How To Choose The Perfect Dressing For Your Fruit Salad

Fruit salad is a crowd pleaser that never goes out of style. Each new season ushers in fresh fruits with unique textures and tastes to explore, and we recommend buying seasonal produce whenever possible. Gone are the days of soggy fruit cups that have turned to mush in their own juices. Instead, choosing the right dressing for your fruit salad can enhance its natural flavor and add complexity.

So, how do you choose the perfect dressing for your next fruit salad? While there's no exact formula, it should contain a mixture of an acid, a fat, and an appetizing taste to accessorize your fruit. You can start by considering what types of fruits (and any other add-ins) you plan to include.

For example, sturdier fruits like apples, pears, persimmons, and pomegranates can handle a creamier dressing that contains denser ingredients like coconut milk and tahini. Conversely, lighter and juicier fruits such as strawberries, peaches, and melons will sing with a slightly acidic vinaigrette, like one containing champagne vinegar. Olive oil and salt are two neutral ingredients that you can – and, in the case of salt, should – add to most dressings to enhance taste without overpowering the fruits' natural flavors.

What ingredients are right for your next dressing?

One way to start crafting a delicious dressing is by allowing your ingredients to guide you — and to rely on classic combinations for inspiration. For example, fresh strawberries and figs commonly pair well with balsamic vinegar, as the vinegar's tang complements the fruit's sweetness for a balanced flavor. Alternatively, tropical fruits like mango and pineapple will shine when paired with a citrus such as lime juice, a sweetener like honey, and even fresh herbs like basil. Interesting salad add-ins such as salty nuts, savory cheeses, or herbs can also enhance your dressing choice.

Ultimately, if you're using fresh fruit, you'll want to select what's seasonal and at peak ripeness. When this is the case, you may find that less is more for a dressing and that a simple oil, a dash of citrus or vinegar, and a drizzle of honey is truly the perfect combination.

If crafting your own dressing seems all too confusing, start with a guide like our recipe for creamy fruit salad. No matter which option you select, remember to mix, match, dress, and enjoy a feast for the eyes and the palate with the season's freshest bounty of fruit.