Easy Fruit Cocktail Salad

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This easy fruit cocktail salad uses only 4 ingredients that are easy to find and will save you time for a recipe that will become a family favorite!

Canned fruit in a glass bowl

I found this easy canned fruit cocktail salad recipe in an old Gooseberry Patch recipe book and it became a family favorite in about five seconds flat! I love searching older cookbooks for recipes that are simple and delicious!

I found my Pistachio Fluff Salad recipe (also known as Watergate salad) from an old church cookbook, too. My family devoured both of these easy fruit salads in minutes!


Ingredients for easy fruit cocktail salad
  • Fruit cocktail
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Pineapple tidbits or chunks
  • Instant vanilla pudding mix

See the recipe card for quantities.

Fruit cocktail salad in glass bowl


Drain fruits, reserving the juices.

Pour drained fruits into large bowl.

Add pudding mix and stir well.

Add 1/4 cup reserved fruit syrup to moisten to desired consistency.

How to make a fruit salad for a large group?

This recipe is perfect for doubling or tripling if you’re taking something to a large event. It’s perfect for kids because the flavor is so delicious!

Is canned fruit as good as fresh fruit?
This is totally a matter of personal preference. This easy fruit salad saves time and is delicious but if you want to add some grapes, bananas or fresh strawberries for variety that would be fine! Raspberries, blueberries, kiwi and apples are also favorites. Combining fresh and canned isn’t a problem!

A glass bowl of fruit

Variations and Substitutions

  • Adding mini marshmallows would be a hit with the kids and even a dab of cool whip would make for a creamy fruit salad!
  • Coconut flakes could be added for more of an ambrosia type salad.
  • You could be adventurous and try a different type of pudding mix or even try substituting with vanilla yogurt.
  • Top your fruit salad with maraschino cherries for a beautifully served dish.
  • Add a squeeze of lime zest or lime juice for extra flavor!
  • Do you like to be adventurous? Try a sprig of basil and other herb you enjoy.
  • If you enjoy nuts in your fruit salad recipes try pecans, almonds or even walnuts.

Be sure to check out the full recipe and ingredient list below

Where do you find easy recipes for your family?

I love the Gooseberry Patch recipe books (including Mom’s Very Best Recipes and Slow Cooking All Year ‘Round). I love making homemade recipes for my family but saving time is also a priority.

FAQs about fruit salad

Muffin wafer biscuit oat cake icing sweet jelly-o bear claw. Gummi bears topping caramels topping cotton candy. Sugar plum chocolate bar dessert gummies ice cream chocolate caramels.

Honestly, any canned or fresh fruit is totally up to your taste and the amount of time you have. Just know fresh fruit (especially something like bananas) will turn dark over time.

One of the biggest plusses about this recipe is the fruit won’t turn brown. If you decide to use fresh fruit a touch of lemon juice on the fresh fruit ahead of time will be helpful.

Whatever your appetite desires! There’s canned peaches, tropical fruit, apricots, pears and mangos to mention a few. This side dish is so good you could even serve it for dessert!

Three or four days is probably fine. It might even last longer but your family will probably eat it up first!

Easy Fruit Cocktail Salad

This easy fruit cocktail salad uses only 4 ingredients that are easy to find and will save you time for a recipe that will become a family favorite!
Course Fruit Salad
Cuisine American
Calories 997kcal
Author Marty’s Musings


  • 1 15 oz can fruit cocktail drained
  • 1 15 oz can mandarin oranges drained
  • 1 20 oz can pineapple chunks drained
  • 1 3 oz pkg instant vanilla pudding mix


  • Drain fruits, reserving the syrup.
  • Pour drained fruits into bowl.
  • Add pudding mix and stir well.
  • Add 1/4 cup reserved fruit syrup to moisten to desired consistency.


This recipe is so easy and you could easily add other kinds of canned fruit or even fresh.
Double the recipe so you have some left over!
Add extra fruit syrup until moistened to your taste.
Easy fruit salad with only 4 ingredients


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  1. My kids love fruit salads! It is one of the best ways to let them eat more fruits! Also the recipe looks easy, I’ll definitely try this out!

  2. Your picture shows pineapple chunks but your recipe called for crushed pineapple. I used crushed pineapple and I think the chunks would’ve been better. It was too mushy. Still tastes very good but the texture and presentation would’ve been better with chunks. (If I spent more time in the kitchen, I might’ve figured that out on my own – LOL.)

    1. Hi, Debbie. Thanks so much for pointing out that discrepancy! I changed the recipe so that it shows pineapple chunks which is much better! Glad you enjoyed it!

  3. What a great idea to add the vanilla pudding mix. Sounds like a great flavor combination. Thank you for linking up at the #HomemattersParty and hope to see you again.