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Old Fashioned Frog Eye Salad

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Frog eye salad is a sweet and creamy fluffy style salad that features mandarin oranges and pineapple. The pastel marshmallows make it extra fun. It is perfect for Easter or any time!

white serving bowl piled high with frog eye salad with bit of orange, pastel marshmallows, and pasta in a creamy custard mixture.

If you are a fan of Midwestern fluff salads, you are in the right place. This vintage treat is creamy, fruity, and delicious.

About the Recipe

The best part is that this recipe came from one of you! We were talking about Easter recipes on Facebook, and Sharon shared this great recipe in that thread.

Of course, I had to try it, so we put the ingredients on the grocery list, and here we are! The yummy combination of small pasta, fruit, and marshmallows in a creamy custard like sauce is something that you just have to experience.

Ingredients including pepe pasta, eggs, crushed pineapple, sugar, flour, pastel marshmallows and a can of mandarin oranges ready to be made into easter frog egg salad.

This refreshing dessert is perfect for hot summer days and would be a pretty addition to your Easter spread. But you know our rules are that if it’s called a salad, it is also an acceptable side dish.

You can make that decision for yourself. No matter how you serve it this will be a fun new treat for the kids and a bit of nostalgia for the adults.

Frog Eye Salad’s Origins

It is hard to say where this recipe originated for sure. It would be interesting to know who decided to make a dessert out of pasta.

But here in the Midwest, we are famous for making salads out of things like Jello and Cool Whip. So I have to imagine it was a housewife from the middle part of the country that dreamed this up.

I am sure she looked at the little beads of pasta and thought they looked like tapioca. And the rest is probably history.

It is said that when the recipe originally made the rounds, it was called Acini de Pepe Fruit Salad. But somewhere along the lines, the name got changed to frog eye salad because of its unique appearance.

Substitutions and Alterations

I wanted to share the recipe pretty close to the way it was shared with me. It is absolutely delicious that way.

However, there are plenty of fun things you could add to make this salad your own. So maybe make it as written the first time and then try mixing and matching some of the following to make it exactly the way you want it.

Sharon suggested she sometimes adds drained maraschino cherries or at least garnishes the salad with them. I wanted to keep this version pretty and pastel for Easter, but cherries would taste amazing in it.

If you want bigger chunks of pineapple, you can use pineapple tidbits in place of the crushed pineapple. We just like the way you get a little pineapple in every bite when you use the crushed version.

You can also add shredded coconut to the recipe if you would like. Or add chopped nuts if you are in the mood for some crunch.

Looking down on big bowl of frog eye salad with pastel marshmallows.

Feel free to use fresh whipped cream instead of whipped topping if you prefer. The only thing is fluff salads made with Cool Whip tend to store better than those made with whipped cream.

If you can’t find the acini de pepe pasta, try using orzo instead. It won’t look quite the same, but it would give a similar effect.

Really, any small pasta shape would work, so you could use the little alphabet pasta. Or try any of the small shapes that are usually used in soups or similar.

Spoonful of frog eye salad with piece of mandarin orange and small little pearls of pasta in a creamy fluffy pudding mixture.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is frog eye salad made of?

Frog eye salad is made from a little pasta shape called acini di pepe, which gives it the frog eye appearance. It is mixed with a sweet custard like mixture, and whipped topping. Fruit and marshmallows are added to complete the sweet treat.

Why do they call it frog eye salad?

The little pasta in this dish look like little frog eyes. It creates a texture similar to rice pudding or tapioca pudding.

More Fun Fruity Salad Recipes

If you are a fan of fluffs and other decadent fruit salads, you are in good company. Luckily, there are lots of fun ways to take fruit and make it into something special.

Another vintage recipe to try would be my great-grandma’s frozen fruit salad. It is still a staple at our family holiday meals and brings back memories of days gone by.

Side view of a small glass  bowl filled with frog eye salad showing the texture of the pasta through the glass bowl.

For a fresh fruit twist, try making cranberry fluff from fresh cranberries. It is a pretty addition to your Thanksgiving or Christmas menu.

You can also make fruit salad with condensed milk for a simple but creamy option. Or make an orange pretzel salad for layers of sweet and salty goodness.

white serving bowl piled high with frog eye salad with bit of orange, pastel marshmallows, and pasta in a creamy custard mixture.

Frog Eye Salad

Servings: 12 Servings
Author: Carlee
Frog eye salad is a sweet and creamy fluffy style salad that features mandarin oranges and pineapple. The pastel marshmallows make it extra fun. It is perfect for Easter or any time!
4.67 from 12 ratings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes


  • 1 cup acini di pepe pasta
  • 20 oz. can crushed pineapple
  • 15 oz. can mandarin oranges
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip or similar
  • 7 oz. pastel marshmallows


  • Cook pasta to al dente according to the package directions, then drain.
    1 cup acini di pepe pasta
  • Meanwhile, stir together the sugar, salt, and flour in a small saucepan. Add the eggs and stir to combine. Drain the liquid from the cans of pineapple and oranges into the saucepan. Put the fruit in a container in the refrigerator for later.
    20 oz. can crushed pineapple, 15 oz. can mandarin oranges, 1 cup granulated sugar, 2 large eggs, 3 Tablespoons all purpose flour, ½ teaspoon salt
  • Heat the saucepan with the fruit juice mixture in it over medium-low to medium heat. Stir frequently and continue to cook until the mixture is bubbly and thick.
  • Stir the cooked pasta into the fruit juice custard mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours, but overnight is fine.
  • Stir the fruit and Cool Whip into the cooled pasta mixture. Add as many marshmallows as you would like and stir to combine.
    8 oz. Cool Whip, 7 oz. pastel marshmallows
  • Chill until ready to serve. Garnish with additional fruit or marshmallows if desired.


This salad should be kept in the refrigerator. It can sit out for a couple of hours while serving, but any leftovers should be returned to the refrigerator. It will stay good for 3-4 days after it is made.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 254kcalCarbohydrates: 57gProtein: 4gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.003gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 137mgPotassium: 141mgFiber: 2gSugar: 39gVitamin A: 561IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 37mgIron: 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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