These delicious cookies have all the flavors of the classic holiday salad that’s full of pineapple, coconut, and red maraschino cherries. Ambrosia Macaroon Cookies are not only beautiful they are also an outstanding treat for friends, neighbors, and perfect for the holidays!
One of the most popular, most beloved recipes on A Southern Soul, Ambrosia Salad, is now a cookie! I’ve been making that time-honored holiday salad for years. It’s always on my Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter table. And…now, I’ve turned all of the BEST ingredients of that Southern classic into a cookie.
Ambrosia cookies have been around for ages. The traditional recipe is more of a “fruit cake” type of cookie so, when I got inspired to make my own version, I knew I had to change things up a bit. My take is a twist from a recipe I found years ago that makes a macaroon style cookie loaded with coconut, pineapple, lemon, and topped with a cherry.
What Makes These Cookies So Special?
- They are sweet and full of fruity flavor.
- Have a chewy center with crispy brown edges.
- They are festive and beautiful.
- Make the ideal gift for neighbors and friends.
- Will put you on the super nice list with Santa!
If you are heading to a cookie swap this year, then you’ve got to take these cookies. They are made with simple ingredients that you likely already have on hand.
What You Need To Make Ambrosia Macaroon Cookies:
- Cream Cheese
- An Egg Yoke
- Lemon Zest
- Lemon Juice
- Baking Powder
- Crushed Pineapple
- Sweetened Coconut
- Maraschino Cherries
Tips For Making This Recipe
- Make sure the butter and cream cheese are at room temperature. This will ensure that you’ll get a light texture when you cream them with the sugar.
- Drain the pineapple really well and pat dry with paper towels.
- Make sure to drain and pat dry the maraschino cherries and cut them into halves.
- The dough needs to chill for an hour so plan accordingly.
- Press a cherry half into the center of each cookie after baking and let cool on the baking sheet for 1 minute.
- Allow cookies to cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
How To Store These Cookies
Place the cookies in an airtight container. They can be stored on the counter or in the pantry for up to 3 days.
More Cookie Recipes You Will Love!
- Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
- Best Snickerdoodle Cookies
- Breakfast Cookies
- Kitchen Sink Cookies
- Pumpkin Crinkle Cookies
- Coconut Macaroons
Let me know if you make this recipe! You can rate it below, leave me a comment, or snap a picture. Just tag me on Instagram at #asouthernsoul
- 5 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 8 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained and patted dry with paper towels
- 5 cups sweetened flaked coconut
- 20 maraschino cherries, drained, patted dry, and halved
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl, beat butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolk, lemon zest, lemon juice, and beat to incorporate.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer set on low, gradually add to the butter mixture. Beat for 1 minute. Stir in pineapple and 3 cups of coconut. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment and set aside. Scoop out dough and shape into 1 to 1 ¼ inch balls. Place the remaining 2 cups of coconut in a shallow bowl and roll the dough in the coconut. Place dough on prepared baking sheets.
- Working in batches, bake in the oven for 13-15 minutes until the edges of the cookies are golden brown. Remove from the oven and press a cherry half into the center of each cookie. Let cool for 1 minute then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
What Was The Inspiration For These Cookies?
Ambrosia Salad! This family favorite recipe can always be found on my table during the holidays. It makes a light salad or side dish and has been known to be enjoyed for dessert, too.
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These cookies were a BIG HIT for Christmas! I made them two days before and they still tasted fresh. I had some left over and I froze them and brought them out of the freezer a week later for New Years. They still tasted great! I love the fruity taste of the pineapple and cherries!
Can these ambrosia macaroon cookies be frozen?
I’ve never frozen them. You could probably make the dough, freeze it then make the cookies.
I froze mine. They came out great!
I made and baked these for Christmas. I had some left over and I froze them. I brought them out a week later and they were just as good!
Can I omit the egg
The egg is used as a binder and I’m not sure about leaving it out. I’ve never made the cookies with it so I don’t really know if they will turn out without it. Let me know if you try it.
Could I swap out the crushed pineapple for finely diced, glazed pineapple that I pat dry? I have some leftover from another recipe and canned pineapple is almost impossible to find on the store shelves since September.
Great idea. You can use the pineapple you have on hand. The recipe will turn out great as long as you pat the pineapple dry. Let me know how the cookies turn out.
These cookies are THE BEST!