Creamy Grape Salad is a classic fruit salad dessert made with firm grapes that are coated in a sweet cream cheese mixture, topped with crunchy pecans and a sprinkling of light brown sugar! It’s a serious crowd-pleaser!
This easy fruit salad is a delicious dish that combines the natural sweetness of juicy grapes with a creamy dressing. This salad is often served as a refreshing side dish or dessert and is perfect for potluck dinners, summer BBQs, or any time of year. The combination of cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar provide a rich and creamy flavor that pairs perfectly with the juicy, sweet grapes. Adapt by adding other kinds of fresh fruit, just like my 24 Hour Fruit Salad. Learn how to dice a mango if you want to add this to your grape salad or mix in Air Fryer Pineapple.
What do I Need for this Recipe?
- Grapes – I’ve used seedless sweet red grapes and tart green grapes for this easy salad recipe.
- Cream cheese – Softened at room temperature.
- Sour cream – Plain Greek yogurt or vanilla Greek yogurt can also be used.
- Granulated sugar – Honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar can be used to sweeten the salad.
- Vanilla extract
- Light brown sugar
- Pecans – toasted and chopped. Walnuts and almonds can also be used.
A sprinkling of brown sugar and chopped pecans is added to the top of the salad. You could also add fresh mint leaves, coconut flakes, mini marshmallows, granola, and whipped cream to the top of this fruity salad.
A large bowl to fit an electric mixer or a regular large mixing bowl for a hand mixer, paper towel, baking sheet (for toasting the crunchy nuts), clean serving bowl, and colander.
Variations and Substitutions:
- For those who are health conscious, Greek yogurt is an excellent alternative to sour cream in this recipe. Vanilla Greek yogurt is also an option. Although the yogurt may be slightly thinner than sour cream, the resulting creamy sauce is still thick and rich.
- Reduced-fat cream cheese or low-fat cream cheese can be used instead of regular cream cheese. You can also use vegan cream cheese.
- Mix in other fruits, such as diced apples, sliced strawberries, or mandarin oranges, to add more flavor and texture to the salad.
- Use honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar instead of sugar to sweeten the salad and add a different flavor.
- Try different types of nuts, such as pecans, almonds, or pistachios, to give the salad a crunchy texture and nutty flavor.
- You can use one kind of grape to make a red grape salad or a green grape salad. I prefer using fresh grapes but canned grapes could potentially be used.
PREP: Rinse and drain grapes. Gently remove from stems and pat dry. Set aside.
Step 1: In a large salad bowl, mix or beat together softened cream cheese, sour cream, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract until completely smooth.
Step 2: Add the grapes into the creamy mixture and toss to fully coat all of the grapes.
PRO TIP: Plan ahead and allow the cream cheese to reach room temperature before starting this recipe for easy mixing. In a pinch, add the cream cheese (removed from the foil) to the microwave and heat it for a short time to soften it. Softened cream cheese is a must for this easy grape salad.
Step 3: Transfer to a serving bowl if desired.
Step 4: Just before serving, sprinkle brown sugar and toasted pecan pieces over the grape salad.
- For this amount of cream cheese dressing, you can use as much as 5 pounds of grapes to ensure that they are well coated.
- It is important to dry off the grapes thoroughly to avoid diluting the creamy dressing with excess water.
- The brown sugar will dissolve into the salad, and the pecans will become soft, so it is best to add these toppings just before serving. I found that one tablespoon of brown sugar was enough to cover the top of the salad in a standard salad bowl, but you can adjust the amount to your preference. Similarly, you can sprinkle a small number of pecans over the top or add more as desired. For individual servings, you can also serve chopped pecans and brown sugar on the side as an alternative.
- If you want to add extra crunch and flavor to the pecans, you can toast them in a 350°F oven for 3-5 minutes until they are fragrant and slightly toasted. Make sure to cool them completely before sprinkling them over the grape salad.
Creamy grape salad is a popular dish in the Midwest region of the United States, particularly in the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin. The salad is often served at potlucks, family gatherings, and church events and is considered a staple of Midwestern cuisine. In fact, some people even refer to the dish as “Minnesota grape salad” or “Wisconsin grape salad.” Despite its popularity in the Midwest, the dish’s origins are unclear, and it is unknown where or when it was first created.
This Southern grape salad tastes the best when eaten the same day it’s been made, but if you have leftovers, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
No. Storing this grape salad in the freezer will negatively affect the texture and flavors of this dish.
Creamy Grape Salad
- 2 pounds green seedless grapes (about 4 cups)
- 2 pounds red seedless grapes (about 4 cups)
- 8 oz. cream cheese softened
- 1 cup sour cream can substitute plain greek yogurt
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1-2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- ¼ cup chopped pecans toasted are preferred
- Place grapes in a colander and gently rinse with cold water. Remove from stems and pat dry with a paper towel. Set aside.
- Use an electric mixer to beat together softened cream cheese, sour cream, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract until completely smooth. You can also mix by hand.
- Fold the grapes into the creamy dressing mixture and toss to coat all the grapes.
- Transfer to a serving bowl if desired.
- Just before serving, sprinkle brown sugar and toasted pecan pieces over the grape salad.