This Easy Fruit Salad Recipe is made with fresh, ripe fruit and drizzled with a light orange juice dressing. Ready in under 20 minutes and made with no added sugars, learn all my tips and tricks for making the very best fruit salad and enjoy all summer long for breakfast, dinner, or dessert!
The Best Fruit Salad Recipe
When I think of fruit salad, I think of my mother. Childhood summer weekends, my mom would make a special dinner just for my sister, brother, and me. We would all pick our favorite fruits and help with the washing, chopping, and mixing. The salad was always too large for 4 people so we always knew there would be fresh fruit for breakfast in the morning.
Fruit salads are arguably one of the best (and healthiest!) summer side dishes. Bring to a potluck or enjoy at your next 4th of July celebration.
They’re bright, fresh, easy to transport and take just 20 minutes to prepare start to finish.
Some of you may be wondering “what’s so special about this fruit salad?”
Well, to be honest, nothing in particular. Unless, of course, you consider fresh, juicy, seasonal fruit tossed with fresh orange and lemon juice and no added sugars, syrups, or goopy dressing special?
Fruit Salad Varieties
Fruit salads come in many shapes and varieties. Depending on geography or time of year, one type of fruit salad may be more popular than another.
Here are some of the most popular –
- Simple Fruit Salad – served with no nuts, marshmallows, or heavy dressings, this is the version that you see in this post. A simple fruit salad is all about the fruit.
- Waldorf Salad – made with fresh celery, apples, walnuts, and grapes mixed in mayonnaise and served over a bed of lettuce.
- Ambrosia Salad – fruit salad made with canned (usually sweetened) pineapple, canned mandarin orange slices, mini marshmallows, coconut, and often other fruits and nuts. Some recipes will also include whipped cream, such as Cool Whip, cream cheese, pudding, or yogurt.
- Fruit Cocktail – typically sold canned, you can also make a homemade fruit cocktail. The defining difference is that fruit salad contains larger pieces of fruit, while the fruit cocktail is diced into smaller pieces.
- Jello Salad – Made with a unique combination of flavored gelatin, fruit, grated carrots, and sometimes other ingredients such as cottage cheese, marshmallows, nuts, or pretzels.
Fresh Fruit Salad Ingredients
In this fruit salad recipe, you will find the following ingredients-
- Orange juice – Fresh orange juice straight from the orange is best.
- Lemon juice -Like the orange juice above, fresh lemon juice is highly recommended. If you only have limes, fresh lime juice would work also.
- Grapes – Grapes are (one) of my favorite additions to fruit salads. They hold up well and kids love them! Look for grapes that are firm, plump, and seedless. If you know that kids will be eating this fruit salad, I recommend slicing the grapes in half.
- Pineapple – Fresh pineapple is always better than canned pineapple. Pineapple is ripe when you can smell the sweet pineapple smell emanating from the bottom. It shouldn’t be too green, but it shouldn’t be too yellow (all over) either. Learn how to cut a pineapple into rings, slices, pineapple chunks.
- Mango – Read more about picking ripe mango here.
- Blueberries – No matter the size, they should be plump with taut skin – not wrinkled.
- Strawberries – Look for bright red, juicy, strawberries with black seeds. Unfortunately, there is a fine line with strawberries between being ripe and turning moldy so don’t let them hang out in your refrigerator for too long before using.
- Watermelon – Fortunately, even if you’re watermelon is a “dud”, there are so many other delicious fruit flavors going into this salad that the watermelon will absorb it like a sponge. I find that watermelon tastes best (and sweeter) when cold, so I often chop and refrigerate my watermelon before mixing.
- Blackberries – Just make sure they’re not moldy.
- Kiwi – You want to pick kiwi that is firm but ripe. Too soft and they’ll instantly turn to mush. Too firm and they’ll taste slightly sour. If I had to pick one over the other I would go with firmer versus softer.
- Raspberries – Raspberries can be tricky. My suggestion would be to purchase raspberries no more than a day before you plan to make your fruit salad. Raspberries don’t like to hang out in the refrigerator for too long.
- Fresh Mint Leaves (optional) – I’ll be honest, adding fresh mint or other fresh herbs to a fruit salad isn’t really my cup of tea. As a garnish for presentation, absolutely! But minced and tossed together? Well, you’ll either really love it or you really won’t.
- Poppy Seeds (optional) – This is another optional ingredient. I have made countless fruit salads and fruit salad dressings and I’ve found that they’re usually tastier when made with fewer ingredients.
Can Frozen Fruit be Used in this Fruit Salad Recipe?
For best results, stick with fresh, seasonal fruit vs. frozen fruit. Frozen fruit, once thawed, is usually mushy, icy, and ultimately, extra watery. Your fruit salad will be a soppy, yucky mess, better left for the blender than a dinner plate.
How to Make Fruit Salad
Make this fruit salad in four easy steps,
1. Prepare the fruit salad “dressing”
You guys, I hate to call it a “dressing” because it really isn’t. However, sometimes things need titles. In this case, we’re tossing the fruit with freshly squeezed orange and lemon juice “dressing”. Not too much, of course. We don’t want the fruit swimming in juice, but just enough to coat the fruit.
To do this, simply add the fresh orange juice and lemon juice to a small bowl. Mix to combine and set aside.
If you don’t have any fresh orange just or lemon juice, substitute with pineapple juice or lime juice. For even more flavor add a little lemon or lime zest.
2. Prepare the fruit.
Prepare and chop fruit – take care not to cut fruit into pieces that are too large, or too small. If they are too small, they will turn mushy faster, and will not taste as fresh should you end up with leftovers.
To a large bowl add the more “sturdy” fruit first (grapes, pineapple, mango, blueberries, and strawberries). Drizzle with half the orange juice mixture and gently toss to combine. Next, add the remaining fruit except for the raspberries. Drizzle with the remaining orange juice mixture and gently toss to combine.
Add the raspberries to the bowl and serve immediately, or cover with plastic wrap or a tight-fitting lid and store in the refrigerator until ready to enjoy.
Tips and Tricks
- When mixing everything together, I highly recommend using your hands – just make sure they’re clean.
- I don’t recommend adding banana unless you know for certain that you will be finishing your fruit salad that day. Bananas do not store well.
- Add delicate and somewhat riper fruit (raspberries, ripe mango, or papaya) in the second mixing phase. Or, in the case of raspberries which are especially delicate, hardly toss at all.
- Pick the most seasonal, fresh fruit. In other words, I would not recommend added peaches in the dead of winter.
- Add fruits of all colors! After all, that’s half the fun of making a big and beautiful fruit salad.
- For a sweeter salad, you can add a few tablespoons of honey or brown sugar to the orange and lemon juice. However, I highly recommend holding off and trying it as is first. Fresh summer fruit is already quite sweet as is.
Can Fruit Salad Be Made Ahead of Time?
You have a big party planned and you want to make an awesome, delicious, perfect fruit salad. Can you make it in advance?
Well, yes and no.
You can absolutely get started making this fruit salad, but I discourage you from mixing everything together until just before you plan to serve.
What I’ll usually do is chop the watermelon, pineapple, and mango and keep them stored in separate containers in the refrigerator. I wash all the berries and the grapes and return those to the refrigerator.
When I’m ready to make my fruit salad, I juice my orange and lemon, peel and chop the kiwi, chop the strawberries, and mix everything together. Viola!
What about leftovers?
Leftover fruit salad, while perhaps not as visually appealing, is just as delicious up to 2-3 days later.
Here are some ways to enjoy leftover fruit salad –
- Mix with some vanilla yogurt for a protein-filled dessert.
- Blend into a smoothie.
- Top with a couple of scoops of whipped cream and sprinkle with granola.
- Add to the top of your favorite smoothie bowl or overnight oats.
- Scoop onto your favorite cake or brownie recipe.
More Summer Salads,
If you try this Fruit Salad Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
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Fruit Salad Recipe
- 1 large orange (juiced)
- 1 lemon (juiced)
- 2 cups seedless red grapes
- 1 pineapple (cored and chopped into chunks)
- 4 mango (peeled, cored, cubed)
- 6 ounces blueberries
- 2 pounds strawberries (halved)
- 6 cups watermelon (cubed)
- 12 ounces blackberries
- 5 kiwi (peeled and quartered)
- 6 ounces raspberries ((see notes))
- Prepare the orange juice "dressing". Add the fresh orange just and lemon juice to a small bowl. Mix to combine and set aside.
- Prepare the fruit. Prepare and chop fruit - take care not to chop fruit into pieces that are too large, or too small. Of they are too small, they will turn mushy faster, and will not taste as fresh should you end up with leftovers.
- Mix. To a large mixing bowl add the more "sturdy" fruit first (grapes, pineapple, mango, blueberries, and strawberries). Drizzle with half the orange juice mixture and gently toss to combine. Next, add the remaining fruit except for the raspberries (see notes). Drizzle with the remaining orange juice mixture and gently toss to combine.
- Serve. Add the raspberries to the bowl and serve immediately, or cover with plastic wrap or a tight-fitting lid and store in the refrigerator until ready to enjoy.
- Raspberries and other overly-ripe fruit do not hold up well when mixed around a bunch. For these fruits, I recommend adding them at the very end or simply placing them right on top of the bowl.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)