Cookie Salad

filed under: Cookies · Dessert on July 23, 2019

Cookie Salad… a classic recipe that shocks some but delights all! The ingredients don’t seem like they should work together, but they definitely do. Folks from the midwest have been eating it since forever. If you like this recipe you will also like my Piggy Pie Dessert and Blueberry Lemon Heaven Dessert!

Cookie Salad

So what exactly is this ‘cookie salad’? It’s more of a fluff recipe with a little cookie sprinkled throughout. The note in my MIL’s church cookbook said, “Can be served as a salad or dessert.” I definitely want to go to the dinner party where this is considered a side salad! 😂Another great reason to make this dessert… it’s NO-BAKE! Perfect for hot summer nights.

The ingredients are simple enough:

  • vanilla pudding
  • buttermilk
  • whipped topping
  • pineapple
  • mandarin oranges
  • fudge stripe cookies

Ok, so I lied. Those are not your average ingredients at all! If you are anything like me, your brain can’t quite comprehend how those ingredients can be combined and taste good. But rest assured, it does. As a matter of fact, I brought this to a neighborhood night out and every mom there either asked me for the recipe or talked about how she had it when she was growing up and missed it!

Cookie Salad Ingredients- Mandarin Oranges, Pudding, Pineapple, Whipped Topping

How to Make Cookie Salad

The hardest part is opening the cans. Not even kidding!

Start by mixing the dry pudding with buttermilk. It will appear thick and not like pudding at all, and that is exactly how it should look. (The first time I made this I just had to sneak a try of this less-than-average combo and it’s surprisingly good.)

Next fold in the whipped topping. Now, if you have ever read my blog you know I always give the option for homemade whipped topping… but not for this recipe. You need the stability of store-bought whipped topping and it just isn’t worth the time or money to make it from scratch.

Mix in the crushed pineapple and mandarin oranges and then chill for about 30 minutes.

Cookie Salad Mixed with Fudge Striped Cookie on Top

Fudge Stripe Cookies in an Orange-Pineapple Salad?

Don’t let this throw you off. I considered leaving them out at first but decided against it. It just wouldn’t be a classic Cookie Salad without those fudge stripe cookies! BUT! Be sure to add the right before serving. The longer they sit in the fluff mixture the softer they get, and I like the cookies to have a little crunch.

I added the cookies to a plastic bag that zips shut and then bashed them on the counter a few times. You could also do a rough cut with a knife.

Cookie Salad Mixed and Topped with Fudge Stripe Cookies

How to Serve Cookie Salad

To chill or not to chill? Every recipe I came across did not mention chilling, but we prefer it cold. It also has buttermilk in it which could affect the flavor if it is at room temperature for too long. (spoil)

This can be served in a large bowl sprinkled with more crushed fudge strip cookies. This lets folks choose as much or as little as they would like.

You can also serve it in individual portions. Be sure to add a whole cookie on top… not only is it fun to see but you can use that cookie to dip into the salad and get a big bite!

Want Even More Variations?

Try making it a trifle! This involves another container of whipped topping and more fudge stripe cookies. Make the cookie salad according to the directions and then spread a 1/3 in a trifle dish. Add a layer of whipped topping and then a flat layer of the cookies. (You could also cut the cookies in half and press them against the inside edge of the trifle dish. Repeat two more times and chill until ready to serve.

Cookie Salad Pie… it’s a thing! Make the cookie salad according to directions then pour it on top of a prepared graham cracker, shortbread, or chocolate crust. Top with some whipped topping, more crushed cookies, and chill until ready to serve.

Looking for More Fluff Recipes?

Pistachio Fluff

Banana Split Fluff

Oreo Fluff

Pineapple Fluff

5 from 5 votes
Cookie Salad
Cookie Salad
Prep Time
5 mins
cooling time
30 mins

A delicious "salad" with unique ingredients that come together perfectly! The best at potlucks or BBQ's!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cookie salad
Servings: 8
Calories: 176 kcal
Author: Amanda Rettke
  • 1 package (3.4 ounce) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 8 ounces frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 can (20 ounce) crushed pineapple, drained well
  • 1 can (11 ounces) mandarin oranges, drained well
  • 10 fudge stripe cookies, crushed
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the pudding mix and the buttermilk. It will be thick. (You can use a whisk or a hand-held mixer.)

  2. Fold in the whipped topping.
  3. Add in the pineapple and mandarin oranges and stir well.

  4. Chill until ready to serve.

  5. Crush cookies and mix in just before serving. Reserve a few for garnish.


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  • Kathryn Vecchio says:

    you are so right. old church recipe books are the best. I have 12 of them from years of baking and cooking and I still go to them all the time.

  • Donna says:

    Sounds like a type of Ambrosia recipe!


  • Kari says:

    This is my go-to for potlucks, unexpected guests, etc, it’s ALWAYS a winner! I’ve made a pie out of it too, that was SO good! Thanks for the memory!

  • Dee Anne Hornberger says:

    I’m curious. The instructions at the top list crushed pineapple, but below in the recipe it lists pineapple chunks. Which do you think works best?

  • Jeff Winett says:

    Off to the market I go! Excited about tonight’s dessert, but there is one confusion. Within your recipe you call for pineapple “chunks”…and then there is chat about pineapple that is “crushed”. I suppose both will work, but if you are feeling it, I would love clarification.

  • Georgia says:

    How much of a buttermilk taste is there to this recipe?

  • Terry Smith says:

    I’ve made this for years but we always called it Buttermilk Salad. I use my hand chopper to break up the cookies. Much faster & less messy than bashing in the plastic bag.😊

  • Sherrill Grawrock says:

    I think this would be just as good if you used Instant Coconut Pudding in place of vanilla.

  • judy says:

    Can you substitute Saco Buttermilk Blend – 4 Tbsp/cup water? or mix buttermilk blend and a cup of sour cream?

  • Pam says:

    This looks awesome. What a great idea. Can’t wait to try this one as well.❤️❤️

  • Susan Rhode says:

    It’s crushed pineapple. I’ve made it before. I see the recipe has now been changed to reflect crushed pineapple.

  • Maryn says:

    My Aunt Denise has been making this in the trifle version for years and it’s SO delicious!!

  • Judy Caputo says:

    I wonder how pretzels would work. I’m thinking the big rod pretzels. This look really good. I make a salad similar called 7 Cup Salad.

  • Lalana says:

    They all look and sound delicious. Do have a book or booklet of them?

  • Karen says:

    I enjoyed reading all the recipes, I saved them, so that I can try them at a later date. Thanks

  • Christina clark says:

    Love your recipes do you have any that I can make for my son who has dairy and soy allergies I hate it being able to make him sweets or desserts because of the allergies… He’s 1

  • kaycee says:

    My family always makes it with crushed. It spreads out more.

  • Sheri says:

    I grew up eating this in South Dakota and my mother served it as a salad!😆 One of my favorite childhood recipes.

  • Victoria Case says:

    Love your recipes! Keep going girl and ignore the haters who feel they have to comment!

  • jordin says:

    this is an amazing salad. So please make more.