Buko salad is the ultimate holiday dessert! This Filipino fruit salad is easy to make and so creamy and delicious. A guaranteed party favorite!
I try to visit my mom in the Philippines twice a year, but I am not always able to time the trip around the holidays. This will be my first Christmas with her in three years, so you can imagine my joy and excitement.
I have so many merry holiday memories growing up, many of which are centered around food. Like most Filipino families, buko salad was one of our Noche Buena traditions.
I remember my mom and I would make a special trip to the supermarket a few days before Christmas to buy the ingredients. In the early morning of Christmas Eve, we'd group around our kitchen table to make a big kawa of the delicious concoction. My mom would painstakingly peel grapes, dice the apples, and cube cheese while my brothers and I squabble over who gets the cherries in the canned fruit cocktail. 🙂
Every Filipino household has its version of this classic treat. Along with the basic ingredients of shredded young coconut, fruit cocktail, kaong, nata de coco, condensed milk, and all-purpose cream, my mom's recipe below also includes cubed cheese and corn kernels.
They may sound like a weird addition to a fruit salad, but the combination works! The corn provides additional texture, while the saltiness of the cheese balances the sweetness of the dessert.
Make the fruit salad as simple or festive as you like. You can choose and add from the options below to suit your tastes.
- Fruit Cocktail
- Mixed tropical fruit- this canned fruit mix usually includes pineapple, red and yellow papayas
- Pineapple tidbits or chunks
- Canned Peaches or Pears
- Mandarin oranges
- Canned Lychees
- Fresh fruits such as grapes, strawberries, and diced apples (drizzle the cut apples with lemon juice to keep them from browning)
- Shredded young coconut- if using the frozen packages of buko, thaw completely and drain. Reserve the juice and add it to the salad if you want more liquid
- Nata de coco (coconut gel)
- Kaong (palm fruits)
- Cut corn kernels or creamed corn
- Cubed cheese
- Condensed milk
- All-purpose cream
- The sweetness will mellow out when the dessert is chilled or frozen so you might want to make it a tad sweeter than you like.
- If adding fresh fruits such as apples or bananas, drizzle with lemon juice to keep from browning.
How to serve and store
- This Filipino fruit salad is as easy as tossing all the ingredients together in a large bowl. You can serve the mixture as soon as it's prepared, but for best results, chill for a few hours until very cold or freeze until firm. Either way, it's delicious as an after-meal dessert or midday snack.
- Transfer to an airtight container and press a plastic film onto the surface of the salad before closing the lid to prevent crystals from forming.
- 4 cups young coconut, shredded
- 1 can (30 ounces) fruit cocktail or tropical fruit mix, drained
- 1 can (8 ounces) pineapple tidbits, drained
- 1 can (15 ounces) sweet corn kernels, drained
- 1 bottle (12 ounces) kaong, drained
- 1 bottle (12 ounces) nata de coco, drained
- 1 cup Eden brand or Velveeta
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 can (14 ounces) all-purpose cream
- In a large bowl, combine young coconut, fruit cocktail, pineapple tidbits, corn kernels, kaong, nata de coco, cheese, condensed milk, and all-purpose cream. Stir gently to distribute.
- Chill for a few hours or freeze until firm.
“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”