Make this vibrant, easy tropical fruit salad as a pretty and refreshing ending to a meal or as an appetizer served in mini cups. Just 4 ingredients and 12 minutes prep time.
The sweet, silky mango, kiwi and papaya with a little chopped mint and freshly squeezed orange juice are a winning combination. Tweak it with any variety of tropical fruits.
I adapted this delicious fruit salad recipe from one I saw in Food TV Magazine by Aaron Sanchez. I just love the variety of colors. For me, that alone is worth it.
The salad makes a wonderful, easy side dish during summer months (and even winter months) or when you’re craving something cool and refreshing. Health-conscious eaters will also love it as a no-guilt healthy dessert.
What to expect
Pretty: The blend of different colors creates a beautiful fruit salad, perfect for a brunch table or any special occasion.
Easy: Simply mix together a few of your favorite tropical fruits and top with fresh orange juice and fresh mint.
Healthy: With no added refined sugar, there is no competition with store-bought sugary fruit cocktail.
Ingredients – tailored to your taste
Tropical fruits: We are using a delicious combination of kiwi, papaya and mango, but feel free to choose whatever type of fresh tropical fruit you like or what you can find at your local grocery store. I like to contrast the colors. Other good options that make the best fruit salad are fresh pineapple, bananas, jackfruit, guava, star fruit, dragon fruit, lychee, passion fruit, mandarin oranges.
Orange juice: My mother served fruit salad with orange juice all my life. It keeps the cut pieces of fruit from turning brown and is so refreshing. You can, of course, leave it out.
Fresh herbs: Mint leaves give this fresh fruit salad recipe a nice burst of flavor. But I know not everyone likes mint, so either leave it out or replace it with basil.
Other garnish options: Add some poppy seeds or toasted coconut for some crunch or pomegranate seeds for an extra splash of color. If you like a bit of tartness with the sweet fruit, add a little fresh lime zest and a squeeze of lime juice or lemon juice.
Simple step by step instructions
Tips on how to choose ripe tropical fruit
Mango: Choose a ripe mango by its feel, not its color. The softer it is, the riper and sweeter it is. You don’t want the mango to be too soft or mushy though. It should be slightly soft to the touch and smell sweet and fruity near the stem. Mangoes can be ripened naturally at room temperature. Place them in a brown bag for a couple of days to speed up ripening. Avoid mangoes with black and white patches as they may have been artificially ripened.
Papaya: A ripe papaya should be mostly yellow or orange-red. Some green is fine and will easily ripen on the counter at room temperature in a day or two. When pressing the fruit with your fingers, there should be a bit of give. It shouldn’t be hard to the touch. Ideally, the papaya should have a sweet smell near the stem.
Kiwi: A ripe kiwi will be slightly soft to the touch (not mushy). Hard kiwis will ripen on the counter in 3-5 days. Size doesn’t matter. Small and large kiwis taste the same.
Tropical fruits are grown in hot, humid regions such as the tropical and subtropical areas of Asia, Africa, Central America, South America, the Caribbean and Oceania. The most popular in North America are avocados, bananas, pineapple, mangoes, and papayas.
Tropical fruit is high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, particularly vitamin A and vitamin C. It also has a good amount of fiber and is definitely low in calories. A medium kiwi is only 42 calories, a mango 99 calories and a small papaya 68 calories. So yes, it’s a healthy dessert option as long as you don’t add a sugary syrup.
There are several ways to do this. Here’s a good video on how to peel and cut a mango.
The variety of sweet fruits used in this recipe taste wonderful without a dressing. But if you want to try something instead of orange juice, use a simple honey lime dressing, a sweet lemon style vinaigrette or other light and simple dressing that will complement the tropical flavors without overpowering them. Just keep it simple and light!
How to serve tropical fruit salad
Serve your colorful fruit salad as a dessert, family style, with any lunch or brunch menu. I also love it as an appetizer in espresso cups. Or even as an afternoon snack.
For a sweet-tangy flavor profile, try drizzling the fruit salad with a couple of tablespoons of honey lemon dressing instead of orange juice.
Combine the fruit in a large bowl, cover it with plastic wrap or transfer it to an airtight container and place it in the fridge. When ready to serve it the next day, add mint to taste and the orange juice. The fruit salad will keep in the fridge for a day or so.
Other quick and easy fruit desserts
- no bake berry crumble
- strawberry shortcake
- moist lemon blueberry loaf
- puff pastry apple tart (30 minutes)
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Easy Tropical Fruit Salad (4 ingredients)
- 4 kiwis, Note 1
- 2 mangoes I love the smaller Ataulfo mangoes (pictured)
- 1 papaya
- Optional: 2-4 tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice or more 2 large oranges
- PREPARE AND DICE FRUIT into 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) cubes. Papaya: cut in half, scoop out seeds, cut flesh off skin and dice. Kiwi: Peel with sharp knife, cut in half, cut out white core in middle, dice green flesh. Mango: Slice down lengthwise on both sides of large pit, scoop out flesh with soup spoon and dice.
- ASSEMBLE: Combine diced fruit and mint (if using) in a serving bowl. Pour over orange juice and gently mix. Tip: As not everyone likes mint, I just add 1-2 tablespoons into the fruit salad and put the rest on the side for people to sprinkle on their own serving if they like.
- Other tropical fruit: We are using kiwi, papaya and mango, but choose your favorites. Other good options are diced pineapple, bananas, jackfruit, guava, lychee, mandarin oranges, passion fruit. If you like a bit of tartness with the sweet fruit, add a squeeze of lime juice or lemon juice.
- Other fresh herbs: I love to add fresh mint leaves to give the fruit salad a nice burst of flavor. But feel free to either leave it out or replace it with basil.
- Garnish options: Try adding toasted coconut for some crunch or a handful of pomegranate seeds for an extra splash of color.
- Make Ahead: Combine fruit and mint (if using) in a serving bowl. Refrigerate covered in an airtight container. Add juice right before serving. The final fruit salad will keep in the fridge for a day or so.