Sometimes you want something that is semi-homemade but feels like it's homemade. This creamsicle mandarin orange salad with vanilla pudding is that recipe for me. I grew up with a slightly different variation but discovered this recently and love it as well. This basic creamy salad is full of vitamin C and feels decadent while actually being pretty simple and easy to prepare. It's a great side or a simple dessert for any weekend barbecue!
Mandarin Orange Salad with Vanilla Pudding
Somehow, I struggle to call anything that doesn't have greens a salad. However, the invention of Jello and the many instant puddings and gelatin dishes of the 1950s-1970s used the term "salad" rather generously. This simple recipe is one of the few from that era that sounds delicious and looks delicious. A package of pudding, simple canned fruits, and that handy dandy whipped topping come together to create a sweet treat that is simply put, hard to resist.
If you like a nice fruit salad as a side dish, then you have probably checked out some of the ones shared here before. I personally love the simple orange pomegranate salad with strawberries but my son loves the fresh summer berry salad the best. Whichever one you choose, these "salads" make it so easy to add fresh fruits to your menu.
Do I Prepare the Pudding According to Package Directions?
You do not make this instant pudding like you normally would. Instead, it is combined with the other ingredients. There is no milk added to this recipe. The creaminess of the whipped topping is the carrier you use to make this salad fluffy and creamy without preparing the pudding as usual.
Do I Drain the Fruit for This Salad?
Yes! It's important that you drain the mandarin oranges and the pineapple well before mixing into this dish. You can use chunk or crushed pineapple, but I prefer the crushed most often. However, it can be tough to get it completely drained.
If not drained well, it will end up separating and not be as nice visually. It still tastes delicious either way, but I highly recommend using a small sieve to drain if you choose crushed pineapple for this recipe.
Can I Use Different Fruit For This Recipe?
It wouldn't be mandarin orange salad if you don't use mandarin oranges! Ha! But, yes, the answer is you can use any number of fruits along with the base of vanilla pudding and whipped topping. Below are some other combinations that are popular and tasty with this creamy vanilla base.
- Stir in canned cherry, blueberry, or strawberry pie filling.
- Use canned diced mangos that have been drained instead of the pineapple or oranges.
- Stir in fresh blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, or raspberries in place of the oranges and pineapple.
- Use canned peaches, pears, or fruit cocktail instead of the mandarin and pineapple combination.
What Mix-In's Go in Mandarin Orange Salad?
You may also be familiar with fruit salads having other additions in the mixture. Below are a few common choices that could be mixed into this salad recipe with great results. Some of these ideas work better with different flavors but can still work in the same vanilla pudding base.
- Chopped pecans, walnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, or macadamia nuts.
- Mini marshmallows.
- Mini chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, or butterscotch chips.
- Shredded coconut flakes.
How Long is This Good For?
In our house, this mandarin orange salad typically doesn't even last a day! It's usually served up as a side or dessert when we have a cookout, potluck, or barbecue. On the occasion I make it just for our little family, it's usually gone within 48 hours.
I would recommend, however, that it be eaten within 5 days of preparing Mostly because the fruit will release more liquid and cause the mixture to separate. This is a bit unpleasant visually, as mentioned above. Overall, the best flavor is in the first 1-2 days.
- Vanilla instant pudding mix
- Cool Whip
- Mandarin oranges
- Crushed pineapple or pineapple chunks
How to Make Mandarin Orange Salad
In a large bowl, combine the Cool Whip and instant pudding mix. You can use a mixer or do this by hand.
Add the drained mandarin oranges to the cream mixture.
Fold in the pineapple and stir to combine all well.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
More Yummy Dessert Recipes
Adding dessert to your menu is easier than you think. There are tons of great ideas out there that are simple, delicious, and can be made in minutes. I love that I can whip up these recipes in no time and put on the table after dinner. Below are a few of my favorites I know you too will love making and sharing.
- Brownie Batter Dip Recipe
- Creamy Indian Fruit Custard Recipe
- Chai Spiced Baked Apples with Vanilla Bean Gelato
- Caramelized Banana Pudding Recipe
- Cool Whip S'Mores Dip Recipe
- Eggless Monster Cookie Dip Recipe
- Easy Pumpkin Dip Recipe
- 1 pkg vanilla instant pudding mix (3 oz)
- 20 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
- 30 oz mandarin oranges, drained
- 8 oz tub Cool Whip
- In a large bowl, combine the Cool Whip and instant pudding until combined.
- Add in the drained fruits and stir to combine.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Chill fruit before adding to the salad for the best flavor when serving immediately.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
4 Organic Coconut Bowls4 Spoons & 4 Folks | Etsy
Ceramic Salad Bowls Strawberry Bowl Colorful Bowls Modern | Etsy
Acacia Wooden Salad Bowl 6.3inches Set of 4 Individual Salad | Etsy
Personalized Mixing Bowl | Etsy
Personalised Mixing Bowl | Etsy
Mixing Bowl 10 pcs Set Bonus 5 pcs Measuring Spoon Set | Etsy
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 279Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 81mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 3gSugar: 37gProtein: 3g