If you are looking for the perfect easy frog eye salad recipe, you will love this version of the classic sweet side dish.
If you have never heard of a frog eye salad recipe, you are in for a treat and maybe a history lesson today.
This is one of those vintage dessert salads that got super popular in the 60s and 70s. I don’t think there was a holiday table set that didn’t have some version of a dessert salad then.
Luckily, these desserts-disguised-as-salads have stuck around so when you really want dessert as part of your main course, you have an option to eat this and then the official dessert too!
What is Frog Eye Salad?
It is a delicious, fluffy, sweet fruit salad with pasta. I know that sounds crazy. But it’s delicious.
It has classic citrus flavors using pineapple, mandarin oranges, all mixed in a delicious sweet custard with marshmallows, tiny pasta balls, and cool whip blended in.
Notice there are no frogs eyes included in this salad.
Why is it called Frog Eye Salad?
Now that you know there are no actual frog parts in the salad, you may be wondering about the name.
The tiny balls of pasta which are officially named Acini di Pepe, fill the bowl and look like tiny frog eyes in the salad.
Maybe a four year old named the dish. Maybe a fantastic aunt who wanted to keep the dessert salad to herself and watch the children squirm as she brought it to the table.
No one really knows the origin of the name, but whether you think the name is funny or choose to call it “acini di pepe salad” instead, you will love this tasty and fluffy dessert salad.
What ingredients do you use to make Frog Eye Salad Recipe?
- Cornstarch: this thickens the pineapple juice we use to make the custard
- White Sugar: we use sugar to sweeten the homemade custard
- Salt: even in dessert salads, salt makes everything else taste better
- Egg Yolks: this is the base for our homemade custard
- Pineapple Juice: use the juice from the pineapple cans, no need to get an extra ingredient
- Acini di Pepe: this pasta is tiny balls that will give the “frog eye” look and texture to the salad
- Crushed Pineapple in Real Juice (not syrup): it needs to be in real pineapple juice so we can use it to make the pineapple custard
- Pineapple Tidbits in Real Juice (not syrup): these are smaller pineapple pieces that blend into the salad and we use this juice for the custard too
- Mandarin Oranges: drain them and have perfectly sweet orange fruit to mix into the salad
- Cool Whip: be sure to thaw 2 of these in the fridge overnight so they are fluffy and soft enough to mix into the salad
- Miniature Marshmallows: soft, fluffy, and sweet they are the perfect addition to this creamy salad
- Coconut: Nutty coconut adds texture and flavor!
How to make Frog Eye Salad Recipe:
- Dissolve cornstarch in pineapple juice.
- Combine custard ingredients and heat until thick.
- Let the custard cool.
- Cook Acini di Pepe, drain, and cool.
- Combine pasta and custard sauce.
- Mix in fruit.
- Add cool whip and marshmallows and mix.
- Chill, mix, and serve!
Pro Tip: do not be scared of making your own custard. It tastes so much better than using a packaged option, and it’s not that much work. Cooking the egg into a custard is easier than you think.
Where did Frog Eye Salad originate?
No one has traced the official origins of this salad. But dessert salads rose to popularity in the 60s and 70s and even in different regional and religious communities.
One place to find a frog eye salad: mormon households (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). They have often served it at big gatherings so perhaps it originated in one of their kitchens.
Can you freeze Frog Eye Salad Recipe?
No. When this thaws, it gets extra runny and doesn’t mix as fluffy as the original recipe. Just make it fresh.
Can you use orzo for Frog Eye Salad Recipe?
If you do then, it’s not an Acini de Pepe frog eye salad.
Orzo is a smaller pasta that looks more like a flat grain of rice. Some people use it and like it.
But there are other options that will give you more of a “frog eye” look to your salad. Pastini are small star shaped pastas.
Or you can use couscous. Regular couscous will give you very small pieces, but pearl couscous will look almost exactly the same as acini di pepe pasta in the dish.
Is Frog Eye Salad ambrosia?
No. It’s really similar though.
Ambrosia salad does not include pasta. This recipe has acini di pepe pasta and a pineapple custard in addition to cool whip.
Do you make Frog Eye Salad with Tapioca?
No, tapioca isn’t found in this easy frog eye salad. Tapioca comes from the cassava root, and when it is harvested for tapioca, it becomes tiny balls.
Using the acini di pepe pasta mixed with cool whip and custard might remind you of tapioca.
But tapioca is gluten free and a root vegetable. The pasta in our frog eye salad recipe is a grain.
More Recipes with Fruit You’ll Love…
- Watermelon Mint Salad
- Cracker Barrel Fried Apples
- Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Chips
- Easy Cilantro Lime Rice
- Strawberry Fluff
- Snickers Salad
- Raspberry Pretzel Salad
- Vintage Lime Jello Salad
This creamy, fruity, fluffy dessert salad is the perfect side when you need something sweet on the table, and the name frog eye salad recipe is sure to make you laugh no matter when you eat it.
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 egg yolks, beaten
- 1 3/4 cup pineapple juice (from juice in pineapple cans)
- 1 box Acini de Pepe Macaroni
- 1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple in real pineapple juice (not syrup) drained, SAVE JUICE
- 1 (20 ounce) can pineapple tidbits in real pineapple juice (not syrup) drained, SAVE JUICE!
- 2 (15 ounce) cans mandarin oranges, drained
- 2 (8 ounce) containers of cool whip
- 1 (10 ounce) package mini marshmallows
- 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut.
- Drain pineapple cans and save the juice.
- In a small bowl combine cornstarch with 2 Tablespoons reserved pineapple juice. Mix well making sure cornstarch is dissolved.
- In a medium pot, combine sugar, salt, egg yolks, and 1 ¾ cup pineapple juice from cans.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture has thickened. Set aside and cool completely.
- Cook Acini de Pepe according to package directions.
- Drain and set aside to cool.
- Once sauce and pasta are completely cooled, assemble salad.
- In a large bowl combine pasta and sauce. Mix well.
- Add crushed pineapple, pineapple tidbits, mandarin oranges and mix well.
- Add in the cool whip, marshmallows and coconut and mix well.
- Chill 4 hours - overnight. Mix again before serving.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 151Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 101mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 1gSugar: 27gProtein: 2g