12 Holiday-Ready Fruit Salads

Apple salad with pecan

The Spruce 

Southerners love their fruit salads, from the traditional fresh and fruity ambrosia salad to the ubiquitous holiday congealed salad. When added to the Thanksgiving or Christmas table, a fruit salad is a refreshing and flavorful change of pace from the many savory dishes.​ Whether served as an appetizer, side dish, or dessert, these holiday-worthy fruit salad recipes are sure to make your family smile.

  • 01 of 12

    Strawberry Pretzel Salad

    Strawberry Pretzel Salad
    Diana Rattray

    While many fruit salads can be served along with the meal, the strawberry pretzel salad also makes a fabulous dessert. This recipe is always a hit, with its layers of baked, crushed pretzels, sweetened cream cheese and whipped topping, and luscious strawberries in gelatin. Assemble it, let it chill, and it's ready to serve.

  • 02 of 12

    Classic Waldorf Salad

    Classic Waldorf salad

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

    A Waldorf salad is a genius combination of chopped apples with walnuts and celery. This classic version is finished with a sweetened mayonnaise and whipped cream dressing. It's a brilliant addition to the Thanksgiving dinner table that can be dressed up with raisins, cranberries, or pecans if you prefer.

  • 03 of 12

    Pineapple Salad With Walnuts

    Pineapple Salad
    Diana Rattray

    Similar to the Waldorf, this pineapple salad is vibrant and filled with flavor. The chunks of pineapple give it a refreshing and delicious change from the typical apple and it comes together in minutes. Served on a bed of lettuce leaves, using fresh pineapple gives it an extra-special touch for the holidays.

  • 04 of 12

    Apple Salad With Pecans and Raisins

    Apple salad with pecan

    The Spruce 

    This apple salad also has the familiarity of the Waldorf salad. It's made with red delicious apples, celery, and mayonnaise, though the Waldorf's walnuts become pecans and raisins are used instead of grapes. Adding some dried or fresh cranberries to the crunchy, creamy dish makes it just a little more festive.

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  • 05 of 12

    Old-Fashioned Frozen Fruit Salad

    Old fashioned frozen fruit salad

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    When you're feeling really nostalgic and want the perfect complement to your ham or turkey, turn to this old-fashioned frozen fruit salad recipe. Adapted from a 1950s newspaper clipping, it's sure to bring back fond memories of your grandmother's salad. A mixture of marshmallows, fruit cocktail, cherries, and a creamy dressing, you'll simply freeze it in a loaf pan and slice to serve.

  • 06 of 12

    Creamy Frozen Fruit Salad

    Frozen Fruit Salad
    Diana Rattray

    This version of the old-fashioned frozen fruit salad may appeal to families with picky eaters. There's no mayonnaise or sour cream, and it's made without marshmallows. Rather, it's just fruit, pecans, cream cheese, and whipped cream. It takes about 15 minutes to prepare, then sets up in the freezer, so it's super simple, too.

  • 07 of 12

    Frozen Pineapple Cranberry Salad

    Frozen pineapple cranberry salad recipe

    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic

    This frozen fruit salad is made with cranberry sauce and pineapples and it's perfect for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. A sweetened sour cream and whipped topping dressing brings the fruits together, while chopped nuts add crunch and texture. The salad can be frozen in muffin cups for individual servings.

  • 08 of 12

    Cranberry Gelatin Salad

    Cranberry gelatin salad recipe

    ​The Spruce / Katarina Zunic

    You'll find this cranberry salad on many Thanksgiving dinner menus throughout the South. It's a favorite recipe because, not only is it delicious, but it also makes great use of cranberry sauce. You can also choose either cherry or raspberry gelatin and leave the topping unsweetened if you like.

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  • 09 of 12

    Blueberry Jello Salad

    Blueberry Gelatin Salad With Cream Cheese Topping
    Diana Rattray

    An unexpected and flavorful change of pace, surprise your family with a blueberry jello salad. It pairs canned blueberries and pineapple with blue gelatin to create a bright and attractive congealed salad. The topping is a sweetened combination of sour cream and cream cheese and the chopped nuts finish it off perfectly.

  • 10 of 12

    Easy Ambrosia Salad With Sour Cream Dressing

    easy ambrosia salad
    Susan Kinast/Photodisc/Getty Images

    It's hard to find a dish that's as cheery as an ambrosia salad, so it's perfect for festive meals. This particular recipe includes all the classic ingredients: chunks of fruit, grapes, and mini marshmallows in a sour cream dressing. Served on top of your favorite greens and garnished with coconut, it's sure to be a favorite with your family, too.

  • 11 of 12

    Ambrosia Fruit Salad With Coconut

    Ambrosia Fruit Salad with Coconut
    Lisa Charles Watson/Getty Images

    If you prefer to take it even easier, make the most basic version of ambrosia salad. You'll need just four ingredients—oranges, confectioner's sugar, coconut, and orange juice—to create a fresh and delicious side dish. Consider adding some banana slices just before serving or garnish the salad with mint leaves for a spectacular presentation.

  • 12 of 12

    Carrot and Pineapple Gelatin Salad

    Creamy carrot and pineapple gelatin salad recipe

    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic

    For a really interesting twist, try the carrot and pineapple gelatin salad. Though it is an unlikely duo, they work out surprisingly well. This recipe is also interesting because the marshmallows are melted and stirred into cream cheese. That's combined with lemon-flavored gelatin, then crushed pineapple and grated carrots are added. It's sure to be a tasty addition to your holiday dinner menu.