Icebox Fruitcake

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This old-fashioned icebox fruitcake recipe is a traditional holiday dessert for my family and many here in the South. This deliciously dense cake is overflowing with decadent ingredients, like graham cracker crumbs, pecans, maraschino cherries, and mini marshmallows.

Bite taken out of piece of icebox fruitcake.

This classic icebox fruitcake recipe is one of those simple things that have always made holidays special in our family. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas you would find one on my grandmother’s table, and now I get the opportunity to share her delicious recipe with y’all.

Fortunately, it’s so easy to make this Southern icebox fruitcake. The most challenging part is using a food processor to crush the graham crackers (yep, really). From there, you simply mix together all the ingredients, including raisins, pecans, mini marshmallows, maraschino cherries, and shredded coconut. A can of sweetened condensed milk perfectly brings all the ingredients together.

The best part is that this is a no-bake fruit cake. Yep, once you combine the ingredients, let it chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours. Now, I prefer to make icebox fruitcake bars in a baking dish. But if you’d prefer to make an actual fruitcake, go right on ahead and chill it in a bundt cake pan, round cake pan, or tube pan. 

So if you’ve been searching for a holiday dessert you can make ahead of time, look no further. If you’re on the lookout for another enjoyable icebox cake to bake, check out my lemon icebox cake recipe. Or you may like my fruitcake bar cookies. Okay, enough chattin’, let’s get not-baking 😉.

Labeled ingredients for icebox fruitcake.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Graham crackers
  • Pecans
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Shredded coconut
  • Raisins
  • Miniature marshmallows 
  • Sweetened condensed milk

Helpful Kitchen Tools

How to Make Icebox Fruitcake

Crush graham crackers in food processor.

Crush the entire box of graham crackers.

I used my food processor but you can also pop those crackers in a ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling pin.

Coarsely chop pecans.

Coarsely chop pecans.

Chop cherries.

 Chop cherries (saving the cherry juice).

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Combine everything in a large mixing bowl.

Mix ingredients well.

Mix well.

You may have to use your hands for this. It’s messy but you get to lick your fingers afterward, so it’s totally worth it.

Line baking dish with parchment paper.

Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper or grease it with butter/cooking spray.

Press cake batter flat into prepared pan.

Press the cake batter flat into the prepared pan.

Turn out icebox fruitcake once chilled and cut into bars.

Chill for at least 6 hours and then turn out before cutting into bars.

Place of icebox fruitcake.

How good do these icebox fruitcake bars look?

Stack of icebox fruitcake bars.



  • You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. The fruitcake will actually get better the longer it sits in your fridge, as the cake soaks up all the delicious flavor.
  • You can also freeze leftover fruit cake for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight and it will be good to serve the next day.

Recipe Notes

  • If you miss that rum flavor of a traditional fruitcake, you can add 1 teaspoon of rum extract or dark rum to the mix.
  • Don’t hesitate to substitute any of the dried fruit or nuts if you don’t like them. For example, swap pecans for walnuts, or raisins for dried apricots.
  • Another great substitution is the graham crackers for crushed vanilla wafers.
  • If you can’t get your hands on maraschino cherries, you can use candied cherries or candied holiday fruit instead, and just add a tablespoon of water to the batter if it’s too tough.

Here are more popular holiday dessert recipes:

Pecan Pie Cheesecake

Easy Pumpkin Pie Recipe From Scratch

Holiday Popcorn Crunch

Festive Holiday Fruit Salad

Pumpkin Praline Cake With Cream Cheese Icing

How To Make Apple Pie

Plate of icebox fruitcake.

Icebox Fruitcake

This old-fashioned Icebox Fruitcake recipe is a traditional holiday dessert that's overflowing with decadent ingredients, like graham cracker crumbs, pecans, maraschino cherries, and mini marshmallows.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cake, fruit
Servings: 4
Calories: 135kcal


  • 1 14.4-oz box graham crackers
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 10-oz jar maraschino cherries
  • 1 tablespoon cherry juice
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, firmly packed
  • 1.5 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk


  • Finely crush graham crackers and coarsely chop pecans and drained cherries.
    1 14.4-oz box graham crackers, 1 cup pecans, 1 10-oz jar maraschino cherries
  • Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well.
    1 14.4-oz box graham crackers, 1 cup pecans, 1 10-oz jar maraschino cherries, 1 tablespoon cherry juice, 1 cup raisins, 1 cup shredded coconut, firmly packed, 1.5 cups mini marshmallows, 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • Turn out into a lightly buttered 9x13 baking dish and press flat into the pan with your hands.
  • Chill for at least 6 hours before cutting the fruitcake into bars.


Calories: 135kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!

Original icebox fruitcake recipe from

Remember, if you don’t have Christmas in your heart, you won’t find it under a tree.

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  1. 5 stars
    I wanted this recipe but I need to know what will happen if I leave the coconut out of the recipe. And can I replace with dried sweetened cranberries. Thank you!

  2. My recipe is a little different from yours, and we roll it in logs to slice, but this has always been a hit at our house!

  3. I am 73 and I love to cook oh, so I check out every recipe website I can find or ideas and especially defined a recipe for an icebox fruitcake. Today was a blessed day because I found your recipe.

    My family came from Georgia and Alabama. They were dirt poor farmers and had very little. They made all their own clothes and lived off the land. My grandmother had 13 children and began her life as a mom at 14 when my mother was born. My mother moved to California and began her life when she was 24. I grew up in California with one younger sister. I didn’t know my grandmother until I was 14 and she moved in with us. She lived with us for 4 years before she passed away. She had a million stories and recipes to share with us. She never went to school but she was one of the wisest women I’ve ever known! And one of the best cooks as well! One of the recipes was her special no bake icebox fruit cake. Had I known we’d only have her for 4 years, I would have paid closer attention while she was teaching me to cook her recipes and I would have copied every recipe. She made the best biscuits… in the flower jar! Her chocolate cake was to die for! I loved her fruitcake and we made it only one time a year, or I probably would have remembered the recipe better. She called her fruit cake “1 lb fruit cake” because almost everything in it was 1 lb. It’s almost like yours. I’ve looked for a recipe similar to hers online for years. I’ve asked Cooks just about everywhere. I’ve asked all the ladies in my church who have been baking since they were little girls. No one had this recipe. Today I found it on your website. Thank you so much

  4. My mother had a fruitcake similar to this one. It called for pet milk, frozen orange juice and marshmallows. All melted together and crackers and fruit mixed in it. She died in 1989 and I had memorized the recipe and have made it every year for Christmas. I love old Christmas memories

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