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Ambrosia Salad is a classic recipe that’s hard to resist. Made with pineapple, cherries, oranges, coconut, pecans, and grapes all wrapped up in fresh whipped cream and marshmallows, is a fruit salad that dreams are made of!
If you’re from the South, then you know about Ambrosia Salad. It’s one of those dishes you’d always find on the table at Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter. It was also a “must-have” for any covered dish supper at church or a family get-together.
Ambrosia, as it’s called, (you can drop the salad part) is one of those old-school recipes that brings back such fond memories that it was destined to appear in my kitchen.
The first time I made Ambrosia for my family, I must say, I didn’t quite get the overjoyed reaction I was expecting. Actually, I got three sets of eyes staring at me with “what in the world is that” kind of look. Then came the questions about what was in Ambrosia and why I would put marshmallows in a salad. Now, I need to say that until that day, several years ago, Mr. A Southern Soul had never even heard of this southern classic dish, much less tasted it. That’s when I had to do a little “schooling” so my fellas could understand just how special Ambrosia is!
It didn’t take me long to convenience them to give it a taste, and that’s when I knew I had ’em. After a few bites and several oohs and ahhs, my sweet husband and my sons finally understood why I had to have them love Ambrosia as much as I do. It’s just tradition, as simple as that.
Ingredients To Make Ambrosia Salad
For the Salad
- Canned Pineapple chunks
- Canned Mandarin oranges
- Maraschino cherries
- Green grapes – halved
- Pecans – chopped
- Mini marshmallows
- Sweetened Coconut flakes
- Sour Cream
- Heavy cream
How To Make Easy Ambrosia Salad
It only takes a few ingredients to make Ambrosia. Canned pineapple, mandarin oranges, and cherries are drained and set aside for about an hour to make sure all the juice is drained and the fruit dries out a bit.
While that’s happening, the grapes are cut in half and the pecans are roughly chopped. For my salad, I like using fresh homemade whipped cream which is super easy to make, you can substituent with whipped topping, with heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla.
Once the fruit is ready, just mix in a bit of sour cream to the fluffy, whipped cream. Next, add in the coconut and marshmallows. Then, add in the fruit and nuts and you’ve got a delicious, fresh Ambrosia Salad!
People Often Ask…
Ambrosia salad is a retro southern recipe, most people will remember their aunts and grandmas bringing to potlucks. Some folks call this a salad, while others think of it as a dessert, all I know is that it’s fresh, light, and delicious!
The word ‘ambrosia’ means delicious or fragrant, which is perfectly fitting for this recipe. The ingredients to this dish may change depending on who makes it, but it is always a delicious and fragrant dish.
My version of this classic recipe is made with pineapple, cherries, oranges, coconut, pecans and grapes all wrapped up in fresh whipped cream and marshmallows, and it is the fruit salad of my dreams!
More Great Salads With Fruit
- Fruit Salad For A Crowd
- Cranberry Pecan Slaw
- Sunshine Fruit Salad
- Spinach & Fresh Fruit Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
- Broccoli Apple Salad
- 1 20 oz can pineapple chunks
- 1 15 oz can Mandarin oranges
- 1 cup Maraschino cherries
- 1 cup green grapes – halved
- 1 cup pecans – chopped
- 3 cups mini marshmallows
- 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 1.2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- Place pineapple chunks and oranges in a strainer and set aside, approximately 45 minutes to drain. Drain cherries, rinse in cold water and set aside with other fruit to drain.
- Using a stand or hand mixer, whip heavy cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks are formed. Fold in half of sour cream until mixed then add remaining being careful not to deflate whipped cream. Add coconut and marshmallow to mixture and stir gently.
- Add in fruit and nuts, stirring to incorporate. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
Christine P Brown
Great Southern Recipes… Most of which my Grandmother & Great-Grandmother made for me throughout my life and since they’ve passed on I love seeing these genuinely old recipes still being passed on throughout the different generations. Thank You ma’am for sharing.
You’ve made my day!
Thank you so much for sharing,
Cheryl M Skipper
11 TBSP of sugar?
That would be 1 and 1/2 tablespoons.
Gosh, I had forgotten about this wonderful dish. Haven’t made it in quite awhile when it appeared in my inbox. Your recipe has even more pizzazz than most Ambrosia recipes. I’m heading off to the store right now. It is nearly 100 today in California and i was craving something sweet and juicy! this will be perfect!
Hey there Wendy!
I am so happy to hear that the email has inspired you, I think you’re totally right that this salad is the PERFECT dish to beat the heat! If you liked this dish, you should check out my Grape Salad recipe, it’s just as easy to make, it’s super refreshing, and it’s got that cool flavor that’s great for hot summers. Thank you so much for your kind words of support and for your phenomenal rating, I really hope you enjoyed the recipe!
I love this…reminds me of long along. now I have the recipe. Thank you.
You are so welcome, Carmen. Good food brings back great memories.
Have a lovely day,
I had to switch some things up because Finns do not like overly sweet things and…sadly I do not have access to mini marshmallows. So I used 1 Tbs sugar and ½ tsp vanilla sugar. Since I didn’t have access to maraschino cherries either, I used the cherries you use in fruit cake instead. Everything else was the same. I ended up with a very delicate balance of sweet and tangy! Excellent recipe thank you!
Ohhhhhh juicy, sweet but not too sweet, the combination of colors and textures is soooo good! Definitely the whipped cream! This is to good to save for just the holidays. I LOVE IT! and I saved it to my “heirloom recipes” file.
My mom made this whenever we had company coming for dinner, back in the 60’s and 70’s. So good and left overs were no problem! 🇨🇦
This is such a fabulous salad!!
This salad looks really fabulous!
Megan @ Megunprocessed
I’ve never heard of this before, but I love all that fruit in there!
I love the ingredients in this Ambrosia Salad! This will be on my menu for Easter Dinner this year. Thank you Donya for sharing your wonderful recipes.
Claudine in Fort Worth, TX
Can this be made the night before? Will the cream break down if it sits too long?
I usually make it the night before I want to serve it. Give it a gentle stir before serving and you’ll be good to go!