Minnesota Creamy Grape salad

​​Grape salad has been dubbed Minnesota's state dish by the New York Times, and this recipe originates in the oldest city in MN...so you know it's good! Brown sugar, grapes, cream cheese, and nuts make up this classic recipe.

This authentic Minnesota recipe mixes grapes with a creamy cream cheese mixture and is topped with crunchy nuts and sweet brown sugar. Whether you're serving it as a side dish or at a potluck, it's a great addition to any party!

Other Minnesota dishes you'll love to try might be the classic Minnesota Tater Tot Hotdish, Grandma's Oven Pot Roast, or the classic Snickers Salad.

Creamy Grape Salad.

Those who are not from Minnesota might not know about the hullabaloo that the NY Times caused when they chose Grape Salad as Minnesota's state dish.

Are you kidding me? What is this grape stuff?

These are some of the questions heard around the state. Quite rightly so. Grape salad is virtually unknown to most Minnesotans, even those born and raised here. I wasn't aware of it, for sure. However, my sister Lanet had. In fact, she had served it. 

Creamy Grape salad with grapes and cream cheese and brown sugar.

It's true. She worked part-time at the historic Lowell Inn in Stillwater, MN, the state's birthplace and oldest city. The Lowell Inn is among the city's oldest businesses. The restaurant serves Grapes Devonshire (Grape Salad) and has for many decades.

I still believe the NY Times should choose the tater tot hotdish for its pick.

A dish of creamy grape salad with brown sugar and chopped nuts on top.

In any case, I am happy to present you with an original recipe for Grapes Devonshire, also called Creamy Grape Salad. Using cream cheese instead of clotted cream, and yogurt instead of sour cream it recreates the authentic dish with a modern, lighter update.

Ingredients for creamy grape salad

What is grape salad made of:

Grape Salad is a simple dessert salad made with grapes (obviously) and a sauce made of cream cheese, Greek yogurt, a little sugar, and some vanilla. It’s all topped with a little brown sugar-and-pecan goodness.

Key Ingredients:

  • Grapes. Use a mixture of red and green or whatever is your favorite. Just make sure they aren't mushy!
  • Cream Cheese. Many original recipes called for clotted cream with a high-fat content similar to butter. Cream cheese sweetens and lightens the dish up.
  • Yogurt. Instead of the traditional sour cream, I've swapped yogurt for the extra tang and lightness.
  • Pecans. Use your favorite chopped nuts.
  • Brown Sugar. The topping of brown sugar truly is special...don't skip it!

Key Instructions:

(more detailed instructions are in the recipe card below)

  1. Wash and dry grapes thoroughly.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, yogurt, white sugar, and vanilla extract.
  3. Stir the grapes in the dressing until completely covered.
  4. Refrigerate grape salad for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  5. Mix the brown sugar and crushed pecans together to form a crumb topping. 
  6. Sprinkle the pecan-sugar mixture over the grape salad just before serving.(either on the full bowl or on individual servings).

It's a bit strange to sprinkle raw brown sugar on the top of a salad, I know. Go with me on this! Don't mix it in, don't skip it, just sprinkle the brown sugar on top as the recipe says. You'll get this delightful magical texture and flavor...so good!

How long does grape salad last?

Grape Salad can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for about 3 days. Some people think it tastes even better on the second day! If you keep it too long, the grapes do get mushy.

Can you freeze grape salad?

While plain frozen grapes are a fun treat, I don’t recommend freezing Grape Salad. It will be a mushy mess when thawed.

What kind of grapes should I use for grape salad?

There isn’t really a wrong kind of grape for Grape Salad. You can use what your family likes best, what’s on sale, or what’s in your fridge. Mixing red and green grapes makes for the prettiest presentation though. And if you’re serving it to children, halve (or quarter) your grapes–safety first!

How could I adapt this recipe?

There are so many ways to adapt Grape Salad! If you don’t have Greek yogurt or aren’t a fan, swap it for sour cream. The pecans can be traded for just about anything–walnuts, Grape-Nuts, crushed pretzels, etc. If you want to play with the flavor, try adding chopped Snickers, shredded coconut, or crushed cookies (on top), or even make it an apple salad by using apple chunks instead of grapes.

Creamy Grape Salad Recipe

| 4 servings
Prep Time | 10 mins
Chilling time | 1 hr
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
This authentic Minnesota recipe mixes grapes with a creamy cream cheese mixture and is topped with crunchy nuts and sweet brown sugar.

Ingredients
 

  • 1.5 lbs Grapes approximately 4 cups
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese softened
  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons White Sugar or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tablespoons Crushed Pecans optional, toast the pecans prior to crushing.
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
Check out our Kitchen Reference Guide for help with unfamiliar terms.

Instructions

  • Wash and dry grapes thoroughly.
  • In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, yogurt, white sugar and vanilla extract. Taste and adjust sweetness to personal taste.
  • Stir the grapes in the dressing until completely covered.
  • Refrigerate grape salad for at least 30 minutes before serving. I recommend at least 1 hour, if possible.
  • Optional, in a large griddle on medium-high heat toast the pecans on the stovetop.
  • Mix the brown sugar and crushed pecans together to form a crumb topping.
  • Sprinkle the pecan-sugar mixture over the grape salad just before serving (either on the full bowl or on individual servings).

Nutrition

Calories: 333kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 9gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.003gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 112mgPotassium: 464mgFiber: 2gSugar: 41gVitamin A: 498IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 109mgIron: 1mg

Recipe tester Lisa says...

"Lovely recipe. Very simple and very tasty. My mother-in-law makes this also…but her version is much "heavier". Really enjoyed this recipe."

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