This creamy orange fruit salad is loaded with an easy combination of mandarin oranges, crushed pineapple, coconut flakes, and an orange-flavored cool whip mixture that’s topped with maraschino cherries.
I have to thank my dear ol’ mommy for this dreamy, creamy orange fruit salad recipe. She has been making this fruit salad every single Easter for years. And even though it’s sweet, we don’t eat this for dessert, no no no. This goes right with our meal. It’s a rule. And I encourage you to do the same.
Aside from Easter though, which I realize is totally over this year, fruit salad is totally perfect for spring and summer picnics, brunch, potlucks, and yes, dessert of course. 😉
My crucial tip when you make this fruit salad recipe:
Drain the pineapples really well. Those suckers absorb so much pineapple juice, I can’t even wrap my mind around it, and draining as much of that juice as possible ensures that this fruit salad stays light and fluffy! I dump the crushed pineapple into a strainer, and use the back of a spoon to press down on the pineapple, it doesn’t matter if it gets crushed more than it already is. I do this for quite a while, I’m kind of psycho about getting that juice out. But it’s worth it for that fluffy bowl of fruit salad heaven. (You could also use a cheesecloth to get rid of the excess juice as well.)
Can I just share a random frustration regarding my toddler? She would FLIP out over this fruit salad. She’ll eat a 14 oz. can of mandarin oranges in a single sitting and ask for more. And fruit salad is like, mandarin oranges on crack. But she won’t stinking try it! She’s getting pickier every day and I’m not a fan. I even tried to give her ice cream the other day for like, the second time in her life. Clearly she doesn’t remember the first time she had it, or she wouldn’t have shut me down. But, shut me down she did. If she only knew. (Yet, she eats broccoli, because she knows what it is.) I tell ya.
Wait. Did I really just complain because my toddler eats broccoli but won’t try ice cream? Did I really just do that?
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Creamy Orange Fruit Salad
- 20 oz. crushed pineapple, *drained very well*, 1 can
- 30 oz. mandarin oranges, drained well, 2 cans
- 3 oz. package orange jello (unprepared, just the contents inside the box)
- 16 oz. cottage cheese
- ½ cup sweetened coconut flakes
- 8 oz. Cool Whip
- Maraschino Cherries, to garnish
- Place the crushed pineapple in a strainer and drain out the pineapple juice. Pineapple retains a lot of liquid, which needs to be eliminated as much as possible so that leftover fruit salad doesn’t become watery. Use a spoon and press down on the crushed pineapple to squeeze out more juice, toss and repeat several times. Transfer the crushed pineapple to paper towels to allow a little more moisture to be absorbed.
- Use the same strainer to drain the mandarin oranges, don’t use a spoon to press down on them, these strain more easily. Place the oranges on a paper towel as well.
- Mix the orange jello, cottage cheese, and coconut flakes until well combined. Use a silicone spatula and gently mix in the drained pineapple and oranges. Finally, gently mix in the Cool Whip.
- Transfer the fruit salad to a large serving bowl, or several portion-sized bowls or glasses. Garnish with maraschino cherries and chill until ready to serve.
My family has been enjoying this recipe for years, and yes, definitely on Easter. We call it Arizona Salad and do not add the coconut since none of us are a fan of that ingredient. Easy to make and especially great for a summer side dish. This is the only way I eat cottage cheese.
I love that you call it Arizona Salad Karen! I’d imagine you need a refreshing dessert like this one out in Arizona🌞 Thanks so much for the great comments and review!
I made this and added it to a graham cracker pie crust and it was phenomenal. Reminded me of a variation of million-dollar pie! Wonderful! It was great by itself and in the pie.
Sounds like such a yummy treat with the graham cracker crust!😋 I’m so happy you enjoyed it, thanks so much for the great comments!
I too got this recipe from my mother and have passed it to my daughters. We don’t add the coconut and call it Arizona Salad. I’ve also made it with other flavors of jello and different fruit, but the orange variety is everyone’s favorite.
Hey Karen! That’s great that you’ve made something similar, have you tried it with the coconut addition? I love it! 🙂 I agree with you, orange jello is the best! Have a great day!! -Stephanie
Should the cool whip be thawed? I wasn’t sure because I saw another recipes that says it needs to be partially frozen
I always use it thawed 🙂
Oranges, pineapple, and cool whip?! Have mercy this looks scrumptious!
Hi Krystle! Well thank you so much, I hope that you have a chance to try this, it’s my favorite fruit salad ever! 🙂
Hahaha! During all my years of doing daycare, I found that most of the kids I had loved broccoli! It goes against popular belief. I’m a big fan of whipped cream/cool whip desserts (because they are light and airy and not too sweet). This looks heavenly and can eat a whole vat of it!