This classic 24 Hour Fruit Salad has lots of fruit and marshmallows in a creamy lemon custard sauce. Make it the night before or up to 24 hours in advance!

24 Hour Fruit Salad is a classic Midwestern fruit salad most often served at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It was created in an era when not all fresh fruits were available year round as they are today. So, most of the fruits are canned.

I’d expect nothing less from our pragmatic Midwestern forbearers in the midst of their frigid winters.

24 Hour Fruit Salad in a clear bowl.

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24 Hour Fruit Salad is great for the hostess because it needs to sit overnight (hence the name), and its great for guests who love sweet fruit salads!

Start by making a simple lemon custard on your stove top. Once it has cooled, fold it into heavy whipping cream that has been beaten stiff.

A serving of 24 Hour Fruit Salad on a white plate.

Then, pour that over your selection of juicy fruits and let it rest.

And that’s it! It’s a lightly sweetened, refreshing fruit salad perfect for the dead of winter when fresh fruit is not at its peak.

24 Hour Fruit Salad in a clear bowl.

24 Hour Fruit Salad

This classic 24 Hour Fruit Salad has lots of fruit and marshmallows in a creamy lemon custard sauce. Make it the night before or up to 24 hours in advance!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 8 hrs 25 mins
Total Time 8 hrs 30 mins
Servings 8 servings
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Calories 283


  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup grapes halved
  • 1 cup canned pineapple drained and diced
  • 1 cup mandarin oranges drained
  • 1 cup canned cherries drained
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 banana sliced


  • In the bottom of a double boiler, bring 1 inch water to simmer. Combine eggs, lemon juice, and sugar in top of double boiler and cook until thickened, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  • Using a standing mixer or electric hand mixer, whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold in cooled custard sauce until combined.
  • In a large bowl, add grapes, pineapple, oranges, cherries, marshmallows, and banana. Pour cream sauce over and stir to combine. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours before serving.


Calories: 283kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 3gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 33mgPotassium: 203mgFiber: 2gSugar: 31gVitamin A: 696IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 41mgIron: 1mg
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    1. Hi Amita, I’m sorry I haven’t tested an eggless version of the custard part of this recipe. My first thought would be to substitute the egg with some aquafaba or other egg substitute, or possibly omit the eggs use a coconut custard instead, and add sugar to taste. I hope this helps! – Meggan

    1. Hi Sharon, YES! I think my mom always makes it that way. Way easier right? Good luck and Merry Christmas! -Meggan

  1. Very interesting version of what we used to call ambrosia. I’m going to try it today and I like to add some coconut. I already had the big marshmallow so I just cut them into quarters. Most of your salad recipes look very very good. Thank you

  2. We are sitting around my table now eating our family’s version of this out of Marion, Ohio our version does not have banana and we add a can of fruit cocktail, and a jar of green (not mint) flavored maraschino cherries, and we use red maraschino cherries instead of the canned cherries. And there is the a cup of pecan halves added as well. I always wonder the history behind the dishes that come to our table. Thanks for sharing your version. 

  3. Being from the Midwest myself, I feel a special love for this recipe. Looks perfectly sweet and creamy- perfect for BBQs or family parties!5 stars

    1. Awww, thanks Karly! In the era of “fresh everything” this fruit salad is rare, but it’s an “oldie but goodie” as we say in my family. :) Have a wonderful week and thanks for reading!