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Mama’s Icebox Fruitcake Recipe

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

Mama made these almost every Christmas. It brings back lots of memories for me.

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!

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Place the marshmallows in a large sauce pot.

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.

Continue to stir until the marshmallows are fully melted. Remove from heat when done.

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

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.

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.

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.


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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