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 the first Christmas I will be spending with her in three years so you can just imagine my joy and excitement.
I have so many merry holiday memories growing up and a lot of them are centered around food, of course. 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 and 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 would squabble over who gets the cherries in the canned fruit cocktail.
Every Filipino household has its own 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 these options below to suit your tastes.
Filipino Fruit Salad Ingredients
- 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 from browning)
- Shredded young coconut-if using the frozen packages of buko, thaw completely and drain. Reserve the juice and add 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
How to Serve Buko Salad
Buko 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.