This Creamy Fruit Salad Recipe is made with a Homemade Vanilla Dressing — no pudding mix here! It is the perfect summer breakfast, snack or dessert — use whatever fruit you have! Includes step by step recipe video.
It is just one of the best months of the year I think.
Hopefully, by this time of year, most years, winter is safely behind us (although we’ve been known to have the odd May long weekend snowstorm here in Manitoba!), and we can look forward to longer, sunnier days, warmer weather, picnics, swimming pools. We can crack the windows and smell something other than snow (I hope!).
I became a mother in May, F-I-V-E years ago. I remember driving to the hospital in the freezing rain — it was absolutely miserable outside! Luckily, a few days later we were basking in the sunshine in t-shirts and pushing a stroller with a newborn baby girl in it.
I remember a friend of mine making a fruit salad recipe like this one — she used a cooked vanilla pudding mix and cooked it with some milk and some pineapple juice. It was so good, you guys!
But for the most part, my goal is to bring you real food recipes here, ones made without those boxes of who-knows-what.
It’s not that I don’t have a few boxes of who-knows-what in my cupboard, and I definitely use them on occasion! But I still believe that nothing really compares to homemade, and if you have 10 extra minutes to make the homemade vanilla pudding dressing, it is absolutely worth it!
This creamy dressing goes with any fruit, and you can definitely use what you have on hand! It’s also amazing as a pancake or waffle topping.
When we go to Cora’s for brunch (not often enough if you ask me!), I pretty much always get the Mountain of Fresh Fruit Waffle — it’s a huge, crispy waffle topped with warm vanilla custard sauce (like these Blueberries ‘n’ Cream Pancakes!), and loaded with fruit. There is actually a mountain of fruit on top! Basically, this is a Cora’s Mountain of Fresh Fruit Waffle minus the waffle 😉
Fruit Salad Tips & Tricks:
- This fruit salad is naturally vegetarian, egg free and gluten free, just be sure to check all of your packages and ensure nothing has been contaminated before serving to those with allergies.
- You can easily make this fruit salad recipe dairy free and vegan by using almond milk.
- You can boost the protein by adding a little plain Greek yogurt to the dressing before serving.
Tips to Make Ahead:
- If you want to make the recipe and have it keep until the next day, be sure to use strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, grapes and stay away from the very juicy or citrusy fruit like oranges, pineapple and kiwi. They will release a lot of juices in just a few hours, so if you add them, be sure you are serving right away and won’t have a lot left over. Otherwise, stick to berries and grapes to be safe.
- Another way to prep ahead is to make the dressing a day or two before, store in the fridge and then just combine before serving. I would be sure to leave out the lemon zest until the last minute, or leave it out completely if not serving immediately.
Watch the recipe video down below and see how easy it is to make!
Creamy Fruit Salad Recipe with Homemade Vanilla Dressing + VIDEO
- 2 cups 1% milk
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest optional
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 lb fresh strawberries hulled and quartered
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 cup fresh blackberries
- 1 cup mandarin oranges optional (see note)
- 3 kiwi sliced, optional (see note)
- 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks optional (see note)
- 1 cup red grapes
- In a medium skillet, whisk together milk, sugar and corn starch. Cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until thickened, about 8-10 minutes (it won't be thick like pudding, it is a dressing -- but it will thicken considerably).
- Stir in lemon zest (if using) and vanilla. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- In a large bowl combine strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, oranges, kiwi, pineapple and grapes. Pour dressing over and toss to coat (be gentle -- you don't want mush!).
- Serve at room temperature or chill to serve later. If making ahead, I prefer not to add the dressing until 3-4 hours or less before serving.
**If you want to make the recipe and have it keep for a couple of days, be sure to use strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, grapes and stay away from the very juicy or citrusy fruit like oranges, pineapple and kiwi. They will release a lot of juices in just a few hours, so if you add them, be sure you are serving right away and won't have a lot left over. Otherwise, stick to berries and grapes to be safe.
Nutrition (this is an estimate)