Grape Salad

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Grape Salad is a classic dessert “salad” with green and red grapes, a creamy dressing, and a sugared pecan topping. This salad is quick and easy to make and goes well with so many different dishes.

This crunchy, tangy, creamy salad comes together in 15 minutes or less and has only seven ingredients! It’s easy to make this dish ahead of time and it transports easily, making it perfect for serving at holiday dinners such as Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas.

Overhead image of ready-to-eat Grape Salad with brown sugar and pecans on the top.

I’ve always loved dessert salads and I’ve shared a few of my favorites on this site such as Raspberry Cheesecake Fluff, Frog Eye Salad, and of course the famous Watergate Salad.

Today I’m excited to share another one of my favorites – delicious, creamy Grape Salad. 

Grape Salad is a Midwest staple and is generally made with a cheesecake-like dressing (cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, and vanilla), grapes, and a sugared-nut topping. It’s a delicious addition to any meal, and we especially love eating this salad alongside Funeral Potatoes and delicious Crockpot Roast

It’s a very versatile salad too – Grape Salad is great at barbecues, picnics, parties, and alongside any holiday spread. We’ll definitely have it on the table this Easter!

Image of the washed red and green grapes that will go into Grape Salad.

How to make Grape Salad

  • Prep the grapes: Thoroughly wash and dry the grapes. Use a salad spinner or rub the wet grapes in between two kitchen towels to get them dry. 
  • Beat the softened cream cheese: It’s important for the cream cheese to be smooth before adding other ingredients, or it will turn the dressing lumpy.
  • Add remaining dressing ingredients: I love adding fresh citrus juice to amp up the flavor and make it slightly fruitier.
  • Chill: The grapes and dressing chill for at least one hour and then you’ll top the salad with chopped pecans (or walnuts!) and brown sugar right before eating!

Healthier variations

  • Reduced sugar: Reduce or even entirely omit the sugar.
  • Reduced fat: You can use reduced-fat cream cheese, but the dressing is less sturdy and a bit less flavorful. But it’s a good option if you’re looking to reduce the calories in the salad.
  • Use yogurt: We’ve made this salad before with vanilla honey Greek yogurt in place of sour cream. We prefer the sour cream version, but the Greek yogurt is really delicious and works as a healthier option

Image of the cream cheese yogurt dressing being mixed into the Grape Salad.

Grape Salad tips

  • Make sure to use seedless grapes. Don’t like grapes? The dressing can be used with any fruit. Try adding fresh berries, mango, and even banana!
  • Soften cream cheese fully to avoid a lumpy texture. (See the walkthrough below.)
  • Leave enough time to fully chill the grape salad: Chilling allows the flavors to intensify. The dressing firms up, and overall, the salad just tastes better.
  • Good grapes: The best way to make sure your grapes will taste delicious is to taste one from the bunch at the store to make sure you’ve got a good bag or check out these tips for picking out good grapes.

QUICK TIP

If you’re serving Grape Salad at an outdoor event in warm weather, keep the salad fresh and chilled by putting the serving bowl in a larger bowl of ice. Dairy products get runny when they’re warm and if they stay at room temperature too long, they can spoil and be unhealthy.

How to soften cream cheese

Remove the cardboard box and inner foil wrapper from a block of cream cheese. Place in a microwave-safe bowl or plate and microwave for 15 seconds. Flip the block of cream cheese over and microwave for another 10-15 seconds or until softened. Time will vary depending on your microwave; just remember you want it softened not melted.

Image of Grape Salad with a spoon in it, ready to serve.

More delicious side dishes

If you’re looking to make a holiday spread, serve creamy Grape Salad alongside some other favorites:

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Grape Salad

5 from 1 vote
Grape Salad is a classic southern dessert "salad" with green and red grapes, a creamy dressing, and a sugared pecan topping. This salad is quick and easy to make and the perfect potluck side salad or dessert.
Print Recipe

Grape Salad

5 from 1 vote
Grape Salad is a classic southern dessert "salad" with green and red grapes, a creamy dressing, and a sugared pecan topping. This salad is quick and easy to make and the perfect potluck side salad or dessert.
Course Dessert, Salad, Vegetarian
Cuisine American
Keyword grape salad
Prep Time 20 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 - 12 servings, as a side
Calories 280kcal
Author Chelsea

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds (~5 cups) seedless green grapes
  • 2 pounds (~5 cups) seedless red grapes

Dressing

  • 1 package (8 ounces) full-fat cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup full-fat sour cream or whole-milk honey vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Tiny pinch fine sea salt

Topping

  • 3-4 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

  • GRAPES: Thoroughly wash and dry grapes; remove from the stem.
  • DRESSING: In a large bowl, beat the softened cream cheese with a hand mixer until completely smooth. Add in sour cream, powdered sugar, lemon juice, orange juice, vanilla extract, and sea salt. (Salt balances the sweetness.) Beat until smooth and creamy. Fold in the grapes until evenly coated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to 8 hours.
  • TOPPING: Right before serving, sprinkle on brown sugar and chopped pecans. Add toppings to preference - we usually add 3 tablespoons brown sugar and 1/3 cup pecans.

Recipe Notes

Customize how much sugar you use IN and ON top of this salad to suit your personal taste and the sweetness of your grapes.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 280kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 30mg | Potassium: 511mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 45g | Vitamin A: 336IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 1mg

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is my go to recipe for grape salad. My friends and grandkids absolutely love it! I made one on the 6th of November for a monthly celebration I have with my grandkids. I just made another one tonight for them per their request. The one I made tonight, I used 1/2 cup strawberry yogurt and 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt, more crushed pineapple and 1/2 Tbsp of pineapple juice in addition to the lemon juice.
    For the one I made on November 6th, I added crushed pineapple, bananas (cut up in pieces), and used strawberry yogurt. I did not have fresh squeezed orange juice so I left that out. I vary the recipe each time I make it. For the topping I crumbled up some caramel cookies I had on hand. Love it! Already thinking of other fruits I can include with the grapes. I used green, red and black grapes. Thanks Chelsea!

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