Creamy Grape Salad is a refreshing crowd-pleasing dish. Throw it together with a handful of simple ingredients – grapes, cream cheese, sour cream, vanilla extract, sugar, and pecans.
I heard it two ways – “I love that, Stacey!” or “Ew, Stacey. What are you doing here?” But either way, there’s no denying the fun, quirky feel of a grape salad. Almost every Easter I can remember, this vintage side dish has been a staple of our family dinner.
Like polarizing jello salad or pear salad, this creamy grape salad usually guarantees strong reactions…until you taste it. There’s no denying the delicious flavors of this cool, creamy and refreshing dish. Perfect for parties, picnics, picnics and family gatherings, try this easy to make creamy grape salad as a crowd pleaser and a conversation starter.
What is grape salad?
Grape salad is a popular dish that many of us find common at the tables during the spring and summer months in the South. Like any other salad, grape salad is a concoction of simple ingredients thrown together and tossed around in a creamy dressing.
Typically the base is naturally fresh grapes…any type of seedless grape will do, although I prefer a combination of green and red grapes. The variety gives the dish a great color.
Then add the creamy goodness – sour cream and cream cheese with a dash of vanilla extract and a scoop of sugar. Mix it all up. Finally, sprinkle on a sweet and savory topping like brown sugar and chopped pecans for a crunch. And there you have it!
How do I soften cream cheese?
When making this creamy grape salad, it’s important to soften your cream cheese before making the dressing so everything mixes easily. There are several ways you can soften cream cheese for your perfect cream cheese mix. You can choose one of the following methods.
- Dive Simmer in a large mixing bowl with warm water for about 10 minutes.
- microwave the cream cheese in 15 second intervals. But don’t overdo it! Nobody wants burnt cream cheese. What a travesty!
- omit Your cream cheese on the counter at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Put it in your hands still in the packaging about 15 minutes. Squeeze the wrapper in your palms until you feel it’s creamy and around room temperature.
Once your cream cheese has a soft and easy-to-stir consistency, you’re good to go!
Can I prepare grape salad in advance?
Grape salad can certainly be prepared in advance. It’s another reason I love making it as a side dish. It’s a quick and easy recipe that you can make ahead of time and then move on to your more durable dishes.
Especially when paired with your more ambitious holiday meals, this grape salad can be made ahead of time or put together at the last minute. If you do, simply store your grape salad in an airtight container or cover with plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Just wait until serving to add the brown sugar and pecan topping.
What should I serve with the grape salad?
This delicious recipe is a great standalone treat for a hot summer day. But it can also be an excellent side dish. Here are a few main course ideas that would go well with grape salad:
Grapes – Any seedless grapes would do, but I prefer a combination of red and green grapes. I like to use both for the color and variety of flavors – the acidity of the green grape and the sweetness of the red grape really balance each other out so well. You need to wash your grapes and then lay them out on a paper towel to dry. If your little ones are coming to the table with you, it’s always a good idea to quarter your whole grapes to avoid a choking hazard.
Cream cheese – Any type of cream cheese will do for this recipe. I always like full-fat cream cheese for its creaminess and rich flavor. But if you need to be a little more diet conscious, then turn up. Low-fat or no-fat dishes are perfectly fine—they just change the taste and texture a bit.
sour cream – The type of sour cream you use is entirely up to you. Or you can substitute plain or vanilla yogurt for sour cream.
Sugar – I know some people are extra careful with their sugar. But in this case, any old granulated sugar will do.
vanilla extract – If you already have vanilla extract in your pantry, use that! Any brand or even generic will fit the bill.
Brown sugar – You can use light or dark brown sugar – whichever you prefer. Just be sure to pack the brown sugar tightly when measuring. We don’t skimp on sugar here!
pecans – Roasted pecans are my favorite topping for this recipe. When toasted, pecans really add a touch of flavor that you won’t find in raw pecans. However, you can absolutely use unroasted pecans.
When you want to toast your pecans, simply place them on a sheet pan in a preheated 350°F oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until you can smell their delicious fragrance. Finally, let them cool completely before preparing your topping mix.
Variations and Additions
There is so much room for variation and additions to this creamy grape salad recipe. You really can take this recipe and make it your own. And please do it! Just let me know what you come up with! I love seeing what you create! You can even post a photo of your finished dish in the comments below. Here are a few ideas to get your wheels rolling:
- Add your favorite candy bars! Break up Snickers, Heath or Twix candy bars and sprinkle over the salad.
- Swap sour cream for yogurt. I love substituting vanilla yogurt for sour cream in this particular recipe. It dulls the spiciness and boosts the sweetness a bit. I’ve even heard from my more health-conscious friends using Greek yogurt for a little extra protein.
- Add other fruits. Strawberries are a great addition to this recipe. You can even add chopped apples or some tangerines. Now my mouth is really watering. Yummy!
Creamy grape salad
Calories: 242kcal | Carbohydrates: 46G | Protein: 2G | Fat: 7G | Saturated Fatty Acids: 2G | Polyunsaturated fat: 1G | Monounsaturated fatty acids: 3G | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 12mg | Potassium: 344mg | Fiber: 2G | Sugar: 42G | Vitamin A: 222ie | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1mg