Frog Eye Salad

frog eye salad in a dessert dish
Diana Rattray
  • Total: 32 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 12 mins
  • Yield: 12 servings

Frog eye salad is a unique fruit salad that originated in the state of Utah. The fruit salad has long been a regional favorite and thanks to the Internet, it has quickly regained popularity. It's an excellent fruit salad to make for a holiday meal or potluck and it can be prepared a day or two ahead of time. 

The whimsical name comes from the tiny round acini di pepe pasta, which might look like little frog eyes to some. Pineapple, coconut, mandarin orange segments, and miniature marshmallows are common ingredients in frog eye salad and many cooks add sliced bananas or fruit cocktail mixtures. The fruits come together with a thickened pineapple custard sauce and some whipped topping. For a pop of color, add some maraschino cherries to the salad or garnish each serving with a cherry and a few mint leaves. If you usually make a basic ambrosia or cranberry salad, you need to try this one. Your friends and family will thank you!


  • 1 cup acini di pepe pasta (or pastina)
  • 2 (8-ounce) cans crushed pineapple 
  • 1 (20-ounce) can pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 (11-ounce) cans mandarin orange segments (well-drained)
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows (divided use)
  • 1 (8-ounce) tub frozen whipped topping (thawed)
  • Optional: maraschino cherries (for garnish)
  • Optional: whipped cream (or more whipped topping, for garnish)
  • Optional: toasted coconut (for garnish)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. 

    ingredients for frog eye salad
    Diana Rattray
  2. Place a mesh strainer over a medium bowl and drain the pineapple chunks and crushed pineapple. Press gently to remove as much moisture as possible. Transfer the drained pineapple solids to a separate bowl. Reserve 1 cup of the pineapple juice. Set the pineapple and pineapple juice aside.

    pineapple draining
    Diana Rattray
  3. Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook as directed on the package, or until tender (about 6 to 10 minutes, depending on the brand). Pour the pasta into a colander and run cold water over it until completely cooled. Set the pasta aside to drain thoroughly.

    pasta in sieve
    Diana Rattray
  4. In a medium saucepan, combine the granulated sugar and flour; whisk until well blended. Whisk in 1 cup of the reserved pineapple juice along with the egg and salt.

    sauce mixture for frog eye salad
    Diana Rattray
  5. Place the pan over medium heat and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until thickened, whisking constantly. Stir in the lemon juice and refrigerate the mixture for about 30 minutes, or until chilled.

    pineapple mixture in saucepan
    Diana Rattray
  6. In a large bowl, combine the cold pasta and the chilled custard; stir to blend.

    pasta and pineapple custard combined
    Diana Rattray
  7. Add the well-drained fruit along with the coconut and about 3/4 cup of the miniature marshmallows. Stir gently to combine. Fold in the whipped topping.

    frog eye salad mixture in mixing bowl
    Diana Rattray
  8. Transfer the frog eye salad to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the reserved miniature marshmallows.

    frog eye salad in a serving bowl
    Diana Rattray
  9. Serve in dessert dishes and garnish as desired. 

    frog eye salad with a cherry and sprig of mint
    Diana Rattray


  • To make toasted coconut, place a dry skillet over medium heat. Add about 1/4 cup of flaked coconut and cook while stirring constantly until the coconut is lightly browned. Remove the browned coconut to a plate immediately to halt the cooking.

Recipe Variation