the pudding. Later years we started using canned mandarins because they were cheaper. The different syrups were wonderful together.

  2. MargaretmorganMartinDecember 5, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    Jackie, we love fruit salad and it is one of the main things we fix to eat more healthy. We use fresh fruit and just about any kind may show up in there. Thank goodness I have a husband that loves to eat and loves to cook and really helps in the kitchen. We love fresh pineapples, mangos, and oranges especially in it. Great for a snack and sometimes even a meal for us.

  3. I will try this and then give you a comment. Will try this next Tuesday at our Ladies circle meeting

  4. Will the lemon pudding keep the bananas from getting dark so quickly?

  5. I am not a fan of cherries. Could I omit them or would it ruin this fruit salad?

  6. Now i make this same way but i drain all the juice from the canned fruit... and reserve one cup of the juice. I use cooked pudding... can be vanilla, or banana anything but chocolate and I put the one cup of juice with the cooked pudding and i cook it until it gets thick... it will turn an orange type color and get really thick and thats the way you want it really thick and let it cool a little and then i pour that mixture over the fruit. I have used all types of fruit but when you add banana's add them last I often sprinkle fruit fresh on them. I add nuts, marshmallows, even white chips, even dried fruit.

  7. I add a couple tablespoons of powder tang it works much like other powder preservatives but adds to the flavor. That's to a large bowl of fruit salad. I've done this since the early 70s. It keeps the bananas from turning for probably a week. Yes sprinkle fresh fruit works too, but I've found I prefer to sprinkle tang. It may be cheaper & a jar lasts a long time. Plus I can add it to water if I want to drink it.

  8. I make a similar recipe but I use white chocolate pudding mix and also add a brick of cream cheese and a couple cups of homemade whipped cream. Mix these together in mixer with fruit juices then fold in fruit and cool in fridge for about an hr. And sometimes I even add some coconut :).

  9. I am going to make this for Thanksgiving this year.

  10. I make it a lot in summer as well as the. Holidays

  11. My mom would use fresh fruit. And marshmellows. No pudding



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