Fruit Salad Recipe

4.67 from 3 votes

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This Fruit Salad Recipe is filled with delicious fresh fruit and topped with a simple lemony vanilla syrup as a dressing. Make in advance or serve immediately. Delicious for a snack, dessert, or potluck.

Love Fruit? Try these other tasty recipes: Fruit FlanFruit & Waffle Breakfast PizzasMini Fruit TartsCream Cheese Fruit Dip Recipe.

Fruit Salad in small bowl

Fruit Salad Recipe | With Lemon Syrup

Fruit Salad is one of those things that in theory is really easy to make but when push comes to shove, there are those who make GREAT fruit salads and those who don’t. Use this recipe and simple guidelines to create unforgettable fruit salads! It’s easier than you think.

Main Ingredients Needed

One of the best things about fruit salad is that you can use any combination of fruit that you’d like! Make it tropical or festive for Christmas. Today I’m using fresh fruit to make a simple fruit salad recipe that is perfect for any occasion.

For the Syrup:

  • Cold water- for volume and to combine other ingredients.
  • Granulated sugar– to sweeten the syrup.
  • Zest of 1 lemon + vanilla extract– for flavor.

Here’s what I used for the fruit (but remember, feel free to customize it to your liking.

  • Grapes – you could also pick out green grapes although they are more tart. To pick good grapes, they should be firm, plump, and firmly attached to the stems.
  • Clementines – I peel and slice mine into coins but you can prepare them however you’d like. Mangos make a good substitute for clementines if you wanted the same color but different taste.
  • Raspberries, Strawberries, Blueberries, and Blackberries – ALL the berries! If you can’t tell, I love berries. They are sweet and fresh and just perfect for fruit salads.
  • Pineapple – I recommend using fresh pineapple instead of canned because canned tends to be mushy.
  • Apple – kinda strange but really good. Apple provides a nice crisp fruit in comparison to all the juicy tender ones.
  • Melon – whether that be watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew, melons are full of subtle yet delicious flavor. Use a melon baller for a fun presentation.
  • Mint – adds a delicious minty bite but also makes a great garnish. Totally optional 🙂
Fruit Salad recipe

How to Make Fruit Salad | Directions

Okay, this lemon simple syrup is to die for. It’s easy to make and is the perfect fruit salad dressing. It adds sweetness, lemon essence with hints of vanilla. Prepare and cut fruit, then toss together and serve immediately. For full recipe details, check out the recipe card below!

Step 1: Combine to Heat and Melt

To make the lemon syrup, in a small saucepan, bring water, sugar, and lemon peel to a light simmer until sugar has melted into the water completely.

simply syrup

Step 2: Remove From Heat

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Step 3: Refrigerate to Cool

Pour into a separate container and refrigerate to cool. After 30 minutes, the syrup should be cool enough to work with.

Step 4: Prepare Fruit

Wash, cut, chop, slice, de-seed (if needed). Regardless of what fruit you’re using, be sure it’s in bite sized pieces so it’s easy to eat.

Step 5: Pour Dressing Over the Fruit

Pour the dressing over the fruit. Stir to coat the fruit in all that yummy lemony-vanilla syrup. Cover to refrigerate a few hours before serving or serve immediately.

overhead shot Fruit Salad

Leftover Fruit Salad

To store leftover fruit salad, store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days in the fridge.

Pro Tips

Whether you are using my recipe or mixing it up and creating your own, these are basic tips and tricks that will ensure perfect fruit salad every time!

  • Use a Variety of Fruit: this not only creates a delicious tasting fruit salad, it makes it look colorful and pretty, too!
  • Use Ripe Fruit: this may require some planning ahead but make sure to choose ripe fruit for the best flavors. Or only use fruit that is in season.
  • No Frozen or Canned Fruit: please, PLEASE use fresh fruit and not canned or frozen fruit.

More Fresh Fruit Recipes to Try!

If you’ve made some healthier eating resolutions then this fruit salad recipe is for you!

Printable recipe card is below, enjoy, friends! 🙂

A bowl of fruit salad with berries and mint.
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4.67 from 3 votes

Fruit Salad Recipe

This Fruit Salad Recipe is filled with delicious fresh fruit and topped with a lemony vanilla simple syrup as a dressing. Enjoy!
servings 6 servings
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes


8 cups of washed and cut up fruit such as:

  • grapes
  • clementines
  • raspberries
  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • blackberries
  • pineapple
  • apple
  • melon
  • sprigs of mint for garnish


  • In a small saucepan, bring water, sugar, and lemon peel to a light simmer until sugar has melted into the water completely.
  • Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  • Pour into a separate container and refrigerate to cool.
  • Cut up and prepare the fruit.
  • After 30 minutes, the syrup should be cool enough to work with. Drizzle over individual bowls of fruit and serve immediately OR pour syrup over a large bowl of fruit, stir to coat, cover and refrigerate until you're ready to serve.
  • Top with springs of mint leaves.


Nutritional Information is for the fruit salad dressing. This will overall vary depending on what fruit you use and how much of it you add.


Calories: 34kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Sodium: 1mg | Sugar: 8g
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: fruit salad, fruit salad recipe, how to make fruit salad

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Recipe Rating

25 Responses
  1. Jacqueline

    4 stars
    On the first section of the article, under “Main Ingredients”, you list “Zest of 1 lemon + vanilla extract– for flavor”. Then in the printable recipe card, it reads “zest of 1 lemon thick strips of peel” and the Instructions read ” bring water, sugar, and lemon peel to a light simmer….”. After cooking the syrup, it says to add in the vanilla but no zest is mentioned. When do you add the zest?

  2. Jacqueline

    5 stars
    Question on the lemon iingredient: in one place you mention, you only list “zest of one lemon”. Further on the recipe, you list “zest of 1 lemon thick strips of peel”. Did you mean to boil BOTH? or just the zest?

  3. Marilyn Brennan

    5 stars
    I took this salad to a graduation party and it was totally a hit! The lemon drizzle is just right (except my zest wasn’t zesty enough so I added about 1/2 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice. We just drizzled it on at the end and lift-stirred. Lots of really good comments! Thanks for this lifesaver.

  4. Healthy Recipes : Lemony Vanilla Fruit Salad. This salad is healthy and delicious. #laurenslates... - Fitness Magazine | Magazine numéro 1 fitness, mode de vie, santé, bien-être, workouts

    […] -Read More – […]

  5. Beth @ Eat Within Your Means

    “Now, it’s too late for me but SAVE YOURSELVES. {Name the show I just quoted and you get a virtual high five.}”

    Friends. The One on the Last Night. Phoebe gets trapped into helping Rachel pack and is trying to save the guys from being sucked in as well.


    Sweet pickles – gag. UR awsome.

  6. Angelyn @ Everyday Desserts

    omg, we share at least four of those pet peeves. but this fruit salad looks incredible! I love fruit salad!

  7. Sarah @ Will Run for Pasta

    Beautiful fruit salad!

    #1 pet peeve is when I hear “I could care less”, especially if it’s on TV or a movie. If you’re a writer you should especially know that it’s “I couldn’t care less” … the whole point is that you don’t care AT ALL, but if you could care less then that means you care a little bit. Ugh. Hate it. 😛

  8. Heather Carnell

    The quote is from Friends! Recipe sounds yummy and the photo is beautiful! Sweet pickles are gross and my pet peeves also include forty floors especially if you are in bare feet!

  9. Debbie

    Pumpkins STILL sitting on front porches. C’mon people, it’s January!!! And…women’s restroom toilet paper holders. Can’t find the start of the paper. grrr! I always leave some hanging for the next gal to find, just my little way of saying “you’re welcome missy”.

  10. Lisa

    Sweet pickles and those abbreviations!!! I’m right there with you. Oh yeah, mushy fruit, too. (truth be told, I don’t like cooked fruit at all.)

  11. beth w

    One of my pet peeves–melons in fruit salad. Often melons make up the majority of a fruit salad. While this one has some, it seems like a reasonable amount–not much, and in balance with everything else. That is all. 🙂

  12. Karen @ On the Banks of Salt Creek

    I hate my floors….and my counter tops. The previous owners of our farm didn’t seem to know my taste when they did this stuff. Just waiting for the money to replace ALL.
    Now this fruit salad looks awesome! I’m craving anything fresh.
    Thanx for the recipe.

  13. shannon

    My biggest pet peeves are WORDS!

    And also EXITS that are on the LEFT- highway or Wal-Marts!

    PS: your instructions on this beautiful salad say to “microwave.” I dont think you actually mean that!

  14. Cindi

    I’m pretty sure you meant refrigerate, not microwave! Talk about mushy. Ha. Maybe then you’d have a pet peeve about charbroiled fruit!

  15. Cookbook Queen

    Sweet pickles are terrible. My husband loves them but I forgive him for it because he gives good leg rubs. This fruit salad is gorgeous!