This creamy Grape Salad is an easy fruit salad that’s sure to be a hit at any party. It’s sweet, yet tangy, creamy, yet crunchy… this salad has it all!
What is grape salad?
Grape salad is a creamy fruit salad made with a cream cheese, sour cream “dressing” and a pecan, brown sugar topping. It’s an old-fashioned party dish that was created in Minnesota.
This salad uses every day ingredients that I’m sure you have on hand already!
- Cream Cheese – softened to room temperature to create an ultra smooth base for our “dressing”. Full-fat cream cheese is preferred for the best tangy flavor and creamy texture, but light cream cheese should also be fine.
- Sour Cream – provides additional tang to balance out the sweetness of the grapes. Use plain yogurt for a lighter option or vanilla yogurt for a less tangy flavor.
- Pudding Mix – sweetens the cream cheese and sour cream base. Be sure to use 1 (3.4 oz) package instant pudding mix. Vanilla is called for in the original recipe, but any flavor such as cheesecake or even pistachio would be a great substitute.
- Pure Maple Syrup – adds a subtly sweet, molasses flavor and also helps to thin out the cream cheese dressing. Any liquid sweetener such as honey or agave should probably be fine.
- Vanilla Extract – provides depth of flavor and helps to bring out the vanilla in the pudding mix. If you don’t have any on hand, feel free to omit.
- Seedless Grapes: Green and Red – the MVP! Any color of grape would work, but I love the flavor and color contrasts of using green and red. Whatever grapes you use, be sure to buy seedless grapes, then wash and dry them thoroughly.
- Pecans – add an amazing nutty flavor and crunchy texture. Be sure to buy roasted and salted pecans for the best flavor; the salt is a great contrast to the sweet grapes! Have a nut allergy? Try chopped pretzels instead!
- Brown Sugar – mixes with the pecans to create a sweet, caramel-y crispy topping for the salad. Light or dark brown sugar may be used, although dark brown sugar has a richer flavor.
How to make
Grape salad comes together in about 10 minutes and only dirties 1 bowl!
- Use a hand mixer to whip cream cheese, sour cream, dry pudding mix, maple syrup, and vanilla until smooth, then use a spatula to fold in the grapes.
- Refrigerate until chilled, then sprinkle with pecans and brown sugar before serving.
Can i cut the grapes in half?
No. Cutting the grapes in half will make the dressing/sauce watery and may cause the cream cheese to separate.
These simple tips help make this the BEST grape salad recipe!
- Wash and dry the grapes thoroughly. Washing the grapes removes any dirt and drying the grapes helps the cream cheese “dressing” stick. If the grapes are wet, the dressing slides right off!
- Use room temperature ingredients. Using room temperature cream cheese and sour cream creates a lump-free, super smooth and creamy texture.
- Make in advance. This salad is best served chilled, so plan to make this at least a few hours before the intended serve time.
- Keep the topping separate. Not only does this keep the pecans crunchy, it keeps the brown sugar from disintegrating into the sauce. Sprinkle the topping on immediately before serving OR keep it in a separate bowl and allow people to sprinkle their own individual serving.
How to store
Leftover salad will last in an airtight container for 3 days in the fridge. Freezing this recipe is not recommended, because it will become watery as it thaws.
Equipment for this recipe
- 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 1 (8 oz) container sour cream room temperature
- 1 (3.4 oz) box instant vanilla pudding mix
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 pounds seedless green grapes washed and dried
- 2 pounds seedless red grapes washed and dried
- 2 cups roasted, salted pecans roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup brown sugar packed
- In a large bowl, whip together cream cheese, sour cream, dry pudding mix, maple syrup and vanilla until smooth using a hand mixer.
- Fold in grapes using a spatula, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- In a medium sized bowl, stir together pecans and brown sugar, then sprinkle on top of the chilled salad immediately before serving.
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*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.