Icebox Fruit Cake Recipe (2024)

This no-bake icebox fruitcake recipe will change your mind about Christmas’s most maligned dessert. You’ll love this fruity and nutty version made with graham crackers and marshmallows.

Give me your best fruit cake joke. I can take it, even though I don’t think this Chirstmas sweet is anything to laugh about.

Icebox Fruit Cake Recipe (1)

Fruitcake is one of my favorite holiday treats, along with butterscotch haystack cookies, these chocolate-dipped peppermint candies and my famous fried wontons.

I even like fruitcake cookies!

This post may contain affiliate links. AttaGirlSays.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Read myfull disclosure policy here.

Subscribe to Atta Girl Says!

Get our delicious recipes, latest posts and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.

You can scroll to the end of this post for the full ingredient list, a printable recipe card and how-to video. But you may want to keep reading for more tips on how to make Christmas icebox fruitcake.

Jump to:
  • What is Icebox Fruitcake?
  • To Make Icebox Fruitcake, You Will Need:
  • 🥮 Icebox Fruit Cake Ingredients
  • 📋 How to Make Icebox Fruitcake
  • 🍽 How to Serve Icebox Fruitcake
  • Questions
  • More Holiday Baking Ideas
  • Christmas Icebox Fruit Cake

I originally shared this recipe in November 2013. It has been updated with new photos, a how-to video and additional information in December 2021.

What is Icebox Fruitcake?

Icebox fruitcake is made using crushed graham cracker crumbs, candied cherries, coconuts, raisins, pecans and walnuts.

The recipe, which was passed down from my Grandma Joyner, uses marshmallows melted in evaporated milk to bind everything together. Some other icebox fruitcake recipes use sweetened condensed milk as a binder.

While a traditional fruitcake can take days to make and lots of steps, the icebox version only requires about 20 minutes of hands-on time.

You can make this fruitcake by yourself, but I find it’s always fun to have someone helping out with Christmas baking. Stirring the fruitcake can be a bit of an arm workout, so it’s good to have a sous chef with strong biceps!

Icebox Fruit Cake Recipe (2)

This is a recipe our family has been making for decades. It’s popular with people who don’t like traditional baked fruitcake. And if you are a fruitcake fan, I think you’ll like it, too.

Don’t like something in fruitcake? This recipe is very forgiving. Feel free to leave out the coconut, use other candied fruit or reduce the amount of nuts.

Every year, my Grandma Joyner and Aunt Donna would spend days making Christmas goodies: butterscotch haystacks, homemade fudge, peanut brittle, peanut butter balls and other treats.

You always knew you were getting a fruit cake, a sweet, moist loaf studded with candied cherries, raisins and nuts.

Each cake was a perfectly shaped rectangular loaf because grandma made hers in milk cartons, a task my mother swears is nearly impossible and unnecessary.

Icebox Fruit Cake Recipe (3)

Now, we make ours in a baking dish and slice into uniform-sized loaves that can be stored in the freezer or refrigerated if you’re planning on eating it sooner.

Want to see a brief overview of the process before diving into the recipe. Click here to watch my web story on how to make no-bake icebox fruitcake.

To Make Icebox Fruitcake, You Will Need:

  • Large bowl or stockpot
  • Sauce pan
  • 9X13 baking dish
  • Parchment paper or wax paper
  • Wooden spoon or heavy-duty spatula
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Cooking spray (optional)
  • Food processor or rolling pin (optional)

🥮 Icebox Fruit Cake Ingredients

Icebox Fruit Cake Recipe (4)
  • Evaporated milk– You’ll find evaoporated milk on the baking aisle, not in the dairy section, in the grocery store. It’s sold in cans; and it has half the water content of regular milk.
  • Marshmallows – You can use any size marshmallow you like. The smaller marshmallows may melt faster.
  • Graham cracker crumbs – To save time, I like to use premade crumbs for this recipe. But you can always crush graham crackers by hand or in a food processor.
  • Raisins– I used black raisins for my fruitcake, but golden raisins would be tasty and pretty, as well.
  • Pecans – You can use pecan halves or chopped pecans, depending on your preference.
  • Walnuts– I like to use chopped walnuts. But if you don’t like the flavor, you can just use more pecans or leave them out entirely.
  • Candied Cherries– For a pretty Christmas fruitcake, I like to use both red and green candied cherries. You’ll find them on the baking aisle, or sometimes in the produce section, of the grocery store around Christmastime.
  • Coconut – Use shredded, sweetened coconut for icebox fruitcake.

📋 How to Make Icebox Fruitcake

First, prepare your baking dish by lining it with wax paper or parchment paper so the fruitcake easily releases. It helps to spray the pan with cooking spray first, so the parchment has something to stick to, as you’ll see in this helpful video.

Next, crush the graham crackers into crumbs. You can do this in a food processor. Or you place the crackers in a sealed plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush them.

I usually just pick up a couple of boxes of graham cracker crumbs to save myself some time.

Coarsely chop the candied cherries.

In a large mixing bowl or sauce pan, combine the graham cracker crumbs, coconut, raisins, nuts and candied fruit. Make sure everything is evenly mixed. Use a wooden spoon or heavy-duty spatula — or even your clean hands.

Icebox Fruit Cake Recipe (5)

In a separate sauce pan, combine evaporated milk and marshmallows. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the marshmallows have melted.

Pour the marshmallow mixture over the dry ingredients. Stir until everything is well-coated with the marshmallow and milk mixture. Again, you may find it helpful to use your hands, although it can be a bit messy.

When everything is mixed, spoon the fruitcake mixture into the lined baking pan. Use a square of wax paper to press into the pan.

Icebox Fruit Cake Recipe (6)

Refrigerate for at least six hours, or overnight, to allow to set.

Once set, take the fruitcake out of the pan and peel off the wax paper or parchment lining. Slice into loaves.

Wrap each individual loaf in plastic wrap or freezer paper. Place wrapped loaves in a large freezer bag. Freeze until ready to serve.

🍽 How to Serve Icebox Fruitcake

  • When you’re ready to serve the fruitcake, remove a loaf from the freezer and thaw in the refrigerator for a few hours. Cut into slices.
  • Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Fruitcake is a delicious addition to a holiday dessert board. It also goes well with coffee, Russian tea or spiked chai tea latte.

Variations

  • Substitute candied holiday fruit, which contains a mix of cherries and pineapples.
  • For that liquor-soaked fruitcake flavor, add a teaspoon of rum extract to the marshmallow and milk mixture before mixing with the dry ingredients.
  • This recipe is really forgiving. You can reduce the amount of nuts, raisins or coconut or candied cherries to suit your preferences.

Questions

Answers to frequently asked questions about this fruitcake recipe

Why do we eat fruitcake at Christmas?

Long before it was a punchline, fruitcake was considered a special treat.

Back in the Middle Ages, dried fruits and nuts were rare luxuries, available only at the holidays.

What we now know as fruitcake, traces its origins to 16th century England when bakers hid a coin or a bean in a Twelfth Night cake. Whoever found the coin or bean usually received a crown.

Can icebox fruitcake be frozen?

Yes, icebox fruitcake can be frozen. I actually recommend that you freeze this fruit cake to extend its shelf life.

To freeze, tightly wrap each loaf in plastic wrap. Place individually wrapped loaves in a large, freezer-safe sealed plastic bag. For best results, make sure to remove the air from the bag before freezing.

Icebox fruitcake will keep in the freezer for a year.

How long can you keep a fruit cake in the refrigerator?

Once you’ve thawed fruitcake, it will keep for a week to 10 days in the refrigerator.

More Holiday Baking Ideas

Try one of these other delicious holiday sweet treats:

  • Icebox Fruit Cake Recipe (7)
  • Icebox Fruit Cake Recipe (8)
  • Icebox Fruit Cake Recipe (9)
  • Icebox Fruit Cake Recipe (10)
  • Chocolate Chess Pie Bars
  • Butterscotch Haystack Cookies
  • Fruitcake Cookies
  • Forgotten Cookies

I hope you’ll give Grandma’s icebox fruit cake recipe a try. I promise you, it’s delicious, and unlike any baked fruit cake recipe you’ve tried. Add it to your Christmas dessert menu this year and see what you think.

This fruit cake won’t be passed around from family to family, like in that old Johnny Carson joke. But once people try it, you may be asked to share the recipe. Feel free. I’m pretty sure Grandma Joyner wouldn’t mind.

Pin This! Grandma’s Icebox Fruitcake Recipe

Icebox Fruit Cake Recipe (11)

If you try Icebox Fruitcake or any recipe on Atta Girl Says, please come back and share your 5-star rating in the comments below! I appreciate it, and my readers do, too!

🎥 Recipe Video & Recipe Card

Icebox Fruit Cake Recipe (12)

Christmas Icebox Fruit Cake

An old-fashioned Christmas treat! This delicious, no-bake icebox fruitcake is made using crushed graham cracker crumbs, candied cherries, coconuts, raisins, pecans and walnuts.

5 from 3 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe Rate this Recipe

Prep Time 20 minutes mins

Cook Time 15 minutes mins

Total Time 35 minutes mins

Course Dessert

Cuisine American

Servings 54 slices

Calories 264 kcal

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces evaporated milk
  • 1 pound raisins
  • 1 pound pecans
  • 1 pound walnuts
  • 1 pound candied cherries chopped
  • 1 pound marshmallows any size
  • 1 pound graham crackers crushed
  • 1 pound coconut

Instructions

  • Line a 9X13 baking dish or pan with wax paper or parchment paper.

  • Coarsely chop the candied cherries.

  • Mix together graham crackers, coconut, raisins, nuts and candied fruit in a large bowl or stockpot. Stir well to combine.

  • Melt marshmallows in evaporated milk over low heat.

  • Pour marshmallow mixture over dry ingredients.

  • Use a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula to mix all ingredients together. You may find it useful to use your clean hands to mix.

  • Spoon mixture into a lined 9X13 pan. Allow to cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours, or overnight.

  • Once the fruitcake has set, remove it from the baking pan and discard the parchment or wax paper. Slice into loaves.

  • Wrap each fruitcake loaf tightly with plastic wrap. Place wrapped loaves in a freezer-safe sealed plastic bag and freeze for up to 1 year.

Video

Notes

Variations

  • Substitute candied holiday fruit, which contains a mix of cherries and pineapples.
  • For that liquor-soaked fruitcake flavor, add a teaspoon of rum extract to the marshmallow and milk mixture before mixing with the dry ingredients.
  • This recipe is really forgiving. You can adjust the amount of nuts, raisins, coconut or candied cherries to suit your preferences.

How to Serve:

  • When you’re ready to serve the fruitcake, remove a loaf from the freezer and thaw in the refrigerator for a few hours. Cut into slices.
  • Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 264kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 4gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 73mgPotassium: 205mgFiber: 3gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 21IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 41mgIron: 1mg

Keyword Christmas, coconut, fruit, fruitcake, icebox, no-bake, nuts, pecans

Did You Make This?Mention @AttaGirlSays or tag #attagirlsays!

Icebox Fruit Cake Recipe (13)
Icebox Fruit Cake Recipe (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Mrs. Angelic Larkin

Last Updated:

Views: 6029

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (47 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Mrs. Angelic Larkin

Birthday: 1992-06-28

Address: Apt. 413 8275 Mueller Overpass, South Magnolia, IA 99527-6023

Phone: +6824704719725

Job: District Real-Estate Facilitator

Hobby: Letterboxing, Vacation, Poi, Homebrewing, Mountain biking, Slacklining, Cabaret

Introduction: My name is Mrs. Angelic Larkin, I am a cute, charming, funny, determined, inexpensive, joyous, cheerful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.