Holiday Fruit & Yogurt Parfait

with Cranberry-Apple Sauce, Pineapple, Kiwi & Pomegranate

Behold one of the prettiest dishes ever! Imagine jewel-colored layers of cranberry and applesauce, golden pineapple and yogurt in a glass bowl lined with iridescent kiwi slices, then decorated with fresh fruit. This fruit and yogurt combination does indeed look impressive but is easy as can be to assemble!

Holiday Fruit & Yogurt Parfait ♥, beautiful layers of cranberry, applesauce and pineapple surrounded by kiwi slices.

Real Food, Fresh & Inventive. Budget Friendly. Perfect for Holiday Brunch. Great for Meal Prep. Potluck & Party Friendly. Vegetarian. Naturally Gluten Free.

  • "Mom made the yogurt/fruit/cranberry for Christmas brunch - delicious ..." ~ Anne

Holiday Brunch Accolades

This colorful fruit medley was a hit at my cookie-swap brunch last year.

“This is really good,” one friend raved. Another at first seemed to disagree. “No way,” she started. “This is really REALLY good.”

Everyone at the table nodded, surprised at the unusual combination of tart cranberry, sweet fruit and creamy yogurt.

And it looks as good as it tastes! The kiwi shines like exotic green glass against the pale yogurt and ruby-colored cranberry.

“No way,” my friend might have responded, “This is really, REALLY beautiful.”

Prepared in advance, the fruit salad is also perfect for Christmas morning, perhaps served with fruity muffins or cinnamon buns. That allows time for a morning twirl around the kitchen, a story-time snuggle beneath a blanket, a moment for contemplation of the all-year blessings of the holidays.

Holiday Fruit & Yogurt Parfait ♥, beautiful layers of cranberry, applesauce and pineapple surrounded by kiwi slices.

About This Recipe

  • This is a show-stopping dish for winter buffets or holiday meals, it has such an impressive appearance. That said, it's a simple combination of yogurt and cooked fruit (cranberry and apple) and raw fruit (kiwi and fresh pineapple).
  • Is it a side dish? a fruit salad? a simple fruit dessert? That's entirely your call, it's flexible that way.
  • Every single ingredient matters here, each one contributes fruity sweetness that contrasts with the creamy yogurt.
  • Ingredient List = cranberry + applesauce (homemade or store-bought) + kiwi + fresh pineapple + vanilla yogurt + cinnamon
  • Here, make-ahead is a "feature" not a "drawback"! Put it all together a day or even two in advance, then garnish before serving.
  • This recipe makes a bunch, about 6 cups. I always figure on half-cup servings, easy math!
Holiday Fruit & Yogurt Parfait ♥, beautiful layers of cranberry, applesauce and pineapple surrounded by kiwi slices.

How to Serve Holiday Fruit & Yogurt Parfait

To really show off the colorful fruit, serve Holiday Fruit & Yogurt Parfait in a clear glass bowl.

If you have a trifle bowl, now's the time to pull it out of storage or maybe invest in a new trifle bowl (affiliate link), there are so many pretty styles!

Do be careful about size, trifle bowls tend to be large. I was chagrined when my small-ish one cracked, it's "irreplaceable" in that it was my mom's yardsale find and such a useful size. I'm partial to trifle bowls with feet but that one was plenty pretty (and useful) without.

Here's why size matters and how to gauge. So this recipe makes about 6 cups, that's about 12 half-cup servings. Six cups is equivalent to 1-1/2 quarts or 48 ounces.

Most trifle bowls are two or even three times bigger!

So check your own cupboards, you may well have something that will work in both size and function. In fact, this minute I'm kicking myself for giving up a beautiful glass salad bowl that just never got used.

I also like the idea of individual trifle bowls. Some wine glasses would work well too. But if you're investing in something special, consider these minimalist glass bowls (affiliate link), I think they'd be quite pretty for this parfait but otherwise useful too.

NO CLEAR GLASS? The clear glass is only for pretty presentation, not function. So if you have a pretty bowl or colorful ramekins, it would be quite easy to creatively garnish / decorate the top of this dish, making it just as pretty.

What's In Holiday Fruit Parfait? (Mostly) Pantry Ingredients!

In all my recipes and most well-written recipes, every ingredient serves a purpose. Each one matters. Each one contributes to the overall dish. It's not that an ingredient can't be substituted by something else but when choosing the substitute, it's important to understand why the original ingredient was present in the first place.

  • Cranberry-Apple Sauce This jewel-toned fruit sauce starts off with cranberries, either fresh or frozen, that cook with a little sugar, then get mixed with a chunky applesauce, either store-bought or homemade.

  • Fresh Fruit Kiwi slices line the clear glass bowl, again, more color. Fresh pineapple adds bulk, color and sweetness. Could you use canned pineapple? Yes, just buy pineapple in its own juices and drain it very well.

  • Yogurt I sometimes make this with store-bought low-fat vanilla yogurt, easily found. But wow, full-fat vanilla yogurt is so good, it's rich enough that it almost tastes like there's whipped cream folded in.
  • But for something that's totally Weight Watchers friendly, I can also imagine starting with non-fat Greek yogurt, adding a little sweetener (maybe maple syrup or even a sugar-free vanilla-flavored coffee syrup?) to thin and sweeten a little. And a touch of cinnamon!
  • UPDATE Yes, Greek yogurt works great. For every cup of non-fat Greek yogurt, add 2 tablespoons sugar-free vanilla syrup or another sweetener plus a sprinkle of cinnamon. FYI this combo has become my go-to bedtime snack, a hit of protein recommended by our doctor, it seems to prevent the hand cramps we both get in the middle of the night.
Holiday Fruit & Yogurt Parfait ♥, beautiful layers of cranberry, applesauce and pineapple surrounded by kiwi slices.

How to Make Holiday Fruit & Yogurt Parfait

The detailed recipe is written in traditional recipe form below but here are the highlights in five easy steps. You can definitely do this!

  • COOK THE CRANBERRY-APPLE SAUCE It takes just a few minutes. Set aside a small portion for garnishing later.
  • LINE THE BOWL WITH KIWI SLICES Thin slices work better than thicker slices. First, thin slices adhere to the glass more easily. Second, thin slices show off the translucent beauty of kiwi!
  • BUILD THE LAYERS But first, consider your bowl. If it's shallow, a single layer of each works well. If it's taller, you may want two layers of each so gauge accordingly. The first layer is Cranberry-Applesauce, the second layer is fresh pineapple, the third layer is yogurt mixed with a little cinnamon.
  • CHILL! This helps the yogurt set up and thicken a bit, the whole dish to meld. Allow at least an hour but usually, I keep this in the fridge for 12-24 hours.
  • GARNISH Just before serving, garnish the top of the dish. Make it pretty! That's easy with the contrast of the Cranberry-Apple Sauce and the golden pineapple.
Holiday Fruit & Yogurt Parfait ♥, beautiful layers of cranberry, applesauce and pineapple surrounded by kiwi slices.

Hungry Yet?
A Winter Brunch Menu

Cranberry Champagne Cocktail
Baked Bacon
Tomato Basil Quiche
Holiday Fruit & Yogurt Parfait
(recipe below)
Gingerbread Muffins

Is This Really a Fruity Trifle? A Brunch Trifle?

Well, yeah, sure!

Christmas Trifle is another tradition in my family, a nod to our Canadian and English heritage from my mom's side.

So how are the two similar?

  • Both are colorful, real show-stoppers.
  • Both have a creamy component. With Trifle, it's a stovetop custard. With the Parfait, it's familiar no-cook yogurt.
  • Both have a fruit component. With Trifle, it's peaches, mandarin orange and sour cherries. With the Parfait, it's cranberries, applesauce, kiwi and fresh pineapple.
  • Both could be served as a dessert.

And how are they different?

  • Trifle has a cake component, the Parfait does not.
  • Trifle includes whipped cream, the Parfait does not
  • So Trifle is definitely sweeter and richer than the Parfait.
  • So Trifle would only be served as a dessert where the Parfait can be a side or fruit salad or a dessert.

So while Trifle and this Parfait are similar, they're not the same! Second cousins maybe, not siblings.

For Best Results

For my weekly column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, I interviewed chefs and translated their restaurant recipes for home kitchens. The most iluminating question? "How can a home cook ensure the same results?" So now I ask that question of myself, too, for my own recipes. Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!

Embrace Shortcuts Odds are good that you're making this for a special occasion during a time when everything feels rushed and harried. In those moments, nobody but nobody is going to remember fresh vs canned pineapple and whether the cranberry-apple sauce is made from scratch. Shortcuts for the win!

For the pineapple, let somebody else cut up the pineapple, most grocery stores sell fresh pineapple with the fussy part done, go for it. But canned pineapple would work too, I'd recommend buying both tidbits and rings in their own juice vs sweetened.

For the Cranberry-Applesauce, mix a good prepared cranberry sauce with good chunky applesauce. Or if you're in make-ahead mode, make a double batch of Homemade Whole Cranberry Sauce for the Slow Cooker, it works really well here.

Choose a Beautiful Bowl Yes, clear glass! It's just so pretty, holding the layers. But then, measure how many cups your own bowl holds (just pour water into it by the cupful until the water reaches the height you'd like. As written, the recipe makes six cups. If your bowl holds less, just scale down. If it holds more, just scale up.

Bookmark! PIN! Share!

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this recipe beautiful brunch dish hits the mark, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...

Holiday Fruit & Yogurt Parfait ♥, beautiful layers of cranberry, applesauce and pineapple surrounded by kiwi slices.


Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: Minimum 3 hours (all but decorating the top may be completed the day before)
Makes about 6 cups

For way less stress during assembly, do all you can beforehand: cooking the Cranberry-Apple Sauce, cutting up the pineapple if using fresh pineapple, draining the yogurt, removing the seeds from a whole pomegranate, etc.
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (about 6oz/170g)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups chunky applesauce (see TIPS)
  • 4 - 6 kiwis, skins sliced off, cut in 1/4 inch rounds
  • Cranberry-Apple Sauce
  • 1 - 2 cups pineapple cut in 1/2 inch tidbit-size pieces and drained (use 1 cup for a single layer, 2 cups for a double layer)
  • 32 ounces low-fat or full-fat vanilla yogurt , drained through a fine-mesh strainer for 30 minutes to remove excess liquid
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (don't skip)

COOK THE CRANBERRY-APPLE SAUCE Combine the cranberries, water and sugar in heavy saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium heat and cook until the berries are soft, about 3 minutes.

Stir the applesauce into the remaining cranberry mixture. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour and up to a couple of days ahead of time.


KIWIS Arrange the kiwi rounds in a single layer on the bottom of a clear glass bowl. Stand additional kiwi rounds around the bowl’s bottom edge, pressing to adhere to the interior wall of the glass.


Are you aiming for just one layer each of fruit and yogurt? If the bowl is shallow, one layer works great. If so, gently spoon all the Cranberry-Apple Sauce over the kiwi, then spread 1 cup pineapple pieces evenly over top. Stir the yogurt and cinnamon together and pour evenly over the fruit; use an offset spatula to evenly spread the yogurt across the top.

Will your bowl accommodate two layers each of fruit and yogurt? If so, gently spoon half the Cranberry-Apple Sauce over the kiwi, then spread 1 cup pineapple pieces evenly over top. Stir the yogurt and cinnamon together and pour less than half the yogurt (this ensures there's extra-plenty for the top layer to fully cover the fruit with a white expanse of yogurt) over the fruit; ; use an offset spatula to evenly spread the yogurt across the top. Repeat with the remaining Cranberry-Apple Sauce, pineapple pieces and yogurt-cinnamon mixture.

CHILL Cover and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

GARNISH & SERVE An hour or so before serving, decorate the top with pineapple, kiwi and pomegranate seeds. Make it pretty! Put back in the fridge until ready to serve.

ALANNA's TIPS To make your own applesauce, chop a mix of apple varieties, leaving the peels on and chopping the apples quite small; cook until soft with just a bit of water. (More details? Check out Homemade Applesauce.) But don't hesitate to buy a jar of good-quality chunky applesauce, too. The Cranberry-Applesauce is good on its own and handy to have over the holidays. So consider a double batch. Pull out your prettiest clear glass bowl and serve tableside for maximum effect. I wish I could promise that the layers stay pretty once it's being served, but no. For a small group, individual parfaits might be especially impressive. Purchase the kiwis a few days ahead for additional ripening time. Slice the kiwis quite thin so they’ll more easily adhere to the sides of your bowl; it helps to test the thickness of just one slice before cutting all the kiwis. Do buy extra, just in case, kiwi can be a little finicky. To serve a larger group, add other fruit, perhaps tangerine sections and bananas. For something more dessert-ish than fruit-salad-ish, you might mix the yogurt with cream cheese.

FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See .
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per 1/2 cup serving: 133 Calories; 4g Protein; 1g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 29g Carb; 3g Fiber; 42mg Sodium; 3mg Cholesterol. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Sorry, due to technical issues during a laptop conversion, Weight Watchers points will be updated later.
Adapted from Bon Appetit, December 2000 where other commenters mention the yogurt getting too runny. I've never had that issue but if you're concerned, drain the yogurt through cheesecloth for a couple of hours before using.

More Holiday Brunch Ideas

~ breakfast & brunch recipes ~
Spinach Quiche with Red Pepper & Feta, another classic spinach recipe ♥, creamy custard packed with fresh or frozen spinach in a homemade or refrigerated crust. Budget Friendly. Company Worthy.

Light Tomato Basil Quiche Recipe ♥, a make-ahead, healthy, vegetarian and light quiche recipe.

Easy Green Chile Egg Casserole ♥ No bread! Just eggs, green chiles, bits of cheese and a surprising ingredient, cottage cheese. Vegetarian. Low Carb. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly!

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ cranberries ~
~ apples ~
~ pineapple ~
~ kiwi ~
~ yogurt ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2003 (print), 2009 (online) & 2022 (repub)

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous12/16/2009

    Hi Alanna, this looks interesting but it will in no way work as a substitute for Fruit Soup which I am now making for our Olson Family Scandinavian Christmas Lunch on Saturday. But toward Spring, it may work well. I like the idea of the yogurt.

    Keep it up, girl. You are your Mother's Daughter, fer shur!

  2. Mom made the yogurt/fruit/cranberry for Christmas brunch - delicious, and there is something so much more special when the recipe comes from somewhere special like your site, and memories of St. Louis.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna