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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!
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.
How to make frog eye 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 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.
- 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.
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.
More Barbecue Worthy Side Dish Recipes You’ll Love
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- 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
- Brown Sugar Grilled Pineapple
- 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
- 1 cup reserved pineapple juice
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 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 yolk, 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.