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Thanksgiving Fruit Salad

This Thanksgiving fruit salad gives you the crispness of apples, the tang of cranberries, and the delightful pop of pomegranate seeds — all without breaking a sweat.

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overhead shot of apple pomegranate fruit salad for the holidays.

Designed around the fruits in season during Thanksgiving and December, this salad is a gem at any holiday celebration. It’s healthy, too! 

Without jello, added sugar, or artificial flavors, you can enjoy the sweetness without the stress.

The real stars of this Thanksgiving fruit salad are some of the classic favorites — crisp apples, zesty cranberries, and those juicy pomegranate seeds. 

They come together to create a colorful, vibrant dish that’s not just easy to make but delicious to eat!

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What’s great is that this salad doesn’t require you to turn on the stove or use any special cooking techniques. It’s a straightforward, no-fuss, no-cook recipe that lets fresh fruits shine.

And, I love a good fruit salad as you can see in my fall fruit salad, fluff fruit salad, and my orange flavored fluff salad. I even love adding Jello to the fruit like in my Jello fruit salad and cranberry jello salad.

ingredients needed to make Thanksgiving fruit salad.

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Pears: Bartlett pears work great.
  • Apples: You can use any great eating apple such as Honeycrisp, Gala, and Red Delicious.
  • Grapes: I recommend using red grapes, but you can substitute green grapes in its place.
  • Pomegranate seeds: You can buy a full pomegranate and remove the seeds or buy just the seeds.
  • Kiwis: Peel then thinly slice the kiwi before putting into the fruit salad.
  • Mandarin oranges: You can use canned and drained mandarin oranges or peel your own fresh ones.
  • Pecans: Pecans give this fruit dish some added texture and nuttiness. You can substitute them for sliced almonds or chopped walnuts.
  • Cranberries: I use dried cranberries or craisins for ease. If using fresh cranberries, cook them and let them cool prior to adding.
  • Orange juice: Orange juice not only adds citrus across the fruit salad, but also keeps the apples and pears from turning brown due to their citric acid.
  • Honey: Honey adds some sweetness to the fruit dish. You can substitute it for maple syrup.
  • Pumpkin pie spice: An extra kick of fall flavor! If you don’t have pumpkin spice on hand, use a mix of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice.

How to Make Fruit Salads for Thanksgiving

A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.

STEP ONE: Combine juice, honey, and pumpkin spice in a small bowl, giving it a good whisk until everything’s well blended.

making fruit salad dressing.

STEP TWO: In a large bowl, mix all the prepared fruit, pomegranate seeds, and pecans. 

mixing chopped fruit with pecans and pomegranate seeds.

STEP THREE: Then, pour the juice mixture over the fruit and give it a thorough toss until every piece of fruit is evenly coated.

tossing fruit salad with homemade dressing.

STEP FOUR: You can either serve your holiday fruit salad immediately or, if you prefer those refreshing fruit dishes for Thanksgiving, pop it in the fridge for up to an hour or even overnight. 

closeup of thanksgiving fruit salad.

Tips for Homemade Fruit Salad For Thanksgiving

  • To keep your apples and pears looking and tasting fresh, lightly spray or brush them with orange juice or a lemon mixture. Alternatively, store them in a bowl of water with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice until ready, then pat them dry.
  • For a rich flavor, choose a high-quality juice blend. The better the orange juice, the more delicious your salad.
  • In step two, ensure the dressing covers all the fruit evenly. It guarantees each bite is bursting with flavor.
  • When combining the fruit and dressing, toss gently to prevent mashing the delicate fruits like kiwi and mandarin oranges.

More Thanksgiving Fruit Salad Recipes 

fruit dishes for Thanksgiving in a white bowl with a spoon.

Variations to this Thanksgiving Fruit Salad

  • Syrup Swap: If you’re out of honey, maple syrup makes for a delightful replacement in fruit salads for Thanksgiving. It adds a distinct sweetness with a hint of maple flavor.
  • Autumn Essence: To infuse your fruit salad with a cozy fall flavor, consider swapping out the orange juice for apple cider or apple juice. 
  • Seed Boost: For added texture, a nutty flavor, and a healthy twist, toss in a mix of seeds like pumpkin and sunflower seeds. They provide a delightful crunch to this holiday salad.
  • Sunny Swap: Transform this salad into a summer delight by omitting the pumpkin spice seasoning and substituting the orange juice with pineapple juice. 
  • Extra Fresh: Try using fresh cranberries instead of the classic dried ones for a burst of tartness.
  • Creamy Christmas Salad: If you’re looking for a creamy twist on this homemade fruit salad, try this Easy Fruit Salad with Cool Whip.

Is it Possible to Prepare this Salad Ahead of Time? 

Yes, you can prepare this fruit salad ahead of time!

Prep all the fruit in advance and soak them in a lemon water mixture for 5-10 minutes. Drain and immediately transfer to an airtight container.

You can also also put the juice mixture together ahead of time and just mix the fruit and juice mixture just prior to serving for the best flavor.

using a slotted spoon to serve fruit salad at Thanksgiving.

What’s The Best Method for Storing Thanksgiving Fruit Salad?

You can store this fruit salad for up to 3 days; just make sure it’s kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

While the flavors will meld beautifully over this time, it’s important to note that the fruit may not retain its absolute freshness, especially compared to the first day.

It’s a trade-off between convenience and peak flavor, so enjoy it within that time frame for the best experience.

What to Serve with Fruit Dishes for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving fruit salad can be paired with holiday dishes like Air Fryer Ham, Mac and Cheese, and Cornbread Stuffing because it adds a refreshing contrast. 

The light, fruity notes also balance extra savory sides like mashed potatoes and green bean casserole.

taking a bite out of kiwi and apple salad with a fork.

More Holiday Recipes 

overhead shot of apple pomegranate fruit salad for the holidays.

Thanksgiving Fruit Salad

Samantha Erb
Thanksgiving fruit salad typically features a medley of autumn fruits combined with citrus and sweetened with honey. The fruit is tossed with a light dressing and garnished with pecans for added crunch.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Side Dishes
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 287 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 pears cored and diced
  • 1 granny smith apple cored and diced
  • 1 gala red delicious, or honeycrisp, cored and diced
  • 1 cup red grapes halved
  • ¾ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 3-4 kiwis peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1-15 ounce can of mandarin oranges drained
  • ¾ cup halved pecans
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup orange juice freshly squeeze
  • ¼ cup of honey
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin spice seasoning

Instructions
 

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the juice, honey, and pumpkin spice seasoning until everything has been well blended together.
  • In a large bowl, combine all of the prepared fruit and pecans and mix together.
  • Once everything has been well mixed, pour the juice mixture over the fruit and toss everything together until all of the fruit has been well coated.
  • Serve immediately or chill for up to an hour.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 287kcalCarbohydrates: 57gProtein: 3gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gSodium: 53mgFiber: 8gSugar: 45g
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samantha

About Samantha

I’ve always had a love of cooking and creating new recipes, so it only made sense to create a food blog so I could share those recipes with you. This site is designed to provide easy and flavorful recipes with as little ingredients as possible. That means you still get great flavor combinations without all that extra time and effort. Read more...

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