Marshmallow Salad is always fun - this Banana Split Fluff Salad takes it to a whole other level. Easy to make, doesn't melt like ice cream!
That creamy salad is not only a crowd favorite in general in his homeland - it’s an American classic - it’s pretty central to his childhood memories of holiday dinners and family gatherings.
He thinks it’s basically “food of the gods” (Well, I guess it IS a form of an ambrosia fruit salad), so I try to make it for his American Thanksgiving dinner.
It’s a simple dessert - Pudding mix, creamy cool whip, sweet pineapple, and fun mini marshmallows - that whips up in just minutes.
Beyond our Thanksgiving tradition, it’s a popular no bake dessert recipe in general, and a great addition to almost any holiday meal, or regular family dinner.
It’s as appropriate to serve as an Easter recipe as it is to serve at Christmas dinner, a summer barbeque, baby showers, or basically any special occasion.
Most importantly, using pudding flavours that are readily available to us, here in Canada!
One of the ideas I was most excited to see through to fruition was an ambrosia salad recipe based on a banana split theme.
Initially, this came up when listing off types of pudding we should have available - banana cream being one.
As it turns out, though... that’s ANOTHER one that’s hard to come by here!
Oh well. As it turns out, when designing this simple dessert recipe, I decided that vanilla pudding mix was a better option anyway.
Designing This Easy Fluff Salad
After all, banana splits have bananas, but don’t tend to be made with banana ice cream!
So, I chose a vanilla pudding base, and added vanilla extract to boost that flavour, making it closer to that of ice cream.
I kept the Cool Whip and crushed pineapple of the OG sweet salad, and added additional sweet fruit in the form of fresh banana and strawberry slices.
Toss in some mini chocolate chips and chopped peanuts, and you’ll have an easy dessert salad that is PERFECT for a backyard BBQ - even your most picky eaters will love it.
Toss it in a pretty bowl, and it’s a great last minute sweet side dish or delicious dessert for even a fancier occasion.
Whatever occasion you serve it for, it’s a great recipe and sure to become a family favorite!
This recipe uses really simple ingredients that should be available in most grocery stores. A few notes for you:
Instant Pudding Mix
Although this recipe started out by thinking up things I could do with the Banana Cream Instant Pudding Mix, I ended up basing it with instant vanilla pudding mix.
Banana splits aren’t generally made with banana flavoured pudding, after all!
White Mini Marshmallows
You can’t have a marshmallow salad with miniature marshmallows, after all!
I recommend using plain marshmallows, rather than the fruit flavored colorful marshmallows.
Regular mini marshmallows provide a more neutral flavour base, letting the other flavours in this old-fashioned marshmallow fruit salad shine!
This recipe uses both canned and fresh fruits.
As far as the fresh fruit goes, I use both fresh strawberries and bananas.
I had considered using frozen strawberries or strawberry pie filling, but ended up deciding against it.
IMHO, there were too many variables involved with frozen / filling (like added sugar amounts), and fresh berries tend to be more available, anyway.
I toss the banana slices with a bit of lemon juice to prevent browning.
You won’t taste the lemon, so long as you drain off the excess, rather than mixing it into the fluffy salad base.
Pineapple tidbits - or chopped up pineapple chunks - may also work, but I’m just used to using crushed pineapple, from making my husband’s pistachio fluff salad.
Didn’t want to deviate TOO far from tradition, after all!
I wouldn’t recommend using fresh pineapple, as I’m assuming it would completely break down the marshmallows.
Canned pineapple has been cooked, rendering the bromelain enzyme inactive. That enzyme breaks down the protein structure of gelatin - which is why you can’t use it in Jello.
(Or Papaya, for that matter. Different enzyme - papain - same deal. The more you know!)
Anyway, marshmallows utilize gelatin, so that’s why I haven’t even bothered with fresh pineapple in any of my fruit fluff recipes.
Finally, I like to have some maraschino cherries on hand, for garnish!
As I mentioned in the Pina Colada Marshmallow Salad post, there’s a bit of size difference when it comes to whipped topping sold in Canada vs the USA.
If in the USA, use an 8 oz tub. If in Canada, use a 1 L container.
Either way, thaw it in the fridge for a bit before using, for best results.
Rounding out this recipe, you will need:
Milk Chocolate Chips
Pure Vanilla Extract
Not really anything to add here.
Well, maybe that you may wonder about using vanilla extract when you’re already using vanilla pudding.
Vanilla pudding doesn’t taste like vanilla ice cream - adding vanilla extract boosts that flavour, and definitely makes the final fruit salad recipe taste more like an actual banana split.
How to Make Banana Split Fluff Salad
The full recipe follows in the recipe card at the end of this post, here is a pictorial walk through with step-by-step photos.
In a large bowl, whisk together the pineapple, pudding mix, vanilla extract, and salt..
Add the chopped peanuts and mini marshmallows, stir well to combine.
Fold in the mini marshmallows until evenly distributed.
Before serving, peel and slice the bananas. Place in a bowl, toss with lemon juice to fully coat the banana slices.
Add the strawberry slices to the mixture, gently fold to combine.
Leftover salad is best stored in an airtight container and served within 3 days or so.
More Gluten-Free Dessert Recipes!
Looking for even more fantastic gluten-free desserts that *everyone* will love? Look no further!
Easy Gluten Free Brownies
Gluten-Free Brandied Apple Crisp
Gluten Free Butter Tart Bars
Gluten Free Doughnut Holes
Gluten-Free Earl Grey Pie
Gluten Free Fruitcake
Gluten-Free Lemon Bars
Gluten Free Maple Pumpkin Pie
Gluten-Free Nanaimo Bar Brownies
Gluten Free Puffed Rice Bars
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Mini Doughnuts
Gluten Free Raspberry Bars
Gluten-Free Schmoo Torte
Gluten Free Sticky Toffee Pudding
Pina Colada Fluff Salad
Also, be sure to check out our collection of Gluten Free Cookie Recipes!
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Banana Split Fluff Salad
- 20 oz Crushed Pineapple NOT drained
- 3.4 oz Instant Vanilla Pudding mix
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Pinch Salt
- ½ cup Chopped Peanuts
- ½ cup Mini Chocolate Chips
- 8 oz Cool Whip Thawed (If in Canada, use the 1 L container)
- 4 cups Mini Marshmallows
- 3 Ripe Bananas
- 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 1 ¼ cups Sliced Strawberries
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the pineapple, pudding mix, vanilla extract, and salt..
- Add the chopped peanuts and mini chocolate chips, stir well to combine.
- Scoop the Cool Whip into the bowl, stir will to break it up and fully combine it into the pineapple mixture.
- Fold in the mini marshmallows until evenly distributed.
- Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
- Before serving, peel and slice the bananas. Place in a bowl, toss with lemon juice to fully coat the banana slices.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the banana slices to the bowl of marshmallow salad, leaving excess lemon juice behind.
- Add the strawberry slices to the mixture, gently fold to combine.
- Serve right away, or cover and chill until use. Best served within 3 days or so.
Mary Ann Wojtaszek
Looks delicious BUT there is a misprint in the recipe. Mini marshmallows is listed twice. By watching the video and reading entire text the 1/2 cup should be chocolate chips. Making for a baby shower
Whoops, you're right - fixed it!