Frog Eye Salad Recipe

Frog Eye Salad Recipe

Frog eye salad is a unique fruit salad that originated in Utah. The salad has long been a regional favorite, and thanks to the Internet, it is quickly gaining popularity. It’s an excellent fruit salad to make for a Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter dinner, or take it along to a potluck. It also makes a fabulous dessert.

The whimsical name comes from the hundreds of round, bead-like acini di pepe pasta, which look a little like frog’s eyes. Pineapple, coconut, mandarin orange sections, and miniature marshmallows are common ingredients in frog eye salad. The salad comes together with a simple pineapple custard and freshly whipped cream. For a pop of color, garnish each serving with a cherry and a few mint leaves or a sprinkle of toasted coconut. Or save a few of the mandarin orange slices or pineapple chunks for garnish.

The frog eye salad goes particularly well with baked ham or a pork roast dinner, but it is also delicious along with roast turkey or chicken meal. If you usually make a basic whipped cream fruit salad or cranberry salad for your holiday feast, you should try this delicious frog eye salad!

“Sometimes I crave a salad that tastes like a dessert to round off my holiday menu. This one is fresh, light, and worthy of spooning more and more portions onto your plate. Trust me, nothing will be leftover.” —Mary Jo Romano

A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 (20-ounce) can pineapple chunks

  • 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

  • 1 cup acini di pepe pasta

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

  • 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans mandarin orange segments, well drained

  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut

  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows

Optional Toppings

  • 10 maraschino cherries

  • 1/4 cup coconut, toasted

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients to make frog eye salad

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  2. Place a mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Drain the pineapple chunks and crushed pineapple. Squeeze or press to remove as much juice as possible. Transfer the drained pineapple solids to a large bowl. Reserve the pineapple juice.

    crushed pineapple in a bowl

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  3. Whisk the granulated sugar and flour together in a medium saucepan. Whisk in 1 cup of the reserved pineapple juice, the egg, and salt until combined.

    pineapple juice in a sauce pan

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  4. Place the pan over medium heat and cook until thickened, whisking constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, 6 to 7 minutes.

    mixing pineapple mixture in a pan

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  5. Strain the custard through a mesh strainer over a large bowl. Stir in the lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

    pineapple mixture in a bowl

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  6. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions until tender. Drain. Run under cold water until completely cool. Set aside.

    acini di pepe pasta draining

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  7. To prepare the whipped cream, beat the heavy cream in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until frothy.

    mixed heavy cream

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  8. Gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar until stiff peaks form. You will have about 4 cups of whipped cream. Reserve 1 cup of whipped cream for the topping. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

    whipped cream in a steel bowl

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  9. Add the drained pasta to the custard. Stir to combine.

    frog salad mixture in a bowl

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  10. Add the pineapple, mandarin orange sections, coconut, and miniature marshmallows. Fold to combine.

    frog salad in a bowl

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  11. Fold in 3 cups of the whipped cream. Transfer the frog eye salad to a serving bowl.

    frog salad mixture in a bowl

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  12. Serve frog eye salad on the side with a meal or in dessert bowls or cups with the reserved 1 cup whipped cream, maraschino cherries, and toasted coconut, if desired. 

    frog salad served in glass cups

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga


Confectioners’ sugar contains some cornstarch, which adds some stability to the whipped cream. Or make stabilized whipped cream with the addition of gelatin.

Recipe Variations

  • If you can’t find acini di pepe, pastina (tiny stars) is a good substitute.
  • Use an 8-ounce tub of light frozen whipped topping (3 cups) instead of sweetened whipped cream to lighten the salad a bit.
  • Add 1 thinly sliced banana to the salad when adding the pineapple and orange sections.
  • Add 1/2 cup of fresh raspberries or sliced fresh strawberries to the salad.

How to Store

  • Refrigerate leftover frog eye salad in a covered container and eat within 3 days.
  • Give the leftover frog eye salad a quick stir if it weeps a bit in the fridge.


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