Strawberry Banana Cheesecake Salad

Cheesecake Salad is the ultimate sweet, refreshing, lusciously creamy side dish bursting with fresh fruit that everyone clamors for – plus it’s so easy to make!

This Strawberry Banana Cheesecake Salad is the perfect side dish for potlucks, pool parties, barbecues, the back porch or at home on a warm day.  Rich and creamy cheesecake filling is folded into vibrant strawberries, bananas, pineapple, and blackberries (or fruit of your choosing) to create the most lusciously creaming, drool-worthy fruit salads ever!  It tastes like decadent cheesecake loaded with fresh fruit but without the time or hassle of making cheesecake!  This cheesecake salad is incredible quick and easy to make and wonderfully versatile so it’s ideal for any family dinner or gathering.  You can add whatever fruit you’d like and even try a new combo every time. This Cheesecake Fruit Salad can also be prepped ahead of time then just combined when ready to serve for the stress free, hypnotic side dish of your dreams.

Fruit Salad is always a hit at every gathering – with the right recipe!  Some of our favorite steal-the-show fruit salad recipes include: Summer Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Dressing, Pina Colada Fruit Salad, Tropical Winter Fruit Salad, Winter Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Poppy Seed Dressing, Grape Salad with Vanilla Yogurt Dressing and Berry Salad in Honey Mascarpone.

cheesecake SALAD VIDEO

 
top view of cheesecake salad with fruit

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WHAT IS CHEESECAKE SALAD?

Cheesecake salad is a creamy fruit salad made with the fruit of your choosing, but most often with strawberries, bananas, blackberries and blueberries.  The fruit is traditionally dressed with an instant cheesecake pudding combined with cream cheese and frozen whipped topping (such as Cool Whip) that are folded together with fresh fruit.  In this recipe, however, we nix the Cool Whip and use a combination of heavy cream and yogurt instead.  This magical combination creates a luscious filling/dressing that tastes just like cheesecake!  Add the fruit and you have a fruit “salad” that everyone will be obsessed with.

As far as the misnomer label of “fruit salad,” cheesecake salad definitely leans more towards a creamy fruit dessert than a healthy fruit salad.  Which means it’s everyone’s favorite “salad” 😉. Because it’s summer, and summer is fun.

REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD MAKE CHEESECAKE FRUIT SALAD

This Strawberry Banana Cheesecake Salad is a MUST MAKE recipe!  Need a salad for Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, or Thanksgiving?  This cheesecake salad. Need a salad for a barbecue, pool party, or potluck?  This cheesecake salad. Need a salad for a birthday party, baby or bridal shower? This cheesecake salad. It’s literally the answer to all of your entertaining, special occasion, lunch and dinner needs and taste bud desires. Your new go-to potluck salad recipe awaits! Here’s why you’ll love it:

  • It’s SO GOOD – everyone will want the recipe!  Everyone needs the perfect simple yet festive homemade fruit salad recipe to bring to a potluck and this is it!  It is SO lusciously creamy, the perfect balance of sweetness with a kiss of tanginess and tastes just like cheesecake!  Everyone will be coming back for seconds and thirds – how many salads can say that ?!
  • Easy to make in 15 minutes.  This Strawberry Banana Cheesecake Salad is made by chopping the fruit, mixing the cheesecake pudding with heavy cream, mixing the cream cheese with the sugar and lemon juice then folding everything together.  It literally takes minutes but tastes like a million bucks.
  • Make ahead friendly for stress free entertaining.  Make the cheesecake salad components but keep the fruit and cheesecake dressing separate, then just fold everything together when you’re ready to serve.   
  • Versatile.  Use your favorite fruits or whatever you have on hand.  You can even serve the cheesecake salad as a creamy fruit dip or as crepe filling!

What fruit goes in Cheesecake Salad?

For this Strawberry Banana Cheesecake Salad, I’ve used a combination of:

  • Strawberries:  choose ripe strawberries for the sweetest flavor. You’ll want to rinse, drain and dry the strawberries but never soak strawberries in water or they’ll lose some flavor and nutrients. Cut the strawberries however seems appropriate for their size. You can quarter them or chop them smaller if you prefer.
  • Bananas:  use bananas that are ripe so they are sweet but still firm, otherwise they will become mushy in the salad.
  • Berries: I used a mixture of blackberries and blueberries. I don’t suggest raspberries because they easily fall apart.
  • Pineapple:  select a ripe pineapple or you may sub canned – but fresh is best!  It is possible for a green pineapple to be ripe, but more often than not, look for yellow coloring around the eyes and base.  Look for eyes that are uniform in size as opposed to small on the bottom and large in the middle.
cheesecake salad in a bowl with strawberries, bananas, blackberries and pineapple

CAN I USE DIFFERENT FRUITs IN THIS cheesecke SALAD?

Absolutely!  I love the combination in this Strawberry Banana Cheesecake Salad but I think grapes and/or clementine oranges would be amazing! You can also choose any of your favorite fruits to make the cheesecake salad.  Aim for approximately 10-11 cups of fruit, but you can certainly use less and it will be creamier or more and it will be less creamy. 

Fruit delicious in cheesecake salad:

  • Grapes:  I love grapes in cheesecake salad, it reminds me of creamy grape salad. Use whatever sweet, 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.
  • Oranges: use clementine oranges in fruit salad because they are seedless and super easy to peel.  I don’t recommend canned mandarin oranges because they tend to fall apart easily when tossed. If you love them though, then feel free to use them.  If using, I suggest refrigerating the can first so they taste refreshingly chilled.
  • Kiwis:  use only ripe kiwi or they can taste sour.  Kiwis are ripe when they are plump, fragrant and yields to gentle pressure, much like an avocado.
  • Mangos: one of my favorite fruits!  Select ripe mangos so they will be sweet and juicy.  If you are intimidated by choosing and cutting mangos check out my how to cut a mango post.
  • Peaches: you can tell if a peach is ripe by gently squeezing, much like you would an avocado. If there’s a little bit of a give there, then it means the fruit is almost ripe but not quite; if there is real “give” then the peach is ready to use immediately.
  • Pears: I prefer Bartlett or Bosc pears, but it really comes down to personal preference.  Take care your pear is ripe so it is sweet but not overripe or it will be mushy.
  • Apple:  choose a sweet apple (Fuji are my fav) or a sweet and tart apple to balance each other out.

fruit variation combinations

You can literally mix and match any fruits to create a different cheesecake salad.  Some delicious fruit combinations cheesecake salad would be:

  • Peaches, blueberries, strawberries & bananas
  • Pineapple, mangos, mandarin oranges, & strawberries
  • Kiwi, grapes, oranges & strawberries
  • Peaches, strawberries, grapes & bananas
  • Strawberry, banana, grapes and oranges

What dressing for cheesecake salad?

The star of this cheesecake salad is the cheesecake filling dressing – it literally tastes like cheesecake thanks to the cream cheese and the secret ingredient – cheesecake pudding mix!  Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Instant cheesecake pudding:  is a no-bake pudding mix located in the pudding aisle at most major grocery stores. I used the “Jell-O” brand.  If your grocery store only sells a large pudding mix, then measure out 3.4 ounces to use in this recipe.  
  • Cream cheese: I used full fat cream cheese but it will also work with less fat, but remember less fat = less flavor and creaminess so adjust your expectations. Please do NOT use nonfat cream cheese.
  • Vanilla Greek yogurt:  nonfat or full fat both work great.  It will make your cheesecake salad luxuriously creamy without tasting too heavy.
  • Heavy cream: look for “heavy whipping cream” at the grocery store.  You must use heavy cream – no other substitutions will work.  Take care that your heavy cream is very cold, remove it from the refrigerator just when ready to use.
  • Powdered sugar:  also known as confectioner’s sugar, sweetens the cheesecake filling without tasting gritty. 
  • Lemon juice: cuts through the richness of the cheesecake filling.  Use freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best flavor or you may sub bottled. 
  • Vanilla extract:  use quality extract for best results.
up close of serving cheesecake salad by scooping it with a spoon

Recipe Variations

  • Add ins! You can add all sorts of goodies to mix up the cheesecake fruit salad such as nuts, coconut, mini marshmallows, etc. See the full list of add-ins below.
  • Cheesecake pudding:  if you’re not a fan or can’t locate no bake cheesecake pudding, try substituting white chocolate pudding mix.  It will change the flavor profile slightly but still be tasty.
  • Sugar free:  to save on calories or sugar, you can try sugar free pudding mix.
  • Make it lighter:  nonfat Greek yogurt and less fat cream cheese may be used.  The heavy cream, however, is non-negotiable.
  • Make it tangier: add an extra splash of lemon juice to make the cheesecake salad tangier.
  • Make it sweeter: if your fruit isn’t completely ripe, you may need to add a little more sugar to the dressing to sweeten things up a bit.

Add-ins

Cheesecake fruit salad is delicious with all sorts of add ins, just like cheesecake. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Nuts:  pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts, cashews
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Coconut
  • Toffee Bits
  • Granola
  • Chips: Mini chocolate chips, caramel chips, white chocolate chips, etc.
  • Chocolate candy:  crushed snickers, Butterfinger, Reese’s, Heath bar
  • Cookies:  vanilla wafers, Graham crackers, vanilla Oreos, etc.

themed recipe variations to try:

  • Mixed Berry Cheesecake Salad:  strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, bananas
  • Hawaiian Cheesecake Fruit Salad:  pineapple, strawberries, oranges, mangos, kiwi, coconut, macadamia nuts
  • Apple Cheesecake:  apples, caramel sauce, Snickers
  • Summer Cheesecake Fruit Salad:  bananas, strawberries, grapes, peaches
  • Ambrosia Cheesecake Fruit Salad: pineapple, oranges, maraschino cherries, miniature marshmallows, and coconut
  • Banana chocolate:  bananas, strawberries and mini chocolate chips.

How to make cheesecake salad

This Strawberry Banana Cheesecake Salad is super easy to make in 4 steps. Here’s how (see the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact measurements):

  • Mix the cream cheese. Add the cream cheese to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or beat using a hand mixer. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes (no less!). Add sugar, sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla, and beat until blended.
showing how to make cheesecake salad by beating cream cheese and sugar until smooth
  • Mix cheesecake pudding.  In a separate bowl, beat pudding mix with heavy cream with a handheld mixer until stiff peaks form.  You want the mixture thick because it will thin when combined with the cream cheese mixture.
showing how to make cheesecake salad by whipping cheesecake pudding mix with heavy cream
  • Combine to make cheesecake filling.  Fold the cheesecake pudding in with the cream cheese mixture.
showing how to make cheesecake salad by folding cheesecake pudding into cream cheese mixture
  • Assemble.  If not serving for an hour or more, chill fruit and cheesecake filling separately. When ready to serve, drain fruit and fold DRIED fruit into the cheesecake filling. 
showing how to make cheesecake salad by folding cheesecake filling into strawberries and bananas

HOW TO SOFTEN CREAM CHEESE FOR CHEESECAKE salad

It’s crucial your cream cheese be super soft in order to produce lump-free cheesecake salad.  To soften cream cheese, you have a couple options:

  • Microwave:  this method works great but you must babysit the cream cheese and microwave at small intervals so you don’t overcook/scorch – so proceed with care and caution.  Cube cream cheese and transfer to a microwave safe plate.  Microwave for 30 seconds then at 15 second intervals, flip/stir cubes and microwave another 15 seconds.  Repeat until cream cheese is very soft. 
  • Microwave + counter:  cube cream cheese and transfer it to a microwave safe plate.  Microwave for 30 seconds then at 15 second intervals, then allow cream cheese to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to finish softening.  This gives it a head start to soften at room temperature without the threat of scorching.  I cheat and cover the microwaved cream cheese with plastic wrap and place it outside to soften more quickly.

TIPS FOR creamy cheesecake fruit salad

This Strawberry Banana Cheesecake Salad is incredibly simple to make and can be assemble in 15 minutes!  Here are a couple tips and tricks to make it the best every time:

  • Use ripe, fresh fruit.  If your fruit isn’t ripe then your salad will taste more sour instead of sweet and fruity.  Choose strawberries that are dark red, firm, fragrant and fully ripe – but not soft!  Ripe strawberries will deliver the sweetest, deepest flavor.  Choose bananas that are ripe but not soft or else they will become mushy in the salad. Taste the ripe pineapple before adding to the cheesecake salad – if it’s sweet you’re good to go!
  • Chill your fruit.  You can chill your fruit whole or after it’s chopped, but make sure to chill it for at least 2 hours. Chilled fruit is everything in a fruit salad – no one likes warm fruit salad!  It is also especially important because this cheesecake salad is best if served right away so the fruit won’t have time to chill in in the refrigerators once combined.
  • Dry fruit to prevent soggy fruit salad. Wash and dry the fruit before adding it to the cheesecake filling; or if you’ve chopped the fruit ahead of time, drain it of any excess liquid.  You want the fruit as dry as possible before combining with the cheesecake filling so it the salad stays light and fluffy and not runny.
  • How to prevent bananas from turning brown in fruit salad:  slice bananas into a bowl containing pineapple juice, orange juice or lemon juice.  Gently stir the bananas to coat all sides then remove them with a slotted spoon and add to the salad just before serving.
  • How to avoid mushy bananas in fruit salad: I LOVE the sweetness bananas add to this cheesecake salad.  You can leave them out if you prefer, but my vote is ALWAYS for bananas! Use bananas that are ripe so they are sweet but take care they are not bordering over-ripe or else they will become mushy in the salad.  Another tip to avoid mushy bananas is to slice them on the thicker side.  This prevents them from becoming mushy or falling apart when tossed.
  • Use soft cream cheese.  The cream cheese should be soft enough that you can stick your finger in it. If it is not soft enough, then it will yield lumpy cheesecake salad (see methods to soften cream cheese above).
  • Beat cream cheese until fluffy.  The most important part of making creamy, smooth cheesecake fruit salad is to beat the cream cheese and the sugar until light and – about 4-5 minutes each. This can seem like a long time, so set your timer and don’t stop early! 
  • Combine just before serving.  The Strawberry Banana Cheesecake Salad will be the lightest and fluffiest if the fruit is combined with the filling just before serving.  It will still taste fabulous if combined earlier, but will be runnier.
  • Adjust to taste.  If you’re fruit is ripe but not as sweet as you like, then you can add additional powdered sugar.  On the other end of the spectrum, if you would like a tangier cheesecake fruit salad, you can add additional lemon juice to taste. 
top view of cheesecake fruit salad in a white bowl with strawberries and bananas

CAN I MAKE cheesecAke FRUIT SALAD AHEAD OF TIME?

Cheesecake fruit salad is best served within one hour of making because the fruit juices will make the dressing runny instead of thick, creamy and fluffy.  You can, however, prep the cheesecake salad ahead of time so all you have to do is combine the fruit and the dressing.

To make ahead: prep the fruit, (wash, dry, chop, etc.) but hold the bananas and store the fruit in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Make the cheesecake filling and store in a separate airtight container in the refrigerator.  When ready to serve, drain off any excess liquid from the fruit then gently fold the cheesecake filling into the fruit.  Serve immediately. 

How do you store this recipe and how long can it last? 

To store, cover the cheesecake salad with plastic wrap or transfer it to an airtight container in the fridge. It will last up to 3 days, but the fruit juices will start to make the dressing runny.   It is best served within one hour of combining the fruit and the cheesecake filling.

CAN I FREEZE FRUIT SALAD?

No, this cheesecake fruit salad should not be frozen.

HOW MANY PEOPLE DOES THIS cheeseake FRUIT SALAD SERVE?

This cheesecake fruit salad makes enough for approximately 14 people to have a one cup serving. I love this salad so much, however, and could easily eat 3x that for my serving, so take into account how much you think everyone will eat and what else you are serving with it.

You can also halve this recipe or double this recipe depending on the amount of people you want to serve. To do so, use the up and down arrows in the recipe card located next to the servings.

HOW TO USE leftover cheesecake salad  

  • Serve as a parfait.  As the leftover Strawberry Banana Cheesecake Salad deflates and become runnier, it is more the consistency of yogurt.  So, add some granola and serve it parfait style!
  • Serve as a dip. The runnier leftover cheesecake salad is perfect for a creamy dip. Use Graham crackers, animal crackers, etc. as dippers.
  • Use as crepe filling.  The creamy cheesecake salad is especially delicious inside crepes!  Top with some powdered sugar and breakfast is served. It can also be served over waffles, French toast or pancakes.
  • Make smoothies.  You can freeze leftover cheesecake salad for smoothies.  Simply divide any leftovers into individual sandwich bags, seal and freeze for later.  Combine with additional vanilla yogurt, ice/or frozen banana, orange juice and sugar to taste as needed.
  • Make popsicles.   Puree the fruit salad, add honey/sugar if desired to taste and pour into Popsicle molds and freeze until set. 

WHAT TO SERVE WITH cheesecake fruit SALAD?

This cheesecake fruit salad is a creamy, refreshing side to practically everything!  Serve it alongside your favorite summer cookout recipes, holiday recipes or everyday recipes. Here are just a few ideas to pair this sensational fruit salad with:  

up close of a spoonful of cheesecake salad with strawberries and bananas showing how rich and creamy it is
top view of cheesecake salad with fruit

Strawberry Banana Fruit Salad

This Cheesecake Salad is the ultimate sweet, refreshing, lusciously creamy side dish bursting with fresh fruit that everyone clamors for – plus it’s so easy to make!  It’s the perfect side dish for potlucks, pool parties, barbecues, the back porch or at home on a warm day.  Rich and creamy cheesecake filling is folded into vibrant strawberries, bananas, pineapple, and blackberries (or fruit of your choosing) to create the most lusciously creaming, drool-worthy fruit salads ever!  It tastes like decadent cheesecake loaded with fresh fruit but without the time or hassle of making cheesecake!  This cheesecake salad is incredible quick and easy to make and wonderfully versatile so it’s ideal for any family dinner or gathering.  You can add whatever fruit you’d like and even try a new combo every time. This Cheesecake Fruit Salad can also be prepped ahead of time then just combined when ready to serve for the stress free, hypnotic side dish of your dreams.
Servings: 10 -14 servings

Ingredients

The Cheesecake Filling Dressing

  • 1 3.4-ounce pkg. instant cheesecake pudding, unprepared
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 8 ounce pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup Greek vanilla yogurt (nonfat is great)
  • 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

The Fruit

  • 2 lbs. fresh strawberries, quartered
  • 4 bananas, cut into thick slices
  • 2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
  • 6 ounces fresh blueberries
  • 6 ounces fresh blackberries

Instructions

  • Beat pudding mix with heavy cream with a handheld mixer until stiff peaks form; set aside.
  • Add cream cheese to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or use a mixing bowl and hand mixer. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes (no less!). Add sugar, sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla, and beat until blended.
  • Fold cheesecake pudding mixture into the cream cheese mixture.
  • If not serving for an hour or more, chill fruit and cheesecake filling separately. When ready to serve, drain fruit and fold DRIED fruit into the cheesecake filling.

Video

Notes

  • Different fruits: I love the combination in this Cheesecake Salad but I think the addition of grapes and/or clementine oranges would be amazing! You can also choose any of your favorite fruits to make the cheesecake salad.  Aim for approximately 10-11 cups of fruit, but you can certainly use less and it will be creamier or more and it will be less creamy. 
  • Add ins: you can add all sorts of goodies to mix up the cheesecake fruit salad such as nuts, coconut, mini marshmallows, etc. See the full list of add-ins in the post.
  • Instant cheesecake pudding:  is a no-bake pudding mix located in the pudding aisle at most major grocery stores. I used the “Jell-O” brand.  If your grocery store only sells a large pudding mix, then measure out 3.4 ounces to use in this recipe.  
  • Chill your fruit:  you can chill your fruit whole or after it’s chopped, but make sure to chill it for at least 2 hours. Chilled fruit is everything in a fruit salad – no one likes warm fruit salad!  It is also especially important because this cheesecake salad is best if served right away so the fruit won’t have time to chill in in the refrigerators once combined.
  • How to prevent bananas from turning brown in fruit salad: slice bananas into a bowl containing pineapple juice, orange juice or lemon juice.  Gently stir the bananas to coat all sides then remove them with a slotted spoon and add to the salad just before serving.
  • Adjust to taste: if you’re fruit is ripe but not as sweet as you like, then you can add additional powdered sugar.  On the other end of the spectrum, if you would like a tangier cheesecake fruit salad, you can add additional lemon juice to taste. 

Make ahead

Cheesecake fruit salad is best served within one hour of making because the fruit juices will make the dressing runny instead of thick, creamy and fluffy.  You can, however, prep the cheesecake salad ahead of time so all you have to do is combine the fruit and the dressing.
To make ahead: prep the fruit, (wash, dry, chop, etc.) but hold the bananas and store the fruit in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Make the cheesecake filling and store in a separate airtight container in the refrigerator.  When ready to serve, drain off any excess liquid from the fruit then gently fold the cheesecake filling into the fruit.  Serve immediately. 

Storage

To store, cover the cheesecake salad with plastic wrap or transfer it to an airtight container in the fridge. It will last up to 3 days, but the fruit juices will start to make the dressing runny.   It is best served within one hour of combining the fruit and the cheesecake filling.

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