Creamy Grape Salad with Vanilla Yogurt Dressing

Grape Salad is the EASIEST “salad” you will ever make with only 5 minutes of prep!

Creamy Grape Salad is an intoxicating blend of juicy, fresh grapes enveloped in luscious yogurt cream cheese dressing sprinkled with brown sugar and pecans.  It is wonderfully easy and positively addicting.  It’s sweet and creamy, cool and refreshing and so good I was eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner because the cravings would.not.stop.  It keeps fabulously well, is make ahead friendly and can be served as a side dish OR dessert, and will be a hit at all your summer potlucks.

up close of best grape salad with brown sugar and pecans

Easy Grape Salad

I am so sad I ran out of time to post this fabulous Grape Salad before Memorial Day – so that means you are going to have to make it for the 4th of July – and many times in between now and then.  It’s as equally delicious as it is easy with ZERO fruit chopping!  When was the last time you made a salad with no chopping?!  You do have to chop the nuts, but that’s it!

But don’t let the simplicity fool you, this Grape Salad is about to become a new begged for, in-demand, light and refreshing summer favorite.  And your favorite too because it’s the 5 minute answer to “what should I bring for?” graduation parties, pool parties, 4th of July, Father’s Day, barbecues or simply ANY potluck you’re invited too!

top shot of creamy grape salad in a metal bowl with chopped toasted pecans

What is In Grape Salad?

If you haven’t heard of Grape Salad before, it’s a Midwest staple – and it’s a staple for a reason.  There are many variations on Grape Salad but they all include this base with variations on measurements:

  • Cream cheese
  • Sour cream (I’ve subbed vanilla yogurt)
  • granulated sugar (I use less)
  • vanilla extract (I omit because of vanilla yogurt)
  • grapes (red and/or green)
  • brown sugar
  • pecans or walnuts

I was a little skeptical the first time I was making Grape Salad but OH MY YUM, it is amazing.  The cream cheese, vanilla yogurt, and sugar whip together to create a cheesecake-like dressing that is sweet, rich and creamy with a slight tang.  The dressing is decadent but light at the same time and the perfect compliment to the sweet, chilled crisp grapes.  And my favorite part – the grapes NEVER get soggy, just better with time!

up close of best grape salad with brown sugar and pecans

Grape Salad with Yogurt Dressing

In my Grape Salad research, I was surprised to find all the popular recipes I looked at used sour cream instead of vanilla yogurt.  When you look at the ingredient list, however, sour cream + sugar + vanilla extract = sour cream that tastes like vanilla yogurt.  It just made sense to me to swap out the sour cream and vanilla extract for vanilla yogurt and use less sugar and the results were as sensational as I expected because vanilla yogurt alone is one of the most delicious, silky, sweet foods on the planet.  I used nonfat vanilla yogurt and couldn’t tell a difference in the dressings thick, silky creaminess.

Using vanilla yogurt also makes me feel slightly less guilty about devouring this Grape Salad at any hour of the day and at any quantity because I can inhale a huge bowl of  in one sitting. And I have.  And will. And want to right now.

showing how to make grape salad by beat cream cheese, sour cream and sugar until smooth in a glass bowl

HOW MANY CUPS ARE IN A POUND OF GRAPES?

For this Grape Salad recipe, we use 4 pounds of grapes.  1 pound of seedless grapes contains about 2.5 cups of grapes so you will need want 10 cups of grapes for this Grape Salad Recipe.

What Grapes are best for Grape Salad?

Did you know there are over 10,000 varieties of grapes in the world?  So while you can make an all red grape salad or all green grape salad, I prefer to use at least 2 of the grape varieties in the world and use half red grapes and half green grapes.

Feel free, however, to use whatever SEEDLESS grapes you find at your grocery store from white grapes to tiny champagne grapes to witch fingers grapes.  Using a variety of grapes will not only make for a colorful, beautiful salad but will add varying textures and sweetness.

up close of green and red grapes for Grape Salad

HOW DO I MAKE GRAPE SALAD?

It does NOT get any easier!

  1. Wash and thoroughly dry grapes. Remove stems.

Make sure grapes are completely dry so they don’t water down the dressing and cause the dressing to not cling properly to the grapes.

2.  Beat cream cheese, vanilla yogurt, granulated sugar, and lemon juice until smooth.

To soften cream cheese, place block (WITHOUT foil) on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high for about 15 seconds.

Showing how to make grape salad by adding cream cheese, yogurt and sugar to a glass bowl

3.  Add cream cheese dressing to grapes and fold in grapes until evenly coated.

pouring cream cheese dressing over grapes showing how to make grape salad
mixing grapes with cream cheese yogurt dressing showing how to make easy grape salad

4.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, preferable overnight

5.  Just before servings, sprinkle with brown sugar and pecans.

How long do you CHILL GRAPE SALAD?

You will want to chill your Grape Salad for at least one hour but chilling overnight is highly preferable.  Chilling promotes flavor melding and allows both the grapes and the dressing to chill for far superior taste.  The grapes stay fresh and crisp and just get cooler AKA better the longer the salad chills.

I love that you can make this Grape Salad ahead of time for the perfect stress free potluck or dinner side AND that it actually tastes better the longer it chills.   There are very few salads, like my Italian Pasta Salad with Tortellini that stay fresh and ALL the ingredients taste better the next day.

creamy grape salad in a silver bowl with brown sugar and pecans with cream cheese dressing

How to Customize Grape Salad

I find this Grape Salad recipe perfect in it’s simplicity but there are also endless possibilities to customize your Grape Salad.  Here are just a few ideas:

  • Grape Salad with shredded cheddar (like Paula Dean’s)
  • Grape Salad with toasted walnuts
  • Grape Salad with Slivered almonds
  • Grape Salad with toasted coconut
  • Grape Salad with strawberries
  • Grape Salad with blueberries
  • Grape Salad with pineapple
  • Grape Salad with Snicker
  • Grape Salad with Butterfingers

HAPPY EATING!

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up close of best grape salad with silver tongs
creamy grape salad in a silver bowl with brown sugar and pecans with cream cheese dressing

Grape Salad

Grape Salad is the EASIEST “salad” you will ever make with only 5 minutes of prep!  Its an intoxicating blend of juicy, fresh grapes enveloped in lusciously creamy yogurt dressing sprinkled with brown sugar and pecans that is wonderfully easy and positively addicting.  It’s simple, sweet and creamy, cool and refreshing and so good I was eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner because the cravings would.not.stop.  It keeps fabulously well, make ahead friendly and can be served as a side dish or dessert for all your summer potlucks. 
Servings: 12 -16 servings
Total Time: 6 mins
Prep Time: 5 mins

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Ingredients

  • 8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt nonfat is fine
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 pounds green grapes rinsed and patted dry stems removed
  • 2 pounds red grapes rinsed and patted dry stems removed
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

  • Beat cream cheese, vanilla yogurt, granulated sugar, and lemon juice until smooth.
  • Fold in grapes until evenly coated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, best if overnight.
  • Just before servings, sprinkle with brown sugar and pecans.
  • Salad keeps beautifully for 5 days.

Notes

  • You will need 10 cups of grapes for this recipe.
  • You can use any of combo of seedless grapes from all red or all green to half red and half green or a mixture of other varieties of SEEDLESS grapes.
  • Dry your grapes thoroughly so they don’t water down the dressing
  • You can customize how much sugar you use in this recipe to suit your own taste and the sweetness of your grapes.
  • I used non fat vanilla yogurt and full-fat cream cheese. If you want to use less fat cream cheese, just be aware your dressing might be runnier.

You can customize your Grape Salad with any of the following ad-ins:

  • shredded cheddar (like Paula Dean’s)
  • toasted walnuts
  • slivered almonds
  • toasted coconut
  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • pineapple
  • Snickers
  • Butterfingers

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16 Comments

  1. Kat Baker says

    This looks so good and refreshing, I cannot wait to try it! (Just a heads up, I think there might be a boo-boo at the top of the article about the amount of grapes needed. It says,”For this Grape Salad recipe, we use 4 pounds of grapes. 1 pound of seedless grapes contains about 2.5 cups of grapes so you will need want 10 POUNDS of grapes for this Grape Salad Recipe”.) 🙂

    • Jen says

      I think you will LOVE it! Thanks for the heads up – that’s what I get for rushing to post before leaving the country! Thanks, all fixed!

  2. Rachel says

    Did you mean 10 CUPS of grapes in the first paragraph—not 10 POUNDS?

    • Jen says

      Absolutely, thank you for catching that!

  3. Trisha says

    Wow. I have never heard of grape salad. Sounds amazing! I love fruit salads but this sounds way easier without all of then fruit chopping. Thanks for posting!

    • Jen says

      You are so welcome Trisha, I am SO excited for you to make this – it is SO good and SO easy!

  4. Joyce says

    Am I missing the amounts for the ingredients other than the grapes? How much yogurt, sugar, etc.

    • Jen says

      Yes, the entire recipe ingredients and instructions are listed in the recipe.

  5. Aline says

    Have made this several times now and it is always a hit with everyone. So easy and delicious.

    • Jen says

      Thank you for taking the time to comment Aline, I’m so pleased to hear it’s a repeat fav!

  6. Pat says

    Best Creamy Grape Salad gets a big thumbs up. Easy to make and loved by everyone. I was making it so often that I tried changing it a little and used coconut yogurt in place of the vanilla and loved it even more.

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much for the glowing review Pat, I love to hear it’s a repeat favorite! Your use of coconut yogurt sounds fabulous!

  7. Nancy says

    This sounds fabulous, cannot wait to make it. Plan to take to a Fourth of July party with red and green seedless grapes and the additions of Blue Berries – for a patriotic look of red, white & blue!

    • Jen says

      I love your patriotic spin on this salad – yum!

  8. Melissa says

    Just made this for the 4th! It was a huge hit!! Instead of adding the nuts I added homemade granola!! It was SO good! Thanks for another amazing recipe!!

    • Jen says

      I’m so pleased this was a huge hit and I love the addition of granola – yum!

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