Grandma’s 5 Cup Creamy Fruit Salad with Marshmallows

Only 5 ingredients are needed to make Grandma's 5 cup creamy fruit salad: pineapple, mandarin oranges, coconut, marshmallows and . . . SOUR CREAM. While not a typical fruit salad, it's a timeless classic that we grew up with and all love. And it comes together in a matter of minutes!

Our sweet grandma is an amazing cook. Every holiday, we would head over to her house for a delicious dinner and this salad made an appearance all the time.

It’s so simple to make – you just dump it all in a bowl, stir it together, and you’re done!

This dish can also be doubled or tripled if you need it to feed a crowd.

I never thought to ask what the ingredients were in this recipe – 2 cups of fruit, 1 cup of coconut, 1 cup of marshmallows, and 1 CUP OF SOUR CREAM.

I couldn’t believe it – SOUR CREAM?!

Well, you better believe it!

I don’t typically care for the taste of sour cream, but you would NEVER know that it is what holds this salad together! I think that the sweetness of all the fruit, coconut, and marshmallows offsets the sour of the cream and they make the perfect combination!

I would highly recommend making this the day you plan on eating it, but make it at least 2-3 hours before serving. Let it chill in the fridge and the sour cream will soak up all the sweetness of the fruit and that’s what makes it taste delicious and so sweet and creamy.

What if I don’t like sour cream?

I get it – it really is a strange ingredient in a fruit salad.

But – don’t knock it until you try it. Seriously. Just try it and see how it goes.

However, if you really don’t want to use sour cream, you could swap it out for Cool Whip, vanilla yogurt, or Greek yogurt. You could even try and do a 1/2 cup of sour cream and a 1/2 cup of one of the above mentioned substitutes.

Other variations of the 5 Cup Fruit Salad

If there is an ingredient that you don’t like (such as coconut), feel free to leave it out and substitute it for something else.

There are lots of ways that our readers have shared about how they make this salad. Here are some of their ideas below:

  • add in chopped walnuts or pecans for an added crunch
  • to make it sweeter, stir in a little powdered sugar – it will also offset the tartness from the sour cream
  • add in a small jar of maraschino cherries
  • add in a can of drained fruit cocktail
  • add in dried cranberries and a dash of cinnamon
  • stir in 2 Tablespoons of instant lemon pudding powder for a lemon-taste
  • use pina colada flavored yogurt in place of the sour cream
  • top with corn flakes for an added crunch
  • add diced apples (if you don’t like coconut, apples are a great alternative because of the crunch)
  • add grapes (red or green) that have been halved
  • add diced bananas
  • add some marshmallow creme in with the sour cream to sweeten it up

 

Watch how to make our 5 Cup Creamy Fruit Salad here:

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Other tips on making 5 Cup Creamy Fruit Salad

  • If you are using canned fruit, but sure to drain it VERY well! If you don’t you will have a soggy salad by the time you are ready to eat it. Some people even blot the canned fruit with a paper towel to get off the excess liquid (I have never needed to do this – just make sure that it’s very thoroughly drained).
  • I do not recommend making this salad more than a few hours before serving, otherwise the marshmallows tend to get soggy and it’s not quite as good.
  • However, if you do have leftovers, you can keep them in the fridge for 2-3 days. Excess liquid will gather at the bottom of the dish, so you can either drain that before eating OR add in some extra marshmallows to absorb it and add some life back into that salad! 😉

 

Try one of our other fruit salads:

Serves: 6

Grandma's 5 Cup Creamy Fruit Salad

5 minPrep Time

5 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges (well-drained)
  • 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple (well-drained)
  • 1-2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup sour cream

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the oranges, pineapple, marshmallows, coconut, and sour cream.
  2. Stir until completely mixed together.
  3. You can eat it immediately after mixing, but we recommend that you refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours before serving so that the sour cream can be sweetened by the fruit.
  4. Try these other variations: add in chopped walnuts or pecans for an added crunch; to make it sweeter, stir in a little powdered sugar - it will also offset the tartness from the sour cream; add in a small jar of maraschino cherries; add in a can of drained fruit cocktail; add in dried cranberries and a dash of cinnamon; stir in 2 Tablespoons of instant lemon pudding powder for a lemon-taste; use pina colada flavored yogurt in place of the sour cream; top with corn flakes for an added crunch; add diced apples (if you don't like coconut, apples are a great alternative because of the crunch); add grapes (red or green) that have been halved; add diced bananas; add some marshmallow creme in with the sour cream to sweeten it up.
7.8.1.2
1909
https://www.sixsistersstuff.com/recipe/grandmas-5-cup-creamy-fruit-salad/

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38 Responses to “Grandma’s 5 Cup Creamy Fruit Salad with Marshmallows”

  1. A friend of mine brought five cups salad to a pot luck once - it was delicious! She also said the recipe was a family classic. I may just have to try making this. I wonder if plain greek yogurt would work in place of sour cream? I think probably!
    • I made this exactly as directed 2 days before Thanksgiving, I took it out of the fridge Thanksgiving day and the marshmallows didn't disolve and the salad was very bitter what did I do wrong ? I followed the directions exactly to the T what went wrong ? I drained all the fruit cans before adding to the bowl. I didn't serve the fruit salad it was too bitter to consume, maybe I could have added granulated sugar?
  2. I have made this salad for about 20 years! I cannot eat any kind of fruit salad made with cool whip anymore. Sour cream makes it so much creamier. My husband (boyfriend at the time) didn't like coconut, so I substituted the coconut for apples. It's yummy and adds a great crunch. =)
  3. I have made this salad for about 20 years! I cannot eat any kind of fruit salad made with cool whip anymore. Sour cream makes it so much creamier. My husband (boyfriend at the time) didn't like coconut, so I substituted the coconut for apples. It's yummy and adds a great crunch. =)
  4. Just saw this on Pinterest and had to check it out...it's the exact same recipe that my family calls "Aunt Frieda's Marshmallow Salad"! Aunt Frieda was my great aunt and my dad says she was old when he was a kid! She could down a beer like no one's business and you'd better keep your hands away from the car door when she was slamming it closed! Aunt Frieda would make it every Sunday to bring to the family lake house and it was the best thing ever. People hear the ingredients and think yuck but it is really good. Thanks for sharing it!
  5. I love it when people make this but I can never have it. I'm allergic to coconut. Consider making it without coconut if you are going to a party. You'd be surprised how many people are actually allergic. I like to volunteer to make it and I bring a little container of coconut because someone will usually say, "Oh, I love this. Wait! Who forgot to put in the coconut?" This way they can add their own.
  6. Melody
    I actually made Watergate salad for the first time the other day (coconut flakes, cottage cheese, pistachio pudding packet, cool whip, crushed pineapple, walnuts, cherries, etc). It was AMAZING! This recipe reminds me of it. A slightly healthier version (wouldn't be as creamy as yours) is to just add tons of fruit and throw in 2 Tbsp of dry vanilla pudding mix. It makes a delicious glaze with the juices of the fruits, and it's not too sweet. Perfect for breakfast OR Dessert OR a side! Enjoy!
  7. My grandmother and mom often made this at Christmas when growing up. It was a universal tradition. I believe I will prepare it for our Christmas celebration this year. Oh yeah, do not ruin the recipe with Cool Whip, which is anything but "cool"! That concoction is nothing but a lot of chemicals I can't even pronounce. Use the sour cream. The fruit is the sweetener. Happy Holidays!
    • Judy Walzer
      I was looking up this recipe on line cause I couldn't find it in any of my cookbooks and I have quite a few. It just so happens that I found it here on sixsisters site, here on the internet, so I scrolled through the different comments and variations of this recipe, and I came across your comment that your grandmother and mom used to make what we called 5 cup salad for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Just so happens My Grandmother and Mom made the exact same 5 cup salad for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I have a brother named Robert who lives in Michigan, and I live in the Seattle area, you wouldn't happen to have a sister named Judy? If so then this is probably my brother Robert across the miles. This was always a favorite of my family ,and I come from a very large family. My Grandmother probably made this x 5.
  8. Cherry Davis
    I was looking in my cabinet. Just standing there looking t what was there and saw a can of Mandarin Oranges and thought Oh I know what I'll do, make a 5 cup salad. It's been years since I made one, Had to look it up to see what I needed, Happily I have every thing . It will be a surprise for my daughter, It was her favorite when she was a child She will be happy if her taste has not changed.
  9. Judy Walzer
    The best old time recipe still sought after to this day. I will be making this for the first time for my man of 15 years and I know it will become one of his favorites too! I will be sticking to the traditional way using Mandarin oranges, pineapple chunks, marshmallows, coconut, and sour cream. That's the way I remember it, and I couldn't get enough. Love it!!! Judy
    • Sounds like you will be better off finding a new salad recipe. Here are a few ideas that are popular on our blog - https://www.sixsistersstuff.com/recipe/grape-salad-recipe/ https://www.sixsistersstuff.com/recipe/5-minute-jello-salad/ https://www.sixsistersstuff.com/recipe/easy-ambrosia-fruit-salad/ https://www.sixsistersstuff.com/recipe/progressive-dinner-project-mixed-berry/

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