Mama’s Icebox Fruitcake Recipe

| December 9, 2018 | 7 Comments

Icebox Fruitcake Recipe

Follow our easy, step-by-step, photo illustrated instructions and learn how to make our Mama’s Icebox Fruitcake. No baking involved. Printable recipe included.


Icebox Fruitcake, enjoy. As seen on Taste of Southern.
Mama made these almost every Christmas. It brings back lots of memories for me.


Icebox Fruitcake, slider.
Icebox Fruitcake Recipe

I have such fond memories of this Icebox Fruitcake. Mama made this for us almost every year as I recall. This and several other cakes, pies, candy and cookies as well of course. Smile.

The hard part was that she would make it ahead of time, then keep it in the refrigerator or freezer for a couple of weeks before we ever got the chance to enjoy it. It was always worth the wait though.

Back then, Mama would already have spent several hours picking up pecans, cracking them to get out the “goody” as she called it, then cracking the other store bought nuts to get their goody as well. It was a great deal of work for her.

Today, I just pick up a couple of bags of already shelled nuts and the hard work is already done. It can almost make you feel guilty about having things so easy these days.

But, she loved every minute of it, because cooking and baking were her favorite things to do.

The year Mama went to Heaven, my wife and I pulled all the ingredients together and made one ourselves at Christmas. It was the first time we’d done it, but we had Mama’s recipe and it turned out pretty good.

We cut it into pieces, wrapped it, then gave each member of the family a slice of Mama’s Icebox Fruitcake of their very own to enjoy again. I’ve probably made it only once or twice since then.

I recently came across Mama’s handwritten recipe for making the Icebox Fruitcake. Most of the ingredients were listed in pounds because she always made a large one, sometimes two.

I broke it down to half of that, and I’ve got the printable recipe at the bottom.

Just tasting this again still brings back lots of great Christmas memories. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Ready to give it a try? Alright then, let’s head on out to the kitchen, and… Let’s Get Cooking!


Icebox Fruitcake, you'll need these ingredients.
No Bake Icebox Fruitcake Recipe – You’ll need these ingredients.


Icebox Fruitcake, chop the nuts if needed.
We want to get everything ready before we start assembling our fruitcake. Start by chopping any of the nuts that need to be chopped.


Icebox Fruitcake, get them all ready.
Brazil Nuts, English Walnuts, Pecans, chop them all into small pieces. Set aside for now.


Icebox Fruitcake, prepare the graham crackers.
Chop or crush the Graham Crackers as well. I measured out 8 ounces, then placed them in a small bowl to chop them up. Leave a few bigger pieces as opposed to chopping it up into a meal texture. Then, measure out the amount of coconut you’ll need. Set this aside.


Icebox Fruitcake, chop the cherries.
Chop the Maraschino Cherries as well.

Please note that these are not the candied cherries you always see around Thanksgiving and Christmas time in the baking section. These are Maraschino Cherries that come in a jar with liquid in it. There’s a big difference and you need the juice to help moisten the dry ingredients.


Icebox Fruitcake, add all the dry ingredients.
I have a large dishpan that I keep for just such purposes as this. Place all the nuts, graham crackers, coconut, and the raisins in a large container.


Icebox Fruitcake, mix it all together.
Mix all the dry ingredients together well.

It was probably at this point that I realized I hadn’t chopped my raisins at all. It would be best to chop them before you add them into the mix. You should always learn from your mistakes. Smile.


Icebox Fruitcake, add marshmallows to a sauce pot.
Place the marshmallows in a large sauce pot.


Icebox Fruitcake, add the milk.
Add the can of Evaporated Milk.

Place this over Medium-Low heat on your stove top and let the marshmallows start to melt. You will need to STIR CONTINUOUSLY so the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.

This will take a few minutes.


Icebox Fruitcake, melt the marshmallows.
Continue to stir until the marshmallows are fully melted. Remove from heat when done.


Icebox Fruitcake, pour over the dry ingredients.
It’s HOT, so be careful. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients in your large pan.


Icebox Fruitcake, add the cherries and the juice.
Add the cherries and the juice on top.

Use a large wooden spoon to quickly stir everything together. It will be hot, but it cools quickly. This is why we wanted to have everything ready ahead of time. Stir it all together until it’s well combined.

The mixture should be a bit wet and gummy looking. It should hold together when you squeeze some of it in your hand. Kind of like a pie dough. If it’s a bit dry, add a little more milk or cherry juice if you have it.


Icebox Fruitcake, place in buttered dish.
Place the mixture in a well buttered casserole dish. This one is 9 x 13 x 2 inches in size.

Spread this mixture in the casserole dish, pressing firmly all over the top to squeeze everything together.


Icebox Fruitcake, refrigerate overnight.
Cover your fruitcake tightly, then place it in your refrigerator overnight to firm up. It’s even better if you can prepare it ahead of time and allow it to stay refrigerated a couple of days before serving.

You could even make this weeks ahead, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, then freeze it until needed. It should keep for a couple of months if frozen.


Icebox Fruitcake, enjoy.

This is a very rich dessert, so serve it in small slices. You could also cut it into squares or strips, wrap it nicely, and give it as gifts to family and friends. They’ll love it. Smile.


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Icebox Fruitcake as seen on Taste of Southern.

Mama’s Icebox Fruitcake Recipe

  • Author: Steve Gordon
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12+ servings 1x
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: No Bake
  • Cuisine: American, Southern


My mother made one of these Icebox Fruitcakes almost every year for us at Christmas. Prepare the dry ingredients first, then melt the marshmallows with milk. Stir everything together, press into a dish and refrigerate overnight. It’s easy.



½  lb. Pecans, chopped
½  lb. English Walnuts, chopped
½  lb. Brazil Nuts, chopped
½  lb. Raisins, chopped
1  10z bag Miniature Marshmallows
½  lb. Graham Crackers, crushed
1  can Evaporated Milk, 12 ounce
½  cup Sweetened Flake Coconut
½  cup Maraschino Cherries with juice, chopped


Prepare all the dry ingredients ahead of time as directed.
Chop the pecans, walnuts, brazil nuts, and raisins as needed.
Crush or chop the graham crackers.
Chop the maraschino cherries, saving the juice. Set aside for now.
Place the chopped nuts in a large mixing pan.
Add the chopped graham crackers.
Add the coconut.
Mix dry ingredients together to fully combine.
Place the marshmallows in a medium size sauce pot.
Add the milk.
Place the pot over Medium Low heat on your stove top.
Constantly stir this mixture until the marshmallows are fully melted.
Pour the marshmallow mixture over the crushed nuts and graham crackers.
Add the chopped cherries with juice.
Mix well, until fully combined.
Lightly butter a 9 x 13 x 2 casserole type dish or pan.
Place the mixture in the dish, spread evenly and press firmly.
Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.


This is best prepared several days ahead of time and allowed to firm up in the refrigerator before serving. You can even make this weeks or a month ahead of time, wrap and freeze it until ready to serve. It’s great to slice and give as gifts as well.

Keywords: ice box fruitcake, southern icebox fruitcake, no bake, refrigerator fruitcake, icebox fruitcake with graham crackers, marshmallows.

Your Comments:

Have you tried our Icebox Fruitcake? What did you think of it?

Share your memories of this great Southern Christmas dessert with us. It will only take a minute or two for you to leave your comments in the section below.

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Be Blessed!!!


You might also like: Japanese Fruitcake

Or, this one:  Annie’s Christmas Fruitcake Recipe

Maybe this one?  Orange Slice Cake



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Category: Desserts

About the Author ()

Award Winning Food Preservationist, Fisherman, Author of three cookbooks. "From Mama's Big Oval Table, From Mama's Big Oval Table - BOOK TWO and Carolina Christmas Sweets and Appetizers." Online Contributor to Our State Magazine Newsletter.

Comments (7)

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  1. Doug Thornton says:

    Anybody that uses the terms “dishpan” and “get the goodie out” has got to be from NC. The same terms my mama and grandma used.

  2. Athoma Bailey says:

    My mother always made an icebox fruitcake for Christmas and I don’t have her recipe. Thank you for sharing yours.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Athoma, It’s my pleasure to share the recipe. I hope if you try it, that it will be close to what your mom made. Please let me know how it turns out for you. I appreciate your visits and do hope you’ll stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  3. Marilyn Allison says:

    Good morning Steve,

    Winter hit here in Mint Hill, NC too, but just ice. Broke the tops out of two huge pine trees in my front yard and uprooted a pine tree in the back, split the trunk of a cedar tree which is now laying across the neutral line of the power lines. Power company was notified but they haven’t gotten here yet. We lost power before that happened, it was out for a few hours and they got the power back on, we were worried the tree would short out the line, but it is the “neutral” so, we still have power with brown outs. That wind was something else yesterday, we feared one tree would hit the kitchen. We will have to take it down, another storm like this would be very dangerous, and it isn’t even winter yet!

    About 40 years ago, I tried to make a fruitcake. Bought all the ingredients needed from my cookbook. Thought there was no way to make errors. When I put the mixture in a Bundt pan, placed it in the oven and started the baking process, it started erupting over the sides of the Bundt pan, all down in the bottom of the oven, and it did it over and over again. Looked like a volcano going off. Needless to say, that is the last time I ever tried to make one, we relied on the goodness of Jane Parker before and after that. This looks like one I can make without making a mess in the oven. And it sounds so delicious! Where do you get Brazil nuts? Only ones I have ever found come in mixed nut cans. Love them too. (Or in the mixed nuts in bags in the shell)

    Glad to hear Billy and Jan are doing so well. Hope you are too, pray for all of you to continue to mend.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Marilyn, It’s always great to hear from you, and thank you again for subscribing to the Newsletter. Sounds like you had an adventure with the ice down your way. We were blessed to not have any problems here. Thank you for sharing your fruitcake story with me. I could just picture it erupting in the oven. Smile. That couldn’t have been any fun. But, looks like we may have just the recipe to remedy your problems. No baking involved. Smile. I ordered the Brazil Nuts through Amazon. They were already shelled and I got a two pound bag of them to last through Christmas. You might find them in your grocery store this time of the year as well. Thank you for your visits and your prayers. I do hope you’ll stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

    • Ann Jacobs says:

      Hi Marilyn;
      I got Brazil nuts at the Earth Fare in Ballantyne just last week. They sell them in open stock but be prepared – they are a little pricey. I’ll be waiting to hear how your fruit cake turns out.
      Hope you have a Merry Christmas.

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