This pineapple dream dessert is one of my family’s favorites. You know those desserts that seem to be at all the family gatherings? Those recipes that your grandma has been making for years? Like Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Ambrosia and Watergate Salad. This is one of those desserts.
This light and fluffy pineapple cream cheese dessert can be easily transported, hence it appearing at all those family functions, and rarely has leftovers.
PSSST – Yes! You are in the right place! Our photos have been updated, but the recipe is the same. This photo look familiar??
I’ve had similar reactions to this Chocolate Lasagna recipe, everyone seems to love it. So the only thing you’ll take home is a dish that needs washing!
Frequently Asked Questions
Back in the late 60’s Cool Whip entered the marketplace. It only took two years for this convenience item to become the company’s best-selling item. Cool Whip has come under fire many times and the current version now contains milk and cream.
If you prefer, you can substitute freshly made whipped cream for the Cool Whip in this recipe. To substitute fresh whipping cream for the 8-ounce tub of Cool Whip, 1 cup of fresh whipping cream whipped is the proper substitution.
HOWEVER Cool Whip has stabilizers in it that help hold its shape while fresh whipping cream does not. There you can try this recipe for homemade stabilized whipped cream to replace the Cool Whip.
If you love the idea of this pineapple dream dessert, you’ll love the strawberry version too- Strawberry Dream Dessert. You’re basically replacing the pineapples for strawberries and you have yourself another ultra-delicious one-pan dessert!
Just like this Strawberry Jello Pretzel Salad, this is a great recipe for taking to a party, holiday gathering, or a potluck. It’s best to have a place to keep this delicious pineapple whipped cream dessert refrigerated until ready to serve.
You can purchase graham cracker crumbs, or smash them in a sealed bag with a rolling pin. We like to run them through our food processor!
Ingredients you will need:
Get all measurements, ingredients, and instructions in the printable version at the end of this post.
- 2 1/2 cups graham crumbs (2 sleeves)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (for crust)
- 2 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (for filling)
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened
- 8 oz container Cool Whip
- 20 oz can crushed pineapple, drained well
NO BAKE VERSION: If it’s too hot to turn on the oven, you can make the crust without baking it. Simply follow the instructions in the recipe, then instead of baking the crust, place it in the refrigerator. Let the crust chill for about 20 minutes. The butter will solidify and hold the crust together. The crust may not hold together as well, especially after sitting out for a while. But it still tastes just as good!
How to Make Pineapple Dream
These step by step photos and instructions are here to help you visualize how to make this recipe. You can Jump to Recipe to get the printable version of this recipe, complete with measurements and instructions at the bottom.
- Preheat the oven to 300 F. Melt 1/2 cup butter in the microwave and let it cool. Combine the crumbs and butter, then press 2 cups of the crumb mixture firmly into a 9×9 square pan and bake for 8-10 minutes. Place on wire rack to cool.
- Beat the cream cheese and 1/2 cup butter together until creamy. Turn the mixer down to low and add the powdered sugar one cup at a time until incorporated. Turn up and beat well for a minute or so.
- Add a heaping tablespoon of the drained crushed pineapple and stir in with a rubber spatula.
- Spread the cream cheese and pineapple mixture over the crust.
- Fold the remaining pineapple into the Cool Whip and spread on top of the cream cheese mixture.
- Sprinkle the remaining graham cracker crumb mixture on top.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Does your family have a version of this dessert?
How do you make it and what do you call it? These are some of the names I’ve heard:
- Pineapple Cool Whip Dessert
- Pineapple Delight
- Pineapple Dream Squares
- Pineapple Surprise Dessert
- Pineapple Graham Cracker Dessert
- Pineapple Cream Dessert
Whatever you call it, it’s amazing and there are never any leftovers. It’s always a favorite and someone will inevitably ask you for the recipe! So be sure to print a couple extra copies. :)
More one-pan potluck dessert ideas
- If you liked this Pineapple Dream Dessert, you’ll probably like my Cream Puff Chocolate Eclair Cake too. It’s another one of those potluck recipes that everyone wants a slice of! Not only is it creamy and delicious, it’s pretty too. So next time you’re heading to a friend or relatives and need to bring a dessert, try this eclair cake!
- Not everyone approves of the name of this next recipe, so over the years, it has taken on a few different titles. Here it’s called Sex in a Pan, but you may also know it as Chocolate Dream, Robert Redford Dessert or Better Than Anything Dessert. All I know is that three layers including cream cheese, pudding and whipping cream make for a party in your mouth!
- Speaking of potluck favorites, this Strawberry Jello Pretzel Salad is always a big hit! There are some families that absolutely insist it is served at every holiday.
- If you are a banana lover have I got a dessert for you! Make this delicious banana pudding poke cake and I promise you will not be disappointed.
- Though it’s not necessarily a “one-pan” dessert, it’s definitely a potluck favorite! This Ambrosia Salad is a vintage classic. Combining maraschino cherries, mandarin oranges, pineapple tidbits, fruit cocktail and marshmallows this ambrosia salad recipe is one to be reckoned with.
- Try this fabulous looking Lemon Delight from Happy Hooligans, the kids can help make Chessmen Banana Pudding from Kids Activities Blog, and who could resist Chocolate Banana Twinkie Cake from Today’s Creative Life?
- This just added – Pineapple Yogurt Dessert – thank you to Cathy for sharing it with us.
- This irresistible no-bake Eclair Cake is the dessert of your dreams. Your guests will be asking for seconds and thirds!
- This Orange Pineapple Cake is stuffed with sweet mandarin oranges and topped with a fruity pineapple frosting that’s hard to resist.
Watch our quick video showing the simple process of this delicious dessert!
Pineapple Dream Dessert
IMPORTANT – There are often Frequently Asked Questions within the blog post that you may find helpful. Simply scroll back up to read them!Print It Pin It Rate It
- 2 1/2 cups graham crumbs 2 sleeves
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- 8 oz Cool Whip fat-free
- 20 oz crushed pineapple drained well
- Preheat oven to 300 F.
- Melt butter in the microwave and allow to cool. Combine the crumbs and butter and toss together until incorporated. Press 2 cups of the crumb mixture firmly into an 9×9 square pan and bake for 8-10 minutes. Place on wire rack to cool.
- Beat the cream cheese and butter together until creamy. Turn the mixer down to low and add the powdered sugar one cup at a time until incorporated. Turn up and beat well for a minute or so. Add a heaping tablespoon of the drained pineapple and stir in with a rubber spatula. Spread the cream cheese and pineapple mixture over the crust.
- Fold the remaining pineapple into the Cool Whip and spread on top of the cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle the remaining graham cracker crumb mixture on top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Expert Tips & FAQs
This recipe was originally published here on July 9, 2013.
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Thank you for sharing this recipe. This recipe is a big hit with my family. It has been everyone’s request for Thanksgiving dinner the past 2 years now.
Jacqueline Dhlamini says
My family favorite dessert, I love your recipes, you are a star
The butter must be a mistake. I make no-bake pies quite a bit with a similar basic recipe — cream cheese, cook whip and canned pie filling or fruit, ( I use pre-made graham cracker pie crusts) and I have never seen a recipe with butter added into the filling. I won’t even try it with the butter, IMO that would be way too greasy tasting. There is already cream cheese and cool whip!
p.s. Along with leaving out the butter I would increase the cream cheese from 4 oz to 8 oz. That is the base for most no-bake pie recipes.
Amanda Formaro says
It’s not a mistake, but you can do whatever you prefer :)
I agree! And I never bake my graham cracker crust either! The recipe does sound good though.
I made this dessert as per the recipe. I was not impressed. My company loved it but all I could taste was the butter. There is way too much butter in the cream filling. Next time I make it I will add less butter and more cream chesse.
Can I double the recipe for 9×13 baking dish?
Amanda Formaro says
Can it be made ahead of time and frozen?
Amanda Formaro says
I have made this recipe numerous times for our pot lucks. Everyone loves these Pineapple Dream Squares. Thank you for sharing the recipe.
These have become my go to for a dessert, so easy to make and absolutely delicious!
Hi Brenda, How do you make this without it sticking to the pan? Ive made this several times but mine always sticks.
Can you use fresh pineapple?
Amanda Formaro says
Can I use Dream Whip instead of Cool Whip?
My family and friends beg for m to make this desert whe I cook a dinner at my house
Sonya C says
Just made this last night for our Bible school commencement and it was a huge hit in South Carolina. Thank you for sharing this recipe.
Totally agree; let’s call it a southern favorite!?
Deborah Chute says
My husband’s newest favorite dessert! I used a full 8 oz cream cheese and added zest lemon to the butter/cream cheese…and it’s not too sweet!! Thanks!
Jenny Rice says
I did a version of the pineapple dream, but I used peaches and mangos that I puree’d. Mixed with cream cheese and crushed vanilla waters. Let’s just say that I didn’t get a piece😂
Hello Jenny Rice,
Could you tell me more about the modification you made to the dessert? I am interested in: “Mixed with cream cheese and crushed vanilla waters”.
Did you incorporate crushed wafers into the cream cheese in place of the powdered sugar or as an addition?
Do you think you could add bananas to this also? Or would you recommend not doing it?
Amanda Formaro says
I have not tried that and would worry that the natural juices that seep from bananas would change the integrity of the whipped cream in the dessert.
I did 16 oz fresh bananas and one package of freeze dried bananas from Trader Joes blitzed…it was not to slack and firmed up nicely when chilled!
Amanda Burns says
This is the new family favorite for every holiday and get-together!!
It was really good and not too sweet. Easy to make. I used a whole bar of cream cheese. My family liked it a lot!
A great recipe from your grandma
The recipe will be very special when it’s handed down
I can’t praise you enough for sharing this recipe. When we have friends over they always request this dessert. It is soooo good. Thank you!!
Georgia Teter says
This dessert was a smashing hit when it was my turn to cook. Will make it again and again!