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It wouldn’t be a holiday without this Ambrosia Salad recipe on the table! Loaded with fruit, coconut and marshmallows dressed in sour cream, this sweet treat is an easy side dish or a simple no-bake dessert for just about any occasion. Best of all, it comes together in about 5 minutes!

Front shot of ambrosia salad recipe in a glass serving dish

This ambrosia salad is the perfect companion for a holiday ham, or a lovely contrast to savory turkey and stuffing. With fruit, marshmallows, and coconut, it’s even sweet enough for a dessert buffet.

And this easy 5-minute recipe is proof that a dish doesn’t need to be fancy, time-consuming, expensive, or difficult in order to make it memorable. My grandmother made it for her daughters, my mom made it for me, and I will continue to make it for my own children.

What is Ambrosia Salad?

Ambrosia is an American fruit salad that typically contains pineapple, oranges, miniature marshmallows and coconut. The classic Southern side dish originated in the late 19th century, and takes its name from the food of the Greek gods.

Gold spoon scooping up ambrosia salad

How to make Ambrosia Salad:

There’s no baking or cooking required! Just stir together equal amounts of the six ingredients and your salad is ready to serve…

What is ambrosia salad made of?

  • Crushed pineapple
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Miniature marshmallows
  • Shredded coconut
  • Sour cream

First, make sure that you drain all of the fruit really well so that you don’t have a watery fruit salad.

Next, gently fold together all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. That’s it! See? Five minutes and you’re done!

Close up overhead shot of a glass serving dish of ambrosia salad with sour cream

What to serve with this Ambrosia Salad recipe:

Here are a few entrées that go well with a classic ambrosia salad recipe:

Cook’s Tips and Recipe Variations:

  • Make sure that you drain the fruit really well so that you don’t have a watery ambrosia salad.
  • Gently fold together the salad ingredients so that you don’t smash the cherries and oranges.
  • I like the rich creaminess of a full-fat sour cream, but you can also substitute with low-fat sour cream for a lighter option. As an alternative, try making your ambrosia salad with yogurt (if you do this, I would recommend a plain, whole milk Greek-style yogurt).
  • Can ambrosia salad be made the day before? Yes — you can prepare this salad up to 24 hours in advance. I find that the ambrosia is best, however, when enjoyed within 4-6 hours of preparation. The fruit releases liquid as it sits, so the sour cream dressing becomes thinner the longer that it stays in your refrigerator.
  • How long does ambrosia salad last? The fruit salad will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Can ambrosia salad be frozen? No, I don’t recommend freezing this salad, because the sour cream may “break” when thawed and the fruit will have an odd, mushy texture.
  • Is ambrosia salad healthy? Nope — not particularly! This is a treat that is meant to be enjoyed on special occasions (not as a replacement for fresh fruit). One serving of the salad has about 300 calories.

Ambrosia salad recipe in a glass dish with cherry on top

More easy fruit salad recipes that you might enjoy:

Front shot of ambrosia salad recipe in a glass serving dish

Ambrosia Salad Recipe

4.84 from 6 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes
0 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings 6 - 8 servings
Calories 302 kcal
A simple Southern side dish, this Ambrosia Salad recipe comes together in 5 minutes with just 6 ingredients!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 cup maraschino cherries, drained
  • 1 cup shredded coconut*
  • 1 cup sour cream

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, gently stir together all of the ingredients.

Notes

*I used unsweetened coconut, but any kind will work fine.
  • Make sure that you drain the fruit really well so that you don't have a watery ambrosia salad.
  • Gently fold together the salad ingredients so that you don't smash the cherries and oranges.
  • I like the rich creaminess of a full-fat sour cream, but you can also substitute with low-fat sour cream for a lighter option. As an alternative, try making your ambrosia salad with yogurt (if you do this, I would recommend a plain, whole milk Greek-style yogurt).
  • Can ambrosia salad be made the day before? Yes -- you can prepare this salad up to 24 hours in advance. I find that the ambrosia is best, however, when enjoyed within 4-6 hours of preparation. The fruit releases liquid as it sits, so the sour cream dressing becomes thinner the longer that it stays in your refrigerator.
  • How long does ambrosia salad last? The fruit salad will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Can ambrosia salad be frozen? No, I don't recommend freezing this salad, because the sour cream may "break" when thawed and the fruit will have an odd, mushy texture.
  • Is ambrosia salad healthy? Nope -- not particularly! This is a treat that is meant to be enjoyed on special occasions (not as a replacement for fresh fruit). One serving of the salad has about 300 calories.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the saladCalories: 302kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 2.8gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 2.3gCholesterol: 16.9mgSodium: 36.1mgPotassium: 137.1mgFiber: 3.5gSugar: 29.3g
Keyword: Ambrosia, ambrosia salad, ambrosia salad recipe
Course: Dessert, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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