Creamy, fruity, delicious Frog Eye Salad is our go to Thanksgiving Side, but also makes a great dessert. You can add seasonal flare with pomegranates or cranberries, but this salad is delicious just the way it is!
Frog Eye Salad is one of those throw back recipes that grandmothers and their mothers have been making for decades because there is just something about combining Cool Whip and fruit with something else, be it marshmallows and calling it “fluff”, or acini de pepe (tapioca) and calling it “frog eyes,” that warms your heart and delights your tastebuds.
For me, this Frog Eye Salad is like getting a big hug from my grandma. When I was trying to decide what recipes to share with you guys this month, I started thinking about what foods my grandmother always served at holidays and family gatherings.
She passed away a few years ago, and I think of her often when I am in the kitchen, but especially during the holidays. She was an excellent home cook. No one ever turned down a meal at her house. And she really shined during the holidays when she would bake cakes, cookies, pies, and make candies, toffees, caramels, and other goodies to share with the grandkids, neighbors, and friends. She was a gem. A little rough around the edges sometimes, but a real gem.
She was from a generation that cared a lot more about flavor than calorie counting. And a lot more about delicious than nutritious. Which you can take to mean that a recipe from her is a recipe that is going to taste awesome. I like to save her recipes for special occasions and times when I want a treat, and this salad is perfect for that because it is basically a dessert.
Can we just talk about Frog Eye Salad for a minute? Like really talk about it! First, that name…so deceptive.
“Frog Eyes”—well that sounds disgusting. And this salad is not disgusting. It is delicious. Almost dessert like.
And then there is “Salad”—there is nothing green or healthified about this, except the fruit, and I am not sure it counts in this instance. Not really salad.
We call it Frog Eye Salad because the tapioca/acini de pepe resemble frog eyes, and salad so we can have an excuse to eat it all the time. Haha, not really, but who needs excuses? It tastes amazing. Can “downright delicious” be a good enough excuse to have it? Okay, so moving on…
I actually couldn’t find my grandma’s recipe, and after messaging a few of my cousins and not hearing back from them, I asked a friend. I knew her family had very similar recipes, and sure enough, she had it.
You start with your acini de pepe. The real trick to this delicious side dish is in how you prepare the acini de pepe. To get great flavor, you have to let it soak in the fruit juice and sugar mixture, preferably overnight, before you mix everything together. The little beads will take on the flavors, giving you a fun, almost tropical taste profile.
Then you add your Cool Whip. If you are a Cool Whip hater, feel free to add a stabilized whip cream instead.
Then stir in the fruit (drained), so you get lots of delicious pops of flavor.
This recipe will make a great addition to your Thanksgiving table along with:
- Bacon Wrapped Green Beans
- Sausage Stuffing
- Glazed Yams
- Cranberry Jello Salad
- And pies, all the pies!
And if you want to make it more seasonal or festive, feel free to add some pomegranates perils, or cranberries! Happy Holidays!
Frog Eye Salad
- 16 ounces Acini De Pepe 1 box Acini De Pepe, cooked and drained
- 1 orange juiced
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 Tbs cornstarch
- 8 ounces crushed pineapple 2 cans
- 30 ounces Mandarin Oranges 2 cans
- 16 ounces Cool Whip 1 tub
- Cook Acini De Pepe, and drain. Set aside
- Juice the orange and lemon, and pour into a 1 cup measurer. If it does not fill the cup, add pineapple juice from the can until you hit 1 cup.
- Heat in a saucepan with sugar and cornstarch until sugar is melted, and sauce is thickened.
- Mix with Acini de Pepe and refrigerate overnight, covered.
- Just before serving, drain juice/liquid from mandarin oranges and crushed pineapple.
- In a large bowl, combine acini de pepe, Cool Whip, and fruit. Stir until combined.
- Serve and enjoy!
Our recipe card software calculates these nutrition facts based on averages for the above ingredients, different brands, and quality of produce/meats may have different nutritional information, always calculate your own based on the specific products you use in order to achieve accurate macros for this recipe.
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