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Frog Eye Salad is a potluck classic and a family favorite around here. This weird-sounding but delicious dessert salad is made with acini de pepe pasta, pineapple, mandarin oranges, coconut, and marshmallows!

Do you love fun, vintage dessert salads as much as we do? Be sure to check out our Cottage Cheese Jello Salad, Easy Cranberry Fluff Salad, and Creamy Grape Salad!

An image of frog eye salad made with acini de pepe pasta, pineapple, mandarin oranges, pineapple, and whipped cream.

If you’re looking for a new side dish to bring to your next party and wanting something unique and tasty, check out this frog eye salad. It will turn heads, raise eyebrows and you’re less likely to be bringing the same dish as someone else because it seems like not many people know about this delicious dish these days even though it’s been around for decades!

This recipe is something we make year round. It’s just as good for holiday dinners as it is for summer barbecues and potlucks.

An image of bowls of frog eye salad.

What is frog eye salad?

Frog eye salad is a unique sweet pasta dish that combines whipped cream, fruits, marshmallows, and small pasta. It’s often served as a side dish for potlucks or barbecues and it may remind you of flavors similar to an ambrosia salad.

An image of a dessert salad made with acini de pepe pasta, pineapple, mandarin oranges, coconut, and marshmallows with whipped cream.

Frog eye salad is made using a small ball-shaped pasta called Acini De Pepe and if you’ve never had it, it looks a lot like couscous or tapioca. So don’t worry, no actual frogs were harmed in the making of this dish.

The small round shape and al dente texture of the acini de pepe pasta is where this dish gets its name because supposedly it makes people think of frog’s eyes. Which possibly turns some people off, but I always thought it was hilarious as a kid and would have extra helpings just because I thought it was delicious, funny, and fun to eat!

Some recipes take a shortcut approach to frog eye salad and just mix vanilla pudding with Cool Whip to create the sauce. But I think the from-scratch version is so much better and hardly any extra work.

The sauce is made using pineapple juice and sugar that is cooked and thickened slightly with an egg yolk and cornstarch. Then the cooked pasta is soaked in the sauce for a few hours to absorb some of the wonderful pineapple flavor before the other ingredients and whipped cream are added.

The results is a wonderful sweet dessert salad with an interesting texture and tropical flavors.

It goes with almost anything, but I’m especially partial to having it at barbecues with grilled chicken or burgers.

An image of a glass serving bowl full of frog eye salad.

How to make frog eye salad

  1. Cook the acini de pepe pasta in a pot of boiling water with 1 teaspoon of salt according to package directions. Drain in a fine mesh strainer, then rinse the pasta with cold water to stop the cooking process.
  2. Open, drain and reserve the pineapple juice from both cans of pineapple.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the reserved pineapple juice, sugar, egg yolk, salt, and cornstarch over medium heat. Whisk well and cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat just until slightly thickened. Then remove the pot from the heat and let it cool completely.
  4. Combine the cooled sauce and the pasta, stirring well. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
  5. Add in the crushed pineapple, pineapple tidbits, mandarin oranges, coconut, and marshmallows to the sauce and stir to combine.
  6. Whip the cream with the powdered sugar until soft peaks form, then add to the pasta and fruit, stirring to combine. Serve immediately, or refrigerate and serve chilled.

A collage showing how to make frog eye salad. An image of a large bowl of potluck frog eye dessert salad.

Can you freeze frog eye salad?

I don’t recommend freezing this dish. Everything kind of separates and it just isn’t nearly as good as when it is made fresh. For best results store it in the fridge.

How long is frog eye salad good for?

Like many dessert fruit salads, frog eye salad should be eaten within 2 or 3 days. The ingredients tend to separate and pool some liquid into the bowl after a day or so, but if you stir before serving it should come back together.

Keep it stored in an airtight or covered container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

An image of two bowls of acini de pepe frog eye salad in front of a large serving bowl.

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Frog Eye Salad
Yield: Serves 10

Frog Eye Salad

Frog Eye Salad is a potluck classic and a family favorite around here. This weird-sounding but delicious dessert salad is made with acini de pepe pasta, pineapple, mandarin oranges, coconut, and marshmallows!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 cup uncooked acini de pepe pasta
  • 1 (20-ounce) can pineapple tidbits, reserve juice
  • 1 (10-ounce) can crushed pineapple, reserve juice
  • 1 (15-ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Sauce

  • 1 cup reserved pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Instructions

  1. Cook the acini de pepe pasta in a pot of boiling water with 1 teaspoon of salt according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Drain and reserve the pineapple juice from both cans of pineapple.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the reserved pineapple juice, sugar, egg yolk, salt, and cornstarch over medium heat. Whisk well and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  4. Combine the cooled sauce and pasta and stir well. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
  5. Add the crushed pineapple, pineapple tidbits, mandarin oranges, coconut, and marshmallows to the sauce and stir to combine.
  6. Whip the cream with the powdered sugar until soft peaks form, then add to the pasta and fruit. Serve immediately, or refrigerate and serve chilled.

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