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5 Simple Dessert Salads for Thanksgiving (a Lighter Ending to a Big Meal)

Did you grow up eating your grandmother’s Watergate Salad? Try out these new dessert salads for Thanksgiving.

Move over Ambrosia and Watergate – there’s a new set of dessert salads for Thanksgiving family and friend gatherings.

two dessert salads side by side, text overlay "best simple dessert salads for Thanksgiving"

Show up to Thanksgiving and delight guests with these yummy, easy-to-make dessert salads (they’ll ask you for the recipe!).

Best Dessert Salads for Thanksgiving

Imagine gobbling down a full feast…and then wanting just a little something sweet and fruity.

Not a whole piece of pumpkin pie cheesecake, or chocolate lasagna. Just a little something.

That’s where these lovely, dessert salads come in!

Hint: you can make these salads a day or so ahead of time, but I would wait to fold in the fruit until before you serve it.

1. Cannoli Raspberry Dessert Salad

bowl with cannoli raspberry dessert salad on counter

Am I allowed to have a favorite? I think this one is it.

The raspberries along with the cannoli cream make this just delightful.

And it feels light – which is perfect for after a big Thanksgiving feast.

Serves: 3-4


  • 1 cup whipped topping (I used Cool Whip)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ cup cheesecake instant pudding
  • ¾ cup mini chocolate chips
  • ½ cup raspberries


Mix the whipped topping, ricotta cheese, cinnamon, and cheesecake instant pudding together.

Stir in the mini chocolate chips.

Fold in the raspberries right before you’re ready to eat it. Enjoy!

2. Peanut Butter Monster Dessert Salad

Peanut butter Monster dessert salad with M&Ms on top in bowl on counter

Here’s one for the kids!

I created this dessert salad based on the popular Peanut Butter Monster cookie – a recipe where you stuff in lots of fun ingredients like chocolate chips, M&Ms, butterscotch chips, and more.

Serves: 6


  • 4 cups whipped topping (I used Cool Whip)
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup M&Ms
  • 2 bananas


Mix the whipped topping and peanut butter until creamy. Mix in the chocolate chips and M&Ms.

Chop up the bananas. Fold them into the mixture.

3. Easy Fruit Salad (with Cottage Cheese)

light pink fruit dessert salad in glass bowl

I’m not a cottage cheese person…so I hesitated to try this recipe for a while.

But you know what? It’s soooo good. It’s the first dessert fruit salad I tried, and I couldn’t turn back.

Plus, I just blend the cottage cheese until it’s nice and smooth – delicious!

Hint: I used one can of mandarin oranges, and I think I could’ve definitely used two cans instead.

4. Apple Snickers Salad

apple snickers dessert salad in glass bowl

When I heard that someone had put apples and Snickers together in a dessert salad? I knew we had to try it.

My husband and I both enjoyed it – the only change I would make is we didn’t use granny smith apples like the recipe calls for (and I think it could’ve really used that extra tartness).

5. Cranberry Fluff Salad

Cranberries and Thanksgiving go together like turkey and gravy…amiright?  

I love that this dish makes cranberries the heart of another dish other than just jellied cranberry sauce (that’s what was always on our Thanksgiving table growing up).

What do you think – are you ready to try a new dessert salad tradition for this Thanksgiving?

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Amanda L Grossman

Personal Finance Writer and CEO at Frugal Confessions, LLC
Amanda L. Grossman is a writer and Certified Financial Education Instructor, Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Frugal Confessions. Over the last 13 years, her money work has helped people with how to save money and how to manage money. She's been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, LifeHacker, Real Simple Magazine, Woman's World, Woman's Day, ABC 13 Houston, Keybank, and more. Read more here or on LinkedIn.