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Easy Fabulous Fruit Salad with Orange Vanilla Bean Glaze

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.  To ensure it coats the fruit well, I’ve thickened up the syrup.   Even with my few small changes, 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, orange juice and zest and you’re there.  Remove from heat to add the vanilla bean, 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.

Easy Fruit Salad for a Large Crowd

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

  1. These fruits should to be served within a hour of preparation: bananas, kiwi.
  2. Apples and pear slices can be soaked for 10 minutes in a salt solution made from half a teaspoon of Diamond Crystal kosher salt dissolved in one cup of cold water.  After 10 minutes, drain them, pat dry or cover and refrigerate.  They will hold up to 2 hours this way.  When you’re ready to use them, a quick rinse under cold running water completely washes away any traces of salt.   This allows you to enjoy a fresh-tasting and good looking apple, well after it’s originally cut.
  3. These fruits can be served within 2 days of preparation: strawberries, pineapples, watermelon.
  4. 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 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.

NOTE:  If serving as one of several side dish items, most people will only take 1/2 cup and this should easily serve 35 - 40 people.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 22 (1 cup) servings
For the Dressing
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup orange juice (juice of 1 orange)
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest (zest of 1 orange)
  • 1 vanilla bean , seeded
For the Fruit
  • 2 quarts strawberries - sliced (8 cups total)
  • 2 pints blueberries 4 cups total
  • 2 (23.5 ounce) bottles mandarin oranges - thoroughly drained (5 cups total)
  • 2 pounds green seedless grapes 5 cups total
  1. In a small saucepan, add the sugar and water. Zest the orange over the saucepan. Then split the orange and juice the orange to produce about 1/3 cup of orange juice. Add orange juice to the saucepan and stir to combine.  

  2. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes to thicken.  While dressing is cooking, split vanilla bean and scrape out seeds. When dressing is done cooking remove from heat and stir in the vanilla seeds then store dressing in the refrigerator until cold. 

  3. Meanwhile, prep the fruit:  Wash the berries and grapes and hull and slice the strawberries.  Thoroughly drain the mandarin oranges.

MAKE AHEAD NOTE: Salad can be made to this point the day before. It's very important to store fruit and dressing separate, covered, in the refrigerator.
  1. When ready to serve, place fruit in a large bowl. Drizzle the dressing evenly over the fruit.  If necessary, thin dressing by adding 1 - 2 tablespoons juice or water.  Gently toss to coat all fruit.


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Want a wonderful ooey-gooey, saucy, savory Freezer Meal Sandwich Recipe? These little meatballs are baked in the oven, heated with a great time-saving spaghetti sauce, and place on a crunchy hoagie roll slathered with garlic butter and melty Provolone cheese! And you have a Fan-‘freakin’-tastic sandwich (to quote Jeff).

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You’ll love this Delicious Easy Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole. They don’t get any quicker or easier than this! The great thing about this dish is that it comes together easily in 20 minutes night before and is simply the best Breakfast Casserole I’ve ever had. It’s the perfect Breakfast Casserole for your Crowd this holiday season. I’ve also included a smaller version which serves 12.

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If you’re looking for a healthy recipe for your family but are tired of salad, these Pork & Ginger Lettuce Wraps are for you. They are really easy and really fast, on the table within 30 minutes from start to finish. But the best part of all is they are REALLY good! Whip up a batch for your family this week, they’ll LOVE them.


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