Did your grandma or great aunt ever make Ambrosia Salad? This cool, creamy, and delicious dish is more than just a salad; it’s a blend of crunchy nuts, fruits, marshmallows, and a creamy dressing that’s a total throwback to your childhood. If you’ve never tried this retro recipe, you’ve been missing out!

classic ambrosia salad recipe

Why You’ll Love Ambrosia Salad

Ambrosia Salad has a creamy texture and is loaded with bursts of sweetness thanks to the fruit and mini marshmallows. This light and fluffy dessert is wonderful for spring and summer gatherings, and is loved by older generations as well as the kiddos.

How to Make My Ambrosia Recipe

Creating this classic dessert salad is as easy as combining a few ingredients in a large bowl. Here’s how you can make your own Ambrosia Salad, using ingredients that are easily found at any grocery store!

ingredients for ambrosia


  • 1 15-oz. can mandarin orange segments, drained
  • 1 15-oz. can crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 1 6-oz. jar maraschino cherries, rinsed and sliced in half
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup whipped topping
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Step One: Begin by ensuring all your canned fruit is well drained. You don’t want your salad to be soggy!

Step Two: In a large bowl, gently combine all the ingredients. Yep, it’s really that easy!

steps to recipe

Step Three: Once all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, cover your bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 4-6 hours, or ideally overnight. This chilling time allows the flavors to meld together beautifully.

fruit salad

Substitutions and Variations

Ambrosia Salad is known for its versatility. Here are a few ideas for substitutions and variations:

  • Fruit Options: Feel free to use fresh fruit like fresh pineapple chunks or pineapple tidbits in place of canned fruit. A can of fruit cocktail can also add a nice variety.
  • Dairy Alternatives: Greek yogurt or vanilla yogurt can replace sour cream for a tangier taste, while cottage cheese can add texture.
  • Nuts and More: Almonds or walnuts can be used instead of pecans. For those who enjoy experimenting, consider adding different fruits or even leftover holiday turkey or ham for a savory twist.
creamy fruity salad recipe

Best Tips

  • Ensure fruits are well-drained: To keep your classic ambrosia salad recipe from becoming watery, thoroughly drain all canned fruits.
  • Allow ample chilling time: For the best flavor and consistency, refrigerate the salad for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Experiment with ingredients: Don’t hesitate to try different fruits or nuts based on your preferences or what you have on hand.
  • Choose your creamy base wisely: Whether you opt for sour cream, whipped topping, or homemade whipped cream, each will impact the salad’s flavor and texture.
  • Serving suggestions: Ambrosia Salad can be served as a dessert, a side dish at family gatherings, or as a unique addition to your holiday table.

How to Store Ambrosia Salad

To keep Ambrosia Salad fresh, it’s best stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If you don’t have one, tightly covering the salad bowl with plastic wrap is a good alternative. Properly stored, the salad can remain fresh for 2-3 days, although it’s usually best enjoyed within the first day or two for optimal taste and texture.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Ambrosia Salad be made in advance?

Yes! Making Ambrosia Salad a day before serving not only saves time but also enhances its flavors as the ingredients meld together in the fridge.

Can I use frozen fruits instead of canned or fresh?

easy ambrosia salad

While fresh and canned fruits are preferred for their texture and sweetness, frozen fruits can be used as a last resort. Ensure they are thoroughly thawed and drained before adding to the salad to prevent excess water from diluting the creamy dressing.

Whether for a summer BBQ, baby showers, or as part of your holiday table, this creamy fruit salad is sure to be a hit. The best part? It’s an easy dessert salad that anyone can make, offering a delightful treat without the need for complex cooking skills. So, grab your large bowl, a selection of canned fruit, and a few other simple ingredients, and enjoy the timeless taste of homemade Ambrosia Salad.

More Easy Dessert Recipes

Ambrosia Salad

Cool, creamy, and delicious, this ambrosia salad recipe is always a hit with family and friends.
5 from 4 ratings


  • 1 15- oz. can mandarin orange segments, drained
  • 1 15- oz. can crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 1 6- oz. jar maraschino cherries, rinsed and sliced in half
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup whipped topping
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows


  • In a large bowl stir together all ingredients.
  • Refrigerate 4-6 hours or overnight.
Serving: 1g, Calories: 150kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 9mg, Sodium: 43mg, Potassium: 87mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 96IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 24mg, Iron: 0.3mg
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