Frog Eye Salad

Frog Eye Salad is a unique and whimsical dish, often a delightful surprise at gatherings. Contrary to its name, no actual frog eyes are used in this recipe. Its base consists of acini di pepe, a tiny, bead-like pasta that when cooked, resembles small, pearly orbs, lending the dish its fanciful name. The salad is a fusion of textures and flavors, balancing the tender chewiness of the pasta with the crispness of fresh fruits.

The preparation begins with cooking the acini di pepe pasta to al dente perfection, ensuring each grain maintains a slight bite. This pasta is then cooled and set aside, transitioning to a canvas awaiting its colorful array of ingredients. The creamy element is introduced through a mixture of whipped topping and either vanilla pudding or a homemade custard, which envelops the pasta in a velvety, sweet embrace.

The fruit component is where creativity shines. Common choices include mandarin oranges, pineapple tidbits, and diced maraschino cherries, creating a vibrant medley of colors and tastes. Some variations also incorporate other fruits like diced apples, grapes, or even miniature marshmallows, offering additional textures and flavors. The fruits are carefully folded into the creamy pasta, ensuring a harmonious blend without crushing the delicate pieces.

To add depth, a touch of lemon juice or zest can be introduced, providing a subtle tartness that cuts through the sweetness and richness of the cream. Some recipes also call for a sprinkle of coconut or nuts, adding a layer of crunch and nuttiness.

Frog Eye Salad is often chilled for several hours, allowing the flavors to meld and the pasta to soak up the sweet and fruity essences. The result is a dish that’s not only visually striking, with its specks of colorful fruits interspersed among the pearly pasta but also a delightful dance of textures and flavors in each spoonful. It’s typically served as a dessert or a side dish at picnics, potlucks, and festive gatherings, where it’s sure to spark conversation and curiosity.


  • 12 oz acini de pepe pasta
  • 2 (20 oz each) cans pineapple tidbits, drained and juice reserved
  • 1 (20 oz) can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 8 oz cool whip, thawed


  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside to cool.
  2. To a large mixing bowl, add the drained mandarin oranges and pineapple tidbits. Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 3/4 cup of the reserved pineapple juice and the granulated sugar. Whisk over medium heat until dissolved.
  4. Add beaten eggs and flour. Heat mixture to 170°F, whisking constantly. Mixture will thicken to a custard consistency after 10-20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  5. Once cool, add to bowl with fruit. Add marshmallows and coconut and stir to combine. Cover and chill at least 6 hours and preferably overnight.
  6. When ready to serve, stir in the cool whip. Top with additional coconut and marshmallows if desired. Enjoy!
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment