Pineapple upside down cheesecake salad is just as delicious as it sounds! Whip up this dessert in minutes with canned fruit and pantry staples.
Pineapple Upside Down Cheesecake Salad
Candied pecans, pineapple chunks, and maraschino cherries are coated in a rich and creamy cheesecake mixture. It’s truly an irresistible combination of flavors!
You’ll especially love Millionaire salad, featuring the same combination of fruit and nuts, plus mini marshmallow and sweetened coconut flakes.
- Soften the cream cheese. Unwrap the package and let it sit on the counter for at least 30 minutes before starting the recipe. If you’re short on time, place an unwrapped block on a microwave-safe plate and heat on High for 15 seconds.
- Add extra powdered sugar. Because the cake mix isn’t very sweet, this recipe needs more sugar than those that include instant pudding.
- Use fresh fruit instead. You may need to adjust the amount of sugar depending on the ripeness of the pineapple.
Cheesecake Dessert Salad Tips
Want it to look like a traditional pineapple upside down cake?
Line the inside of a clear serving bowl with canned pineapple rings, then place a maraschino cherry in the center of each ring.
Nestle a smaller clear bowl into the larger one to hold the fruit in place, then transfer the cheesecake salad to the middle.
Or, you can carefully spoon the mixture directly on top of the fruit if you’ve got a patient and steady hand.
Kitchen Tools You Will Need
- Baking Sheet lined with parchment paper
- Stand mixer or large bowl with hand mixer
- Mixing Bowls – I like to have a variety of sizes on hand, and this set has them all.
- Silicone Spatula – Makes it easier to stir both the candied pecans and pineapple upside down cheesecake mixture without anything sticking to the surface.
- Clear Serving Bowl so the dessert can be the star of the show!
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Pineapple Upside Down Cheesecake Salad FAQ
How long will cheesecake salad recipe stay fresh
Cover with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge. It should keep well for up to 3 days.
What else can I add to this dessert?
While the candied pecans create a caramelized sweetness, you can also drizzle on some caramel sauce.
It will eventually melt into the dessert, so I recommend keeping it on the side and drizzling over individual servings if you think you will have leftovers.
To make a quick homemade version, melt together ½ cup packed brown sugar and ¼ cup salted butter in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
Then, remove from the heat and whisk in ½ cup heavy cream until silky and smooth. Allow it to cool completely before using.
How do I keep the fruit from sliding down the sides of the bowl?
First, start from the bottom and work your way up so each ring has something to rest against. I recommend placing one flat against the bottom of the bowl for extra support.
Reserve the juice from the canned pineapple and dip one side of each ring into the liquid.
Place the wet side against the side and hold it in place for a few seconds. The extra sugar should help it stick once it has some time to dry.
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Pineapple Upside Down Cheesecake (Dessert Salad)
- 1 cup packed brown sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided
- 1 1/2 cups pecans
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
- 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup yellow cake mix, unprepared
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 15 ounce pineapple chunks, drained
- 16 ounce maraschino cherries, drained and blotted as dry as possible
- 15 ounce pineapple rings, drained
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, add brown sugar and butter. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between, until mixture is bubbling and sugar is dissolved into the butter. (this took 1 minute total in my microwave)
- Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Add the pecans and stir until fully coated.
- Transfer the pecan mixture to the prepared sheet pan and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
- Bake for approximately 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes while baking.
- Remove candied pecans from the oven and stir to recoat with any of the sugar mixture that has spread onto the baking sheet. Allow pecans to cool completely.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat softened cream cheese and remaining teaspoon of vanilla extract until fluffy.
- Add cake mix and continue beating (mixture will be slightly dry).
- With the mixer (or hand beater) running on low speed, slowly drizzle the heavy whipping cream into the cream cheese mixture. Beat well between the addition of small amounts (add only a couple tablespoons at a time).
- Add powdered sugar to the cheesecake mixture and continue beating until fully combined.
- Add pineapple chunks, maraschino cherries, and candied pecans and fold in gently to combine.
- If desired, place pineapple rings around the edges of a clear glass serving bowl. If needed, place a small bowl in the bottom of the serving bowl to help hold the pineapple rings in place. Set a maraschino cherry in the center of each pineapple ring.
- Transfer cheesecake salad mixture to the serving bowl.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published July 2021. Republished June 2022.
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