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Ambrosia Salad (The BEST Fruit Salad)

Ambrosia salad is super easy to make and always a hit at family gatherings.

This creamy delight contains crushed pineapple, mandarin oranges, whipped topping, marshmallows, and shredded coconut.

Perfect for potlucks, parties, cookouts, and get-together’s. Also makes a nice, refreshing dessert any day of the week.

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Best of all, this recipe can be whipped up in 15 minutes or less.

Creamy Ambrosia Salad with Mandarin, Oranges, Marshmallows and Shredded Coconut

What is Ambrosia Salad?

Ambrosia salad is also known as the food of the gods, not because it gives whoever takes a bite immortal life, but because it tastes unbelievably divine.

Ambrosia salad is made of a medley of fruits – oranges, pineapples, and shredded coconut. However, modern versions of this heavenly dessert also include apples, peaches, bananas, pineapples, Maraschino cherries, grapes, you name it!

The fruits are then generously coated in thick and decadent cream. The result? A big bowl bursting with vibrant colors and spectacular flavors.

And who says only gods and goddesses get to enjoy ambrosia salad? If they’re not willing to share theirs, don’t worry! We’ll teach you how to make this irresistible fruit salad at home.

Ambrosia Fruit Salad Ingredients - Canned Pineapple and Mandarin Oranges, Shredded Coconut, Cool Whip, Sour Cream and Mini-Marshmallows


Here are all the ingredients in traditional Southern Ambrosia Fruit Salad. But of course, feel free to add in your favorites as well.

  • Canned drained pineapple tidbits. Crushed pineapples work well, too! And fresh pineapples are very much welcome as well.
  • Canned mandarin oranges. Drain the oranges well, otherwise, you’ll end up with a soupy salad.
  • Shredded coconut. Toast the coconut shreds to bring out their natural flavors. Plus, it gives the salad a hint of crunch, complementing the softness of the pineapples and oranges.  
  • Cool Whip. This is what makes this fruit salad irresistibly sweet and creamy. Of course, you’re also welcome to make your own whipped topping. All you need is heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla.
  • Sour cream. If you’re used to eating Ambrosia salad with whipped cream, you’ll be surprised to know that fruit slices taste spectacular with sour cream. If you find it odd pairing a tangy dressing with fruit salad, don’t worry, you won’t get to taste the sour cream. All it does is cut the sweetness of the fruits.
  • Mini-marshmallows. These tiny pillowy sweets add an interesting texture to your fruit salad. Plus, it pairs well with sour cream – the two create a wonderful balance of flavors.
Mandarin Oranges, Pineapple Tidbits, Sour Cream, Shredded Coconuts and Mini Marshmallows in a Glass Bowl

How to Make Ambrosia Salad

With this simple ambrosia fruit salad recipe, you’ll have a fool-proof dessert ready to go in less than 15 minutes. Perfect for your next potluck or get-together.

  1. In a large bowl, mix together crushed pineapple, mandarin oranges, Cool Whip, sour cream, marshmallows, and shredded coconut. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  2. Refrigerate the salad for at least two hours to give the fruit flavors ample time to blend. If you can, let the salad sit in the fridge overnight: this will allow the marshmallows to soak up any excess liquid.

It’s as simple and easy as that! Who knew something so delightful could be such a breeze to make?

Tips & Tricks

  • Give your salad a more refreshing vibe by using more fresh fruits. Another lighter approach is to use reduced-fat sour cream. However, don’t leave out the marshmallows. It’s got that unique texture that no other substitute can replace. 
  • Add more flavor to your Ambrosia salad by adding a bit of nutmeg or cinnamon. Yum!
  • Do not overdo the fruit-mixing: mix your fruit gently so it stays nice and crunchy.  
  • Add the oranges after mixing the rest of the ingredients together because they are very fragile and break apart easily.
  • Don’t have sour cream on hand? Use Greek yogurt instead. It’s a healthy alternative that tastes just as good!
  • Give your Ambrosia a nice crunch by topping it with some chopped pecans, pistachios, cashews, walnuts, or almonds. Toast them in a pan first to bring out all their wonderful flavors!
  • If you want your kids to take part in all the fruit eating, we suggest using colored mini-mallows to get them excited!
  • If you are adding Maraschino cherries to your fruit salad, you may want to skip it until right before serving it, unless you’re okay with the cream turning red!
  • Want a more indulgent treat? Use a combination of whipped cream and cream cheese instead of sour cream.
Bowl of Sweet Ambrosia Salad

How Long Does the Salad Last in the Refrigerator?

Ambrosia salad will last for as long as 3 days when stored in the fridge in an air-tight container. So, feel free to make it in advance. 

Do not leave the salad on the counter for over two hours, or the dressing will start to melt. It’s best served chilled, so be sure to place it back in the fridge should there be any leftover.

Can You Freeze Ambrosia Salad?

Yes. You can freeze this fruit salad. But there are a few key things you need to keep in mind.

A word of caution: do not freeze Ambrosia salad and defrost before serving. The fruits will ooze liquid as they defrost, which will make your dressing break.

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You can, however, freeze it and serve it frozen like ice cream. Yum!

Ambrosia Salad (The BEST Fruit Salad)



Prep time






  • 3 (20 oz) cans crushed pineapple (drained)

  • 4 (15 oz) cans mandarin oranges (drained)

  • 1 (8 oz) container of Cool Whip

  • 1 (8 oz) container of sour cream

  • 1 (10.5 oz) package miniature marshmallows

  • 3/4 cup 3/4 shredded coconut (or to taste)


  • Mix pineapple, mandarin oranges, Cool Whip, sour cream, marshmallows, and shredded coconut together in a bowl.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until flavors blend. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Tastes even better when chilled overnight.
Ambrosia Salad (The BEST Fruit Salad)

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Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

8 thoughts on “Ambrosia Salad (The BEST Fruit Salad)”

  1. This recipe is the BEST. We didn’t have much growing up, but mom somehow found away for us to enjoy this favorite treat.


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