This Easy Cherry Fluff Salad is rich, creamy, and packed full of fruit. Made with real whipped cream instead of Cool Whip pushes this retro recipe over the top!!!

Fluff Salads are more like dessert than a traditional salad, but they’re the perfect splurge to add to a holiday menu.

Small white bowl filled with cherry fluff salad with a red handled spoon.

Why You Must Make

  • Most fluff salads are made with Cool Whip, but this recipe uses real whipped cream and cream cheese to make it super delicious.
  • If you are making sides for a holiday or pitch-in meal, this fruit fluff will be a popular dish! Kids will love it and it will bring back memories with the older generations.
  • Calories don’t count when it comes to special occasions and I bet you’ll get requests to make this again.
  • I got this text after sending some home with my oldest son, “That cherry whatever you gave me was REALLY good.”
Cherry Fluff Salad Ingredients on a sheetpan with labels.

Ingredient Notes

  • Cream Cheese – Have at room temperature so it is easily incorporated
  • Powdered Sugar – Sift to make a smooth “Cool Whip” replacement
  • Vanilla Extract – Use real vanilla, not artificially flavored
  • Heavy Cream – 36% butterfat
  • Can of Cherry Pie Filling – 21 oz can
  • Can of Crushed Pineapple – 20 oz can, drained well. I prefer pineapple in pineapple juice instead of heavy syrup.
  • Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk – 14 oz. can
  • Mini Marshmallows – If you only have access to regular marshmallows, cut them into smaller cubes. Adds sweetness.

How to Make:

Cherry Fluff Process shots numbered 1 and 2.
  1. Make the Cool Whip substitute with whipped cream and the other ingredients.
  2. Add the rest of the fluff ingredients to a large bowl.
Cherry Fluff process shots 3,4.
  1. Fold the whipped cream mixture into the other ingredients.
  2. Cover and refrigerate overnight before serving.

Recipe Tips

  • This fluff recipe is usually made with Cool Whip. If you like that product, you can substitute it for my replacement made with whipped cream. But it’s excellent when made with real cream.
  • Make sure you drain your pineapple well so the juices don’t dilute the whipped cream mixture.
  • Note that the marshmallows add much of the sweetness to the fluff dressing. It won’t taste very sweet until the salad chills overnight in the refrigerator.
  • You can use a can of pitted cherries instead of the pie filling, but the color and sweetness of the salad won’t be the same.
  • This can also be served for dessert if that’s your preference. It’s definitely decadent enough!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Fluff Salad?

A fluff salad is a creamy chilled salad made with whipped cream or Cool Whip along with ingredients like canned or fresh fruit and marshmallows.

When Did Fluff Salads Originate?

The Watergate Salad, also known as Pistachio Delight, was developed after Kraft released its Pistachio Pudding Mix in 1975. Shortly after, it was renamed Watergate Salad by a Chicago Food Editor to make it more enticing. It was one of the first fluff salads.

How Do You Store Fluff Salads?

They shouldn’t be kept out at room temperature for more than two hours and leftovers should be placed in an airtight container and kept refrigerated for up to 3 days. You can freeze fluff salads, but they will separate when defrosted. It’s recommended that if you freeze your leftovers, it’s best to eat it frozen like ice cream.

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Small white bowl filled with cherry fluff salad with a red handled spoon

Best Cherry Fluff Salad Recipe

Prep Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 8 minutes
Total Time 38 minutes
Yield 8

A fruit salad with cherries, pineapple, and marshmallows in a sweet whipped cream dressing.


Homemade Cool Whip:

  • 4 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream


  • 1 can cherry pie filling, 21 ounces
  • 1 can crushed pineapple, 20 ounces, drained
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 14 ounces
  • 1 ½ cups mini marshmallows


  1. To make the whipped cream dressing, first beat together the softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla.
  2. Set aside and whip the heavy cream to soft peaks.
  3. Add the cream cheese mixture and beat until firm peaks form. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the pie filling, drained pineapple, sweetened condensed milk, and mini marshmallows.
  5. Add the dressing and fold it in with a spatula.
  6. Chill at least 2 hours or overnight.


May use an 8-ounce container of Cool Whip instead of the homemade version if desired.

Many recipes include sweetened shredded coconut. You may add 1 cup if desired.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 442Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 151mgCarbohydrates: 81gFiber: 1gSugar: 57gProtein: 7g occasionally offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site. This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased can change the nutritional information in any given recipe. Also, many recipes on recommend toppings, which may or may not be listed as optional and nutritional information for these added toppings is not listed. Other factors may change the nutritional information such as when the salt amount is listed “to taste,” it is not calculated into the recipe as the amount will vary. Also, different online calculators can provide different results. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information obtained is accurate.


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