Thanksgiving Fruit Salad

5 from 81 votes

Thanksgiving fruit salad will be a colorful side dish for your holiday feast! With fall fruits, maple syrup and cinnamon, these seasonal flavors are a fresh and healthy addition to any Thanksgiving menu. 

a glass bowl of thanksgiving fruit salad on a blue background
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Thanksgiving Fruit Salad Recipe

One thing I love about Thanksgiving is that amid all our family staples like pies, biscuits and, my favorite, stovetop sausage stuffing, there is always room to try new things. 

Ever since we added this creamy Christmas fruit salad to our Christmas menu, I’ve been wanting to make a similar version for our Thanksgiving feast. Some form of fruit salad almost always makes an appearance at my family’s gatherings throughout the year, so why not Thanksgiving too? 

Plus, I always feel like Thanksgiving dinners are so hearty, that I am always craving some fresh fruit. And not in the form of apple crisp, though I want that too!

So, I'm glad I took the time to figure out this recipe. With the perfect blend of tart and sweet fall flavors, you’re going to love this Thanksgiving fruit salad recipe! 

The varying textures of soft pears, crisp apples with crunchy nuts and pomegranate seeds make this fruit salad really fun to eat. So fun, it was hard to keep my kids from gobbling it down in one sitting. You're going to love it!

Why You'll Love this Recipe

There's so many reasons to love a light and fresh fruit salad like this one:

  • This fall fruit salad travels really well, so it would be perfect to bring to a Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving or other holiday gatherings where you are asked to bring a dish. 
  • Fruit salad is a healthy addition to a day that can sometimes be a little unhealthy. Add a bit of fruit into a meal full of heavy carbs and sugary side dishes!
  • This is such a good fruit salad that it doesn’t have to be served only at Thanksgiving. You can serve it at other gatherings too! How about brunch, a fall baby shower or a housewarming party
A Thanksgiving fruit salad consisting of a variety of apples, oranges, pears, and cranberries in a bowl.

Ingredients and Substitutions 

You only need a few ingredients to make a simple fruit salad, but what’s so great about it is that you can skip any ingredients you don’t love, or substitute them for other things. 

  • diced apples 
  • diced pears 
  • clementine slices
  • pomegranate seeds
  • chopped nuts
  • fresh lime juice
  • maple syrup
  • ground cinnamon

Substitutions and Variations

I love clementine oranges for their tiny and tart slices. But you can also use fresh mandarin orange slices or rinse canned mandarin oranges if they were in juie. Feel free to cut-up slices of navel oranges too.

Pomegranate seeds add color and crunch to your fruit salad, but you'll want to learn how to cut a pomegranate without the mess. Not a pomegranate fan? Feel free to sub them for dried cranberries, diced dried figs, or raisins.

Crunchy pecans are typically my go-to choice in this recipe, but you can also use sliced almonds, chopped walnuts or pine nuts. 

Switch the flavor up a bit and use honey or agave nectar if you don’t have maple. You can also sub in apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice if you like. 

Feel free to use any apple you like. I used red apples to go with the green pears and to give it a more colorful look. Honeycrisp and Gala are two of my favorites!

I used green Anjou pears, but you can use Bartlett pears. Feel free to use Asian pears, which are brown, but also very tasty. If you are not a fan of pears, you can also substitute with granny smith apples.

fall fruit salad before being mixed up

How To Make Thanksgiving Fruit Salad

In just a few simple steps, you can have the most amazing combination of fall fruit for a great side dish! Here's how to do it:

In a large bowl, toss together apples, pears, clementine slices, pomegranate seeds, and pecans.

Then whisk together lime juice, maple syrup and cinnamon in a small bowl until thoroughly combined.

Pour the light citrus honey dressing over the mix of seasonal fruit and stir with a silicone spatula until well-coated.

apples, pears, pomegranate seeds and orange wedges being prepped in a bowl for thanksgiving fruit salad

Store in the fridge for at least an hour, or until you're ready to serve, to allow the fruit salad to chill.

Serve and enjoy!

How to Store Thanksgiving Fruit Salad

For ease of storing, mix up this easy Thanksgiving fruit salad in a big mixing bowl with a lid or cover it in plastic wrap. But you can also transfer leftovers into an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If you do have leftovers, pair it with something like this savory Sausage Stuffed French Bread Boats for a delicious breakfast the next day!

You can actually freeze fruit salad too, but keep in mind the fruit may be a little bit softer after thawed. Freeze in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 2 months. Allow to thaw in the fridge overnight.

What to Serve with Thanksgiving Fruit Salad

This lovely autumn fruit salad is a wonderful side dish to serve with your Thanksgiving meal. Serve it right alongside that hearty Thanksgiving turkey and those flavorful rosemary roasted potatoes.

I've got a whole blog that lists out the best Thanksgiving side dishes, and any of them would go great with a holiday fruit salad.

And don't forget to finish off your meal with pecan pie bars or cranberry orange muffins. Thanksgiving dessert doesn't have to just be pie!

a glass bowl of apples, pears, pomegranate seeds, lime wedges and orange wedges in a thanksgiving fruit salad on a blue background

Tips for Success

Need a few tips and tricks to make this recipe extra successful? Check these out:

  • In order to cut perfectly sized pieces of apple, get an apple corer and slicer. It's the perfect addition to your kitchen gadgets. You'll use it all the time once you have it!
  • Want even more fruit and color? Dice up some green grapes or red grapes and mix into this festive Thanksgiving fruit salad recipe.
  • My biggest tip is to choose plenty of colorful fruit to make this not just a side dish on your holiday table, but a centerpiece!

FAQ

Can I add whipped cream to fruit salad?

Yes! Whipped cream fruit salad is such a delicate treat. If you want to make this Thanksgiving fruit salad with whipped cream, skip the lime juice and use maple syrup to sweeten the whipped cream instead of honey. Stir cinnamon into the whipped cream, too. 

What fruit is in season during Thanksgiving?

Apples and pears are the two most popular fruits in season around Thanksgiving. Figs, grapes, cranberries and pomegranates are also in season. And believe it or not, citrus fruits are in season during November! You can also pair many of these fruits with in season veggies like pumpkins, squash, and sweet potatoes.

More Fruit Recipes

Did you make this recipe?

If you make and love this recipe, please leave a ★★★★★ review below! It means so much to me when you try my recipes, and I'd love to know how it goes. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions.

a glass bowl of apples, pears, pomegranate seeds, lime wedges and orange wedges in a thanksgiving fruit salad on a blue background

Thanksgiving Fruit Salad

Enjoy this colorful Thanksgiving Fruit Salad at your holiday feast! With a cinnamon maple dressing, this tasty recipe is irresistable.
5 from 81 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Madison | A Joyfully Mad Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 red apple chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 2 green pears chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 2 clementines peeled and separated
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼-½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  • Toss apple, pear, clementine slices, pomegranate seeds and pecans together in a bowl. 
  • In another bowl, whisk together lime juice, maple syrup and cinnamon until combined. 
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and stir to coat. 
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve.  

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 122kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 2mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 14g
5 from 81 votes (81 ratings without comment)

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10 Comments

  1. Made this salad one night. I love how colorful it is. Fall fruits, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Fresh, healthy addition to the Thanksgiving menu. Simple and tasty.

  2. I love that this fruit salad is one of the last minute dishes you can whip up quickly and bring when you're in a pinch. Tasty but easy.

  3. Love having something light and refreshing after Thanksgiving dinner. This is perfect with all the bright and juicy winter fruits. The whipped cream option is great for the holiday too - makes it feel more special!

  4. I love the touch of maple and cinnamon because it really makes it taste like fall. This is a great healthy alternative to so many not-so-healthy holiday dishes.

  5. I really want to have a healthy side dish for upcoming Thanksgiving so I was trying out a couple different ones (and to see what the kids would actually eat). This recipe won!! Its easy to throw together too...which is perfect on the crazy Thanksgiving weekend

  6. I whipped up this colorful fruit salad for a lunch meeting at home. Red apples, green pears, clementines, pecans, pomegranate seeds, a zing of lime, a hint of maple, and a dash of cinnamon. So refreshing! Everyone loved it.

  7. This Thanksgiving salad was so colorful, delicious, and fun to make. The cinnamon and maple syrup elevated its taste. I would recommend giving this a try!

  8. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday so I always like to try out any "new additions" to the usual recipes in advance. We tried this recipe over the weekend and everyone agreed that it needs to be added to the menu this year. It's a light and refreshing change from all of the heavy Thanksgiving dishes, plus... its really beautiful! Thanks for the great idea.

  9. This was such a festive delight just in time for Fall. I loved the warm seasoning flavour of the maple syrup and cinnamon. I will definitely make this for Friendsgiving