Grandma’s Holiday Salad


Grandma’s Holiday Salad is light, fluffy, and perfectly sweet. A staple side dish at holiday get-togethers!


Today’s recipe from the Week of Thanksgiving Favorites bears a rather unfortunate name: Grandma’s Holiday Salad.

I don’t know about you, but such a name conjures up memories of the funky salads of yesteryear containing odd mixtures of ingredients like lime Jell-O, walnuts, celery and cream cheese.

Served in a refrigerator drawer, if we’re really going to talk about it.

Plus, despite its name, the recipe isn’t even one of my dear Grandmothers’!

grandma mac grandma wise

To be honest with you, I don’t know who’s Grandma came up with the Heavenly holiday salad that envelops a sweet fruit trio in fluffy homemade pudding and dreamy whipped cream, but my family can’t live without it on Thanksgiving Day, or any holiday for that matter!


It is completely lick your plate worthy and, more importantly, definitely not served in a Jello-O mold!


Start by whisking up a couple eggs with sugar and a pinch of salt. This is the start of the creamy, homemade pudding that serves as the base of the salad.


Next dissolve some cornstarch in a wee bit of pineapple juice from a can of crushed pineapple, which you’ll use more of later in the recipe.


The cornstarch will help make the pudding nice and THICK.


After the mixture is whisked up, pour it into a sauce pan and place it onto the stove set to medium heat.


This is where you’ll need to pay attention. :) STARE AT THE PUDDING AND DO NOT TAKE YOUR EYES OFF OF IT FOR A SECOND. Not a single one!


As it heats, the eggs inside will want to scramble. But you won’t let them. You’ll be stirring your Grandma’s Holiday Salad-loving heart out, and instead of scrambled eggs, you’ll have a silky, luscious pudding.


Go you!


Pour the pudding onto a plate to cool off.


Next, mix the drained, crushed pineapple and cooled pudding into whipped cream, then fold in mini marshmallows, red grapes and banana slices. That’s it. You’re done! :)

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Try to save some for the others!

Grandma’s Holiday Salad

Serves 4-6


Grandma's Holiday Salad is light, fluffy, and perfectly sweet. A staple side dish at holiday get-togethers!


  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1-8oz can crushed pineapple, drained, juice reserved
  • 1 Tablespoon reserved pineapple juice
  • 2 cups cool whip
  • 2 cups red seedless grapes
  • 3/4 cup mini marshmallows
  • 4 bananas, sliced


  1. Whisk together eggs, sugar and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, dissolve cornstarch in the reserved pineapple juice, then stir into the eggs and sugar.
  2. Pour the mixture into a small saucepan and turn the heat to medium. Stir quickly and constantly with a spatula until the mixture begins to bubble. If the eggs start to scramble, take the pan off the burner and stir the heck out of it.
  3. Lower the heat and continue to stir constantly until the mixture is the consistency of a thick pudding, about 5 minutes. Pour onto a plate with a rim to cool.
  4. Drain the crushed pineapple then stir into the cool whip and cooled pudding. Fold in grapes and marshmallows. Fold in bananas just before serving.


This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,


Cloud. of. pure. love. Light, sweet, silky and completely irresistible, Grandma’s Holiday Salad is, happily, the antithesis of every gloopy salad it may share its name with.


You’ve got to let me know if you try this out this year. You will not be disappointed!!


Tomorrow I’ll be sharing a healthy(er) veggie side dish that I made this weekend. It is so over-the-top delicious that Ben and I housed the entire recipe by ourselves. In one day.

It was supposed to serve 8.


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  1. I remember you posting this last year! This is THE craziest dessert I’ve ever seen! I’m sure it’s mighty tasty, though! ;)

  2. Imwaytoobusy 11.15.2011

    Your bangs made me laugh! I (and the rest of America) rocked the same look. Thanks for the junior high flashbacks ;)

    As for your Grandma’s dessert…it sounds absolutely delicious! For some reason, it reminds me of the Hy-Vee deli whipped fruit salads. I bet this version is much better.

  3. Imwaytoobusy 11.15.2011

    Too funny! 1/4″ barrel all the way. I hope we never come face-to-face with one again…

  4. This looks nummers! But, I really hate bananas! What other fruit do you think would be a good substitution? Berries or maybe persimmons?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 11.15.2011

      You could definitely leave the bananas out, or sub in apples or rinsed/patted dry mandarin oranges!

      • Oooh, mandarins would be great! Thanks for the suggestion!!!

      • Jenna 11.15.2011

        Yeah – I was going to say perhaps subbing mandarin oranges for the pineapple because I’m not a fan.

        Also, here’s a recipe I think you’d also like:

        Grape Salad
        Mix until creamy:
        1 (8oz) sour cream
        1 (8oz) cream cheese
        1 tsp vanilla

        Then add:
        1 C powdered sugar & blend.

        Stir in a large bunch of grapes. Put in bowl to serve and top with a little brown sugar over top.


  5. Emily 11.15.2011

    I spy a fun Christmas plate from Target!! This looks so good, I’m so mad I don’t have the ingredients like right this second

  6. Lindsey 11.15.2011

    Yum! I can’t wait to try this! I think I’m going to opt for the mandarin oranges too… just not a banana fan. :)

  7. Carrie 11.15.2011

    My mom makes this exact recipe — it was her mother’s — except with pineapple chunks instead of crushed and no bananas. We call it “24 Hour Salad” because you make it the day before you eat it. (Although, confession: we don’t eat it for dessert, we eat it as part of the meal! This is too healthy for dessert in my family! Ha.)

  8. Caitlyn 11.15.2011

    My mom makes that almost every holiday, except she calls it Angel Salad. She triples the recipe because my she and my siblings like it so much! It’s very funny how excited they get about Angel Salad!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 11.15.2011

      YES! That is a perfect name for this salad! I was trying to think of a different name but all I could come up with was Heaven, cloud, puffy, etc. Lame. Angel Salad = spot on!

  9. i am on a crazy marshmallow kick lately and this just happens to fit the bill! thanks for sharing “grandma’s” recipe :)

  10. I’ve had something like this before as well. But your recipe looks better! YUM!! I’m in charge of salads this year for Thanksgiving. Might have to give this one a try!

  11. Michelle 11.15.2011

    If that seriously came in a 5 gallon jug, I would scarf it down.

  12. This looks phenom. I love how it almost looks like a big pile of snow with bright red peeking through. There’s nothing like homemade pudding. yummm

  13. girliefriend 11.15.2011

    Finally! I’ve been waiting a long time for you to post this! Thank you!

  14. Christen 11.15.2011

    We made something similar (add apples and depending on gma’s mood, some other fruits), but it was always frozen and eaten super cold. Ahh, brings back the memories of yesteryear…

  15. Ahahahah wait. I am LITERALLY like freakin out. If this doesn’t appear at the dessert table on thanksgiving I’ll cry

  16. Dafni 11.16.2011

    The word “salad” is misleading… Salads are usually a mix of low-cal vegetables for dieters. I prefer your “grandma’s holiday salad” 1000 times – besides, that’s what holidays are for: eating delicious super-calorific foods with family!

  17. jen 11.16.2011

    looks yummy! my grandma used to make a salad…but it had carrots and raisins and I don’t think I ever tried it! Maybe it was delicious, but it sure didn’t appeal to me!

  18. sara 11.16.2011

    We call it Pineapple Fluff and it’s a staple for Easter Dinner at our house. And the grape salad mentioned above is fabulous as well.

  19. Kristina 11.16.2011

    It doesn’t matter that it was supposed to serve 8. It’s eggs and fruit for Pete’s sake – it’s good for you! Right? :)

  20. jennifer 11.16.2011

    this looks delicious! my family makes a similar salad every year for thanksgiving. we call it ‘Taffy Apple Salad’. Recipe looks similar except we add some peanuts. give it a little bit of salt and crunch! YUM!

  21. Jen 11.16.2011

    My grandma always made this dessert too… Only I think she skipped the homemade pudding part and just used instant. She always added chopped apples to the fruit mixture as well. Maybe it’s an Iowa thing, I grew up there as well.

  22. Kelly 11.16.2011

    Looks delicious! I love that you made your own pudding, I may have to try that.
    My grandma always made one like this, apples, pineapple, mini marshmallows, pecans, Miracle Whip and Cool Whip. Like a Waldorf salad, but we just always call it apple salad! And yes, we eat it with the meal, not for dessert! That’s what pie is for!

  23. Christina 11.16.2011

    Things I miss about Iowa: fluff (I would put this salad firmly in the “Fluff” food group). Why isn’t there more fluff to be found in Minnesota? Perhaps due to a lack of Hy-vees…

  24. Sarah 11.16.2011

    We have this in my family, too, only it is called Tomorrow Salad. Perhaps because it takes so long to make you have to start it today if you want to eat it tomorrow? Either way, it’s awesome!

  25. mary 11.16.2011

    My husband’s father’s family has a variation on this called Overnight Salad – but NO Cool Whip – gotta whip the cream. So it’s probably fattier, but it’s so creamy and delicious! No bananas either, come to think of it, and I think that their original includes chopped nuts, that I leave out.

  26. Katie 11.17.2011

    I was reading the HyVee yesterday afternoon and it made me think of this post. I think everything for this salad is on sale and they are really hyping up the big Nebraska vs Iowa game. It should be a great game! Thanks for the yummy recipes. The “fluff” comment above made me laugh, we make Oreo “fluff” here (in Nebraska), along with other “salads” that fit in the “fluff” category.

  27. Gabby Bladdick 11.17.2011


    Do you use cornstarch a lot? I’ve never used it, but a lot of recipes I’ve been finding call for it. What’s your take on the ingredient?

  28. […] Week of Thanksgiving Favorites: Trust Me on This One–Kristen, “Iowa Girl” Photo–Kristen, “Iowa Girl”  […]

  29. Blog questions:

    1. How do you get the “pin it” button in your post?
    2. How do you get the “print this recipe” link?

    Also…I’ve made a simpler salad with apples, whipped cream, and snickers. :-) But this looks delightful!

    • Jenna 11.26.2011


      On Pinterest, in the upper-right hand corner, click on About > Pin Button. Then scroll down and it tells you how to get a “Pin It” button for your page.


  30. Lisa S 11.17.2011

    I have to laugh at this recipe b/c it’s called a salad.

    My sister and I, both born and raised Iowan, have married non-Iowans. The husbands have been known to tease our family b/c we call dishes like this “salads’ when in their mind, it’s clearly some form of dessert. We would definitely call this a “salad” too and seve it during the meal. Maybe it’s an Iowa thing?!

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  34. Marge 04.01.2014

    Being an Ia girl myself takes me back to Thanksgiving dinner , with this included, bring back childhood memories
    Thank you Ia Girl

  35. Suzanne 11.19.2014

    I make this with a variation called 24 hour salad. my mom would be over 101! no bananas or sugar and pineapple chunks,we half the grapes (use to have to take out seeds when I was little) and use regular marshmellows and 1/4 them so they soak up the sauce and of course you have to make real whipped cream! & leave overnight before serving

  36. Susan 11.26.2014

    I am making this for a side dish on Thanksgiving day. I can’t wait to try it!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  37. Kim 11.30.2014

    I fixed this for our Thanksgiving dinner- it was AMAZING!!! Quite possibly my new favorite salad. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  38. Ellen Renee 08.05.2015

    This has been on my list to try and finally happened this past weekend for a family reunion…oh boy was it ever good. Thank you for sharing!

    • Kristin 08.06.2015

      Yesss!! So glad to hear! Thanks so much for leaving feedback!

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