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Creamy Tropical Fruit Cocktail Salad Recipe

Tropical Fruit Cocktail Salad is cool and creamy. With only 5 ingredients it comes together quickly and can be made ahead. Add extra cherries and you have a party!

This delicious recipe was first published in 2016 and was updated to improve reader experience.

2 bowls of Tropical Fruit Cocktail Salad with a jar of marshmallows

Tropical Fruit Cocktail salad is one of those “save the day” recipes. Dump 5 ingredients together and in about 5 nanoseconds you have a creamy dreamy dish that everyone is guaranteed to like!

Now I am sure you are wondering if I’ve forgotten how to cook, but I just had to share this fruit salad with Cool Whip. It’s quick, easy, and perfect for any occasion.

When my kids were younger they always thought it was a special meal when I’d make this Fruit Cocktail salad. They loved it then and now make it for their families.

With the holidays, graduations, and nicer weather activities coming up, it’s nice to have a recipe that is quick and easy to make that can be made ahead of time so you can concentrate on more important things.

If you grew up with canned fruit cocktail, you knew that the one who opened the can got the cherry. The rest of us just got a bunch of peaches, pears, and grapes. They were good, but who’s kidding who, the cherry was what you wanted.

Closeup of a partial bowl of Tropical Fruit Cocktail Salad

With this fruit cocktail salad, you can just leave it as is or hey, go dump in enough cherries for everyone. And the addition of the miniature marshmallows makes it fun for all.

I used Dole Tropical Fruit instead of fruit cocktail. It has nice big pieces of fruit that aren’t mushy like some canned fruit. The traditional fruit cocktail can be interchanged

What is Fruit Cocktail?

Fruit cocktail is a mixture of canned diced fruit in juice or syrup. It traditionally includes pears, peaches, grapes, and a maraschino cherry. The tropical version contains pineapple and papaya.

I love making Fruit Salad with Cool Whip and the pudding gives it a thicker consistency while adding a bit of sweetness. You might call this a salad or a dessert. I call it cool, creamy and delicious just like our Pineapple Cherry Fluff salad. And, did you see the Fruit Salad Trifle Dessert?

When we have a potluck with the neighbors I always bring this fruit cocktail recipe. The kiddos dive in to get their share (of the cherries) before the adults can get their hands on it. It makes a good-sized fruit cocktail salad so it’s perfect for sharing.

Ingredients for Tropical Fruit Cocktail with Cool Whip & Pudding Recipe

  • Dole Tropical Fruit Cocktail
  • Cool Whip
  • Crushed pineapple
  • Miniature marshmallows
  • Instant lemon pudding

Variations that you can make to Fruit Cocktail Salad

  • Use different flavors of pudding. Vanilla, Lemon, Coconut, are all delicious options.
  • Add a cup of nuts. Pecans or macadamia would both be delicious.
  • For a real tropical flair add toasted coconut.
  • Add additional maraschino cherries to make the kiddos happy!
  • Exchange Tropical Fruit salad with traditional Fruit Cocktail.

Pin this to have on hand for when you need a quick delicious dish!

You May Need the following products:

  • Trifle Bowl – Just because it’s a simple salad doesn’t mean it can’t be pretty! Serve it in this trifle bowl and guests will think it’s a little fancier than it is!
  • Silicone Spatulas – This pretty set has a flat side and a curved side to take on your toughest job. I love that they are all one piece and can withstand 500°F! Throw out those old chipped ones and treat yourself!

If you like this recipe leave me a comment and a 5-star rating. Here are a few more recipes I think you’ll like!

Top angle photo of two bowls of a tropical fruit cocktail salad in white bowls on top of a pink napkin. A jar of marshmallows sit in the back.
5 from 5 votes

Tropical Fruit Cocktail Salad

Dump five ingredients together and you have a delicious Tropical Fruit Cocktail Salad, that everyone loves. Add some maraschino cherries, and we have a party!
Prep Time 35 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Servings 12
Author Hostess At Heart


  • 1 medium can crushed pineapple don’t drain
  • 1 can Dole Tropical Fruit Cocktail don’t drain (chop in smaller pieces if desired)
  • 1 box of instant lemon pudding can also use vanilla or coconut
  • 2 cups marshmallows miniature
  • 8 oz whipped topping I used Cool Whip Free
  • Maraschino cherries coconut optional


  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate. Chill at least 30 minutes.


Recipe adapted from The St. Robert Bellarmine cookbook, “Angel Foods”


Calories: 82kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 24mg | Potassium: 19mg | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 14IU | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg
This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.
Tried this recipe? That’s awesome!Mention @hostessatheart or tag #hostessatheart!

Other make and take recipes that we love to make and take include:

Do you have a tried and true fruit salad with cool whip or pudding that your family loves? Please share in the comments below. You are my inspiration!

Recipe Rating

Billie McVey

Friday 26th of March 2021

Do I make the jello as directed on the package or just pour the powder in?

Julie Menghini

Friday 26th of March 2021

Just pour the powder in. It will mix with the juice of the canned fruit and thicken the salad.

Michaela Kenkel

Monday 6th of July 2020

We made this for the 4th and it disappeared in no time!! Everyone loved it!

Julie Menghini

Tuesday 7th of July 2020

Thanks, Michaela! We love it too!


Saturday 16th of November 2019

This was delicious. It was so reminiscent of my Mom's recipe we used to eat at the holidays! Definitely a keeper!

April Wascher

Sunday 25th of August 2019

Haven't tried it yet going to make it for my sons wedding. can I add manderine oranges

Julie Menghini

Sunday 25th of August 2019

Sure you can! I believe that I would probably drain them though. If you want it creamier add more whipped topping. Congratulations on your son's wedding! My son got married in March.

Mango, Blueberry and Fennel Salad | Hostess At Heart

Thursday 5th of January 2017

[…] Tropical Fruit Salad […]