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Creamy Grape and Bacon Salad

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8 slices bacon
1-1/2 pounds small red grapes
1-1/2 pounds small green grapes
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Creamy Grape and Bacon Salad

Creamy Grape and Bacon Salad is an inspiration for the sweet and salty flavor combo. It's lush.

  • Serves 6
  • Easy

About This Recipe

I invented Creamy Grape and Bacon Salad because I glanced quickly at a picture and misunderstood what it was about. The grape salad I saw had a creamy dressing, and it was topped with chopped nuts. I thought the pecans were bacon, and thought, “What a great idea!” When I realized that the bacon was a figment of my imagination, I saw it as an inspiration. And the addition of salty, crispy bacon to sweet and tart grapes enveloped in a super creamy dressing is magical.

Sweet and salty is a classic flavor combination for good reason. Without the bacon this salad would probably be too sweet and even cloying. The bacon rescues it and adds another layer of flavor. And texture.

You can use any grapes in this recipe; but I prefer the smaller ones. Bigger grapes are just too … invasive, somehow. I like the little ones (not champagne grapes, which are too small and too expensive!) that pop in your mouth with a burst of sweetness and an almost floral tanginess. Sometimes I’ll use all red grapes, which are my favorite.

This is a great salad to serve alongside a roasted or grilled chicken, or with some grilled salmon and a green salad.

How to make the best Creamy Grape and Bacon Salad

  • Make sure that the grapes are firm and ripe. Taste a few; they should pop in your mouth and flood it with a sweet and tart flavor combination.
  • Choose smaller grapes for both a prettier presentation and better flavor. Large grapes seem to be too meaty to me. I like them small and sharp.
  • The bacon has to be cooked until it is very crisp. Wait until just before serving this salad to add the bacon; you don’t want it to soften in the dressing. The crisp texture is part of the charm.
  • If you’d like, make the grape mixture, but don’t cook the bacon yet. Chill the salad. When you’re ready to eat, cook the bacon and crumble it and sprinkle it, hot, over the cold salad. Yum.

Why this recipe works

  • Sweet, tart, and salty is a winning flavor combination. The textural differences are important too; the bacon is crisp and crunchy, while the grapes have a completely different texture, firm yet yielding.

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Cook the bacon until very crisp. Drain on paper towels, crumble, place in a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate.


Pull the grapes off the stems and wash them. Dry in kitchen towels.


In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, mayonnaise, orange juice, powdered sugar, and vanilla and mix until smooth and blended.


Stir in the grapes until coated. Cover and store in the refrigerator until you're ready to eat. When you are, sprinkle with the bacon and serve.


Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 54 books (53 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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