What to Put in a Fresh Fruit Salad

Updated April 17, 2017

Few things are more refreshing than a chilled fruit salad on a hot summer day. Just about any barbecue or picnic you attend is bound to have a mixed fruit salad. Fruit salad also provides a light and healthy balance to barbecue meals that are filled with heavy meats and fatty potato salad. To make a fruit salad, you simply have to peel, slice and dice up your favourite fruits, toss them together in a salad bowl and serve.

The Fruit

There is no one way to make a fruit salad; you can mix any of your favourite types of fruits. However, there are some fruit combinations that are well-known and pretty typical. One popular fruit salad combination includes cantaloupe, honeydew, grapes, strawberries and watermelon. You can also combine certain types of fruits together such as apples, pears, and cranberries for a fall-themed fruit salad; or mangoes, kiwi, pineapple and banana for a tropical-themed fruit salad.

Sugar and Cream

Although fresh fruit salad is often served with just the fruit alone, some include additional ingredients to sweeten and add flavour. Sugar is the most common way to sweeten fruit salad. A light dusting is all you need, as most fruit is already naturally sweet. Feel free to use any sugar alternatives as well. For a creamy fruit salad, you can mix in whipped cream. A popular creamy fruit salad is known as ambrosia, which combines pineapples, oranges and maraschino cherries with sour cream, double cream, mini marshmallows and grated coconut. Serve this fruit dessert salad chilled.

Spices and Herbs

Savoury spices add an appealing contrast to the sweetness of the fruit. Mint is a common herb used for spiced fruit salad, typically torn and tossed in with the fruit. Another spice sometimes added to fruit salad is dill, which wakes up the flavour significantly. Freshly ground black pepper works well for a fruit salad that include strawberries, by adding a little kick of heat. If you don't want to add a savoury spice to your fruit salad, you can add spices more commonly associated with fruit such as cinnamon and nutmeg.


Fruit salad is often accompanied with a light dressing of some sort. Honey mixed with olive oil to make a vinaigrette is often drizzled over fruit salad. Honey is also sometimes mixed with plain yoghurt for a creamier dressing. Balsamic vinegar dressing adds a more savoury factor to the fruit salad. Fruit salads with milder flavours such as cantaloupe and melons work especially well with savoury dressings, while a citrus vinaigrette will brighten the flavour of fruit salads that do not include citrus fruits.

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About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Zora Hughes has been writing travel, parenting, cooking and relationship articles since 2010. Her work includes writing city profiles for Groupon. She also writes screenplays and won the S. Randolph Playwriting Award in 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in television writing/producing and a Master of Arts Management in entertainment media management, both from Columbia College.