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Great-Grandma’s Frozen Fruit Salad

Thanks for sharing!

Frozen fruit salad is a blast from the past.  This vintage recipe is a cool and delicious way to eat your fruit. It is at home at all of our holiday meals, but would also be a fun summer side dish!

Close slice of frozen fruit salad showing fruit and marshmallows in peach frozen mixture.

This vintage recipe comes straight from my great-grandma’s recipe box. It is a fun twist on marshmallow fruit salad, but even more fun because it is frozen!

It is perfect for holidays or as a refreshing summer side dish. Frozen fruit salad could even be a light dessert.

This recipe is still a staple at my family holidays.  My Aunt Jenny usually makes it now and it is present at every Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

looking across a glass pan of frozen fruit salad with bits of fruit cocktail and marshmallows showing.

I have a handful of recipes from my Great-Grandma, so I was going through them trying to decide which one I should make first.  

When I got to this one, I knew I had to make it.  I am familiar with a few of the others, but this one is still a tradition!

Though the combination might seem a little odd these days, it really isn’t that much different than fluff salads or creamy fruit salads.  It just has the added bonus of being frozen!

square of pink frozen fruit salad being lifted out of pan.

I love trying vintage recipes like this, don’t you?  It’s like taking a little step back in time, right into the kitchen of a loved one.

I think my great-grandma must have come to age in a time of fruity dishes like this, because another favorite from her recipe box was the green Jello salad that is loaded with pineapple and cream cheese.  There is definitely a nostalgia to both recipes.

square piece of frozen fruit salad on small plate.

My great grandma wasn’t only known for her fruity side dishes though.  She also made delicious cookies.

I have shared her peanut butter cookies as well as her oatmeal raisin step-on cookies. Both should be on your list of recipes to make soon.

Great-grandma wasn’t the only good cook, her mom is the one that brought us dutch apple cake. I put a spin on that recipe to make our favorite peach breakfast cake.

square piece of frozen fruit salad on small plate.

All of my great-grandma’s made great food.  You can search “great-grandma” in the search bar (in the side bar on desktop or down below the comments on mobile.)  You will find loads of great classic recipes.

Here are some suggestions:

Great-grandma’s scalloped corn is a classic side dish. It is made from super simple ingredients but it really is delicious!

Great-grandma’s apple crisp is actually a quite healthy treat. It is a great way to turn apples into something extra fun. 

Great-grandma’s egg noodles are a Thanksgiving must have for our family. However we also use them to make chicken and noodles a couple of times throughout the year. 

Or try making an old fashioned frog eye salad. It is another fun twist on a fruit salad with a creamy custard base and teeny balls of pasta.

When and how do you serve frozen fruit salad?

My family always serves frozen fruit salad as a side dish at holiday dinners.  It is a small way to have great grandma there with us and part of the tradition.

Frozen fruit salad would be perfect side dish for a summer BBQ as well.  It would be such a refreshing addition to the menu.

Great grandma's hand written recipe card for frozen fruit salad.

Serve frozen fruit salad as a light fruity dessert. It’s a great make ahead and you can grab a piece whenever you want it.

For an extra fun twist on frozen fruit salad, freeze it in a cupcake tin.  Then it’s single serve and the perfect way to have a piece whenever you want!

Can I use something besides fruit cocktail?

You can use any mix of fruit you would like, but fruit cocktail adds great flavor. The extra cherries add color and flavor.

Did you make this great recipe? Please leave a review in the recipe card below!

Yield: 24 Servings

Frozen Fruit Salad

Close slice of frozen fruit salad showing fruit and marshmallows in peach frozen mixture.

Frozen fruit salad is a blast from the past. This vintage recipe is a cool and delicious way to eat your fruit. It is at home at all of our holiday meals, but would also be a fun summer treat!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes


  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup heavy cream - "Whipped"
  • 3 1/2 cups fruit cocktail, well drained
  • 1/2 cup drained Maraschino cherries
  • 2 1/2 cups mini marshmallows


  1. Quarter cherries
  2. Cream together the room temperature cream cheese and mayonaise.
  3. Add cherries, fruit cocktail and marshmallows, mixing it together.
  4. Fold in whipped cream.
  5. Put into a glass 9x13 pan or similarly sized freezer safe serving dish. Freeze until solid.
  6. Remove from freezer 10-15 minutes before time to serve.
  7. Cut into squares and enjoy.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 169Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 90mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 0gSugar: 11gProtein: 1g

All nutritional information is estimated and will depend on the exact ingredients you use.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to see it! Share a picture on Instagram or Pinterest and tag me @carleecooks to let me know how it went!

Frozen fruit salad is a blast from the past.  This vintage recipe is a cool and delicious way to eat your fruit. It is at home at all of our holiday meals, but would also be a fun summer side dish!

Thanks for sharing!

Helen Roth

Saturday 18th of March 2023

My kids liked fruit cocktail made with instant vanilla pudding, using the liquid from the canned fruit to mix up the pudding, had to add just a little water also, but very tasty


Saturday 18th of March 2023

That sounds delicious, I'll have to give that a try!


Tuesday 22nd of November 2022

how many cans of fruit cocktail are needed for 3 !/2 cups


Tuesday 22nd of November 2022

About 2 standard size cans.


Thursday 5th of May 2022

I am also a mother and grandmother and I can say for 100% that your recipe is made the same way my grandmother and great grandmother made it..I have their original had written recipe.


Friday 29th of April 2022

can you use whip cream instead of whipping heavy cream??


Saturday 30th of April 2022

I am sure you could. I have only ever made it they way my great-grandma did, but it should be a pretty forgiving recipe. So there would be a lot of ways you could substitute stuff and make it your own.


Friday 29th of April 2022

I'm a mother, grandmother and great grandmother and can attest mayonnaise, cream cheese, or canned fruit cocktail has never been an ingredient in the original vintage 5 cup salad, or as some refer to it, Ambrosia Salad which could be made a day before or frozen more often than not, made the day before or in the early morning of. 5 cup or ambrosia salad consisted of, 1 10 oz. tin mandarin oranges drained, 1 cup mini marshmallow or regular size marshmallows cut into small pieces to measure 1 cup, 1 small tin pineapple tidbits or crushed pineapple drained, 1 cup shredded coconut, 1-8oz. container cool whip thawed or other brand of whipped topping or home made fresh whipped cream.

The recipe featured here for frozen fruit salad recipe leans more toward Watergate Salad that does call for canned fruit cocktail, mayo and cream cheese as well as instant pudding mix which is simply someone else's version of a frozen fruit salad which would be great for picnics or BBQ's, but it is far from being the original 5 cup/ambrosia salad most grandma's and great grandma's and a good many mother's always made sure was on the dinning room table for holiday dinners and other special occasions every year.


Sunday 25th of December 2022

@Carlee, Your recipe is exactly the same as my grandmother's. I'm 71, so that may make my grandmother and your great-grandmother around the same age. We're from north Florida. Thank you for sharing this!


Thursday 5th of May 2022

Her recipe is not Ambrosia Salad. It's Frozen Fruit coconut, it's a totally different recipe!


Saturday 30th of April 2022

@Joyce, This frozen salad and the 5 Cup Salad are two different recipes.


Saturday 30th of April 2022

Your version of fruit salad sounds tasty too. That is one of the best parts about food and food memories, every family has their own twist on some of these classics. This recipe happens to be the way our family has enjoyed it for generations.

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