Thanksgiving Turkey Fruit Plate – This turkey-shaped Thanksgiving fruit platter looks adorable at holiday get-togethers and parties. It’s a favorite with kids and grown-ups alike! (Naturally gluten-free, vegan & paleo)
My kids aren’t really into most of the Thanksgiving foods. (If you don’t count rolls. Everyone loves rolls.) When they were younger, spending hours putting together a big Thanksgiving meal only to have them eat a roll and sigh heavily at the table didn’t feel great. So a few years ago, I started making a little Thanksgiving fruit plate in the shape of a turkey. It quickly became my kids’ most-requested Thanksgiving “recipes” and it’s been a hit with cousins and guests every single year.
Whether you’ve got picky little ones at home who might turn their nose up at things like stuffing, Brussels Sprouts, or sweet potato casserole or simply want a cute, colorful addition to the holiday table, a turkey fruit plate is here to be your new best friend.
A turkey fruit plate is a beautiful thing because it:
- doesn’t require your oven or stovetop! Hallelujah!
- is perfect to set out for snacking when you have company or pull it out for an afternoon snack on a school day.
- is so simple to make that it’d be easy to have little ones or guests who want to be helpful put it together while you’re working on other things in the kitchen.
- tastes delicious!
And if everyone starts snacking before dinner’s ready? Well, then they just got a good serving of fruit in, which feels like a win in my book.
Here’s how we make our Thanksgiving turkey fruit platter, our favorite fruits to choose from, a few tips for making it extra cute, and more!
HOW TO MAKE A CUTE TURKEY FRUIT PLATE.
- CHOOSE A PLATE, PLATTER, or BOARD. You can make your turkey fruit plate as large or small as you like. Feel free to make a mini board for an afternoon snack, or a giant platter for your Thanksgiving feast. I love this round bowl/plate from Crate & Barrel. It has nice high sides, which helps keep the fruit in place.
- CUT A PEAR IN HALF. You’ll start with the turkey. Cut a pear in half lengthwise (so it will lay flat on the plate). I prefer Bosc pears (brown pears) because they look the most like a turkey, but red pears, d’Anjou, and Bartlett pears are all lovely, too!
- SELECT AT LEAST 3-5 FRUITS TO BUILD WITH. Next, you’ll prep a few kinds of fruit to create your colorful rows of fruity “feathers.” I suggest working with at least 3-5 colors for interest, but you can use as many or as few colors as you like.
- WORK IN CURVED ROWS. Now that the turkey is on the plate and your fruit is washed, sliced, and prepped, you can work to build curved rows around the body of the turkey. I recommend single layers of fruit at first, so you can adjust or move them easily to be the right shape.
- ADD ADDITIONAL DEPTH. Once the first layer of fruit is down, you can fill in each row with additional depth by adding more fruit on top of each layer.
- MAKE A CUTE TURKEY FACE. For a finishing touch, you can make a little face on your turkey! I like to cut a small triangle from one of the ends of my sliced oranges for the beak (though a little piece of carrot or orange bell pepper can also do the job). Then, I use a toothpick or skewer to poke two small holes for the eyes and fill them in with mini chocolate chips. You can use full-size chocolate chips or eyeball sprinkles if you prefer! Feel free to add a red wattle made from strawberry, red apple, or red bell pepper.
COLORFUL FRUITS TO TRY WITH YOUR TURKEY FRUIT PLATTER.
You can mix and match basically any fruit to build a cute fruit platter. I like to work in at least a few colors to make things look bright and happy. You can use as few as 2-3 colors, or make a full-color rainbow–whatever is easiest for you!
- REDS & PINKS – Strawberries, red apples (I love Honeycrisp), raspberries, pomegranate arils, dragon fruit, currants, blood oranges.
- ORANGES & YELLOWS – Sliced oranges, mandarins or clementines, pineapple, golden kiwi, gooseberries, star fruit, yellow apples (like Opal or Golden delicious), bananas (slice on a diagonal for pretty presentation!), dried apricots, mango.
- GREENS – Granny Smith apples, green grapes, green kiwi, kiwiberries
- BLUES & PURPLES – Moon drop grapes (very dark blue-violet), red/purple grapes, blueberries, blackberries, plums, figs
ADD A YUMMY DIP!
CHOCOLATE FONDUE. If you want to take this from snack/side dish/appetizer to dessert, just add a side of our famous dairy-free chocolate fondue. It’s MIND-BLOWINGLY good and perfect for special occasions.
CHOCOLATE HUMMUS. To keep this on the fun, but healthier side, swap out the fondue for chocolate hummus. It sounds crazy, but even my bean-hating, veggie-averse kids go back for seconds and thirds. Promise.
PEANUT BUTTER YOGURT DIP. One of my go-to fruit-dips is to mix 2 Tbsp. of peanut butter + 1 cup of plain yogurt (dairy-free, if needed). Add sweeter like honey or pure maple syrup to taste, or go with pre-sweetened vanilla yogurt instead of plain.
TOFFEE FRUIT DIP. I’m more than embarrassed to have you look into these archives because the pictures are SO BAD. But. If you have no dietary restrictions, this toffee fruit dip was always one of my favorites growing up!
LIME YOGURT FRUIT DIP. Keep things fresh and light by combining vanilla or coconut yogurt with a little lime juice, lime zest + maybe a little honey or agave to sweeten as needed. I love it!
WHIPPED CREAM. Or, be super fun and add some plain or lightly sweetened whipped cream or whipped coconut cream on the side. It’s fun and fresh!
FAQ + TIPS AND TRICKS FOR THE BEST TURKEY FRUIT PLATE:
WORK IN LAYERS. When you’re initially creating the rows of fruit in your turkey fruit plate, you’ll work in a single layer, but to add dimension and interest, I recommend going back again to add additional fruit onto each row. It’ll look more abundant, colorful, and delicious! (You can see in the video the difference between a single layer of red strawberries at the beginning vs. the layered strawberries + raspberries at the end.)
THINK ABOUT COLOR! To make your fruit platter look extra pretty, try to think about the arrangement of colors. You can layer things in rainbow order, alternate between bright and subtle colors, make a pattern of 2-3 colors, etc. You just don’t want it to look boring or bland, which can happen if too many fruits that are similar in color are next to each other (i.e. if it’s all reds or all yellows).
KEEP YOUR FRUIT LOOKING FRESH. Fruits like berries, grapes, pineapple, or oranges will stay looking fresh for a while without any extra treatment, while other fruits like apple slices, sliced kiwi, or banana tend to oxidize (brown) with exposure to the air.
- Dip apple slices, banana, or kiwi in pineapple or orange juice. I prefer this to lemon or lime juice which can run tart or bitter. Pineapple juice and orange juice still has acid which helps prevent browning but has a tropical sweet flavor that can be lovely with apples, bananas, or kiwi.
- Brush or squeeze lemon or lime juice over the fruit.
- Soak the fruit for a few minutes in water (really!). Even that small barrier of water can help prevent oxidation for a while.
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- The BEST Pecan Pie Ever (No Corn Syrup!)