An Easter dinner isn't complete without the pink fluff salad. At our house, the pink fluff is an old fashioned strawberry tapioca salad made with strawberry jello, pearl tapioca, cool whip, and fresh strawberries. This is not a salad you make quickly but the way grandma would by slowly cooking the pearl tapioca on the stove.
A cool whip and jello-based salad is a must for a pitch-in, holiday meal, or just Sunday dinner. Many of the pink fluff salads are like this pink lady salad recipe with cottage cheese in them. But this pink fluff without cottage cheese is the pink fluff with fisheye tapioca salad.
I am a sucker for old-fashioned fruit salads just like my green fluff aka pistachio pudding watergate salad. It is the perfect with fruit and marshmallows. Is this healthy or dessert? Who cares! Just spoon it up.
Strawberry Tapioca Salad Ingredients
I am going to be honest, I have been on the hunt for this recipe and its ingredients. Here is what you need to make the pearl tapioca strawberry salad.
- Small Pearl Tapioca - the small pearl tapioca is what you want for this recipe. Not minute tapioca. Not tapioca pudding. The little pearls. Reese brand is easily found at Meijer grocery stores while Bob's Red Mill small pearl tapioca can be found on amazon.
- Strawberry Jello - a small box of strawberry jello. Honestly, any flavor of jello can work for this salad, but we are strawberry lovers.
- Sugar - The original recipe calls for white sugar. This can be omitted.
- Cool Whip - While I tend to be a dairy purest, there are times you just need the frozen whipped topping because it holds it shape and form.
- Fresh Strawberries - Fresh strawberries are the best for this recipe, but in a pinch, frozen strawberries can work too. They just may not be as pretty.
In the original recipe, sugar was also called for to make the salad even sweeter. I omitted this because I felt it was very sweet with the jello and whipped topping.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Tapioca Salad
This recipe for pink fluff is not a quick recipe. There is a process to make this salad. Here is what you will need to do.
Combine water and salt then bring to a boil. Add the pearl tapioca. Cook slowly for 15 minutes or until the tapioca is clear.
Remove from the heat and pour in the strawberry jello. Stir to combine. Add the sugar now too if you are adding it. Chill.
After the strawberry tapioca jello has cooled for a few hours, stir in the cool whip.
Stir in the fresh strawberries to the cool whip and jello.
Top off with more fresh strawberries. Keep the strawberry tapioca salad in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Pull this pink fluff out and you will have a herd of kids following you to the serving table. Don't just serve this with the dinner food, be sure to add this pink fluff salad to the dessert table too. It is just as good as rice pudding.
Hint: stir the cooking tapioca regularly as it will stick to the bottom of the pan.
The ingredients for this fruit salad are few, but in case you can't find them, here are some ideas.
- Tapioca Pudding - lots of recipes for tapioca salad using tapioca pudding. If you are looking for a way to use cook and serve tapioca pudding, check out a recipe like this one.
- Sugar-Free - Looking for a sugar free comfort fruit salad. Make this with sugar free jello and sugar-free whipped topping.
- Frozen Fruit - Frozen strawberries can be used as a substitute for fresh strawberries. Just drain any juice before mixing into the tapioca and jello.
Variations to Tapioca Fruit Salad
Don't love strawberries? This salad 100% can be made with other jello flavors and fresh fruit.
- Orange Tapioca Salad - use orange jello and mandarin in place of strawberry jello and strawberries.
- Raspberry Tapioca Salad - add some raspberry jello to the tapioca and then stir in raspberries and top off with raspberries.
- Cherry Fluff Salad - Black cherry jello with some cherry pie filling will give yu cherry fluff. You will want to try this for sure!
A saucepan, some pearl tapioca, and jello. That is what you need. Here some of the supplies to get you on your way to this old fashioned tapioca salad.
Storing Strawberry Tapioca Salad
This tapioca salad is obviously got to chill. So making this the day before is absolutely a good idea. It will also keep for several days after. Just keep it wrapped so it doesn't dry out.
Tip for Making Fish Eye Salad
Tapioca is sticky. Super sticky. Stir and SCRAPE the bottom of the pan as the pearl tapioca cooks.
No, pearl tapioca is like fish eye look and feel. The instant tapioca is not the same shape or consistency.
Fruit Salad Recipes
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
- Sea Breeze Cocktail - Vodka Cranberry Grapefruit Drink
- Bourbon Peach Slab Pie - Peach Pie Bars 🍑 🥧
- Strawberry Pretzel Salad
- Watergate Salad - Pistachio Fluff Salad
These are my favorite dishes to serve at potlucks or holiday dinners:
- White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
- Eggs Benedict Breakfast Casserole with Hollandaise Sauce
- Overnight Lettuce Salad - 7 Layer Salad with Cauliflower
- Oreo Truffles - Oreo Balls
Strawberry Tapioca Salad - Pink Fluff
- 5 cups water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup small pearl tapioca
- 3 ounce strawberry jello
- 2 cups strawberries
- 8 ounces cool whip
- ¾ cup sugar optional
- Boil the water and salt and then add the pearl tapioca. Stir regularly to keep the tapioca from sticking to the bottom. When the pearls are soft and clear, remove from heat.
- To the hot tapioca, add the jello. If adding sugar to make sweeter, stir in now too. Then cool in the refrigeragtor for several hours.
- When completely chilled, stir in one cup of fresh strawberries along with the 8-ounce container of cool whip. Place in a serving bowl.
- Top with more cut berries. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Sea Breeze Cocktail - Vodka Cranberry Grapefruit Drink - May 6, 2023
- Italian Coleslaw - April 30, 2023
- Bourbon Peach Slab Pie - Peach Pie Bars 🍑 🥧 - April 1, 2023
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