Creamy 5-Cup Fruit Salad

Nearly nine years ago when I was at my in-law’s house for the very first time (eeps!), my tremendously sweet (yes, I really mean that, and not just because she might read this) mother-in-law served this fruit salad at dinner one night.

I devoured it. Then went back for seconds and thirds. Shameless, I know, especially in light of the fact I should have been showing off some manners to my new in-laws. Too bad. They were already stuck with me. Of course I asked for the recipe and when my mother-in-law announced that the fruit salad was basically three cups of fruit, one cup of sour cream and one cup of coconut, I was surprised. Had I really just thrown self-control and etiquette to the wind over a fruit salad smothered in sour cream? No way.


Creamy 5-Cup Fruit Salad

Since that marked event so many years ago, I have made this salad often and have adapted it here and there to be just how I like it. Somehow the sweet flavors of the fruit blend together perfectly with the sour cream to create a creamy, dreamy coating that envelops the fruit and keeps me coming back for more. The coconut is the wild card – you’ll either love it or hate it – so if you already have an aversion to coconut, just leave it out. Personally, I love the snaggy texture it brings to the fruit salad. The main trick is to let the salad sit in the refrigerator a few hours before serving so all the ingredients can marry together.

Thank goodness I married into a family that has such great taste in fruit salads. Amen.

One Year Ago: Asian Chicken Salad with Hoisin Vinaigrette
Two Years Ago: Peanut Butter Crunch Snack Balls
Three Years Ago: Man Pleasin’ Sandwich

Creamy 5-Cup Fruit Salad

Yield: Serves 4-6 as a side dish

Creamy 5-Cup Fruit Salad


  • 1 (10-ounce) can pineapple chunks (about 1 cup), drained
  • 1 (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges (about 1 cup), drained
  • 1 medium apple, cored and chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup grapes, halved
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, light or regular
  • 1/2 cup sweetened, shredded coconut


  1. Combine the fruit in a large bowl, tossing well so the apple (and other fruit that likes to brown) can get coated in the pineapple and orange juice to prevent browning. Stir in the sour cream and coconut, gently tossing to coat.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours prior to serving to allow the flavors to meld together. Serve chilled. You might notice that after a day or so of sitting in the fridge, quite a bit of liquid from the fruit pools at the bottom. If eating the leftovers, I like to gently pour some of this off before eating.

Recipe Source: adapted from my sweet and wonderful mother-in-law, Diane G.

55 Responses to Creamy 5-Cup Fruit Salad

  1. Kim in MD says:

    This is just exactly what I want for breakfast this morning! :-)

    Not that I think your mother-in-law’s recipe needs tweaking, but I think low-fat Greek yogurt would be a nice substitute for the sour cream (for those who are counting calories). Me? I am going all out and using sour cream! :-)

  2. Merryl says:

    Hi Mel I have been trying to print a couple of your recipes but every time I try it comes up ‘Internal Error 500′ Can you help please? :O)

  3. nicole says:

    looks so good. my mouth is watering. I should go east breakfast but all I want is this. thanks for sharing.

  4. Liz K. says:

    My mom makes a salad very similar to this and I love it. I think I had forgotten about it because I have not made it in such a long time. Your version looks fantastic!

  5. Mel says:

    Yes, Kim, that would be a great idea!

  6. Deanna Collins says:

    Wow, does this bring back memories. My Mother’s version is a bit different, but just as yummy. I have never tried it with the apples & grapes, but instead use mini marshmallows and I use a whole cup of coconut and sour cream. But it is definitely a winner no matter how you make it.

  7. Veronica says:

    How simple and delicious! I would totally eat something like this for breakfast. Yum! Oh, and I love this post–you are too funny!

  8. I was just writing on my blog this morning about how I needed to force myself to eat more fruit during these cold winter months! This is perfect :) Thanks!

  9. I love to make a 5 cup fruit salad similar to this! My Mom always made it growing up because her Mom always made it for her! The only main difference from your recipe and mine is that I use plain yogurt instead of sour cream.

  10. Melissa says:

    Just like to add… you can add a cup of marshmellows in as well (might need to add a few extra tbs of sour cream) but it’s a fun variation!

    Glad that you liked this salad Mel! It’s one of my “comfort” foods and always takes me back to my mom’s house!

  11. mmm attending a brunch in a few weeks and I think this would be perfect!

  12. Elizabeth says:

    I make mine JUST like that except I add marshmallows, maraschino cherries and walnuts…it is sooo yummy!

  13. Alisha says:

    I make a similar salad but I add (dry) lemon pudding with the sour cream. I usually make it during the winter when fruit isn’t in season & I use tropical fruit salad, pineapple & mandarin oranges. Try it sometime with the lemon. :) And I don’t make it with coconut but I think I might add that in…

  14. Terri says:

    My friend gave me a similar recipe except that her’s had a can of cherry pie filling, too. Pretty much over the top and so delicious. Her’s also had Cool Whip instead of the sour cream, but I have to say that I am definitely going to try it with the sour cream. I never could reconcile Cool Whip with my conscience. So thanks for the sour cream idea.

  15. Judith B. says:

    Us Southerns have been making this salad forever….some add chopped pecans; some add a bit of cream cheese…always mini marshmallows. Most serve the “salad” as a “dessert”. I always eat it as a dessert.

  16. natalie says:

    My mother-in-law also makes this! Every time she makes it, she reminds me that it only gets better with time. She serves it at every holiday. Made your chicken dumpling soup tonight. Yummy, but i’ll have to make the dumplings smaller! Also, didn’t have thyme, so I used rosemary. I fly by the seat of my pants…..

  17. Ann says:

    This is really delicious! I really want to make it.

  18. Sounds tasty! Thanks for the easy recipe. I feel like easy today.

  19. My mom used to make this all the time. Looks like the same recipe, but she added maraschino cherries. Thanks for reminding me of it ~ I may have to make it soon :)

  20. I love the sound of this fruit salad, it has my mouth watering! I’m so glad I found your blog, and I’m enjoying looking through your wonderful recipes:)

  21. Wow this looks absolutely amazing. I just found your blog and am loving it! I am your newest follower.


  22. This fruit salad looks awesome! I am going to share this recipe with my daughter because fruit salad is a favorite of hers. Thanks for sharing.

  23. This looks so refreshing! Perfect for my son’s school lunch! My first time visiting your website! Lot’s of great family friendly recipes. :)

  24. Zoe says:

    We used to make this all the time at our house. But I’ve never used “Sour Cream” mixed with fruits. We normally use “Mayo” yup Mayo! pinch of salf and pepper to taste. Your fruits salad looks refreshing!! I’ll try to use sour cream some day. Thanks for sharing!

  25. jenny says:

    a southern delight! I ditto on adding pecans and mini marshmallows. I haven’t had this in years but it brings back memories of holiday dinners at my aunt’s house, when she would serve this and it was my absolute favorite! we always called it Ambrosia, though…saying “creamy 5-cup fruit salad” is far too much of a mouthful :P

  26. Brittany C. says:

    Made this for dinner tonight, so good!! and EASY! Next time I think I’ll try using plain greek yogurt to make it a little healthier. Yum! Thanks for another great recipe.

  27. grace says:

    sometimes i like this with vanilla yogurt–it makes it a bit sweeter, which is something i always like. walnuts often find their way into the bowl as well, but that’s just for when i feel like a nut. :)

  28. Shandra says:

    I know your love for your Bosch machine Melanie, and so I wanted to let you know of a giveaway we are doing on our blog for a FREE Bosch Mixer. I am so excited to be giving away another one of these amazing machines–we will make one lucky winner very happy :)

    Feel free to enter or tell your friends:

  29. Mel says:

    Thanks, Brittany!

  30. I just made your fruit salad recipe and it’s excellent! I had a few blueberries and strawberries left over, so I dumped them in too. Thank you!

  31. Abby says:

    My grandma always made this for me!! I couldn’t believe it when she told me the ingredients (once I was an adult). I typically do not like sour cream, but this stuff is yummy!

  32. Mel says:

    Kelly – oh yes, blueberries and strawberries would be divine in this!

  33. Nicole says:

    so sooo yummy!!!! My husband who doesn’t even like fruit salad liked this. It looked so perfect next to our Kalua Pig and broiled pineapple and coconut rice for our luau themed dinner!

  34. KJ says:

    I made this fruit salad for a carry-in today. I loved it! So quick, easy, and DELICIOUS! :)

  35. liz says:

    my great grandmother used to make this FROZEN. sooooo good in the summertime. i had forgotten about it till you posted. thanks!

  36. jackie says:

    This really is yummy! My husband even liked it and he isn’t a huge coconut fan . .. I will make it again for sure!

  37. Joanna says:

    Am I the only one who noticed that this 5 cup fruit salad only has 4 cups of fruit? I’m confused. Is the fifth cup whatever you want to throw in?

  38. Mel says:

    Joanna – it isn’t necessarily 5 cups of fruit, the title “5-cup” fruit salad refers to the total numbers of cups of all the ingredients. The 5th cup is made up of 1/2 cup sour cream 1/2 cup coconut. Hope that helps!

  39. [...] Pretzel Salad from Ezra Pound Cake Pistachio Salad from Real Mom Kitchen Creamy 5-Cup Fruit Salad from Mel’s Kitchen [...]

  40. Kathy says:

    I have been making this salad (in much larger quantity!) for years. I do use marshmallows in it. I mix the marshmallows and sour cream together the night before so that the marshmallows kind of “melt” together with the sour cream. The next morning, I add the rest of the ingredients. Coconut is a MUST for me. I usually add bananas as well. (I run them through pineapple juice or lemon juice to keep them from turning brown). A real holiday tradition in a bowl!

  41. Adrienne says:

    Had this with dinner tonight. It was really yummy. We grilled brats (in Wisconsin in January mind you) and this was perfect along with them. Thanks for another great recipe Mel, you’re my go-to!

  42. Deb says:

    This was good but I wasn’t blown away, it felt like it needed to be a little sweeter to me. I did add a cup of mini marshmallows based on the comments, but I think next time I will try what one commenter suggested and “melt” the marshmallows in the sour cream ahead of time.

  43. Carolyn Smith says:

    In the comments, I see orange juice, but don’t see it in the recipe? Is there O.J. in this recipe? Thanks

  44. Mel says:

    Carolyn – no, there isn’t any orange juice in the recipe.

  45. Carolyn Smith says:

    Ok thank you. Just went to the store and bought all my ingredients When I was a child, my uncle used to make this at Thanksgiving but had no clue how to make it. Thanks so much for the recipe.

  46. Jill Zamojcin says:

    I’m making this for a friend’s Memorial Day picnic on Sunday and can’t wait to bring it. Thank you for all of the wonderful recipes that you share!

  47. Shelana Ferris says:

    My mom makes a salad that we call 5 cup fruit salad but it is a little different.
    1 cup mandarin oranges, drained
    1 cup pineapple chunks, drained
    1 cup coconut
    1 cup sour cream
    1 cup mini marshmallows
    walnuts (optional)
    Just combine ingredients and refrigerate for at least an hour. It is so easy to make and very delicious. I might have to try your version too.

  48. Bree says:

    I’ve been scoping out your blog for a while and I’m glad I remembered you today! My hubby just informed me that for the Barbeque we’re going to (in 2 HOURS!) I’m supposed to bring fruit! Um, hello Mr.! Have you not checked out the fridge and the seen the tumbleweed rolling on through….
    So, I’m glad I stumbled upon this recipe for a quick and easy fruit salad. I didn’t have grapes, so I threw in some extra apples and some strawberries. If it gets me through the Barbeque, I’m good to go! :)
    Oh, and I wanted to tell you about a freaking amazing fruit dip I usually make with fresh fruit…. 1 cup sour cream, 1 cup brown sugar, and 1/2 bag macaroon cookies (smashed and crumbled) Throw it all together, let it sit overnight and you’ve got yourself the tastiest dip EVER!!!! Thanks again!!

  49. Sally says:

    My mom used to make the “original” version of this (like Shelana posted above). It’s the only recipe she made that I have in her handwriting. She’s been gone many, many years. I’m making the original for a Thanksgiving potluck Friday.

  50. I lost my recipe………Thanks.

  51. ReignbowTracer Novelties says:

    My mother was required to bring a huge bowl of this fruit salad to all our family holiday gatherings, but she did add maraschino cherries & marshmallows to it. Thanks for reminding me how delicious it is!

  52. Mayme says:

    Have you ever tried it with a little bit of lime zest? I bet it would pair well with the coconut! I make something similar that uses yogurt instead of the sour cream and has lime zest (it really does add a great flavor dimension) but I’ve never tried adding pineapple or coconut. Definitely going to give that a try next time!

  53. Mel says:

    Mayme – I have never tried it with lime zest but I think it would be great.

  54. Ray says:

    Thank you for this recipe. My mom would make this without the coconut and sour cream. Instead she would serve the fruit in bowls for us and then we would add scoops of cottage cheese, peanuts, raisins and HONEY, can’t forget the honey.and sometimes marshmallows.

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