A Thanksgiving fruit salad is a really delicious addition to your holiday menu. Kids love it and it is a great way to get a fresh side dish on the table next to your sweet potatoes and stuffing. Plus it might be the easiest thing you put together for a Thanksgiving side dish!
I like to use a mix of fruit that is available and tastes great in the early winter. Things like apples, pears, and pomegranate seeds which are in season. However, the great thing about this recipe is how easy it is to jazz it up with your family favorite fruits.
And while the name is Thanksgiving, this makes for a perfect winter fruit salad.
Why You’ll Love this Thanksgiving Fruit Salad
- Fresh fruit compliments a hearty and rich Thanksgiving menu
- Full of in season fruits
- Perfect dish to bring to Thanksgiving dinner
- Ready in only 15 minutes
- Kids love it!
- Grapes: I love to use red and green grapes in this salad. If you can find green cotton candy grapes, get those. They provide such a sweet flavor to the fruit salad.
- Mandarin oranges: Yep, the ones in the can are perfect for this salad. Reserve some of the juice because that will make the base of the dressing. Slices clementines also work.
- Apples: Red apples or a mix of red and green are both great. I used Gala apples because that is what I had on hand. Fuji, Honeycrisp, or Granny Smith are all delicious choices.
- Pears: Either pair of green pears or a combo of a red and green pear is perfect.
- Pomegranate Arils: Aka pomegranate seeds are a bright and seasonal addition to this salad. You can typically find them at Trader Joes but my local grocery store has been carrying them the past few years as well.
- Cranberries: It’s Thanksgiving so you totally need cranberries! Fresh or dried cranberries are delicious.
- Maple Syrup + cinnamon: This is mixed with the leftover orange juice and makes for the perfect sweet and warm dressing for the salad. You can also use agave syrup in place of the maple syrup.
Make sure to check out the recipe card below for the full recipe and ingredient list.
Start with making the dressing. In a small bowl, drain off some of the mandarin orange juice and add the maple syrup and cinnamon. Whisk it together and set it aside.
If you are not using mandarin oranges, add a ¼ cup of orange juice to a small bowl to whisk the maple syrup and cinnamon into.
Next, it’s time to chop up all the fruit!
Grab a large bowl to mix this up. I like to slice the grapes in half, as well as dicing the apples and pears. Toss the apples and pears in the dressing right away to prevent them from browning.
Add in the remaining ingredients and mix it together. Give it a quick taste for seasoning and serve. Enjoy!
It’s true, you can just mix together the fruit and call it done. But since Thanksgiving dinner is more of a celebratory meal, why not go all out and make a quick dressing? It only adds another minute to the making of this and adds a ton of sweetness and warmth.
Yes of course! This recipe makes a large 8 servings of fruit salad with extra fruit left over. If you want to make a smaller amount, use a small can of oranges, either red or green grapes, and either an apple or a pear.
You can use any combination of apples that you like. For this salad, I used all Gala apples as they are what I had on hand. Other apples that would be great are Fuji, Honeycrisp, or Jazz. For a tart apple, a Granny Smith is great.
This fruit salad is about as adaptable of a recipe as you can imagine. Fill it with. your favorite fruit, make a creamy dressing, there are so many ways to adapt this. Here are some other tasty ideas you can include in the salad:
- Add in diced pears, both red and green
- Want some crunch? Add candied walnuts or candied pecans
- Sliced kiwi is a yummy addition
- Replace half of the orange juice with some lime juice for lemon juice or an extra kick
- Make a creamy dressing with some dairy free cool whip or vanilla yogurt, about a cup mixed in with the dressings.
How to Store
This fruit salad is best made right before serving so that the fruit is at its most fresh. Store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for 1 to 2 days. The fruit might take on some color from the other fruit, but it still tastes great.
Fruit Salad Tips
- Use fresh, crunchy apples. Try to get a combo of sweet like Fuji and tart like Granny Smith.
- Toss the apples in the orange juice to prevent them from browning after dicing.
- Make right before serving for the best flavors.
- Pomegranate seeds can be super tart and crunchy!! If you have sensitive teeth or crowns, make sure to use caution when crunching on them.
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- Mixing bowl
- mixing spoon
- measuring cup
- measuring spoon
- Chef’s knife
- Cutting board
- 1 cup red grapes
- 1 cup green grapes
- 2-3 apples diced
- 2 pears diced
- 11 oz mandarin oranges
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Make the dressing. In a small bowl, combine the juice from the mandarin oranges, with the maple syrup and cinnamon. Whisk together and set aside.
- Chop the fruit. Cut the grapes in half. Dice the apples and pears and toss them into the dressing to keep from browning. In a large bowl, stir together all the ingredients. Serve and enjoy!
- How to Store
- This fruit salad is best made right before serving so that the fruit is at its most fresh. Store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for 1 to 2 days. The fruit might take on some color from the other fruit, but it still tastes great.