This fresh fruit salad with bright honey lime dressing has been my go-to brunch side for years. It's perfect for a large group, and a great choice to balance out the richness of a heavy brunch special occasion menu.
And then somewhere deep into the pandemic, I discovered that one could make Honey Lime Fruit Salad for a Crowd Recipe...and eat it all themselves. So I would make this summer fruit salad early Saturday morning, and my husband and I would spend the next two hot days eating so much fruit salad. Healthy breakfasts, anyone? Yes, please! Healthy side dish for quiche? Pass the delicious fruit salad! Healthy dessert? Chopped fruit salad for me!
So the moral of the story is...It's fruit salad for a crowd, or it's fruit salad for two people desperate for season 2 of Ted Lasso to start and year 2 of the pandemic to end.
Either way, file this one under best fruit salad recipes of all time. Because every time I eat it, "I feel like we fell out of the lucky tree and hit every branch on the way down, ended up in a pool of cash and Sour Patch Kids." Thanks, Ted. Me too, buddy.
What you need to make this Honey Lime Fruit Salad
Step by step instructions:
Start by preparing the fruit. I use a combination of melons, apples and grapes in this recipe, but it is a matter of personal preference. Honeydew melon is not to be found in Portugal - but they do have this oblong green melon, appropriately called "green melon" that I find to be much more consistently sweet than the honeydews of my youth.
Cut melons and apples into a small dice - about ½ inch. Cut grapes into halves or quarters, depending on size. Add all of the fruit to a large bowl or serving dish.
The finer dice of the fruit is part of the appeal of this salad. The honey lime dressing is magic, but grabbing a bite of the dressed fruit salad with a piece of grape, apple, watermelon and pink lady apple all in one bite? Transcendent.
Next, prepare the honey lime dressing. Zest limes, then juice, aiming for ¼ cup fresh juice.
Add honey to lime juice and microwave for 1 minute, stir to ensure honey is dissolved. Add vanilla and pinch of salt. Taste the dressing and adjust seasoning.
Pour cooled dressing over fruit bowl and toss.
Garnish with fresh mint leaves. Refrigerate for 20 minutes before serving.
FAQs and Tips
Those plastic buckets of cut fruit (usually mostly melon) in the produce section of your grocery store are a great starting point and make this one of the best easy fruit salad recipes you'll find. I still encourage you to dice the prepared fruit chunks into finer pieces - around ½ inch. Throw in some red grapes and a few diced pink lady apples (the undisputed most delicious apples of all time) and you'll have a huge hit on your hands.
This recipe makes 12-14 servings with a ¾ cup serving size. It is easily doubled (just hit the 2x button in the recipe card below).
What other fruit combinations can I use?
This is one of the best fresh fruit salads precisely because it is so adaptable and the honey lime dressing can take on various types of fruits and make them all even more delicious. A few different fruits and combinations I've tried and enjoyed include mandarin oranges, bananas, fresh pineapple chunks and kiwi; and fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, apples, red seedless grapes and cantaloupe. Almost any type of fruit you love can work in this salad.
I don't care for lime - can I use another citrus fruit?
Lemon zest and fresh lemon juice would be the most direct substitute, but orange zest and orange juice would work beautifully, and even pineapple juice. Choose the fruit juice that works best with your favorite fruits and it is sure to work in this fresh fruit salad recipe.
Yes! Try it...you'll like it. Or don't. It's still delicious when it's mint-free.
Can I use a sweetener other than honey?
Pure maple syrup would work well as a substitute for honey in this recipe. Sugar or stevia could also be used to make a lime simple syrup for dressing the salad. Start with a tablespoon of the alternate sweetener and taste and adjust from there. The kind of fruit you choose for your rainbow fruit salad will also drive how much sweetener you need. Sweet fruits like green grapes and ripe melons may require less sweetener, so you will always get best results if you taste and adjust as you go.
Can I use frozen fruit for this honey lime fruit salad?
I've never made this recipe using frozen fruit, but would recommend allowing the fruit to thaw in a sieve to remove as much excess water as possible before dressing the fruit. With frozen fruit, I would also recommend making just enough for your crowd to eat the day of the making.
Can I use canned fruits for this salad?
I've never made this recipe using canned fruit. Fruit cocktail (and especially those maraschino cherries in the canned fruit cocktail) were a much-loved part of my childhood, so let me know if you try it!
What can I serve with this simple fruit salad with honey lime dressing?
It is one of the best fruit salads to bring to a wedding or baby shower, brunch with friends or family holiday morning breakfast. It's delicious as a counterpoint to a savory Smoked Salmon Quiche. And it checks the vegetarian recipe and healthy recipes boxes when you're serving something rich and decadent (hello, stuffed French toast). Healthy fruits, people! Excellent source of fiber! Colorful salad!
To store leftovers, wrap tightly with plastic wrap or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Fresh fruit salad isn't something you want to leave outside during the summer months or at your Labor Day BBQ. Keep it refrigerated until it's time to serve, then back into the fridge within 30 minutes to keep it fresh for when the crowd goes home and you can polish it off while standing alone in the kitchen and straight out of the mixing bowl.Print