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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.

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 Strawberry Cheesecake Salad. And, did you see the Fruit Salad Trifle Dessert?

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.

Closeup of a partial bowl of Tropical Fruit Cocktail Salad

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.

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

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.

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.

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

Ingredients for Tropical Fruit Cocktail with Cool Whip & Pudding Recipe

  • Dole Tropical Fruit Cocktail – 15.25 oz can – Do not drain
  • Cool Whip – 8 oz container. You can use any variety. I use “lite”.
  • Crushed pineapple 15.25 oz can which is a medium-sized can.
  • Miniature marshmallows
  • Instant lemon pudding which is the 3.4 oz or small box. Do not make the pudding. We just use the powder.

Variations that you can make to Fruit Cocktail Salad

  • Use different flavors of pudding. Vanilla, Lemon, and 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 a traditional Fruit Cocktail.
  • Use rainbow-colored miniature marshmallows.

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

Creamy Tropical Fruit Cocktail Salad Recipe

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!

Here are a few more recipes I think you’ll like!

Don’t forget to stop back and let me know how your Fruit Cocktail salad turned out.

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.

Tropical Fruit Cocktail Salad

Author: Hostess At Heart
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!
4.73 from 18 votes
Prep Time 35 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword: fruit salad
Servings: 12


  • 15.25 oz crushed pineapple (canned) Don't drain
  • 15.25 oz Dole Tropical Fruit Cocktail (canned) Don't drain off the juice and chop in smaller pieces if desired.
  • 3.4 oz instant lemon pudding (small box) You can also use vanilla or coconut
  • 2 cups marshmallows – miniature
  • 8 oz whipped topping – I used Cool Whip Free

Add additional Maraschino cherries or coconut if desired.


    • In a large bowl, combine the pineapple and Fruit Cocktail with the instant pudding powder. Stir to combine.
    • Fold in the whipped topping and then the marshmallows.
    • Chill for at least 30 minutes.


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


    Calories: 82kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 1gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 24mgPotassium: 19mgSugar: 12gVitamin A: 14IUCalcium: 13mgIron: 1mg

    Nutritional Disclaimer

    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?Let me know how it was!
    Recipe Rating

    Debra Flores

    Monday 3rd of July 2023

    You should try Truwhip, doesn't have all the chemicals as Cool whip.I would also use fresh organic fruit instead of canned,but that's just me.

    Julie Menghini

    Tuesday 4th of July 2023

    Thank you, Debra! I'll definitely definitely try the Truwhip. Fresh fruit is delicious. This recipe is quick easy and can be made ahead of time.

    Bruce Sooley

    Sunday 10th of April 2022

    What size cans of fruit 15 oz or 32 oz cans

    Julie Menghini

    Tuesday 12th of April 2022

    Hi Bruce, thank you for your comment. The tropical version comes in a 15.25 oz can. I'm heading to the post to clarify it for our community. I appreciate your question!


    Thursday 18th of November 2021

    For the tropical fruit, can I use either the Dole can or jar? They’re in different juices, so I wasn’t sure if it would matter.

    Julie Menghini

    Friday 19th of November 2021

    I use the tropical fruit in the can Kala. I would be more concerned with the amount of juice than the kind since both will work to thicken the pudding mix. The jar has more than the can and I haven't tried it. If you do, please let me know how it went. Thank you!

    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!

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