Grandma’s 5 Cup Creamy Fruit Salad

Our cute grandma is an amazing cook! Many of our best recipes are from her kitchen. One of my favorite memories as a child is walking into her house and being hit by a wall of amazing smells . . . I miss those family dinners!

This fruit salad was a staple at most family get-togethers and the best part about it is that you don’t have to have any experience in the kitchen to whip it up! It is just a matter of dumping five ingredients in a bowl and mixing it together. It is a perfect side dish to any meal or is great to take to any pot-luck dinner (it can easily be doubled or tripled).

There are SO many variations of this salad (I included a couple below), but I like the original way my Grandma makes it best.

Serves: 5

Grandma's 5 Cup Creamy Fruit Salad

5 minPrep Time

5 minTotal Time

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  • 1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1-2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 cup sour cream (light works great)*


  1. Directions:
  2. Make sure your fruit is VERY well-drained or you will have a watery salad. Combine the oranges, pineapple, marshmallows, coconut, and sour cream. Stir until all mixed together. Refrigerate for 4-8 hours before serving. 
  3. Variations: 
  4. Use vanilla yogurt in place of sour cream.
  5. Use Pina Colada yogurt in place of sour cream.
  6. Add 1/2 cup maraschino cherries.
  7. Add chopped pecans for a crunch.
  8. Top with corn flakes for a crunch.
  9. Use Cool-Whip in place of sour cream.
293 cal
1 g
73 g
6 g

Click Here For Full Nutrition, Exchanges, and My Plate Info

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38 Responses to “Grandma’s 5 Cup Creamy Fruit Salad”

  1. A friend of mine brought five cups salad to a pot luck once - it was delicious! She also said the recipe was a family classic. I may just have to try making this. I wonder if plain greek yogurt would work in place of sour cream? I think probably!
    • I made this exactly as directed 2 days before Thanksgiving, I took it out of the fridge Thanksgiving day and the marshmallows didn't disolve and the salad was very bitter what did I do wrong ? I followed the directions exactly to the T what went wrong ? I drained all the fruit cans before adding to the bowl. I didn't serve the fruit salad it was too bitter to consume, maybe I could have added granulated sugar?
  2. I have made this salad for about 20 years! I cannot eat any kind of fruit salad made with cool whip anymore. Sour cream makes it so much creamier. My husband (boyfriend at the time) didn't like coconut, so I substituted the coconut for apples. It's yummy and adds a great crunch. =)
  3. I have made this salad for about 20 years! I cannot eat any kind of fruit salad made with cool whip anymore. Sour cream makes it so much creamier. My husband (boyfriend at the time) didn't like coconut, so I substituted the coconut for apples. It's yummy and adds a great crunch. =)
  4. Just saw this on Pinterest and had to check it's the exact same recipe that my family calls "Aunt Frieda's Marshmallow Salad"! Aunt Frieda was my great aunt and my dad says she was old when he was a kid! She could down a beer like no one's business and you'd better keep your hands away from the car door when she was slamming it closed! Aunt Frieda would make it every Sunday to bring to the family lake house and it was the best thing ever. People hear the ingredients and think yuck but it is really good. Thanks for sharing it!
  5. I love it when people make this but I can never have it. I'm allergic to coconut. Consider making it without coconut if you are going to a party. You'd be surprised how many people are actually allergic. I like to volunteer to make it and I bring a little container of coconut because someone will usually say, "Oh, I love this. Wait! Who forgot to put in the coconut?" This way they can add their own.
  6. Melody
    I actually made Watergate salad for the first time the other day (coconut flakes, cottage cheese, pistachio pudding packet, cool whip, crushed pineapple, walnuts, cherries, etc). It was AMAZING! This recipe reminds me of it. A slightly healthier version (wouldn't be as creamy as yours) is to just add tons of fruit and throw in 2 Tbsp of dry vanilla pudding mix. It makes a delicious glaze with the juices of the fruits, and it's not too sweet. Perfect for breakfast OR Dessert OR a side! Enjoy!
  7. My grandmother and mom often made this at Christmas when growing up. It was a universal tradition. I believe I will prepare it for our Christmas celebration this year. Oh yeah, do not ruin the recipe with Cool Whip, which is anything but "cool"! That concoction is nothing but a lot of chemicals I can't even pronounce. Use the sour cream. The fruit is the sweetener. Happy Holidays!
    • Judy Walzer
      I was looking up this recipe on line cause I couldn't find it in any of my cookbooks and I have quite a few. It just so happens that I found it here on sixsisters site, here on the internet, so I scrolled through the different comments and variations of this recipe, and I came across your comment that your grandmother and mom used to make what we called 5 cup salad for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Just so happens My Grandmother and Mom made the exact same 5 cup salad for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I have a brother named Robert who lives in Michigan, and I live in the Seattle area, you wouldn't happen to have a sister named Judy? If so then this is probably my brother Robert across the miles. This was always a favorite of my family ,and I come from a very large family. My Grandmother probably made this x 5.
  8. Cherry Davis
    I was looking in my cabinet. Just standing there looking t what was there and saw a can of Mandarin Oranges and thought Oh I know what I'll do, make a 5 cup salad. It's been years since I made one, Had to look it up to see what I needed, Happily I have every thing . It will be a surprise for my daughter, It was her favorite when she was a child She will be happy if her taste has not changed.
  9. Judy Walzer
    The best old time recipe still sought after to this day. I will be making this for the first time for my man of 15 years and I know it will become one of his favorites too! I will be sticking to the traditional way using Mandarin oranges, pineapple chunks, marshmallows, coconut, and sour cream. That's the way I remember it, and I couldn't get enough. Love it!!! Judy
    • Sounds like you will be better off finding a new salad recipe. Here are a few ideas that are popular on our blog -

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