Colorful, sweet and refreshing, this EASY Tropical Fruit Salad recipe contains the perfect combination of fruits. It’s perfect for the summertime or to make any day feel a little sunnier. Make it for potlucks, holidays or as a make-ahead midweek dessert. This recipe is customizable and easily doubled, tripled or more for a crowd.
Brazilian Kitchen Abroad is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
Tropical Fruit Salad: The Ultimate Heathy Treat
Fresh fruit salads are a delicious treat all year long, but they’re especially refreshing on hot days during the summer months. They can make a great breakfast, side dish at a barbecue or potluck or even a healthy dessert.
Served in a pretty bowl, fruit salads are pretty to look at and can be a highlight of the party.
This recipe features a blend of my favorite tropical fruits — bananas, papaya, oranges, pineapple… and while they’re tropical, I’ve been able to find them easily in many parts of the world and nearly across all seasons, too.
That said, if there are any fruits you can’t find, don’t fret. Just substitute out the fruits you can’t find with ones you can find and like. Grapes, melons, and strawberries are great options. Easy fruit salads are wonderfully customizable… that’s one of their best features.
What are tropical fruits?
Tropical fruits are fruits that are grown in the tropical regions of the world. Many of them are shipped internationally, so they can be found all over the globe.
Examples of tropical fruits include bananas, papaya, pineapple, mango, passion fruit and more.
Ingredients and tools to make fruit salad tropical:
- Banana — choose bananas that have bright yellow peel with minimal spots. If the banana is too ripe (with lots of dark spots), it’ll turn to mush.
- Papaya — you know a papaya is ripe when the skin turns yellowy orange and is softer to the touch. In my experience, outside of tropical areas, you’ll typically find them still green in grocery stores and very hard to the touch. When that’s the case, I just purchase them green and wait for them to ripen at home.
- Mango — choose mangoes that have less green on the skin and are softer to the touch with just a little give. Also, ripe mangoes should smell sweet near the stem.
- Fresh pineapple — it should have a little give when you gently squeeze it. Also, it should smell sweet and pineapple-y at the bottom near the stem. The color of the skin should have less green and more yellowy golden tones.
- Kiwis — I know, they’re not a tropical fruit, but I wanted a pop of green and they provide good texture too. They are optional.
- Apple — not always tropical, but some varieties are! I used pink lady apples for this recipe, but fuji and honeycrisps are also a great options. They’re firm and they burst with flavor.
- Orange — use whatever type you can find and whichever is in season. In Brazil, our go-to is laranja lima – they’re smaller with green-ish skin and are so sweet!
- Orange juice — freshly squeezed for the freshest flavor.
- Lime juice — freshly squeezed, to toss the apples and bananas in to slow browning.
- Honey — I love using local honey.
- Fresh mint — optional, for serving.
Tools and equipment:
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
- Large bowl for mixing and serving
- Serving spoon
- Container to store leftovers
Tips for how to make fruit salad:
Every time I eat a fruit salad, I like to scoop an even amount of fruit into my mouth.
So, my two rules are:
Dice the fruit evenly. It doesn’t matter how big or small you want to dice it; just make sure all your fruit is roughly cut into similar sized pieces. That said, I recommend you work with smaller dice like 3/4″ to 1″. They don’t need to be perfect, just small so that you get a good colorful mix and a nice variety in a spoonful.
Think about proportions related to the overall amount of fruit in the bowl. I go with 1 cup of each of all the fruits, meaning you may get leftovers of some of the fruits, which you can freeze and throw in a smoothie later, make my mango salad dressing, etc.
To dress or not to dress?
While these tropical fruits can be easy to find outside of tropical countries because they’re shipped internationally (like the papaya, etc.), they sometimes aren’t as great as they’d be in a tropical country because they’re picked sooner to endure the trip and shelving.
As a result, this means they aren’t always as sweet.
So when I make this fruit salad in the U.S. or in Europe with imported fruit, I add a bit of honey to the orange juice to make a dressing that helps bring more sweetness to all the fruits.
When I make this salad in Brazil, I don’t make a dressing; I just add the orange juice, toss, and it’s ready to serve. The fruits we get in tropical areas are already so sweet and fresh, that the honey can be optional — of course, you can still add it if you want.
How to reduce browning:
Apples and bananas oxidize and turn brown after you cut them.
So I cut them last to limit their exposure, and immediately place them in a bowl separate from all the other fruit.
Gently toss them with some lime juice as this helps delay browning. This also helps these fruits “keep” longer as leftovers — especially the banana, which would otherwise turn into mush quickly.
I add these fruits last to the salad. However, I do not add the lime juice with them. Just discard that. Remove them from the bowl with a slotted spoon.
How to store leftovers:
Store leftovers in an airtight food storage container for 3-5 days in the refrigerator.
Serve this simple fruit salad with:
- Lots of fresh mint leaves — they add color, sweetness and a refreshing flavor to the salad.
- Passion fruit — make it more tropical, why don’t you! If you have access to fresh passion fruit, the edible seeds add a natural crunch and beautiful visual interest to the salad. Not to mention they bring in a delicious pop of sweet and tart flavor as well. I love it!
- Whipped cream — which I like to add a splash of vanilla and fresh orange zest to. Try it! It’s a very elegant and flavorful combo.
- Yogurt and granola — this makes a great breakfast.
- Coconut flakes — toasted or not, you decide.
- A dollop of table cream — creme de leite, as we do in Brazil. You can find table cream in the latin aisle of many grocery stores or on Amazon online.
Other fruity treats:
FOR MORE BRAZILIAN FOOD INSPO, BE SURE TO FOLLOW ME ON
Tropical Fruit Salad
- 1 cup apples, diced approximately one apple
- 1 cup bananas, diced approximately one large banana
- 1 cup pPapaya, diced approximately half a papaya
- 1 cup mango, diced approximately one mango
- 1 cup pineapple, diced approximately 1/4 pineapple
- 1 cup kiwis, diced approximately 3-4 kiwis
- 1 cup orange, diced approximately 3-4 oranges
- 3/4 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/4 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed one lime
- 2 Tablespoons of honey
- fresh mint optional, for serving
- whipped cream with orange zest and a splash of vanilla
- yogurt and granola
- coconut flakes
- Dice all the fruit into roughly the same size pieces.
- Add in all of the diced fruit to a large bowl except the banana and apple. Set those in a separate bowl. Set both aside.
- Squeeze the lime juice directly on top of the banana and apple. Toss to coat to slow the browning process, and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice and honey to create a dressing.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the banana and apple from the lime juice. Add to the bowl with the rest of the fruit.
- Pour the dressing over the fruit, and gently toss to combine.
- Serve with fresh mint and your favorite toppings or as is.