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Mom’s Creamy New York Fruit Salad

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Equal parts sweet & savory, Mom’s Creamy New York Fruit Salad is a wonderful accompaniment to any meal.

I’m excited to share a side dish from my Mom’s recipe box today – Creamy New York Fruit Salad.  Growing up in the Midwest, family gatherings and holiday meals always included a fruit or jello salad.

Mom’s Creamy New York Fruit Salad made frequent appearances as the not-too-sweet flavor profile made it a perfect complement to almost any meal.  Ham – awesome! Turkey – so good!  Burgers on the grill – amazing!

Mom's Creamy New York Fruit Salad - feature | A Reinvented Mom

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Mom’s Creamy New York Fruit Salad was (and still is!) a family favorite. Studded with mandarin oranges, crushed pineapple and maraschino cherries, the savory acini de pepe pasta keeps this salad from being overly sweet.

And you know what that means?  You don’t have to feel guilty about having dessert later.  That’s my line of thinking anyway.

Mom's Creamy New York Fruit Salad Mac & Fruit - A Reinvented Mom

I typically complete the initial steps of Mom’s Creamy New York Fruit Salad the evening before.  This allows the salad base mixture to set up overnight.

All that’s left to do the next day is to combine the fruit and pasta mixture with the Cool Whip.  Easy peasy!

***  Pin The Recipe For Later  ***

Mom's Creamy New York Fruit Salad | A Reinvented Mom

Work Smarter: Sometimes the right tools can make or break your cooking experience. These are the tools I used to make quick work of this recipe:

Acini de Pepe pasta – my favorite brand.  Check the pasta section in your local grocery store or order online.
12″ Whisk – I use a whisk every single day.
Measuring spoons – magnetized for easy, stackable storage.
Mixing bowls with lids – a size for every job.

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I’ve shared this recipe at the following awesome parties: Meal Plan Monday.

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More Vintage Fruit Salad Recipes:


Equal parts sweet & savory, this side dish pairs well with any meal. Mom's Creamy New York Fruit Salad - A Reinvented Mom

Equal parts sweet & savory, this side dish pairs well with any meal. Mom's Creamy New York Fruit Salad - A Reinvented Mom

Mom's Creamy New York Fruit Salad - feature | A Reinvented Mom

Mom's Creamy New York Fruit Salad

Equal parts sweet & savory, Mom's Creamy New York Fruit Salad is a wonderful complement to any meal.
4.74 from 30 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Chilling Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 223kcal
Author: Lori @ www.AReinventedMom.com


  • 1 cup acini de pepe pasta, (aka small bead macaroni)
  • 16 oz. can crushed pineapple,, drain & reserve juice
  • 15 oz. can mandarin oranges,, drain & reserve juice
  • 8 oz. jar maraschino cherries, halved, , drain & reserve juice
  • 2 cups juice,, reserved from fruits
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg,, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp. cold water
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip, thawed


  • Cook acini de pepe according to package directions.  Rinse with cold water and drain.
  • In a large bowl, combine drained fruits with the cooked acini de pepe.
  • Using a medium saucepan, mix 2 cups reserved juice with 3/4 cup sugar. Stir to combine.  Bring mixture to a full boil over medium heat.
  • Temper the beaten egg by adding 2 Tbsp. of the hot juice mixture and stir.  Add the tempered egg to the boiling juice and stir rapidly with a whisk.
  • Mix 2 Tbsp. cold water with 2 Tbsp. cornstarch.  Stir to combine. Add cornstarch mixture to the boiling juice and whisk together.  Cook until thickened.
  • Add thickened juice to cooked acini de pepe and fruit mixture.  Stir to evenly distribute.  Refrigerate for several hours until set.  I usually prepare this dish the night before and refrigerate overnight.
  • Add 8 oz. Cool Whip to macaroni and fruit mixture. Stir gently to combine.
  • Refrigerate leftovers.


Plan ahead - needs to chill.
Nutrition facts are provided as a reference.
Tried this recipe?Mention @AReinventedMom or tag #areinventedmom

Nutritional Estimate

Calories: 223kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 22mg | Potassium: 175mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 305IU | Vitamin C: 13.4mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 0.6mg

Nutritional information is provided as a reference, using an online calculator. We recommend verifying the information independently for accuracy.


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  1. i have been making this for years without the cherries but will try it it is one of our favorites

  2. How far in advance can you make this? Could it sit for an extra day before mixing in the Cool Whip? I’ve made this twice but I’m hoping to do it ahead this next time. It’s awesome!

    1. You can make the base a couple days in advance, Melissa. Drain off any excess liquid before mixing with the whipped topping.

  3. Please help…. I have a grandson who is allergic to pineapple. He would love the fluffy salads, but most of them contain pineapple. Does anyone have an acceptable substitution?

  4. Oh my goodness! We have been making this in my family since I was a kid. I call it Acini Di pepe salad, or Rosa Marina salad (with Rosa Marina pasta) or heavenly rice. Whatever you choose to call it, it is one of my favorites! Yummy!

  5. My mom always made this salad and even my grandchildren request it. I miss my mom but this always makes me feel her at every family get together when everyone goes for it first. We always just called it DePepe salad !

  6. In our family, this is “Magic Salad” and we use it interchangeably as salad or dessert. My daughter polishes off all that’s leftover. Nice to have a recipe. Thanks!

  7. I love this salad! I’ve had it with coconut but I don’t like coconut. Using orzo is a good idea for a substitute!

    1. It appears to be very similar although we’ve always called it New York Salad. Maybe it’s a regional thing?

      1. we call it frog eye too..west texas but no marachino juice. I think I like this better. lol

      2. My grandmother made this salad for years. My mother has made it and now I make it. We have always called it pink salad.

    2. Frog eyes are large pearl tapioca in pudding. Aunt Kay made it when I was a wee little, 60 years ago. Southern Ohio, so it all sounds regional, as well as generational, to me.
      This recipe sounds amazing, so I shall be making.

  8. Thank you for this delicious sounding salad. I have a question about when to add the cool whip. Just to confirm step 7. you add the cool whip after it has been in the refrigerator over night or before serving?

    1. Hi Judy! Yes, you want to add the Cool Whip after the mixture has set up in the refrigerator. I hope you enjoy this dish!

    1. I purchase the acini de pepe in the pasta section at my local supermarket, Kathy. If you can’t find it locally, I’ve included a link above to order online.

  9. Down south, we call this frog eye salad. Looking at the acini you can understand why. lol Wonderful recipe.

  10. My mom used to make this all the time for me as a kid.. we dont use sugar… its amazing without it, all the sweetness from the juices are good enough. I just made myself a batch, a lil too.much juice made it a lil runny… opps! Still amazing!

      1. It seems the juices would be very sweet on their own, I think I’ll leave out the extra sugar “fingers crossed”

  11. Sounds yummy. Will definitely take it to my granddaughter’
    s for Thanksgiving, even though she said I don’t have to make anything. I am 93 years old.

    1. New York salad is a great addition to a holiday menu. I hope you enjoy my Mom’s recipe as much as we do. Thanks for stopping by & have a wonderful Thanksgiving, June!

  12. I know I would love the recipe as is but I’m wondering about substitutions. Some people don’t like marachino cherries or canned oranges. Do you think one could substitute strawberries, grapes, pears or any other fruits? Thank You

    1. I haven’t made this with fresh fruit, Annabelle. I would be concerned berries and softer fruits may keep the salad base from setting up. You could try mixing in the fruit immediately before serving. Please come back & update your results if you decide to try it with fresh fruits.

  13. I had never heard of acini de Pepe until now! Your mom’s creamy fruit salad looks delicious! I never knew such a dish existed! Thanks for sharing it here at Fiesta Friday!

  14. Congratulations!
    Your post was featured on Full Plate Thursday. Thanks so much for sharing with us and enjoy your new Red Plate.
    Best Wishes For 2017
    Miz Helen

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