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Ambrosia Fruit Salad

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Ambrosia fruit salad is the perfect mix of pineapple, mandarin oranges, coconut, cherries, grapes, and marshmallows in a creamy dressing. It is a vintage classic for good reason. It’s fruity, fun, and delicious!

White serving bowl filled with creamy ambrosia fruit salad, ready to be served.

If you are looking for a fruit filled snack or simple dessert, Ambrosia salad fits the bill. It is pretty, easy to make, and, of course, tasty.

I have been working my way through a collection of vintage fruit salad recipes. It all started with my great-grandma’s frozen fruit salad.

I have the best time reading comments about how that recipe evokes memories of so many people’s grandmas. And there have been a lot of fun variations suggested over the years.

Ingredients including pineapple, oranges, grapes, cherries, pecans, coconut, sour cream, marshmallows, and whipped topping ready to be made into ambrosia.

So, I thought it was time for me to make a non-frozen version. While that recipe isn’t quite a frozen Ambrosia, it’s close.

I made sure to add plenty of maraschino cherries and a little bit of the juice to give this a pink hue sort of like that one. And I’ll tell you, it was absolutely delicious.

And we know I love getting to call sweet things a salad. It adds makes it acceptable at any time of day.

Big glass mixing bowl filled with ambrosia fruit salad, ready to chill.

So whip up this Ambrosia salad for a simple summer treat, or make some for holiday meals. It would be a pretty addition to your Easter meal or a fun option for Christmas.

What is Ambrosia Salad?

Of all of the old-fashioned fluff style fruit salads, Ambrosia seems to be the one with the most variation. It seems each grandma had her own way of making it.

Some used cottage cheese. Others use vanilla pudding or even mayonnaise.

I use whipped topping mixed with sour cream. It adds great texture and the tangy sour cream helps cut the sweetness.

You could use fresh whipped cream if you want. Yogurt would be a great substitute for the sour cream too.

Small fruit bowls filled with ambrosia showing fruit and marshmallows coated in a light pink fluffy dressing.

Plus, you can easily use different fruits or nuts. But they all seem to have at least some fruit, coconut, marshmallows, and a creamy base.

For extra fruity flavor and color, use the pastel mini marshmallows. We just happened to have the regular ones on hand, so that’s what we used.

You can certainly eat it as a dessert, but we like to use the word salad as an excuse to eat it as a side dish. It really is an all-purpose recipe.

Tips and Tricks

You can certainly enjoy this salad right away, but it is better if you chill it for at least an hour or two first. That gives the flavors a chance to meld.

It will also soften the marshmallows and thicken the dressing. So plan to make it in advance if you can

Spoonful of ambrosia fruit salad with orange section, pineapple and cherries in a sweet pink dressing ready to eat.

If you are feeling fancy, you can garnish it with some extra maraschino cherries or a few sprigs of fresh mint. That helps to dress it up for company, but it usually disappears too quickly to matter.

Have fun playing with different fruit combinations. It’s hard to go wrong, so use your favorites.

How do you store Ambrosia salad?

Any leftover fruit salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If you freeze the salad, enjoy it from frozen. Thawing the salad will affect the texture.

More Fun Vintage Fruit Salad Recipes

If you like fruit in a creamy dressing, 5 cup salad is another great option. It is simple to make and tastes amazing.

Fruit cocktail in pudding is another great super simple option. It only takes a few minutes to put together and is ready to eat pretty much immediately.

Cranberry fluff is another fun recipe. It is perfect for Christmas or Thanksgiving, but is really great any time.

White serving bowl filled with fruit salad with fluffy pink dressing.

Ambrosia Salad

Servings: 12 Servings
Author: Carlee
Ambrosia fruit salad is the perfect mix of pineapple, mandarin oranges, coconut, cherries, grapes, and marshmallows in a creamy dressing. It is a vintage classic for good reason. It's fruity, fun, and delicious!
4.92 from 12 ratings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 8 oz. Cool Whip or similar
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 11 oz. mandarin oranges drained
  • 20 oz. pineapple chunks drained
  • 1 cup grapes
  • 10 oz. maraschino cherries
  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans


  • In large mixing bowl, stir together cool whip and sour cream. If desired, add 2 Tablespoons of the juice from the marashino cherries to give it a pink color.
    8 oz. Cool Whip, ½ cup sour cream
  • Drain the remaining juice off the cherries. Cut the cherries and the grapes in half.
    10 oz. maraschino cherries, 1 cup grapes
  • Stir everything into the Cool Whip mixture.
    11 oz. mandarin oranges, 20 oz. pineapple chunks, 1 cup coconut flakes, 2 cups mini marshmallows, ¾ cup chopped pecans
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • Serve cold.


If you don't want to use Cool Whip, you can whip 1/2 cup of heavy cream with 2 Tablespoons of sugar.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 275kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 2gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 37mgFiber: 3gSugar: 33g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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