10 Ways to Master the Midwestern Dessert Salad

Instant Pistachio Salad
Photo: Tammy Lynn

Popularized in potluck-heavy Midwest states like Minnesota, Indiana, North and South Dakota, and Iowa, dessert salads are nothing like their starter salad cousins — in fact, considering them relatives is a major stretch. In the Midwest, dessert salads made with Cool Whip, Jell-O, candy bars, pretzels, canned fruit, nuts, and more are all the rage and are often the first dishes to disappear at parties. Made famous at church gatherings and lunch counters like those at circa 1930s F.W. Woolworth department stores in Indiana, these salads are the recipes that retro dreams are made of. Try one of these Allrecipes fan-favorite dessert salads.

01 of 10

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Strawberry Pretzel Salad
Photo by pomplemousse.

Admittedly, this is more of an icebox cake of sorts, but for some reason, its name still categorizes it in Midwestern dessert salad territory. Whatever section of the church potluck cookbook it really deserves to live in, one thing we know for sure: It's one of the most crowd-pleasing and kid-friendly dessert salads around. The two sweet tiers complement the just-salty-enough pretzel base.

02 of 10

Oreo® Fluff Salad

Think of this easy treat like next-level cookies and cream. With instant vanilla pudding and whipped topping multiplying the cream vibes, the cocoa elements of the Oreos really pop.

03 of 10

Ambrosia Fruit Salad

ambrosia fruit salad

Infused with tropical flair by way of coconut, pineapple, and mandarin oranges, this fluffy whipped topping-based dessert salad is best enjoyed just like an ice cream sundae: with plenty of maraschino cherries and nuts.

04 of 10

Green Grape Salad

Green Grape Salad in a glass bowl
Holiday Baker

"This is a wonderful dessert salad that never failed to be a hit," says recipe creator NFOSSAZ. "Made the day before the brown sugar makes the sauce taste like caramel. You can use less brown sugar, if you wish."

05 of 10

Cookie Salad I

Remember those ring-shaped fudge stripe cookies from childhood? Here, they add a welcome crunchy element that plays nicely alongside the pineapple, mandarin oranges, and creamy vanilla pudding blend.

06 of 10

Candy Bar Salad

Granny Smith apples and bananas face off with caramel-peanut candy bars, French vanilla pudding, and whipped topping.

07 of 10

Pistachio Fluff Fruit Salad

Pistachio Fluff Fruit Salad

"This recipe went over very well!" says HISTORYGIRL04. "I made it for a potluck because I wanted something easy. Took me less than 10 minutes to make. And every one at work absolutely LOVED it!"

08 of 10

Frog Eye Salad

Frog Eye Salad

Made with acini de pepe, the itty-bitty pasta featured in the dessert salad, this dessert is a solid way to clean out your pantry. In addition to those tiny noodles, Frog Eye Salad includes everything from mini marshmallows, shredded coconut, pineapple tidbits, mandarin oranges, crushed pineapple, and — you guessed it — whipped topping.

09 of 10

Freda's Cherry Supreme Salad

"This was my grandmother Freda's 'famous' cherry salad. It was a huge hit at family gatherings. My mom mixes the lemon Jello, lemon juice, cream cheese and mayo in the blender. But here's the original recipe. Enjoy!" —c-biskit

10 of 10

Instant Pistachio Salad

Instant Pistachio Salad
Tammy Lynn

Stock up on an extra bag of marshmallows when you're gathering ingredients for a pan of Rice Krispies Treats, then put them to tasty use in this pistachio-pineapple whipped topping dessert.

Was this page helpful?
You’ll Also Love