How to Make a Fruit Tray

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Want to serve a fruit tray at your next gathering? Not sure how to swing it so that it looks pretty? No problem. Follow these easy tips to make pretty fruit platters with very little work.

platter of grapefruit and orange sections

Party season approaches! Passover, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, weddings, graduations, baby showers, not to mention the endless parade of summer barbecues – time to get on your game when it comes to dishes to serve at your next party or to contribute to the next potluck.

One of the easiest and most well-received party platters is the classic fruit tray. It’s simple! It’s fresh! It fits almost any diet!

If you haven’t honed your fruit tray game, now is the time to sharpen your skills. Trust me, this is not hard. You can prepare Pinterest-worthy fruit trays in no time.

There are beautiful, fresh, and delicious fruit trays and there are sad, soggy, gooey messes. We’re going for the former here.

Follow the tips below for easy tips to make your fruit platter the talk of the town.

tray of berries with toppings on the side

How to Make a Fruit Tray Pretty

Making a fruit tray is super easy and fun. One of the tricks is to find good quality produce and arrange it in attractive ways. Here are some tips to help you do that:

  1. Buy fruit that is fresh and in-season. The New Food Lover’s Companion is a great resource to help you determine the best fruits to buy. If you’re not sure, ask the produce clerk or the farmer at your farmer’s market.
  2. Choose at least three different fruits. Having a variety of fruit on your fruit tray allows you to vary the textures and colors as well as appeal to the different tastes of your guests.
  3. Cut the fruit into manageable sizes. Folks are more likely to dig into your fruit platter if the fruit is trimmed and cut for easy eating. Cut large grape clusters into smaller ones, chop or cube melon, slice kiwi fruit.
  4. Don’t slice everything. Some fruits last longer and stay prettier unsliced. Bananas and strawberries, I’m looking at you. If you want to keep your fruit tray looking fresh and delicious, don’t slice those. Leave them whole to preserve their freshness.
  5. Arrange it on a pretty platter. A simple white platter is a great vehicle for your fruit tray. The white offsets the colors of the fruit, making them the stars of the show. 
  6. Group the fruit together. Fruit salads are usually all mixed up. Platters seem to look prettier when you’ve got melon here, berries there, and so forth.
  7. Add some garnish for color and interest. Lettuce leaves as a base, fresh mint leaves sprinkled on top, or even the top of a pineapple in the center can liven up a fruit platter and make it more interesting to look at. Interesting things taste better, don’t you know? Food presentation matters. 
  8. Include a fun dip or toppings, if you like. While certainly not required, a fun dip or topping, such as shaved chocolate or chopped nuts as a fun bit of flavor to your fruit.

dish of berries and melon slices

What is the best fruit for a fruit tray?

The best fruit for a fruit tray is the fruit that’s in season! By purchasing in-season fruit you not only maximize the quality, but you also take advantage of best pricing.

While many fruits are imported and therefore available year-round, you may find better flavor and pricing in season.

Consider these fruits for your tray, depending on season:

  • spring: berries, apricots, kiwi
  • summer: peaches, plums, melons, berries
  • fall: berries, pears, apples, grapes, citrus
  • winter: grapefruit, oranges, kiwi, apples
  • tropical, available year-round: pineapple, bananas, mango, papaya

Can I cut fruit the night before?

Cutting fruit doesn’t take much time, but it’s nice to have it prepped in advance for quick breakfasts and when you’re entertaining guests. Make-ahead always makes life easier!

Fresh fruit can be cut the night before and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator. Not sure how to cut it? Scroll down for tips on how to cut all kinds of fruit.

How long does a fruit tray last in the fridge?

A cut fruit tray should be good in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 days, depending on how ripe the fruit was at the beginning. If it starts to look a bit droopy, blend it up in a smoothie.

girl holding platter of fruit skewers

How do you make a fruit tray affordable?

Depending on which fruits you choose, a simple fruit tray can be a pricey affair! Here are some of the strategies I use to make this dish more economical:

  • Meal plan around what’s on sale. Check the grocery ads to see what’s on sale this week. Hone in on those fruits and get creative as to how you can turn them into a great fruit platter.
  • Do a price comparison. I know that ALDI is the best place for me to buy most produce when there isn’t a great sale elsewhere, but Sprouts can be very competitive. I steer clear of Costco fruit because it tends to be very high priced. I keep track of prices so that I know who has the best deal where. 
  • Check the clearance section. Sometimes you’ll find manager specials that offer you great discounts on fresh produce. There may be a blemish or two that you can easily cut away.
  • Consider signing up with Imperfect Produce, a produce delivery service that partners with growers to get blemished and surplus fruits and vegetables onto your table. 
  • Talk to your local farmers. Head to your farmers market and talk to the growers there. They can let you know when they’ll have best pricing and availability on fruits you enjoy.
  • Check Freecycle or ask around your neighborhood. Believe it or not, folks often have fruit trees that they aren’t harvesting, leaving fruit just to rot. Smart folks will offer it for free to whoever wants to come pick it. Keep your eyes and ears open for these opportunities.

What kitchen tools do you need for fruit trays?

A fruit tray is a pretty simple dish. You don’t need any fancy equipment. However, having some good basic kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable.

Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs. Here are the tools that I like to use in prepping fruit


Ways to Cut Fruit for a Fruit Tray

How to Make a Fruit Tray Pretty | Good Cheap Eats

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Janet says

    I always like to put sliced oranges on the tray next to the strawberries, especially if I am going to make the tray a day ahead. Strawberries tend to dry out in the fridge. The bit of orange juice keeps the strawberries moist. If you decide to peel and slice the bananas right before serving, put them on the other side of the oranges. The citrus helps prevent browning.

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