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Fruit Salad With Vanilla Pudding

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This vintage fruit salad recipe uses some vanilla instant pudding to give the sauce body and flavor. It is a wonderful side dish, or you could even serve it as a simple dessert.

Two small glass bowls filled with fruit salad in a vanilla pudding dressing, ready to eat.

If you are looking for a simple way to take your fruit salad to the next level, you are in the right place. It is super simple to make, and you can keep all of the ingredients in your pantry, so you can make it whenever the craving strikes.

We have been in a fruit salad mood lately. I think the spring weather combined with the brunch centric holidays of Easter and Mother’s Day kind of get you craving all things fruit salad.

Ingredients including a box of instant vanilla pudding, cans of mandarin oranges, pineapple and fruit cocktail ready to be made into a creamy old fashioned fruit salad.

So when one of you suggested adding vanilla pudding to fruit cocktail in the comments of the frozen fruit salad recipe, I had to give it a try. It seemed like it was destiny!

What Fruit to Use

Using canned fruit makes this recipe beyond easy. As written, this fruit salad has a bit of a tropical feeling.

You could very easily change up the fruit you use to match your tasts. Or add more. Next time, I think I’ll use two cans of fruit cocktail.

You will want to make sure you get a big can of pineapple chunks that are packed in juice. That way you have a great liquid to mix with the instant pudding.

While I am sure it would work with syrup, that would be awfully sweet. Just drain the juice from the can into a big bowl and whisk in the instant pudding mixture.

That will serve as the dressing for your fruit salad. Then drain the remaining cans of fruit and toss them in that mixture.

I wanted to keep this recipe as easy and pantry friendly as possible. So I just drained a can of fruit cocktail and a can of mandarin oranges and added them in along with the pineapple chunks.

After a trip to the refrigerator, the salad was ready to eat. And it was really tasty just like this.

We really like adding sliced bananas to this mixture as well. Tossing them in the pineapple juice and pudding mixture helps to keep them from oxidizing super quickly.

However, they do get mushy over time. So only add them if you plan on eating the salad within a couple of days.

Close bowls of fruit salad in creamy pudding mixture.

You could also add additional marashino cherries to the mixture if you want. They add such a fun pop of color and help to play up the retro qualities of this yummy fruit salad.

If you are a big fan of peaches, pears or any other kind of canned fruit, feel free to experiment. You could also play with adding fresh fruit, but again it will degrade a bit faster than the canned versions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I store vanilla pudding fruit salad?

If you make this yummy fruit salad with all canned fruit, it can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. If you add fresh fruit to the mixture, it will be good for closer to 3 days.

How do you serve fruit salad?

This fruit salad is perfect on its own. We love it as a side dish for any meal of the day.

However, you can play up the sweetness and add mini marshmallows or top it with whipped cream and serve it as a simple dessert.

More Great Fruity Recipes:

If you like to dress your fruit salad in creamy goodness, fruit salad with condensed milk will be right up your alley. It uses a mix of fresh and canned fruit to make such a tasty combination.

For a retro fruity dessert, try making a batch of frog eye salad. The mix of fruit, custard, bits of pasta, and marshmallows makes for a one of a kind fluff salad.

Spoon of fruit cocktail including cherries, pineapple etc on spoon ready to eat.

Frozen cranberry pineapple salad is another fun retro treat. The recipe came from my grandma’s recipe box, and it was an instant hit!

Layered fruit salad is filled with fresh fruit and topped with a yummy pudding mixture. It makes a visual statement and taste great too.

What are your favorite ways to turn fruit into something special? Tell me about your favorite recipes in the comments or on social media.

Two small glass bowls filled with fruit salad in a vanilla pudding dressing, ready to eat.

Vanilla Pudding Fruit Salad

Servings: 6 Servings
Author: Carlee
This vintage fruit salad recipe uses some vanilla instant pudding to give the sauce body and flavor. It is a wonderful side dish or you could even serve it as a simple dessert.
4.91 from 11 ratings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 14.5 oz. can fruit cocktail
  • 15 oz. can mandarin oranges
  • 20 oz. can pineapple chunks in juice
  • 3.4 oz. vanilla instant pudding mix


  • Drain pineapple juice into a medium mixing bowl. Add instant pudding mix and stir until smooth.
  • Drain liquid out of the remaining cans of fruit. Add just the fruit, including the pineapple, to the mixing bowl with the pudding mixture.
  • The salad can be served right away, but is best chilled for at least an hour.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to a week.


For more servings, you can add a second can of fruit cocktail.
It is also delicious with fresh banana slices or extra maraschino cherries.
Feel free to play with different kinds of fruit. Just be aware that fresh fruit won't store as long as canned.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 184kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 1gFat: 0.2gSaturated Fat: 0.03gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.03gSodium: 111mgPotassium: 278mgFiber: 3gSugar: 42gVitamin A: 1120IUVitamin C: 34mgCalcium: 29mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating

Judy Chandler

Tuesday 21st of May 2024

I used to make this when my kids were little, but used banana cream pudding instead of vanilla pudding. They loved it.


Wednesday 22nd of May 2024

Banana pudding sounds like a fabulous twist.

Andrea Nine

Friday 7th of April 2023

This brings back memories and now I want to make it.


Friday 7th of April 2023

Luckily it is so quick and easy, so there's nothing stopping you!