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My Favorite Ambrosia Salad

Ambrosia Salad

Call it cliché. Call it retro. It doesn’t matter. Everyone still calls it delicious.   This recipe for ambrosia salad is loaded with pineapple, mandarin oranges, coconut and miniature marshmallows bathed in tangy cream. Who’d have thought, this fruit salad is one of my more requested recipes. It’s a special favorite among kids and teens.

Ambrosia Salad

Ambrosia Salad is a great option for your next get together, served as either a side or as dessert. With the prep done in just 15 minutes, this Ambrosia makes an easy, beautiful presentation for a special meal or a family dinner.

Ambrosia Salad

I like to cut the grapes and maraschino cherries in half. The bite-sized pieces are easier to eat.  It’s also very important to let the oranges and pineapple chunks drain for the full 15 minutes, otherwise your lovely creamy dressing will get watered down.

Ambrosia Salad

For me, the best part about ambrosia salad is the creamy sour cream and sweet whipped cream dressing. That slight sweetness and sour cream tang goes amazingly well with chunks of mandarin oranges, and sweet pineapple. Once the mini marshmallows absorb some of that creaminess, they become melt-in-your-mouth soft and wonderful.

Ambrosia Salad

You can use a whipped topping, but it only takes a few minutes to whip the cream and I think it tastes much better.  But if you’re pressed for time, you can always go for the stuff in the tub.  I like to reserve a bit of the shredded coconut to sprinkle over the finished bowl of Ambrosia.  It really looks great!  It’s a deliciously easy treat.  

What do you like in your Ambrosia?

Pin for Later

Or Make Now.


Ambrosia Salad
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
15 mins

You can substitute an 8 ounce tub of whipped topping, but it only takes a few minutes to whip the cream and I think it tastes much better.  

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 14 (4 ounce) serving
Author: Betsy Edwards
  • 1 (15 ounce) can mandarin oranges
  • 1 (20 ounce) can pineapple tidbits pineapple tidbits (2 cups)
  • 1 (6 ounce) jar maraschino cherries drained, pat dry, halved
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/3 cups light sour cream
  • 1 cup green grapes - halved (7ounces)
  • 1 cup coconut flaked, sweetened
  • ½ cup pecans chopped
  • 10 ounces mini marshmallows
  1. Place the pineapple and mandarin oranges in a strainer and allow them to drain for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, drain the cherries, rinse, cut in half and set aside to drain.
  3. In a medium bowl, whip the cream with the vanilla and sugar until light and fluffy. Gently fold in half of the sour cream. Once incorporated, gently fold in the remaining sour cream. Add the Mandarin oranges, pineapple, maraschino cherries, and grapes. Gently stir to mix in. 

  4. Reserve 1/4 cup of the flaked coconut for serving.  Gently stir in the remaining coconut, pecans and marshmallows.  Chill for 1 hour prior to serving.

  5. Prior to serving, sprinkle reserved coconut over the top.

Make- Ahead Note:
  1. Ambrosia salad looks best served the day it's made.  The taste is not impacted if it's made up to a day ahead and served, but it won't look as good.  The whipped cream will deflate.



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Large Group Info.

This recipe makes 3 pounds, 7 ounces of Ambrosia.  A 3 ounce serving size is very reasonable if this is one of 5 or more items on a buffet serving line.   A large serving is 4 ounces (remember it’s got a lot of light ingredients).  This Ambrosia recipe serves 18 (3 ounce) servings or 14 (4 ounce) large servings.  You should be able to safely plan on it serving 16.

Makes 3 pounds, 7 ounces

SERVES: 13 (4 ounce) servings, or 18 (3 ounce) servings


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