Creamy Fruit Salad with Coconut Dressing

Fruit Salad with creamy coconut poppy seed dressing

Creamy Fruit Salad with Coconut Dressing ~ it’s  grandma’s potluck classic spiffed up and brought into the 21st century with a non-dairy vegan coconut lime dressing, and trust me, you won’t miss the marshmallows, the sweetened condensed milk, the instant pudding, or the Cool Whip one bit!

Pouring dressing on top of fruit salad.

Fruit salads are one of the best perks of warmer weather. You make them when you start to amass those inevitable leftover bits and bobs that just magically accumulate in the kitchen. A few berries, a last sprig of grapes, a stray orange and kiwi, half a pineapple…and all of a sudden you’ve got yourself the makings of an epic salad.

If you ask me the best fruit salads should have tons of variety, here’s what’s in mine ~

  • three varieties of melon (watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew)
  • four kinds of berries (blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries)
  • two citrus fruits (orange and grapefruit)
  • two types of grapes (black and red)
  • mango, passionfruit, kiwi and pineapple

and I could have kept going, what about apples, peaches, plums, pears, cherries, apricots…

Fruit salad dressed with a creamy coconut poppy seed dressing in a glass bowl

I like to try to keep small berries whole, and keep the rest of the fruit chopped or halved, in the same size, if possible. It makes the salad look harmonious and makes it easier to eat.

Benefits of a non-dairy creamy coconut fruit salad dressing ~

  • your lactose intolerant and vegan friends can dig in.
  • you can use tropical fruits like papaya, kiwi, and pineapple (some of my favorite fruit salad ingredients!)  They contain an enzyme called bromelain that interacts with dairy ingredients and results in a bitter taste, so you can’t combine them with dairy products like milk, condensed milk, or yogurt.
  • you’ll get a tropical flavor boost from the coconut milk that’s so refreshing in warm weather.
  • this dressing is healthier than classic creamy fruit salad dressings made with artificial ingredients like instant pudding and whipped topping.

Fruit salad with creamy coconut poppy seed dressing in a glass bowl

I’ll look the other way if you want to spike your salad with some rum. Then you’d basically have a piña colada fruit salad!

Pouring dressing on a creamy fruit salad

Fruit salad in a glass bowl

tvfgi recommends: tall sided glass serving bowl  

tall sided glass dish

Take a note from food stylists and bloggers, this type of dish is fabulous because it showcases the colors and textures of a dessert or salad. It’s one of those pieces that I don’t use every week, but I’m so glad I have stashed away. I couldn’t pull off my Layered Rainbow Salad without it, and I also used one for my Spicy Thai Spaghetti Salad.  It’s wonderful for any summer pasta or potato salad that will be on display. (It can stand in for a trifle bowl, too.)

Click on the photo for more info.

Fruit salad dressed with a creamy coconut poppy seed dressing

Tips for making and transporting fruit salad with creamy coconut dressing ~

  • Fruit salad is a beautiful thing, but it doesn’t keep well. It’s a fact and we’ve got to deal with it.
  • Make your dressing ahead, but cut and assemble your fruit salad as close as possible to when you want to serve it.
  • If you need to transport your salad, keep it well chilled, and plan to dress it on site, just before serving, otherwise the dressing will get watered down.
  • Make extra dressing to serve alongside the salad if you like.
  • Resist the temptation to add bananas to your salad, they don’t keep well.
Fruit salad in a glass bowl
3.74 from 49 votes

Creamy Fruit Salad with Coconut Poppy Seed Dressing

Creamy Fruit Salad with Coconut Dressing ~ it's  grandma's potluck classic spiffed up and brought into the 21st century with a vegan coconut lime dressing, and trust me, you won't miss the marshmallows, the mayo, or the Cool Whip one bit!
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Author Sue Moran


6 cups total:

  • melon watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew peeled and chopped
  • berries blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries
  • citrus fruit orange and grapefruit supremed
  • grapes black and red whole or sliced in half
  • mango peeled and chopped
  • passionfruit peeled and chopped
  • kiwi sliced and cut into wedges
  • pineapple peeled and chopped


  • 1 can full fat coconut milk you can also use coconut cream which is thicker and richer
  • juice of 1 lime if your lime is very dry you might need more
  • 2 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 Tbsp sugar or honey or to taste


  • In a large mixing bowl combine all the fruit.
  • If you are using coconut milk open the can and carefully drain off 1/4 cup of the clear liquid. Put the remaining coconut milk in a small bowl with the sugar, poppy seeds, and lime juice. Blend well with an immersion blender. You can also use a whisk, but I like the texture you get from blending. Take a taste. You may want to add more lime, or adjust the sweetener.
  • If you are using coconut cream measure out about 2/3 cup and proceed as above.
  • Gently toss the salad with plenty of dressing and serve asap.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

More fruit salads to try ~


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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Debbie Martin
    April 1, 2022 at 9:53 pm

    This sounds great. I will make it for Easter dessert. What can I substitute for poppy seeds? I’m not crazy about them.

  • Reply
    April 17, 2020 at 5:29 am

    5 stars
    How about using chia seeds instead of poppy, do you think it would still work?

    • Reply
      April 17, 2020 at 7:49 am

      I just worry that the seeds would thicken the dressing, but I guess it should work once tossed together with the fruit.

  • Reply
    Tricia | Saving Room for Dessert
    June 6, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    This is just the recipe I’ve been looking for! Summer isn’t the same without a delicious fruit salad and this will be the next one I make!

  • Reply
    Monique Domian
    June 5, 2019 at 9:42 am

    You always come up with such beautiful and unusual salads! You’re so creative!!

    • Reply
      June 5, 2019 at 9:49 am

      Thanks Monique!

  • Reply
    June 5, 2019 at 8:18 am

    Such a beautiful and colourful fruit salad! I love that full fat coconut cream dressing!

    • Reply
      June 5, 2019 at 8:55 am

      Just give me that and a spoon and I’m a happy camper!

  • Reply
    John / Kitchen Riffs
    June 5, 2019 at 7:16 am

    Fruit salad is wonderful at this time of the year. This is such a terrific looking dressing — loaded with flavor. Thanks!

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