With its minimal prep time and crowd-pleasing appeal, Grape Salad is the cool, crunchy, and surprisingly refreshing dish you want at your next gathering. Juicy grapes, crisp apples, and toasted pecans are coated in a luscious vanilla, cream cheese, and Greek yogurt dressing.
Sure, it sounds a little weird (kind of like Pineapple Casserole), but boy does it hit the spot!
If you’ve attended a potluck in the Midwest, you know we use the term “salad” pretty loosely around here.
Even items that would usually be green (like Pea Salad) look white, thanks to the plethora of mayo- and cream-cheese-based dressings.
While I will always be drawn to more vibrant, veggie-loaded salads (like Roasted Vegetable Salad), grape salad is an old-school recipe for which I have an exceptional weakness.
About this Grape Salad
Here are a few of the reasons why I love this creamy grape salad so much:
- Short Prep Time. This salad comes together in a hurry and can pair with a wide range of mains.
- Versatile. It’s an excellent last-minute side dish addition to brunch or even a family holiday spread. I’ve even seen it enjoyed as a dessert!
- Seasonless. This salad is accessible year-round, especially in the winter when the ingredients for a berry-forward Fruit Salad are out of season.
- Universally Appealing. The benefit of grape salad is its charm. While I may not know where grape salad originated (it’s a bit of a mystery), I’m very glad it did!
How to Make Grape Salad
Meet a healthy grape salad, Well Plated style!
- I make my grape salad without sour cream or marshmallow cream, opting instead for Greek yogurt, which provides the same creaminess and moderate tang.
- I also cut down on the sugar by…a lot. I add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon honey.
- By comparison, many original grape salad recipes (like Amish grape salad or the Pioneer Woman’s grape salad) call for 1 full cup, which I truly cannot imagine.
Today’s Southern grape salad recipe is made of nutritious ingredients and is still plenty sweet, I promise!
- Grapes. Thanks to this yummy salad, you’ll always know what you can do with excess grapes! Making grape salad is the perfect answer to a grape surplus. In addition to their delightfully sweet flavor and juiciness, grapes are rich in vitamins (like vitamin C), fiber, potassium, and antioxidants.
- Apple. While not traditional to grape salad, I love the burst of crispness that the apple provides.
- Cream Cheese. Cream cheese is rich, creamy, and instantly turns this dish into a crowd-pleaser. I opted to use low-fat cream cheese, which helps keep this salad on the lighter side.
Do not start the recipe until you have softened cream cheese. If the cream cheese is too cold, the dressing will be lumpy.
- Greek Yogurt. Adds further creaminess and a delightful tang. Plus, making this a grape salad with yogurt boosts the protein and calcium in this dish.
- Pecans. Toasted pecans add a nice crunch and nuttiness to the salad.
- Sugar. A little sugar is all that’s needed to give this dish sweetness.
- Honey. Not only does honey add extra sweetness, but it also adds wonderful flavor. Maple syrup would work well too.
- Vanilla. The somethin’ somethin’ that makes this dish truly addictive.
- Cinnamon. The warmth and spice of cinnamon complement the vanilla perfectly.
- Toast the pecans.
- Beat together the cream cheese dressing in a large bowl.
- Add the grapes, apples, and part of the chopped pecans.
- Stir. Finish with the remaining pecans and ENJOY!
- To Store. Refrigerate grape salad in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
Meal Prep Tip
Up to 1 day in advance, toast the pecans and beat the cream cheese mixture together. Cover and refrigerate the cream cheese mixture, and place the toasted pecans in an airtight storage container at room temperature. Stir the grape salad ingredients together and refrigerate up to 4 hours before serving.
Serve leftovers with crackers, crostini, or pita chips for an easy snack or over a bed of lettuce for a light lunch.
What to Serve with Grape Salad
You can eat grapes with a meal, especially when they’re served as a grape salad.
- Chicken. Creamy grape salad is delicious with Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders or a Shredded Chicken Sandwich.
- Crepes. For a scrumptious brunch, serve this recipe with Strawberry Crepes or Savory Crepes.
- Eggs. Another delightful brunch pairing is Egg White Frittata or Spinach Quiche with this salad.
- Casserole. Serve this recipe with Ham Casserole or Hash Brown Casserole.
- Other Salads. Enjoy this recipe with everything from Avocado Egg Salad to Chicken Pasta Salad.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Mixing Bowls. Mix and serve this easy grape salad recipe in one of these glass bowls.
- Whisk. A small whisk like this one helps avoid splashing.
- Baking Sheet. Ideal for toasting the pecans.
Whether today is your first time hearing about grape salad (welcome!), you vaguely recall it from a church potluck of yore, or you make it on the reg, I hope you give this lightened-up version a try soon.
It’s a refreshing take on a retro classic, one of the very best kinds of recipes!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! You can’t make this grape salad without cream cheese or Greek yogurt, but you can swap them for non-dairy substitutes. There are tofu-based cream cheeses and almond or soy Greek yogurts.
You can make this as a solely green or red grape salad recipe. If you’re unable to find either red seedless grapes or green seedless grapes, you can still make this recipe. Swap the color you have for the one you’re missing.
Yes, you can technically use frozen grapes to make this salad, though it is less recommended. The salad will be more mushy, however (frozen grapes get mushy when thawed). Let them thaw in the refrigerator before using them in the recipe and blot away any excess moisture with paper towels or a kitchen towel.
No. For ease, I typically choose to beat the cream cheese dressing with a hand mixer, but you could do it by hand if necessary. Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature.
While we choose to leave our grapes whole for this salad, you could cut your grapes in half if you prefer. This may be a good option if you’re making the grape salad for kids.
- 1 cup pecan halves
- 1 pound seedless red grapes about 2 1/2 cups
- 1 pound seedless green grapes about 2 1/2 cups
- 2 medium sweet-crisp apples such as Gala, Fuji, or Honeycrisp, diced (or an additional 1 pound mixed grapes)
- 4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese at room temperature
- 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey or pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the pecans in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Toast until golden and fragrant, about 8 to 10 minutes. DO NOT WALK AWAY. Nuts love to burn at the last second. Set aside to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, yogurt, sugar, honey, vanilla, and cinnamon until smooth and creamy.
- Place the grapes and apples in the bowl with the cream cheese. Roughly chop the pecans and add about 2/3 of them to the bowl.
- Stir to combine, using a big spoon to coat the fruit evenly.
- Sprinkle the remaining chopped pecans over the top. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate grape salad in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- TO MAKE AHEAD: Up to 1 day in advance, toast the pecans and beat the cream cheese mixture together. Cover and refrigerate the cream cheese mixture, and place the toasted pecans in an airtight storage container at room temperature.
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