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Easy Fabulous Fruit Salad with Orange Vanilla Bean Dressing

Fruit Salad with Orange Vanilla Dressing

Wow.  Ree Drummond has the best, and I mean the very best, Vanilla-Orange dressing for a fruit salad.  I. Wished. You. Could. Smell. THIS.  Wow. Just, Wow. It smells like you have been plopped down in the middle of an orange grove with a basket of vanilla pods. Wow.  You have to try this.  It’s so simple and so easy.  It’s basically a simple syrup flavored with orange juice instead of water.  I’ve made a few small changes, but this is classic Pioneer Woman at her (always great!) best.

This is so easy.  You just make the simple syrup by boiling the sugar, water, vanilla bean, orange juice and zest and you’re there.  Let it cool and pour over the fruit.

And speaking of fruit, let’s talk about what kind of fruit holds best for large group serving.

Successful Make Ahead Fruit Salad – All you need to to know:

Use the right fruit for your situation.

  1. These fruits should to be served within a hour of preparation: bananas, apples, kiwi.  The apples should be tossed with lemon juice regardless.
  2. These fruits can be served within 2 days of preparation: strawberries, pineapples, watermelon.
  3. These fruits can be served within 3-4 days of preparation: mandarin oranges (keep in the can until ready to serve), mangos, blue berries, grapes.

Obviously, this list depends on the condition of the fruits and veggies when you buy them. If something is in sad shape when you buy it, you can’t expect it to last a full week; use common sense and if something doesn’t look (or smell!) right, throw it out!

SIDE NOTE:  One of the best things I ate last summer was ice cold watermelon chunks.  We prepped a large batch of watermelon for a church Youth Conference, piled them on very large platters, covered them and for the next 2 days pulled them out to serve.  They were ice cold and WONDERFUL, but best of all they were just as good on day 2 (and even day 3) as day 1.


  1. Storing your fruit in a soupy lake of glaze or dressing will cause it to degrade quicker.  You’ll want to drain and reserve the glaze, refrigerating it in a separately covered container.
  2. Refrigerate the fruit, covered.


Know your Quantities


An average pineapple peeled and cored should produce about 4.5 cups of fruit


A quart of strawberries, hulled and quartered, is about 4 cups


One pint of blueberries should fill 2 dry cup measures—and should come right to the top of the pint container in which they are sold. Chances are, your pint will weigh about 12 ounces…give or take a little.



Seedless grapes weigh less on average than similar-sized grapes with seeds. When I measured my pound of seedless grapes it contained about 2.5 cups



Pin for Later

Fruit Salad with an Orange Vanilla Syrup

Or Make Now

Fruit Salad with an Orange Vanilla Bean Dressing
Fruit Salad with Orange Vanilla Bean Dressing
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
35 mins

This smells heavenly!   All fruit except bananas, kiwi and apples are a good choice for this fruit salad.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 22 (1 cup) servings
For the Dressing
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup orange juice juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest zest of 1 orange
  • 1 vanilla bean
For the Fruit
  • 2 quarts strawberries - sliced (8 cups total)
  • 2 pints blueberries 4 cups total
  • 2 (23.5 ounce) bottles mandarin oranges 5 cups total
  • 2 pounds green grapes 5 cups total
  1. Split vanilla bean and scrape out seeds. Put all dressing ingredients in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes. Let cool.
  2. While dressing is cooling prep the fruit. Wash the berries and grapes and hull and slice the strawberries.
MAKE AHEAD NOTE: Salad can be made to this point the day before. Store fruit and dressing separate, covered, in the refrigerator.
  1. When ready to serve toss fruit in a large bowl with the dressing.


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