This ambrosia fruit salad recipe is easy and makes a deliciously light, sweet, and fluffy show-stopping side dish!

Orange segments, pineapple tidbits, coconut, sour cream, and mini marshmallows are all it takes to make this easy fruit salad with a quick 5 minutes prep time! Canned fruit is juicy and delicious, plus it helps with the quick assembly of this recipe! But feel free to use fresh pineapple and mandarin orange slices if preferred! Cool Whip or homemade whipped cream can substitute for sour cream too. Serve this versatile ambrosia fruit salad recipe as a delish addition to the holiday menu, or as a potluck or party addition.

Ambrosia fruit salad on a white plate with more salad in the background in a clear bowl

What is Ambrosia Fruit Salad?

  • A classic Southern recipe served during the holidays, ambrosia (AKA food of the Gods) salad is a colorful collection of fresh or canned fruit, coconut, and marshmallows stirred into a lightly sweetened dressing.
  • Serve it as a side salad or a special occasion dessert with a glass of champagne or cocktail.
  • Prep, chill, and serve from one bowl!
  • This salad can be easily transported to parties and potlucks and is always an instant crowd-pleaser!

marshmallows, pineapple, coconut, oranges, sour cream assembled to make ambrosia fruit salad

What’s in Ambrosia Salad?

Ambrosia salad has endless possibilities for mixing and matching ingredients!

FRUIT: Mandarin oranges and pineapple tidbits bring both sweet and sour flavors, but other canned fruits like maraschino cherries, fruit cocktail, or canned peaches will work. Fresh fruits like grapes, bananas, blueberries, and sliced strawberries add color and flavor, too!

MARSHMALLOWS: White mini marshmallows or pastel-colored mini marshmallows are festive and fun. A jar of marshmallow fluff (crème) can be mixed in with the dressing if mini marshmallows aren’t available or to achieve a clean, creamy look.

COCONUT: Flaked coconut can be sweetened or unsweetened. To enhance the flavor, toast it in a sauté pan just until it starts to brown on the edges. 

DRESSING: Sour cream can be replaced with Greek yogurt for a tart and tangier taste. Fold in Jello vanilla pudding, cool whip, or homemade whipped cream as a substitute for sour cream. For a thicker dressing, mix cream cheese with the sour cream.

MIX-INS: Dried fruit like cranberries, apricots, and mangoes, or walnuts and pecans, make fun additions. For best results, toast nuts in a dry sauté pan until they are barely fragrant. This intensifies their flavor and makes them extra crunchy.

ingredients to make ambrosia salad in a clear bowl

How to Make Ambrosia Fruit Salad

This ambrosia fruit salad recipe is as easy as can be!

  1. Be sure to thoroughly drain the mandarin oranges and pineapple.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Chill overnight.

Serve cold, as a side dish or dessert.

a bowl of ambrosia fruit salad in a clear bowl with a wooden spoon beside it

Serve It With

Ambrosia salad is most often seen on holiday tables, but it also is great for everyday main dishes like buttermilk chicken, homemade meatloaf, and even these fun sausage crescent rolls.

Ambrosia fruit salad in a clear bowl with a large serving spoon in it

Make Ahead & Storing

  • Ambrosia salad can be made up to a day ahead and tastes even better as the flavors continue to blend.
  • Leftovers are good up to 3 days, stir thoroughly and add fresh ingredients, if desired.
  • Ambrosia salad is not suitable for the freezer. The fruit will get mushy, and the dressing runny and grainy. This is a dish best served cold — but not frozen!

Ambrosia fruit salad on a white plate

Other Delish Salads!

Ambrosia fruit salad on a white plate with more salad in the background in a clear bowl
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Ambrosia Fruit Salad

This ambrosia fruit salad recipe is so easy to make, and perfect as a side dish or dessert.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Refrigerate 1 day
Total Time 1 day 5 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Candace

Equipment

large bowl

Ingredients  

  • 11 ounces mandarin oranges drained (1 can)
  • 13 ounces pineapple chunks drained (1 can)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut or flaked
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows *, or quartered regular marshmallows.

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.
  • Chill overnight.

Notes

  • *use colored marshmallows or white marshmallows in this recipe.
  • Make ambrosia salad up to a day ahead of time.
  • Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days. Stir before serving and add fresh ingredients, if desired.
  • Do not freeze ambrosia salad because the fruit will become mushy, and the dressing runny and grainy. 
5 from 2 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 178 | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 36mg | Potassium: 235mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 629IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.

Course Dessert, Side Dish
Cuisine American

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About the author

I am a wife, mother of two, and professional accountant. I love fantastic food, and it is so often the center of our lives, from everyday dinner, to family gatherings, and special evenings at fabulous restaurants. I have always loved cooking and baking, with my mom and grandma, and now, with my daughter and son. I love trying new recipes while enjoying my favorites too. I’m so happy to share them with you.
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