Skip to Content

Frog Eye Salad (Old-Fashioned Recipe): A Nostalgic Treat for Any Gathering

I’ve included some videos below for those who prefer to watch rather than read.

Frog Eye Salad is a delightful, old-fashioned recipe that’s perfect for family gatherings or potlucks. This unique dish combines pasta with a sweet, creamy custard sauce, fruit, and fluffy whipped topping, creating a delectable treat that will have everyone asking for seconds.

To start, you’ll need to drain cans of fruit, saving the pineapple juice for the delicious custard sauce. The sauce is a mix of pineapple juice, sugar, eggs, flour, and a pinch of salt, cooked to perfection. Once thickened, it’s combined with cooked pasta and chilled to blend the flavors.

As the salad chills, the magic happens. The pasta absorbs the sweet custard, creating a dessert that’s both nostalgic and refreshing. You can mix in mini marshmallows or shredded coconut for extra texture and flavor, making this dessert a standout at any event.

Exact Ingredients (+ Possible Substitutes)

Here’s what you need to make Frog Eye Salad:

  • Acini de Pepe Pasta: This is the primary ingredient for the salad texture. Substitute: You can use couscous if you can’t find acini de pepe.

  • Pineapple Juice: Adds flavor to the custard. Substitute: Orange juice also works well.

  • Granulated Sugar: Sweetens the dish. Substitute: You can use honey or a sugar substitute like stevia.

  • Egg Yolks: Helps thicken the custard. Substitute: Cornstarch can be used if you want to make it egg-free.

  • All-Purpose Flour: This helps to thicken the custard too. Substitute: Cornstarch or gluten-free flour can work.

  • Crushed Pineapple: Adds sweetness and texture. Substitute: Fresh pineapple pieces can be used.

  • Mandarin Oranges: Provides a fruity taste. Substitute: Fresh orange slices make a great alternative.

  • Maraschino Cherries: Adds color and flavor. Substitute: Fresh cherries or even dried cranberries.

  • Mini Marshmallows: Adds a sweet, fluffy texture. Substitute: You can skip these if you prefer.

  • Whipped Topping: Makes the salad creamy. Substitute: Fresh whipped cream or even Greek yogurt for a different twist.

  • Shredded Coconut (optional): Adds extra texture and sweetness. Substitute: You can omit this or use finely chopped nuts.

With these ingredients and substitutes, you can adjust the recipe to your liking or based on what you have at home. Happy cooking!


  1. Cook the Pasta: Start by cooking the Acini de Pepe pasta according to the package instructions. Once cooked, drain and rinse it in cold water. Set it aside.

  2. Make the Custard: In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Add 1 cup pineapple juice, 1 egg, and whisk the mixture together. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Let it cool.

  3. Prepare the Fruit: Drain the canned pineapple and mandarin oranges, saving the juices. Chill the drained fruit in the refrigerator until ready to use.

  4. Mix Everything: In a large bowl, combine the cooled pasta, custard, and drained fruit. Gently fold in the whipped topping until everything is well mixed.

  5. Refrigerate: Wrap the bowl in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. This step is crucial to let all the flavors meld together.

  6. Serve: Serve your Frog Eye Salad chilled. If desired, fold in optional ingredients like miniature marshmallows or shredded coconut before serving. Enjoy!

Tips, Tricks & Storing

Try to cook the pasta just right. Acini de Pepe can get mushy if overcooked. A good idea is to rinse it with cold water once it is done. This will stop the cooking process.

Always chill your salad for at least two hours before serving. This helps all the flavors blend together nicely. If you have time, refrigerate it overnight.

Use fresh fruit juice for a better taste. You can use the juice from canned fruit, but fresh juice will make a difference. Pineapple juice is the most common, but you can mix it with others like orange juice.

Whipped topping can be tricky. Gently fold it in at the end to keep it light and fluffy. Be careful not to overmix it.

Storing your Frog Eye Salad is easy.

  • Transfer it to an airtight container.
  • It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to four days.

If you want to make it ahead of time and freeze it, don’t add the whipped topping until it’s thawed and ready to serve.

Feel free to make adjustments based on what you like. Add extra fruit, marshmallows, or even nuts for a crunch. Test different ingredients until you find your perfect match!

Recipe Variations & Serving Suggestions

You can make Frog Eye Salad in different ways to suit your taste. Here are some ideas to try:

Ingredient Variations

  • Fruit Choices: Instead of just pineapple, add mandarin oranges, grapes, or maraschino cherries.
  • Pasta Switch: Use couscous or orzo if you can’t find acini de pepe pasta.
  • Sweeteners: Replace granulated sugar with honey or maple syrup for a different flavor.
  • Dairy Alternatives: Use Greek yogurt instead of whipped topping.

Flavor Boosters

  • Zest it up: Add lemon or orange zest to the custard for a citrusy kick.
  • Spice things up: Sprinkle in a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg.

Serving Suggestions

  • Chilled Delight: Serve your Frog Eye Salad cold. The flavors meld together better.
  • Party Ready: Top with extra fruit slices and a sprig of mint for a party presentation.
  • Kid-Friendly: Add mini marshmallows or colored sprinkles to make it more fun for kids.

Storage Tips

  • Keep leftover Frog Eye Salad in an airtight container in the fridge. It stays good for about 3-4 days.
  • Stir before serving to refresh the texture.
Benjamin Happy Muncher

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.