A perfect fruit salad is deceptively simple. You may feel like, “gosh, I don’t even know why I need a recipe for this.” That’s ok! You may just want a refresher, or you may be looking for a fruit salad that’s just a level up from plain cubed fruit. A fine fruit salad is good; a thoughtful fruit salad with a few extra tiny steps can be great.
Best Fruits for Fruit Salad
My favorite fruits for fruit salad are melons, cherries, and berries. In the melon family, you have tons of choices, from commonly available cantaloupe, crenshaw, honeydew, and watermelon, to more unusual melons (check out those farmers’ markets!). Play around with the colors, and note the subtle and dramatic flavor differences between the varieties. Cut the melons or larger fruits into 1-inch or so pieces, small enough to be eaten in one bite.
And all members of the berry family are fair game: raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and also golden berries. Change things up as you bring home berries from a picking expedition, a farmers’ market, or just the grocery store. My friends Ted and Donna have blueberry bushes AND raspberry bushes in their backyard, and for a couple of months out of the year, we are all in heaven. We just have to get to them before the birds do!
How to Make Fruit Salad: A few little hacks gets you to the best fruit salad ever! (Totally customizable!)Tweet This
Also, think about pitted cherries! Pineapple! And stone fruits, like plums, apricots, peaches, and nectarines.
I steer away from very crunchy fruits, like apples, very tart fruits (like citrus), and super mushy fruits, like bananas, but that’s a matter of personal preference. You should add what you like.
I am the biggest fan of citrus in the world, but I do not like cut up citrus in my fruit salad. Somehow the acidity of oranges or grapefruits and the like just take over and hog the spotlight. I do, however, love to add a tiny bit of citrus juice. Sometimes lime, sometimes lemon, sometimes orange – sometimes a combo. But, just enough to underscore the sweetness of the fruit, not enough to make you pucker.
Also, texturally I just don’t like the combo of melons and berries with the fibrousness of citrus. That is a long way of saying if you want to add some citrus sections to your fruit salad, go right ahead. As Amy Poehler says, “Good for you, not for me.”
And of course more exotic or tropical fruits are also fair game. Think about mangosteens, papaya, mango, and dragon fruit. Pomegranate seeds are also a lovely addition, especially around the holidays.
Fruit Salad Dressing
This fruit salad is elevated by a small amount of a super-easy dressing. It’s totally optional, but it makes this a company-worthy dessert (or brunch dish, or side dish, or whatever). The dressing is a simple blend of honey or agave, orange juice, lemon or lime juice, chopped mint leaves, and just the tiniest touch of vanilla extract. The vanilla and the mint are the secret ingredients that will cause people to say, “oh, what is this? Why is this so good?” Let them in on the secret!
How to Keep Fruit Salad from Turning Brown
The biggest issue with fruit salad is keeping it fresh and preventing it from browning. The citrus juice in the simple dressing helps with this, and you can add a bit more if you know you are making the fruit salad ahead of time.
And again, if you choose fruit with less of a tendency to brown, like melons and berries, that’s also smart. Apples, pears, and some stone fruit like peaches, apricots, and nectarines also have a tendency to brown. If you can cut up those fruits with browning tendencies and add them just before serving, that will keep everything looking and tasting its freshest. Berries might also be added just before serving to prevent them from becoming mushy, especially softer, more fragile berries, like raspberries.
How to Store Fruit Salad
Fruit salad will keep in the fridge for 1 to 3 days, depending on which fruits are included. Even if it has browned a bit, it can still taste great, just not look as pretty.
How to Make Fruit Salad
- Make the dressing. In a small bowl, combine the honey or agave, orange juice, lemon or lime juice, and vanilla extract.
2. Place the fruit in a large bowl.
Add the mint.
3. Toss the salad. Drizzle over the dressing, gently toss to coat the fruit, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 2 hours. Let sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving slightly chilled.
What to Serve with Fruit Salad:
If this is part of a breakfast spread, maybe just round it all out with some scrambled eggs and a batch of easy homemade pancakes. Or if you are serving it for dessert, since you are being so healthy and virtuous, maybe pair it up with a plate of cookies!
Other Fruit Dessert Recipes:
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- 1 tablespoon honey or agave
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon or lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons torn or chopped mint leaves
- 10 cups assorted mixed fruit (such as cubed or diced melons, pineapple, peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, kiwi, plus grapes, mangos, papaya, pitted cherries, and berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries)
- In a small bowl combine the honey or agave, orange juice, lemon or lime juice, and vanilla extract.
- Place the fruit in a large bowl and add the mint. Drizzle over the dressing, gently toss to coat the fruit, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 2 hours. Let sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving slightly chilled.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.