Last year we celebrated our Grandpa’s 90th birthday and everyone raved over this classic Southern Grape Salad with Pecans recipe. It’s creamy and crunchy!
Southern Grape Salad Recipe
I cannot begin to tell you how delicious this Southern Grape Salad with Pecans is. There’s practically nothing to it, and yet you can’t stop, in fact, won’t stop eating it.
A creamy yogurt and cream cheese dressing over bright, juicy green and purple grapes, all topped off with a crunchy brown sugar pecan topping. I mean, what more could you want in a side dish?
We went to a big family reunion last summer and this creamy grape salad showed up. I was like, looks like we are staying for another hour, kids! I did not grow up eating this salad and while Cade probably did, he says he doesn’t remember it but won’t ever forget it now.
The “dressing” is very simple: cream cheese, yogurt, powdered sugar and vanilla. It’s not thick, so don’t worry about that cream cheese in there and yes, add the vanilla, it changes everything.
On top, you’re going to sprinkle on brown sugar pecans. And yes, you could use a different nut, but I have to admit, pecans are the best flavor for the grapes. No, I don’t know why, but it’s true.
Southern Grape Salad Ingredients
This grape salad with cream cheese and yogurt is so simple to make. Here’s what you’ll need to make this easy side dish:
- Cream cheese
- Sour cream
- Vanilla Greek yogurt
- Powdered sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Brown sugar
What Type of Grapes Should I Use?
Every recipe differs a bit, some are all green, some all red, but I’ve found that I’m either all red grapes (whoever named red grapes and red onions is clearly color blind, I’m just sayin’) or preferably a combination of red and green grapes. There’s no real reason other than I love the color, and I feel like the reds are a little sweeter. Just make sure you’re using seedless grapes, no matter what color you buy!
Can I Use Another Type of Nut?
Technically, yes. We’ve tested out almonds, pecans, cashews and walnuts. Walnuts had a little too robust of a flavor for the creamy grape salad, while cashews were too buttery. Almonds were great in a pinch, but they were too hard when not sliced and too thin and brittle when they were sliced. All of that’s to say that pecans ended up being the winner when chopped fine.
How to Make Grape Salad
This creamy grape salad takes just 15 minutes to prep. Here’s how to make grape salad:
- Beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer until smooth.
- Add in the sugar, vanilla, and sour cream. Beat until smooth.
- Slice grapes in half, then stir into the cream cheese mixture.
- Make the brown sugar pecan topping, then set it aside to cool.
- Top the grape salad with the brown sugar pecans just before you’re ready to serve.
How to Slice Grapes Quickly
This is a way easier salad to eat if you slice the grapes, but cutting that many grapes is a real beast. It’s too much time and effort, so 99% of the time I haven’t done it this summer. If you want to know how to slice grapes quickly, follow the instructions in our post on the Easiest and Quickest Way to Slice Tomatoes.
How to Store Grape Salad
Grape salad can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container or with plastic wrap on top for up to 3 days, at which time the grapes will begin to soften. Grape salad will last longer if you store the topping separate from the grape salad. The nuts will soften a little if you store it all together, but it’s still totally edible and delicious.
Can I Prep Grape Salad in Advance?
You can’t make the entire salad too far in advance, but you can certainly make all the individual parts ahead of time. Wash and slice all the grapes, stir together the sour cream dressing, and make the crunchy topping. Store it all in three separate containers and simple stir the salad together when you’re ready to serve it.
Tips for Making Southern Grape Salad
I always double the amount of topping because, well, why wouldn’t you? I’ve never understood why things are put in a bowl with toppings because then whoever gets the last scoop doesn’t get any. This way, you ensure that everyone gets some. In fact, I’ve started serving it in a flatter platter (that rhymes!) so that I can evenly sprinkle the topping.
After making the brown sugar pecan topping, it’s essential that you let it cool completely before adding it to the creamy grape salad. Trust me, you don’t want the cream cheese and yogurt dressing to get warm and separate!
I’ve been hearing more and more people mention something about a grape salad recipe with Butterfingers instead of pecans, and I’d love to try that out next. I figured I’d mention it here in case any of you were looking for a way to switch up this grape salad recipe.
Lastly, we consider this grape salad with cream cheese to be a side dish, but looking at the ingredients it could totally be a dessert too. Serve it however you’d like!
More Easy Salad Recipes:
- Fluffy Cheesecake Fruit Salad
- Fruit Salad with Lemon Dressing
- Broccoli Salad
- Cucumber Salad with Grapes and Poppy Seed Dressing
- Watermelon Salad with Mint
- Lemon Mandarin Orange Jello Salad
- Southern English Pea Salad
Southern Grape Salad with Pecans
- 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 8-10 cups grapes, you may use all one color or a combination of grapes
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer until smooth.
- Add the sugar, vanilla and sour cream and beat until smooth again.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the yogurt and fold until well incorporated.
- If you want grapes whole, go ahead and add them, otherwise slice them in half and then fold in.
- Place everything in a bowl or serving platter and top with brown sugar pecans right before serving.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat.
- Add the chopped pecans and stir occasionally until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Quickly add the butter and begin to melt it, then add the brown sugar and cinnamon, stirring quickly to coat.
- Once the brown sugar is starting to stick to the nuts, about 30 seconds, pour out onto a parchment paper to cool.
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