Frog Eye Salad – Cookies and Cups


Frog Eye Salad is a sweet summer salad with fruit, custard, whipped topping, and pasta! It’s a texture and flavor delight, and is the perfect side dish recipe for your summer BBQ!

Make sure to try my delicious Ambrosia Salad and My Orange Cream Fruit Salad Recipe too!

frog eye salad in a bowl with mandarin oranges


Frog Eye Salad Recipe

Don’t worry there aren’t ACTUALLY frog eyes in this salad! In the world of unconventional dessert creations, Frog Eye Salad is definitely close to the top of the list. With its quirky name and unique blend of ingredients, this true potluck-style salad brings some creativity to the table at any summer BBQ, family gathering, potluck, or holiday celebration. Frog Eye Salad is a classic, dessert-style salad, a lot like ambrosia, that combines a variety of flavors and textures, and is a great option instead of a simple fruit salad.

What Is Frog Eye Salad?

Originally created in the 1960s, the name itself is derived from the small, round pasta used in the dish, resembling the little frog eyes. I’d say it’s a leap (no pun intended), but I guess you have to come up with a name…and when in doubt, get creative! 

The blend of textures is what makes this salad special. The pasta provides a soft and chewy element that contrasts beautifully with the creamy base made up of a homemade custard, whipped topping, and fruit. 

cooked ditalini pasta in a bowl

What Type Of Pasta Do You Use In Frog Eye Salad?

Most recipes that I have see over the years include Acini di Pepe Pasta, most commonly referred to as Pastina. These days, Pastina can be difficult to find, so I used Ditalini, which is readily available. But just note that you are free to use whatever type you can as long as they are round, if you want to stay true to the whole “Frog Eye” vibe. 

Frog Eye Salad Ingredients:

  • Fruit: Crushed Pineapple, Pineapple Chunks (aka Pineapple Tidbits), Mandarin Oranges
  • Dry Ingredients: Granulated Sugar, Kosher Salt, Cornstarch
  • Wet Ingredients: Pineapple Juice, an Egg Yolk
  • Pasta: Acini Di Pepe or Ditalini 
  • Add Ins: Miniature Marshmallows and Shredded sweetened coconut, Cool Whip

How To Make Frog Eye Salad:

Make the custard: In a small saucepan over medium heat whisk pineapple juice, sugar, egg yolk, salt, and cornstarch together. Cook this until it comes to a low boil and thickens up. Set it aside to cool while you prep the remaining ingredients. 

Cook the pasta: Simply boil the pasta according to the package directions, but don’t salt the water. Cook until al dente and drain and cool the pasta completely. 

Mix together the cooled pasta and custard. Refrigerate this and allow it to set for at least 2 hours, or overnight it great too. This step is great to do in advance. The pasta and custard will thicken, creating a nice base for the salad.

Assemble: In a large bowl, stir the pineapple chunks, crushed pineapple, mandarin oranges, coconut, and marshmallows in to the chilled pasta mixture until evenly combined. Fold in the cool whip and either serve immediately, or chill until ready to serve. 

Frog Eye Salad mixture in a blue mixing bowl before being chilled

Can You Make Frog Eye Salad In Advance?

This is a great salad to make in advance. You can prep the custard and pasta mixture in advance, or prep the whole salad in advance of serving. Simply store it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve!


There are some common ingredients that you see in variations of this salad recipe. Here are a few ideas for additional add-ins:

  • Maraschino Cherries
  • Sliced grapes
  • Chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts
  • Orange Zest or Lemon Zest to amp up the citrus vibe
  • Skip the homemade custard step and use Instant Vanilla Pudding
  • Use homemade whipped cream instead of Cool Whip if you prefer! 
Frog Eye salad in a serving bowl on a white dish towel

How To Serve Frog Eye Salad:

This is the ultimate BBQ summer side dish recipe. I love it in the warmer temperatures because of the tropical flavors involved like pineapple and coconut. However this works as an accompaniment to any holiday table, like Thanksgiving or Christmas.

How To Store:

Store any leftovers of this salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I don’t recommend freezing this salad.

Here Are More Summer Side Dish Recipes:


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Frog Eye Salad is a sweet summer salad with fruit, custard, whipped topping, and pasta! It’s a texture and flavor delight, and is the perfect side dish recipe for your summer BBQ!

  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup small pasta like acini di pepe or ditalini 
  • 20 ounce can pineapple chunks, drained 
  • 10 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 15 ounce jar mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 (8 ounce) container Cool Whip, thawed

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat whisk together the pineapple juice, sugar, egg yolk, salt and cornstarch until smooth.
  2. Cook until the mixture comes to a low boil and thickens slightly. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  3. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and cool.
  4. When everything is cooled completely, combine the pasta and the thickened sauce in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. 
  5. Once the pasta mixture has chilled completely, transfer it to a larger serving bowl. Stir in the pineapple chunks, crushed pineapple, mandarin oranges, coconut, and marshmallows until evenly combined.  
  6. Fold in the Cool Whip and serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.


You can also drain the pineapple and use the juices instead of wasting it. Just refrigerate the pineapple until ready to use.

Store up to 3 days airtight in the refrigerator

Keywords: frog eye salad, salad recipe, side dish recipe

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