This cookie salad recipe is made with whipped topping, buttermilk, mandarin oranges, pineapple, vanilla pudding and your favorite fudge striped cookies. While it isn’t the most traditional combination, trust me that these ingredients go SO well together — you’ll go back for second and thirds and everyone will be asking for the recipe!

Looking for additional creamy side dishes? Try my acini di pepe pasta salad, creamy grape salad, and creamy cucumber salad recipes.

A large bowl full of Cookie Salad against a grey background surrounded by fudge stripe cookies.

Why This Recipe Works

  • In addition to being delicious, this recipe is literally SO easy to make! I’m saying probably 10 minutes max. Opening and draining the cans is probably the most time-consuming part of this recipe — and that’s saying something because there are only TWO cans.
  • This is the perfect light dessert/side for potlucks, parties or family dinner. The cool whip, canned fruit chunks and vanilla pudding give this cookie salad a delicate, fluffy, light and sweet flavor. And don’t forget the yummy crunch of the cookies! I feel a little guilty calling it a side salad, but, the word “salad” is in the recipe name already…
  • Growing up, we’d always have a bunch of cans of pineapple chunks and mandarin oranges in our food storage. This recipe is a fun way of using these canned fruits!

Ingredients

Ingredients used to make cookie salad.
  • Vanilla Pudding Mix: Be sure to get the dry mix INSTANT pudding. We’ll combine this with the whipped topping and buttermilk to make the base of the cookie salad.
  • Buttermilk: Be sure to use buttermilk and not just regular milk. Buttermilk is different than regular milk because it is thicker and has higher acidity levels and lower fat levels than regular milk.
  • Canned Pineapple Chunks: Drain all the liquid out so the whipped topping mixture isn’t at all runny. We want to keep as much fluff as possible.
  • Canned Mandarin Oranges: Drain all the liquid from the mandarin oranges too!
  • Whipped Topping: Whipped topping has more structure than homemade whipped cream, so I definitely recommend using a store-bought tub of whipped topping/cool whip instead of the homemade kind.
  • Fudge Striped Cookies: Can’t have cookie salad without the cookies! Grab a pack of the fudge striped cookies, crumble or cut them into chunks for the perfect garnish to this “salad.”

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Mix the vanilla pudding dry mix and the buttermilk in a medium-sized bowl until combined.
A glass bowl with jello pudding inside.
  1. Add the cool whip/whipped topping and gently fold in until just combined. We don’t want to deflate the mixture by over mixing.
A spatula folding cool whip into vanilla pudding.
  1. Add in the canned fruit that has been completely drained.
Canned and drained mandarin oranges and pineapple chunks atop a yellow cream colored pudding mixture.
  1. Put the cookies in a bag and crush them until they are in chunks.
crumbled fudge stripe cookies in a large plastic bag.
  1. Add the cookie chunks to the cream and fruit mixture. Serve immediately.
A hand holding a spoon scooping out some cookie salad from a large bowl.

Recipe Tips

If you know you’re going to have leftovers, I recommend not adding the cookie chunks to the main bowl. Instead, put the cookie chunks in a separate bowl and let people add the cookies to their individual servings of the cookie salad. This way, when you store the remaining in the fridge, you don’t have cookie chunks in there that can get soft from the cream mixture. Then just add additional cookie chunks to each serving the following times you serve the dish.

Be sure to use store-bought whipped topping/cool whip. Homemade whipped cream doesn’t stay firmly whipped as long as store-bought does.

Fully drain each can of fruit so there isn’t any liquid. If you have lingering liquid then the cream mixture will be more liquidy than fluffy.

Variations

  • Make a cookie salad parfait: using individual cups, put some of the cream mixture at the bottom, add a few cookie chunks, a dollop of whipped cream and repeat until the cup is full. Top with a cookie and serve as individual parfaits.
  • Turn this into a cookie salad trifle: In a trifle dish, layer cream mixture, cookie chunks, whipped topping, and repeat until the trifle dish is full. For added flair, you can put full cookies outward facing on the edge of the trifle dish for a cookie-exposed look.
  • Turn it into a pie: Make my homemade graham cracker crust, fill the crust with the cookie salad and store in the fridge to chill.
A large glass bowl full of cookie salad topped with crumbled fudge stripe cookies.

FAQs

What is cookie salad?

Cookie salad is a creamy base made from whipped topping, vanilla pudding mix and buttermilk with canned fruit chunks and fudge striped cookie chunks.

How is buttermilk different than regular milk?

Buttermilk is more acidic than regular milk. It is also thicker and has a lower fat content.

What fruit goes in cookie salad?

Traditional cookie salad is made with canned pineapple chunks and canned mandarin oranges.

Is cookie salad good for you?

I mean, with cookie in the actual name, I think it’s safe to say this is a dessert side dish, so don’t worry about counting calories and just enjoy it! Trust me, you’ll come back for more.

A bowl of cookie salad topped with crumbled fudge stripe cookies.

Did you make this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Click here to leave a rating and review, or scroll below the recipe card and do so there. 

A glass bowl full of cookie salad topped with fudge stripe cookies.
Print Review
5 from 3 votes

Cookie Salad

This delicious side dish is more of a dessert but can be used as a side dish or "salad"! Full of vanilla pudding, cool whip, pineapple chunks, mandarins, and topped with fudge stripe cookies! Everyone loves this salad!
Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients
 

  • 5.1 oz package instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 11 oz can madnarin oranges - drained
  • 20 oz can pineapple tidbits - drained, can also use pineapple chunks
  • 1 package fudge stripe cookies - crumbled into chunks and refrigerated
  • 8 oz cool whip

Instructions
 

  • In a medium bowl mix the pudding and buttermilk until smooth. Stir in the cool whip. 
  • Add drained fruit and mix. Crumble cookies and stir just before serving. 
  • Store in the fridge covered, for up to 3 days. 

Notes

If I know we’ll have leftovers, I will hold out the cookies and add the to individual servings so that they don’t get soft.
Be sure to use store-bought whipped topping/cool whip. Homemade whipped cream doesn’t stay firmly whipped as long as store-bought does.
Fully drain each can of fruit so there isn’t any liquid. If you have lingering liquid then the cream mixture will be more liquidy than fluffy. Can also use fresh pineapple and mandarins if you’d like. 
Variations:
  • Make a cookie salad parfait: using individual cups, put some of the cream mixture at the bottom, add a few cookie chunks, a dollop of whipped cream and repeat until the cup is full. Top with a cookie and serve as individual parfaits.
  • Turn this into a cookie salad trifle: In a trifle dish, layer cream mixture, cookie chunks, whipped topping, and repeat until the trifle dish is full. For added flair, you can put full cookies outward facing on the edge of the trifle dish for a cookie-exposed look.
  • Turn it into a pie: Make my homemade graham cracker crust, fill the crust with the cookie salad and store in the fridge to chill.
 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 511kcal (26%)Carbohydrates: 84g (28%)Protein: 5g (10%)Fat: 19g (29%)Saturated Fat: 11g (55%)Cholesterol: 9mg (3%)Sodium: 343mg (14%)Potassium: 232mg (7%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 55g (61%)Vitamin A: 671IU (13%)Vitamin C: 20mg (24%)Calcium: 98mg (10%)Iron: 1mg (6%)
Course: Dessert, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
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