Learn how to make a fresh fruit platter for a party that is easy, beautiful and stays fresh, and offers a show-stopping assortment of delicious fruit perfect for winter or summer. Make this fruit tray in advance with season fruits.
How to make a fresh fruit platter that will make you the talk of the party and less expensive than store-bought platters. Learn what fruits to choose, how to pair them, how to prepare them in advance, and how to arrange them so your fruit tray is beautiful, enticing, and delicious.
Consider adding a selection of healthy snacks such as easy frozen grapes from my Can You Freeze Grapes? how-to, as well as desserts such as chocolate zucchini bread, and chocolate chip loaf cake, or even chunks of my no bake brownies.
Why Make Homemade Platters
- Benefits. Fruit trays can be easy to assemble, are healthier than sugar-laden desserts, are filling and full of nutrition so your guests will feel great at your party. They can also be easily customized to reflect the occasion using color, and additions such as cookies, cakes or cheese.
- Easy to make. Fruit platters are a wonderful way to feed a gathering for a party, breakfast or brunch, picnic or BBQ. They are easy to assemble, involving no cooking - only slicing and arranging, and can be made ahead. Fruit platters are also fun to create and design.
- Cost effective. A homemade fruit platter requires about ½ cup of fruit per person which equates to roughly to 50 cents to $1 a person depending on the fruit you choose, with seasonal fruit generally costing less. That means a platter for 12 people would cost around $6 - $12 to make at home, compared to store-bought platters which usually start at $30 and go up. If you need a fruit platter for 50? Reduce the per fruit amount to ¼ cup because with that large a crowd, you will probably have more food for them to choose from. That will mean you'll need about 13-15 cups of fruit in your platter for 50.
Expert tip: Making your own fruit platter is far healthier and more cost effective than purchasing a readymade platter. The fruit bought individually and prepared by you is cheaper to buy, can be monitored for freshness and quality, and is easier to customize to match your occasion or guest needs.
How to Choose Fruits
You will want to follow these guidelines when choosing fruits for your fruit platter.
- Try to buy seasonal fruit as that will taste the best and stay fresh longer.
- Choose fruits that are firm, and not overly ripe or soft.
- Choose 3-6 colors so the platter is chromatically pleasing.
- Choose a variety of shapes and sizes such as slices of melon, and clusters of grapes, and watermelon balls.
- Choose enough fruit so the platter is at least 3 fruits deep to give the illusion of abundance.
List of Seasonal Fruits
Here are the best seasonal fruits for fruit platters. If you choose to add fruits that are available out of season, assess them for appearance and flavor as seasonal fruits are often higher in visual quality and flavor.
- Winter Fruit: Oranges, pears, grapefruits, passion fruits, kiwi
- Spring Fruit: Strawberries, mangos, honeydew melons, dragon fruit
- Summer Fruit: Blueberries, blackberries, pineapples, watermelons, cantaloupe melons, peaches, oranges, raspberries, lycee, kiwi, golden berries, red currents
- Fall Fruit: Apples, cherries, grapes, pomegranates, dates, figs
How to Cut & Prepare
Sliced: pineapples, apples, pears, melons, watermelon, peaches, bananas, dragon fruit, kiwi. Melons and dragon fruit also work well sliced and cut with small cookie cutters into shapes without their skin.
Chunked: Apples, pineapples, melons, peaches. Choose skin on or off on a case-by-case basis.
Whole: Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, pomegranate, grapes.
Segment: Oranges, mandarin, clementines,
Leave skin on: Apples, pears, peaches, mango
Leave rind on: Pineapples, dragon fruit, melons. Also cut these fruits in rounds and then cut small triangles so guests have a handle to grab.
Leave stem on: Cherries, grapes. Keep grapes in small clusters of at least 6-8 grapes. Cherries with pretty long stems are also useful as handles for guests.
Pitted: Cherries, peaches, apricots, mangoes. Cherries also work well pitted and sliced in half.
Stylized. Mangoes can look beautiful by being cut in half, pitted, and then each slice cut with crisscross lines to reflect cubes. Kiwi and even small melons can be cut into a zigzag pattern and pulled apart. Both types of cuts can make pretty anchors in a platter.
Expert Tip: To preserve the fresh color of sliced apples, pears, bananas, and peaches, brush them with a solution of lemon juice (add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to one cup of water). Sliced melons and pineapple can last longer if pressed between paper towels for 30 minutes before adding to the platter.
Step by Step Instructions
Once fruit is prepared, you can just pile the fruits into the platter, but to create a more strategic design that is beautiful and enticing, follow these steps:
- Pick a platter: Use a platter, a baking pan, a lovely dish, or even a cutting board. Choose the size you need to fill it about 3 fruits deep.
- Begin with the outline. Layer the edge of the platter with a row 2-6 sliced fruits such as, strawberries, apples or pineapples, alternating with 2-6 rounder fruits such as berries or melon balls.
- Fill in the center. Group fruit by color, shape or type and fill in the center of the platter, making sure the fruits are at least 3 fruits deep.
- Add 1 or 2 pretty larger anchors, such as a cluster of sliced apples, skin up, or two halves of cubed mangos, or two halves of white or pink dragon fruits.
- Garnish with fresh mint leaves, or even edible flowers. Add lemon or lime slices to give the illusion of freshness even if guests will not be selecting the sour citrus for eating.
Make Ahead & Store
Make Ahead: A fruit platter can be made at least one day in advance provided the fruits are fairly firm and are not overly ripe.
Storage: It is best to prepare the fruits, assemble the fruit platter and serve it all within 24 hours. To store it within that time, cover it with a light wrap or container cover and keep refrigerated.
To store longer than a day or to transport the platter to another location, store the cut fruits separately so they don't bleed into each other, and re-assemble the platter later. Cut fruits will have a varied lengths of time they can last stored depending on the type.
- Dry Fruit. Generally, the drier fruits, such as berries, grapes, kiwis, peaches and oranges will last up to 5 days stored in the refrigerator as long as they are not touching wetter fruit.
- Wet fruits. Generally, sliced melons (cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, dragon fruit), and sliced apples and pears last about 2 days stored in the refrigerator even with the steps to preserve them involving lemon juice and paper towels (see the expert preservative tips under "How to Cut & Prepare")
Fresh fruit platters can be customized beautifully by the fruits that are chosen, the color schemes, and by additions such as dips and desserts.
Dips for Fruit Platters:
Yogurt fruit dip. Stir ¼ cup chopped fresh fruit such as soft ripe strawberries or raspberries into 1 cup of plain yogurt (dairy free). Makes about 1 cup of yogurt dip.
Cream cheese fruit dip. Mix 4 ounces of soft (vegan) cream cheese with ¼ cup of plain yogurt (dairy free), and ¼ cup crushed ripe fresh strawberries or raspberries or blueberries. Stir in 1 tablespoon of milk, and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Chocolate fondue dip. Melt 1 cup of chocolate chips (I use Enjoylife mini chips) in microwave for 1 minute. Microwave ¼ cup of milk at 20 seconds in the microwave. Stir the hot milk into the melted chips, and stir in 1 tablespoon of maple syrup. Makes about 1 cup of chocolate fondue dip.
How to Serve Fruit Dips: Serve all dips in a cup with their own serving spoon and instruct guests to dollop some dip onto their dish along with a serving of fruit.
Specific Holiday Fruit Platters:
Christmas Fruit Platter. Put a dip in a cup in the center, and arrange the fruit around the cup in the shape of a wreath. Or use a Christmas Tree Pan or use a cutting board to arrange the fruits in a triangle to resemble a tree with largest fruits at the base and smallest at the top. Either way, use red berries or pomegranate seeds, and fruits cut with a star cookie cutter to "trim" the tree.
Halloween Fruit Platter. Add chocolate chip "eyes" or buy candy eyes and add those to slices of fruit. Add candy corn, chocolate covered clusters, and mini chocolate cupcakes with candy eyes to the fruit.
Thanksgiving Fruit Platter. Add a half of a green pear to base, give it candy eyes to make a turkey's face. Then build the fruits in an arched rainbow over the top of the pear to resemble turkey feathers.
Dessert Fruit Platter. Build a fruit platter but mix in mini desserts in mini paper cupcake wrappers or paper candy wrappers. I love to add my chocolate chip loaf cake chopped into 1-inch bricks, and my chocolate covered blueberries made extra small (3 berries per cluster), or even my vegan chocolate chip cookies made extra small, maybe 1-inch round.
Once the base is set, you can add any kind of fruit that's available. I like to have one thing that is taller than the rest, such as a large bunch of grapes or a decoratively cut papaya, to give the platter height. Then I add raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and fresh figs in casual but organized groups.
You will need about ½ cup to 1 cup of fruit per person when making a fruit platter. So if you are serving 30 guests, you will need to buy 15 to 30 cups of fruit.
Choose seasonal fruit when possible, and choose fruits that are not over ripe so they will last during the presentation. Prep your fruit, assemble the platter within 24 hours, storing it covered in the refrigerator until presentation. Use lemon juice to keep white fruits from browning, and press melons with paper towels to absorb extra juice.
More Fresh Fruit Recipes
If you tried this recipe or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below. Thanks for visiting!
How to Make A Fresh Fruit Platter
- paring knife
- 1 apple, sliced, skin on gala is crisp and white
- 1 cup strawberries
- ½ cup watermelon, chunked
- ½ cup pineapple, chunked
- ½ cup grapes, purple
- ½ cup grapes, red
- ½ cup blueberries
- ½ cup blackberries
- ½ cup raspberries
- ½ cup dragon fruit, white
- ½ cup red currents, on stalk
- ½ cup figs, fresh and sliced
- ½ cup golden berries, paper husk on
- ½ cup pomegranates, kernels
- ¼ cup mint leaves
- ¼ cup flowers, edible or not
- Wash all the fruits. Use all fresh fruits. Wash in warm soapy water and rinse and dry well.
- Apple. Cut in half, core and slice thin equal slices with skin on. Line cluster half in two spots on edge of platter1 apple, sliced, skin on
- Strawberries. Core ¾ cup of the strawberries, remove the stem and slice into 4 slices each. Line the boarder of the platter on both sides. Hold back the remaining strawberries, leave stem on, and set aside.1 cup strawberries
- Watermelon. Remove the rind and chunk the watermelon. Use the chunks to begin to fill in the center of the platter.½ cup watermelon, chunked
- Pineapple. Remove the outer shell, core and chunk the pineapple.½ cup pineapple, chunked
- Grapes. With the red grapes, fill in the border gaps between the strawberries. Divide the purple grapes into two clusters and tuck them into two spots on the platter.½ cup grapes, purple, ½ cup grapes, red
- Berries. Add all the blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries throughout the center of the platter.½ cup blueberries, ½ cup blackberries, ½ cup raspberries
- Strawberries. Tuck in the sliced strawberries in couples and sets of three around the platter.1 cup strawberries
- Dragon fruit. Cut a fresh white dragon fruit with a cookie cutter to create stars. Tuck those into the platter.½ cup dragon fruit, white
- Remaining fruit. Add red currents, figs sliced in half, golden berries still in their husk in strategic places around the platter.½ cup red currents, on stalk, ½ cup figs, fresh and sliced, ½ cup golden berries, paper husk on
- Sprinkle or add pomegranate kernels, whole mint leaves and flowers in strategic places.½ cup pomegranates, kernels, ¼ cup mint leaves, ¼ cup flowers, edible or not