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Ambrosia Salad is a simple classic recipe that combines a creamy base with fruit, shredded coconut, & mini marshmallows in only 15 minutes.
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Table of Contents
  1. Simple Ambrosia Salad
  2. Why We Love This Ambrosia Salad Recipe
  3. Ingredients
  4. Substitutions and Additions
  5. Recommended Tools
  6. How to Make the Ambrosia Salad
  7. Tips from Our Recipe Developer
  8. Storage Tips
  9. Frequently Asked Questions
  10. Other Easy Salad Recipes
  11. Ambrosia Salad Recipe

Ambrosia Salad is a simple sweet treat that can be served as a side dish beside the main meal or saved for a refreshingly light dessert. Easily made in just one bowl, this no-cook classic recipe combines a creamy base with an abundance of colorful fruit, shredded coconut, and mini marshmallows in only 15 minutes–it pairs perfectly with a heavy Thanksgiving, Christmas, or holiday feast.

ambrosia salad hero image

Simple Ambrosia Salad

Ambrosia Salad may lack the lettuce of the traditional veggie side, but with its silky sweet, tangy, cream-based “dressing,” soft mini marshmallows, crunchy coconut, and sweet, juicy fruit, this salad strikes the perfect balance between velvety smooth and refreshingly satisfying.

Some may insist that this “salad” should be served as a dessert, but like my Cherry Fluff, I prefer to eat it alongside some savory sides. This dish is so simple to make, especially because it is prepared with nothing more complicated than ingredients that come from a can or a jar, then are literally mixed in one bowl, chilled, and placed among the potatoes, sprouts, and stuffing at my Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

There are many different variations of this Southern classic recipe, but I like the base of mine better than the others because the flavor isn’t overly sweet. My not-so-secret ingredient is the addition of plain yogurt, which adds a tangy tartness to offset all of the sweetness from the fruit.

But beyond the many versions of Ambrosia Salad, each rendition offers the same comforting sentiment–it tastes like it’s indecent to call it a salad, but once you’re eating it, it just feels so perfect!

Why We Love This Ambrosia Salad Recipe

  • Quick and easy to make using canned fruit combined with 4 ingredients.
  • Simple no-cook recipe made in a single bowl.
  • Sweet, creamy, comforting, and delicious.
  • Flexible and forgiving recipe that you can customize to your tastes.
  • Great for parties, potlucks, barbecues, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any everyday dinner.
  • Perfect make ahead side that can quickly be added as a last minute menu addition to balance out all the vegetable sides dishes.
ambrosia salad in a spoon

Ingredients

  • Can tropical fruit cocktail: This cocktail adds a nice tropical flair to the salad but you can also use any other fruit cocktail or even just a 15 ounce can of pineapple tidbits instead. 
  • Can mandarin oranges: You can swap this out for another citrus if you prefer. 
  • Jar maraschino cherries
  • Can pineapple tidbits
  • Shredded, sweetened coconut: You can substitute unsweetened coconut if you prefer.
  • Mini marshmallows: I like using regular mini marshmallows but you can substitute fruit flavored ones if you prefer them.
  • Plain whole milk yogurt: Sour cream is a good substitution for the yogurt.
  • Whipped topping: You can use homemade whipped topping if you prefer. You will need about 1 ½ cups prepared. You can use up to a full container of whipped topping for a richer dessert. 
  • Mint leaves, optional garnish

Substitutions and Additions

  • Different “Dressing:” The base in this recipe is plain whole milk yogurt, but you can use sour cream, plain Greek yogurt, vanilla yogurt, cream cheese, or even cottage cheese (I prefer a smooth texture and have never used cottage cheese).
  • Fresh Fruit: Skip the cans and substitute with fresh fruit like grapes, bananas, blueberries, orange segments, strawberries, pineapple, or any other fresh fruit that you love. 
  • Nuts: Feel free to add some crunch by topping your salad with some chopped pecans, pistachios, cashews, walnuts, or almonds.
  • Add Some More Sweetness: You can use a vanilla or honey flavored yogurt for a bit more sweetness. Use the same amount as you would plain yogurt. 
ambrosia salad
  • Large serving bowl
  • Mixing tools
  • Measuring tools
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How to Make the Ambrosia Salad

This simple Ambrosia Salad recipe is so quick and easy to prepare using canned fruit combined with only 4 ingredients. Serve it as a side or save it for dessert, this sweet and creamy dish pairs perfectly with any holiday meal.

  1. Mix together the tropical fruit, oranges, cherries, and pineapple until combined.
    Pro-Tip: Make sure to drain all fruit ingredients well so the dish isn’t watery. You can leave the large tropical fruit whole instead of slicing it into smaller pieces. This will give the fruit in your salad a variety of sizes, adding some texture to the salad.
  2. Add the coconut and mini marshmallows and toss carefully.
  3. Gently mix in the yogurt. Add whipped topping and fold all ingredients together until completely combined.
  4. Cover and chill in the refrigerator. Top with mint leaves (optional), serve, and enjoy!

Tips from Our Recipe Developer

  • For best results, make this salad ahead of time so it has a chance to sit. This helps blend the flavors and makes the marshmallows soften which sweetens the recipe.

Storage Tips

  • To Store: This Ambrosia Salad should be covered or placed in an airtight container in the refrigerator and will keep for up to 3 days. After that point you may notice it begins to get watery but the fruit will keep for up to 5 days.
  • To Freeze: This salad should not be frozen.
ambrosia salad scooped in using spoon

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it called Ambrosia Salad?

The name ambrosia is derived from Greek mythology, meaning immortality; also known as “food of the gods.” Greek gods commonly ate ambrosia to prevent becoming weak; it was often depicted as conferring longevity upon whoever consumed it. Today, it is known as a deliciously sweet fruit salad that includes citrus fruit, coconut, and a creamy and tangy base.

Can I make this dairy-free?

Yes, you can make a dairy-free version of Ambrosia salad. Use coconut whipped cream and a plant-based yogurt instead of dairy-based ingredients.

Does Ambrosia Salad have to be refrigerated before eating?

Ambrosia Salad can be served right after making, but it is so much better if it has time to chill and let the flavors come together. I recommend allowing it to chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Can I freeze my Ambrosia salad?

No, Ambrosia Salad should not be frozen! If you freeze this salad, you will end up with a melted, watery mess when it thaws. 

ambrosia salad in a bowl

Other Easy Salad Recipes

5 from 9 votes
ambrosia salad featured image

Ambrosia Salad

Serves — 6
Ambrosia Salad is a simple classic recipe that combines a creamy base with fruit, shredded coconut, & mini marshmallows in only 15 minutes.
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 15.25 ounce can tropical fruit cocktail drained and sliced
  • 15 ounce can mandarin oranges drained
  • 10 ounce jar maraschino cherries drained
  • 8 ounce can pineapple tidbits drained
  • cup sweetened coconut shredded
  • cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
  • 8 ounce (½ container) whipped topping
  • Mint leaves, optional garnish

Instructions
 

  • In a large serving bowl, mix together the tropical fruit, oranges, cherries and the pineapple tidbits until combined.
  • Add in the coconut and mini marshmallows and toss gently to combine.
  • Gently mix in the yogurt until the fruit is covered.
  • Add in the whipped topping and fold all ingredients together until completely combined.
  • Cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  • Serve chilled, with mint leaves as a garnish, optional.

Jenn’s Notes

Storage:
  • To Store: This Ambrosia Salad should be covered or placed in an airtight container in the refrigerator and will keep for up to 3 days. After that point you may notice it begins to get watery but the fruit will keep for up to 5 days.
  • To Freeze: This salad should not be frozen.
Tips:
  • For best results, make this salad ahead of time so it has a chance to sit. This helps blend the flavors and makes the marshmallows soften which sweetens the recipe.
  • Make sure to drain all fruit ingredients well so the dish isn’t watery.
  • You can leave the large tropical fruit whole instead of slicing it into smaller pieces. This will give the fruit in your salad a variety of sizes, adding some texture to the salad.

Nutrition Info

Calories: 415kcal | Carbohydrates: 75g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 127mg | Potassium: 396mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 65g | Vitamin A: 1188IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 123mg | Iron: 1mg
Jennifer Fishkind

About Jenn

Jenn is a mom to three beautiful boys, wife to an amazing husband, social influencer and blogger. I love all things easy recipes, easy crafts, all things hacks, traveling EVERYWHERE and feeding my Pinterest addiction!

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