A show-stopping fruit platter is one of the easiest, most appreciated contributions to a party. Our version takes it to the next level with a few less-common fruits and (hello!) a luscious dark chocolate dip. Here's how to make a gorgeous fruit plate in about 20 minutes.
Why we love this fruit platter with dark chocolate fruit dip
Here's the thing about a beautiful, abundant fruit platter. Around the holidays (and really always), people want to feel seen and special and celebratory and satisfied. But they also want to feel healthy and conscientious and vibrant and responsible.
A generous, colorful, next-level fruit platter is the ticket to unlocking all of these feelings at once. And it only takes about 20 minutes of work.
About this fruit plate
Basic fruit plates are kind of a dime a dozen. You can grab one on a plastic tray at your local big-box grocery store. Those fruit plates are fine. They serve their purpose.
An epic fruit platter is a different thing entirely.
It's fruit, sure. But it's like 20% fruit, 80% delight. True, it's a little more work than picking something up ready-made at the store. But the work-to-happiness ratio here is highly favorable.
And while having a couple of unexpected ingredients can help with the happiness factor, the most important elements are absolutely free:
First, be thoughtful in your approach. Rather than just dumping a bunch of fruit onto a plate, have an idea ahead of time. Psst...use the photos as a guide.
Second, fill the platter until it's almost overflowing for an abundant, generous look. This doesn't mean you need more fruit — just choose a smaller platter.
Third, make some dark chocolate fruit dip. I mean, no brainer.
How to arrange a beautiful fruit plate
Setting up a gorgeous fruit platter is quicker and easier than it looks. Here's what you'll do:
- Prep the fruit. You can scroll down to the recipe for detailed instructions.
- Make a simple dark chocolate ganache according to the steps below.
- Place a couple of small bowls onto a large platter and pour in the fruit dip.
- Arrange large fruits like melon slices first to block out a general shape for your fruit plate.
- Arrange smaller fruits. Work in layers, and add pops of color.
- Garnish with tiny fruits like pomegranate seeds if you like.
How to make chocolate fruit dip
Once you know how to make this quick, totally luscious chocolate ganache, you'll find a million uses for it. First up, fruit dip.
- You'll heat some heavy cream and a splash of coffee (optional, but great for enhancing chocolate flavor) just until it boils.
- Take the pot off the heat.
- Pour in bittersweet chocolate (chips are fine), good vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.
- Let it sit for five minutes without touching it.
- Then stir until it's perfectly smooth and glossy. That's it!
Fruit platter ideas (What to put on a fruit platter)
When putting together an epic fruit platter, consider what's in season as well as the color scheme you'd like to work with. Rainbow is always a hit, but the sky's the limit. This fruit platter includes:
- Granny Smith apples
- Green seedless grapes
- Star fruit
- Dragon fruit
- Baby seedless watermelon
- Pomegranate seeds
- Cape gooseberries
If your budget is tight, or the selection at your store isn't great, it's 100% fine to work with the basics. If you can find one special ingredient — or even cut one of the ingredients, like melon, into an unexpected shape — it will go a long way toward making your fruit plate feel special.
If not, it's all good. Just follow the tips below, and use the photos here as a model if you like, for an eye-catching result.
Tips for making the best fruit platter
- Use a separate cutting board for fruit: For years we've had a brightly colored cutting board that we reserve just for fruit. This means we never have to worry about our watermelon tasting like onions and garlic. Use this tip for your fruit platter and also in everyday life.
- Pick a color scheme: Here we've used the whole rainbow, which is always a good bet. But you don't have to. You could stick to shades of red with red grapes, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, red-skinned apples, watermelon, and pomegranate seeds, for example. Or go green and blue with green grapes, green apples, kiwis, cantaloupe, blueberries, and blackberries.
- Aim for abundance: Choose a platter that barely fits the amount of fruit you're serving, so that it will look very full. This little trick creates a vibe of generosity and abundance, which makes everyone feel good.
- Consider using a few less-common fruits: This platter includes several low-key surprises — dragon fruit, star fruit, cape gooseberries, and yellow kiwi. While less-common fruit can be more expensive (and is not strictly necessary), people love when you include at least one unexpected item to shake things up a bit.
- Leave room for the fruit dip: It's a good idea to start by placing a dip bowl or two onto the platter so you don't forget to leave room.
What are the best fruits for a fruit platter?
The best fresh fruit for a party tray depends on a few factors:
- The season
- Your guests' preferences
- Your color scheme, if any
- Whether you need to make it in advance
In-season fruit tends to be less-expensive and more delicious. In the winter, apples, citrus, and tropical fruits are good bets. In the summer, it's fun to focus on berries, stone fruit, and melon.
If your guests are on the sophisticated side, you have two options: wow them with a variety of fruits that are less-common in your area, OR (and this is usually my favorite option) make them feel cozy and loved by leaning into comfort foods.
"Fancy" fruits that tend to get a glowing response in my circles include dragonfruit, star fruit, and even unusual varieties of apples. "Comfort" fruits (especially with chocolate dip!) include strawberries, bananas, and grapes. These are also great choices if your guests include lots of kids.
How far in advance can you make a fruit tray?
Good question! The answer depends on what fruits you're using. In general, it's safe to make a fresh fruit platter in the morning on the day you want to serve it. And if you're using heartier fruits, you can make it the night before. Either way, store it tightly wrapped in a nice cold fridge.
Here are some protips for making your party tray in advance:
- Choose apple varieties that are less likely to brown, such as Granny Smith, Empire, or Gala
- Lean into the heartier fruits like apples and melon // and smaller fruits that you can keep whole, like grapes, cherries, and blueberries.
- Consider prepping your fruit the day before but assembling the tray closer to the event. It's the prep that takes longest, so this approach can be a good compromise. Storing fruit separately will prevent the flavors from mixing too much, and stop different fruits from over-ripening each other.
- Skip the bananas, or add them right before serving.
How much fruit do I need for a big gathering?
Here's what you should factor into your decision:
- How many people will attend?
- How long is the event?
- What else are you serving?
As a rule of thumb, count on 4 ounces of fruit per person after removing any peels, pits, and other inedible parts. So, for 12 people, you'd need about three pounds of edible fruit. For 25 people, you'd need a little more than six pounds. For 100 people, you'd need 25 pounds.
If the event is very long, or you're not serving at least three or four other dishes, scale up. If the event is very short, or there are a ton of other options, you can scale your party tray back a bit.
What to serve with a fruit platter
This fruit platter with dark chocolate fruit dip makes a great contribution to a potluck if you're a guest responsible for bringing one dish. We also love to serve it like this:
On a brunch buffet with quiche Lorraine and quiche Florentine (baked side by side), a big batch of bacon in the oven, some blueberry coffee cake, and a pitcher cocktail.
At a party where everything is an epic platter, alongside our epic cheese board and crudités with bagna cauda.
At a holiday cocktail party with a gorgeous fizzy cocktail, some puff pastry cheese straws to soak it up, a cheese and charcuterie platter, and some oysters.
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How to Make an Epic Fruit Platter
A showstopping fruit platter is one of the easiest ways to level up your hosting game or potluck contribution. You can scale it to the size of the crowd, use whatever fruit is available, and make people very happy without working too hard. Here's how to do it.
For the fruit platter
- 2 Granny Smith apples
- 1 bunch red or green seedless grapes
- 1 star fruit
- 1 dragon fruit
- 2 kiwis
- ½ baby seedless watermelon
- 1 pint blueberries
- ½ pint blackberries
- 1 pint strawberries
- 1 pint raspberries
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- ½ pint cape gooseberries
For the dark chocolate fruit dip
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon brewed coffee
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (chips are fine)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
TO ASSEMBLE THE FRUIT PLATE
Prepare the fruit:
- Arrange one or two small bowls for the chocolate dip onto the serving platter. (You'll pour the dip in later.)
- Gently rinse and dry all fruit.
- To prepare the apples, quarter them, remove the core from each quarter by slicing it out diagonally, and then slice each quarter into four or five slices. Granny Smith apples don't brown quickly, so you can do this in advance without worrying about it.
- To prepare the grapes, snip the stems to form little bundles of 5 to 10 grapes.
- To prepare the star fruit, trim off and discard a thin slice from each end, then slice the star fruit crosswise into about 8 star-shaped slices.
- To prepare the dragon fruit, trim off and discard a thin slice from the stem end. Quarter the dragon fruit lengthwise and then cut each quarter crosswise into slices. The pink skin is not edible, but it's so beautiful that I like to leave it on. It's very easy for eaters to peel away from the edible flesh and gives them something to hold onto while eating.
- To prepare the kiwis, peel off the furry skin with a vegetable peeler or paring knife. Slice kiwis crosswise into rounds.
- To prepare the watermelon, cut a baby watermelon in half crosswise and reserve half for another use. Place the half watermelon cut side down and cut it into four quarters. Slice each quarter crosswise into triangular slices.
- To prepare the strawberries, either leave whole if they're smaller or remove leaves and cut into halves or quarters if they're large.
- To prepare cape gooseberries, remove papery hulls and wash well to remove as much of sticky exterior coating as is reasonable. You may not be able to remove it all, and that's okay.
Arrange the fruit:
- A plate like this comes together as you go along. Don't be intimidated if you don't have an exact vision of the final result before you start.
- Start with the larger fruits. Place a fanned stack of watermelon slices on one side of the platter and another one somewhere across the platter. Do the same with the dragon fruit slices. Begin filling in spaces on the platter with bunches of grapes, handfuls of berries, etc.
- Work in layers, filling in gaps where you see them, and aiming for an abundant, almost overflowing look.
- Use star fruit slices and pomegranate seeds as garnishes.
- Stop when you run out of fruit, or when the platter can't hold any more.
TO MAKE THE DARK CHOCOLATE FRUIT DIP
- In a small pot, heat the cream and coffee just until it begins to boil, then remove from heat immediately.
- Off the heat, pour in chocolate, vanilla, and salt, and let sit for 5 minutes without stirring.
- After 5 minutes, stir until completely smooth and shiny.
- Pour into a dipping bowl to serve warm or at room temperature.
You certainly don't have to use the exact fruits listed here to make a gorgeous fruit plate. Just follow a couple of basic principles:
- Aim for a rainbow of colors or a variety of colors within a particular palette. There aren't necessarily any right answers here. Just be thoughtful about it.
- Try to include at least one or two fruits that are a little unusual, if possible. This extra element of delight helps people feel well taken care of, and they may learn something, too.
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Will the chocolate dip harden as the night goes on? Don't want to serve a dip that's hardened.
Carolyn Gratzer Cope says
Hi, Debi. The dip is thick but scoopable at room temperature. If you want it thinner, you can increase the proportion of cream to 1 1/4 cups.
How many people does your recipe serve?
Carolyn Gratzer Cope says
Hi, Naz, as stated in the recipe card, it serves 16, give or take. In a case like this especially, it really depends how many other things you're serving. Hope you love it!