This recipe for ambrosia salad is a variety of colorful fruit with marshmallows and coconut, tossed in a light and creamy dressing. An easy salad that’s a classic for good reason, people always beg me for the recipe!
Ambrosia salad might just happen to be my favorite fruit salad of all time. Even though I love berry fruit salad in the summer and winter fruit salad when its cold, ambrosia salad is a perfect year round salad!
Have you ever had ambrosia salad before? It’s something I remember being drawn to as a kid. I mean, as a kid I loved the creamy fruit, but my favorite thing was all the marshmallows. As an adult, I’m still all about the marshmallows! I’ve made a few small changes to the classic recipe to create my own version of this salad. Sometimes when I want a more elegant presentation, I get a similar effect by serving a fresh fruit platter with a cream cheese fruit dip.
I love that this light, refreshing and can be made ahead of time which makes it perfect for parties and potlucks. Some of my other favorite make ahead pot luck salads are three bean salad and Italian pasta salad. But, if you just want more fruit salads, take a look at my list of 20 amazing fruit salad recipes!
How do you make ambrosia salad?
I start with a combination of fresh and canned fruit. You can use all fresh or all canned, but I like the flavor and texture combination of both. I’m using pineapple chunks, mandarin oranges, maraschino cherries and fresh sliced grapes.
The dressing for this ambrosia salad couldn’t be any easier – it’s simply a combination of fresh whipped cream and vanilla Greek yogurt. Now, I know that whipped topping is a more traditional ingredient, I just prefer the flavor of real whipped cream. You can absolutely use whipped topping instead, and I’ve made a note of how much to substitute in the recipe.
I use the Greek yogurt because it adds a bit of tang that cuts through the sweetness of the fruit, but sour cream also works if you prefer that. The fruit gets tossed in the dressing and then coconut and mini marshmallows are folded in. You can add nuts if you like, walnuts or pecans are a great choice.
What goes in ambrosia?
The basis of ambrosia salad is fruit. Typically you’ll find oranges, pineapple and cherries in ambrosia salad, although you’ll sometimes find other fruit such as strawberries, apples or bananas. Other additions include coconut and marshmallows, and you’ll sometimes find nuts such as pecans.
How long can you keep ambrosia salad in the fridge?
After your salad is finished, you can serve it immediately or store in the fridge for up to 3 days The maraschino cherries may add a pink tint to the salad, you can reduce the chance of this happening by drying them well before they get added to the salad.
Can you freeze ambrosia salad?
I wouldn’t recommend freezing this salad, as when it thaws it will become watery and soggy. Ambrosia salad is best when made fresh and served within 3 days.
I like to decorate the top of my ambrosia salad with additional fruit, marshmallows and mint sprigs. This salad is a real crowd pleaser that’s ready in 10 minutes! I’ve included a video to demonstrate just how easy it is to make!
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Ambrosia Salad Video
- 1 20-ounce can of pineapple chunks drained
- 1 11-ounce can of mandarin oranges drained
- 1 10-ounce jar of maraschino cherries drained
- 1 1/2 cups green grapes cut in half
- 1/2 cup flaked coconut
- 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
- 1 cup of heavy cream or 1 1/2 cups of whipped topping
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
- Optional: 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans
- Optional garnishes: maraschino cherries mint sprigs, coconut
- Beat the heavy cream with a mixer just until stiff peaks form. Gently stir in the sugar. Alternatively, place the whipped topping in a medium bowl.
- Fold the yogurt 1/4 cup at a time into the whipped cream or whipped topping.
- Add the pineapple, oranges, grapes, coconut and marshmallows to the whipped cream mixture. Gently stir until the fruit is coated.
- Stir in the cherries and nuts if using.
- Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with additional cherries, coconut and mint sprigs if desired.
I make this so often as the kids request it that it was time to let you know how much we LOVE this recipe!
Thank you! I made this recipe for our Christmas celebration, you were right about the marshmallows being something that the kids love! My granddaughter remembered it and requested it for Easter, so now my daughter is preparing it for this holiday occasion! I suggested to her the idea of using the pastel mini marshmallows for Easter!
The yogurt makes this salad delicious. I left out the added sugar when I made it.
So glad to hear you enjoyed it, thanks for reporting back!
This looks super tasty! I love a good ambrosia salad! Something about the fruit and marshmallows is so nostalgic!
Such a great post! Can’t wait to try your recipe! Thanks!
Yum! This salad looks so colorful. My dad used to make this for us as kids without the marshmallows and cream. Looks good!
I have quite a sweet tooth and I think this would hit the spot perfectly. Looks so delicious.
Years ago we were at a party put on by a good friend who bordered on OCD with party foods. The watermelon basket was gorgeous but the dip was divine!! A large container of Cool Whip,thawed, and 2-3 Tbsp. of spiced rum, mixed well. White rum is equally good. Adding toasted chopped pecans or slivered almonds add texture and extra flavor.
Wow!! Stunning photos!! I love this retro salad, so easy to make.
Always a family favorite expected at all holidays! This is a great presentation!
This brings back great childhood memories! Liking this updated version with yougart
This recipe brings back so many memories. My mom used to make this but I think she used mayo instead of yogurt. I like your version and bet it tastes wonderful. So pretty too! Have a nice weekend Sara!
I love this beautiful salad!