Old Fashioned 5 Cup Salad Recipe

5 from 1 vote
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5 cup salad is an old-fashioned, nostalgic recipe. This is a grandma approved recipe that makes a delicious side dish or dessert.

Bowl of fruit salad with colorful marshmallows.


I grew up eating five cup fruit salad at family gatherings and holidays. Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, this was always on the table. We usually serve it as a side dish but it would be great for dessert or even breakfast.


This fruit salad is called five cup fruit salad because it’s made with just 5 ingredients. You will need:

  • Sweetened coconut flakes
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Pineapple tidbits
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Sour cream

Optional – Depending on your preference you can also add in diced maraschino cherries for extra sweetness and color.

Bag of sweetened coconut, bowl of sour cream, cans of mandarin oranges, pineapple, and bag of colorful marshmallows.

How to make 5 cup salad

This is such a simple recipe to make and takes just a few minutes to combine.

Place pineapple tidbits, mandarin oranges, coconut, marshmallows, and sour cream in a large bowl. Gently stir to combine.

Bowl with shredded coconut, sour cream, and colorful marshmallows.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. This is a great fruit salad recipe to make the night before to give it time to chill and let the flavors combine.

Bowl with a fruit salad made with colorful marshmallows, shredded coconut, and fruit.


Fruit – The classic recipe using mandarin oranges and pineapple. You can change of the fruit by using canned fruit cocktail, maraschino cherries, or add in some fresh fruit like strawberries, grapes, and blueberries.

Nuts – Try mixing in 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts for added crunch.

Marshmallows – I like using the colorful, flavored marshmallows but you can use plain mini marshmallows or cut up large marshmallows.

Cream – Substitute the tangy sour cream with sweet thawed frozen whipped topping like Cool-Whip or Greek vanilla yogurt.

Heather’s recipe tips

  • Make sure to drain off the liquid from the oranges and pineapple.
  • Be sure to give this dessert salad time to chill.
  • This five cup salad will last about 2 days in the refrigerator.
Bowl of fruit salad with a spoon scooping up the fruit salad.

More old fashioned salads

Did you make this five cup salad recipe? Let me know in the comments.

Bowl of fruit salad with colorful marshmallows.
5 from 1 vote

5 Cup Salad

By Heather Seeley
Old fashioned 5 cup salad is a classic side dish or dessert. Made with just 5 ingredients, this is grandma approved.
Prep: 5 minutes
Chill time: 4 hours
Total: 4 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 cup pineapple tidbits, drained
  • 1 cup mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • maraschino cherries optional


  • Place the drained pineapple tidbits, drained mandarin oranges, sweetened coconut, marshmallows, and sour cream in a large bowl.
  • Gently stir all of the ingredients together to combine. Optional top with maraschino cherries.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.



Calories: 343kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 37mg | Potassium: 272mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 388IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
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