Home Desserts Easy Frog Eye Salad (Old-Fashioned Recipe)

Easy Frog Eye Salad (Old-Fashioned Recipe)

Ever tried frog eye salad? If not, you aren’t alone! I hadn’t either until recently. It’s not a traditional salad. It’s a cold fruit salad-like dessert or side dish. 

It contains acini de pepe pasta, pineapples, oranges, and whipped topping. The recipe also adds sugar, (optional) marshmallows, and coconut for extra sweetness. 

Creamy homemade frog eye salad with acini de pepe pasta, pineapples, oranges and mini marshmallows
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Frog Eye Salad 

You may be wondering how frog eye salad got its name. Don’t worry, the answer doesn’t involve actual frogs. 

The salad gets its name from the acini de pepe pasta in its ingredients. 

The pasta is tiny and shaped like little balls. A shape that, for some reason, reminded whoever named it of frog eyes. 

It’s not the most palatable name for a dish, but don’t let that stop you from trying it. It’s cool, creamy, fruity, and sweet. It’s refreshingly delicious. 


This salad contains a lot of good stuff!

  • Pineapples – You use both pineapple tidbits and crushed pineapples in the salad. Drain the cans, but DON’T discard the juice. You’ll need it. 
  • Sugar – Plain granulated sugar is fine. Some recipes call for a cup (or more), but I use 3/4 of a cup. Since I also add marshmallows and sweetened coconut, it doesn’t need as much sugar. 
  • Eggs – They provide liquid and flavor and help hold things together. 
  • Flour – All-purpose is fine. 
  • Salt – You need just a little to enhance the flavors of the other ingredients. 
  • Lemon juice – Like salt, lemon juice acts as a flavor enhancer for the fruits. It also helps cut through some of the sweetness. 
  • Acini de pepe pasta – Translated to “seeds of pepper” pasta, acini de pepe is small, round pasta made from durum wheat. If you can’t find it, check out the substitution section below. 
  • Mandarin oranges – Get the canned kind, not the fresh ones. Be sure to drain them before adding them to the salad. 
  • Whipped topping – Let it thaw before adding it. Or use regular whipped cream
  • Optional add-ins – I always add mini marshmallows and shredded coconut to the salad. Though optional, they add extra sweetness and enhance its texture. 
A bowl of frog eye salad with oranges, marshmallows and pineapple tidbits

Substitutes for Acini de Pepe 

Acini de pepe pasta isn’t typically hard to find. Most major grocery stores sell it. 

Still, if you can’t locate it, use pastini instead. It’s similarly sized and won’t throw off the recipe. 

It comes in many shapes, so find one comparable in size to acini de pepe.

You may also substitute the following: 

  • Fregola Sarda
  • Orzo
  • Couscous

How to Make Frog Eye Salad

Making frog eye salad isn’t difficult. Simply follow these steps:

1. Prepare. Set the frozen whipped topping out to thaw several hours before making this recipe. Then, gather and measure the ingredients. 

2. Drain the cans of fruit, reserving the pineapple juice for later. You can even prepare the pasta beforehand if desired. Follow the instructions on the package to cook it. 

3. Make the “custard” sauce. Combine and cook the pineapple juice, sugar, eggs, flour, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. 

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4. Whisk them together. Then, continue stirring until the mixture thickens and boils. Then, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring continually. 

5. After 2 minutes, remove the pan from the stove. Stir in the lemon juice and let the custard mixture cool, stirring occasionally. Set it aside. 

6. Finish the salad. If you didn’t pre-cook the pasta, do it now. Then, drain and rinse it in cold water. Mix it, the cooled custard, and all the fruit in a large bowl. Then, gently fold in the whipped topping and optional ingredients (if using). 

7. Chill and serve. Wrap the bowl in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours or longer. Then, serve the salad cold and enjoy! 

Cold fruit frog eye salad with oranges, pineapple and mini marshmallows

Make-Ahead and Storage Tips

Like most cold salads, frog eye salad is an excellent make-ahead recipe. 

  • To Make Ahead: Prepare the custard mixture and pasta. Combine them in one bowl and refrigerate them separately from the fruit. When you’re ready to serve, mix the fruit and whipped topping with the custard and pasta. Mix well and serve. 
  • To Store: If you’re making the dish ahead of time, it’s best to store the pasta/custard mix and the fruit separately. For leftovers, that won’t be an option. Simply transfer the salad to an air-tight container and pop it in the fridge for up to 4 days. 

More Fruit Salad Recipes

Here are some of my other favorite fruit salad recipes: 

Easy Frog Eye Salad (Old-Fashioned Recipe)

Course: Dessert, Side DishCuisine: American


Prep time


Cooking time


Refrigeration Time



This frog eye salad is easy, sweet, and timeless! It’s made with marshmallows, pineapples, oranges, and pasta. Serve it as a dessert or a tasty side!


  • 2 (20-ounce) cans pineapple tidbits in juice, drained (reserve the juice)

  • 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained (reserve the juice)

  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1 (16-ounce) package acini de pepe pasta

  • 3 (11-ounce) cans mandarin oranges, drained

  • 1 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows (optional)

  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut (optional)


  • Add the reserved pineapple juice, sugar, eggs, flour, and salt to a medium saucepan. Whisk them together briskly. Then, cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue until it thickens to a custard-like consistency and begins to boil.
  • Once the custard starts boiling, reduce the heat to low. Simmer it for 2 minutes, stirring the entire time.
  • Finally, remove the mixture from heat. Stir in the lemon juice and let the custard cool, stirring occasionally. Then, set it aside for later.
  • Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Once prepared, drain and rinse it with cold water.
  • Mix the prepared pasta, cooled custard, oranges, and pineapples in a large bowl. Once they’re well-mixed, gently stir in the whipped topping. Ensure it’s evenly distributed.
  • (Optional) Gently stir in the marshmallows and coconut.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours. (Overnight is best.)
  • Serve the salad chilled, and enjoy!


  • The reserved juice may not be enough. If necessary, add additional pineapple juice from a can or bottle. 
  • Make it sweeter. Increase the amount of sugar to suit your tastes. 
Frog Eye Salad

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author avatar
NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Insanely Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

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