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!
You will love this Frog's Eye Salad
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.
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.
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.
What is in Frog Eye Salad?
- Acini de pepe pasta - There isn’t a really great substitute for this type of pasta, unfortunately. It’s what gives frog eye salad it’s signature look and texture for which it was named. You could get away with orzo pasta or toasted fregola if you need to though.
- Canned pineapple - You’ll want both crushed pineapple and pineapple tidbits or pineapple chunks for this frog eye salad recipe.
- Mandarin oranges - Canned mandarin oranges are perfect for this salad.
- Shredded sweetened coconut
- Marshmallows - Miniature marshmallows add a wonderful sweetness and soft texture to the salad.
- Heavy cream - Some recipes use a thawed container of Cool Whip but homemade whipped cream is so much better!
- Powdered sugar - To sweeten the cream.
- Pineapple juice - Reserve this from the cans of crushed pineapple and pineapple tidbits for the sauce.
- Egg - This helps thicken the sauce, adds richness, and gives it a silky texture.
- Cornstarch - For thickening the sauce. You can replace this with an equal amount of flour if you don’t have cornstarch on hand.
How to make Frogeye Salad
- 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.
- Open, drain and reserve the pineapple juice from both cans of pineapple.
- In a small saucepan, combine the reserved pineapple juice, sugar, egg, 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.
- Combine the cooled sauce and the pasta, stirring well. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Add in the crushed pineapple, pineapple tidbits, mandarin oranges, coconut, and marshmallows to the sauce and stir to combine.
- 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.
How to serve this Recipe for Frog Eye Salad
You will generally see frog eye salad served family style at picnics or potlucks in a large bowl, sometimes garnished with additional mandarin orange slices or maybe a pineapple wedge if you are being particularly fancy. You could also dish it up in individual dessert cups for a pretty presentation.
How to store Frog's Eye Salad
Can you freeze Frog Eyed 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.
Frog Eye Salad FAQs
I’m not a nutritionist and I rely on online nutrition calculator tools to determine nutritional info for recipes. You should do your own calculations for the most accurate results. That said, I estimate there are about 345 calories per serving of this salad if you divide it between 10 servings.
Frog eye salad gets its name from the acini de pepe pasta that some folks say looks like little frog eyes when cooked up and added to the salad. Some kids might be squeamish about the name itself, but I loved it as a kid and always thought it was one of the best things about going to a church potluck! You will always find me loading up my plate with another scoop of this tasty dessert salad!
More Barbecue Worthy Side Dish Recipes You’ll Love
- Deviled Egg Potato Salad
- Baked Beans
- Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
- BLT Pasta Salad
- Oven Roasted Barbecue Potato Wedges
- Bacon Green Onion Deviled Eggs
- Creamy Potluck Potatoes
- Oven Roasted Broccoli With Garlic
- Easy Creamy Corn Casserole
- Cilantro Lime Grilled Watermelon
More Dessert Salad Recipes
- Creamy Grape Salad
- Cranberry Fluff Salad
- Raspberry Pretzel Salad
- Coca Cola Jello Salad
- Cottage Cheese Jello Salad
- Fruit Salad with Marshmallows and Whipped Cream
- Orange Jello Salad
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Frog Eye Salad
- 1 cup uncooked acini de pepe pasta
- 20 ounces pineapple tidbits, reserve juice
- 10 ounces crushed pineapple, reserve juice
- 15 ounces mandarin oranges, drained
- 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
- 1 cup mini marshmallows
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup reserved pineapple juice
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg beaten
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 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.
- Drain and reserve the pineapple juice from both cans of pineapple.
- In a small saucepan, combine the reserved pineapple juice, sugar, egg, salt, and cornstarch over medium heat. Whisk well and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and cool completely.
- Combine the cooled sauce and pasta and stir well. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Add the crushed pineapple, pineapple tidbits, mandarin oranges, coconut, and marshmallows to the sauce and stir to combine.
- 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.
Reader questions and reviews
The recipe is a bit confusing as the list of ingredients for the sauce says 1 egg beaten, while the instructions say egg yolk.
I'm sorry! I fixed that typo!
I've had this before and I love it. I have family members that are allergic/sensitive to pineapple however. I was wondering what your thoughts were if I used something like raspberries and raspberry jam to replace it. Do you have any other suggestions?
That's a great question. Yes, I think you could replace the pineapple juice with another fruit juice or nectar and other fruit. I think I would try apricot, mango, peach, or guava juice or nectar first because anything really red like raspberry jam would discolor the pasta. Then to replace the pineapple tidbits and crushed pineapple, you could really do any fruits you wanted, but again, I think chopped canned apricots, mangoes, or fresh peaches would be good.
Can you use cool whip instead of heavy cream.
Can cool whip be used instead of whipping cream.