Ambrosia Salad — This classic fruit salad is made with pineapple, mandarin oranges, grapes, coconut, and tossed in a light and creamy, tangy-yet-sweet dressing! The EASIEST side dish ever — just add everything to one bowl and stir! A family favorite side dish that’s always PERFECT for holidays, events, and parties!
What Is Ambrosia Salad?
This classic fruit salad reminds me of my grandma’s dinner table on holidays or birthdays. She always had a big bowl of ambrosia salad waiting!
If you’re not familiar with it, ambrosia salad is essentially a fruit salad that’s made with variety of fruit, including pineapple, mandarin oranges, grapes, and maraschino cherries. Coconut and pecans round out the flavor of the salad and give lots of texture.
Everything is tossed in a creamy dressing made with whipped topping and sour cream. The tanginess of the sour cream balances the sweetness of the Cool Whip. It’s a light and fluffy dressing which is so good!
I adore how easy ambrosia salad is to make! Quite literally, it’s a one bowl recipe that’s ready in 5 minutes.
Whether you want to make this as a last-minute side dish for Easter, Mother’s Day, summer holidays, picnics, potlucks, or set a bowl of it out at your next Christmas party, it’s always a crowd favorite.
Make this classic recipe for ambrosia salad for your next get together!
Ambrosia Salad Ingredients
To make classic ambrosia fruit salad with Cool Whip and coconut, you’ll want to get out the following ingredients:
- Whipped topping
- Sour cream
- Miniature marshmallows
- Pineapple tidbits
- Mandarin oranges
- Maraschino cherries
- Shredded coconut
How to Make Ambrosia Salad
This is easiest side dish ever! For all of us lazy cooks who are trying to impress family and friends with zero work, this is the recipe for you!
To make ambrosia fruit salad add everything to one big bowl, stir, and serve!
I love how the combination of Cool Whip and sour cream in this ambrosia salad recipe creates a tangy-sweet dressing that perfectly balances out the fresh fruit.
FAQs About Ambrosia Salad
For traditional ambrosia salad, Cool Whip is always part of the recipe and yes, you need to use it.
I’ve never tried making this salad by whipping heavy cream. The issue with that is that it tends to deflate much more quickly than Cool Whip.
For that reason, I recommend a store-bought whipped topping such as Cool Whip. Lite, reduced fat, and fat free, and generic or store-brand versions of whipped topping are fine.
Personally, I think making ambrosia salad with sour cream is a must. The tangy sour cream balances out the sweet Cool Whip and adds a rich creaminess to the dish.
I suppose you could use full-fat plain Greek yogurt as a sour cream alternative, but without trying it myself I can’t say for certain that will work.
Yes! You can make it in advance the night before if you’re serving it for an event without worry.
It’s nice that way because it has time to chill overnight in the fridge. I prefer this salad nicely chilled rather than room temp, but either are fine.
Ambrosia salad keeps quite well and will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days. Note that as time passes, it could become a little more watery as the natural fruit juices release.
Tips for the Best Ambrosia Salad
Make sure to drain the pineapple and mandarin oranges very well before you add it. Extra juice will make your ambrosia salad which isn’t good.
Along the same lines of the Cool Whip situation as I mentioned above, you also need to use the sour cream that’s called for in the recipe.
You perhaps could use Greek yogurt but I have not tested it so I can’t say for sure if it would give you a traditional ambrosia fruit salad taste.
For all other ingredients, if you don’t like something or your family doesn’t or there is an allergy to something, simply omit it. Specifically, I am thinking the pecans or coconut here. However if you don’t like mandarin oranges, add bananas instead.
Can’t find good green grapes? Use red instead.
Although with that being said, if you do omit something as classic as the coconut in ambrosia fruit salad, this side dish will have a different flavor, texture, and won’t be like traditional ambrosia salad.
But always suit your own taste preferences!
Garnishing the salad with a couple extra mandarin orange segments and a maraschino cherry for a pop of color is always a nice touch.
What to Serve with Ambrosia Salad
This classic fruit salad with coconut pairs well with all of your favorite potluck dishes! Serve the homemade ambrosia salad with one of more of the following:
- Amish Pasta Salad
- German Potato Salad
- Broccoli Salad
- Slow Cooker Baked Beans
- Pesto Chicken Caprese Salad
- Grilled Pork Chops
- Black Bean Burgers
Pin This Recipe
- 8-ounce container whipped topping, thawed
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3 cups miniature marshmallows (white or colored)
- 1 1/2 cups pineapple tidbits, drained very well
- 11 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained very well
- 1 cup red or green grapes
- 1 cup maraschino cherries, drained very well
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 3/4 cup pecans, lightly chopped or diced
- To a large bowl, add all ingredients, stir well to combine, optionally garnish with extra mandarin orange segments and a maraschino cherry.
- Serve immediately or cover and serve chilled. May be made the night before an event, covered, refrigerated, and served the next day.
Make sure to drain the pineapple, mandarin oranges, and maraschino cherries very well or they will water down the salad and make it soupy.
Storage: Extra ambrosia salad will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days, noting it may turn more soupy as time passes as the natural juices in the fruit come out.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 371Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 60mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 4gSugar: 39gProtein: 3g
More Potluck Salad Recipes:
Tropical Fruit Salad — This tropical fruit salad features fresh fruit that’s tossed in pineapple juice, coconut and almond extracts, and piña colada mix. Don’t worry, this easy fruit salad is non-alcoholic!
Vanilla Fruit Salad – The easiest fruit salad ever thanks to a secret ingredient! Make it for your next party and watch it disappear!
Potato Salad with Bacon — This no mayo Potato Salad with Bacon is ready in just 30 minutes! It’s a vinegar potato salad the whole family will love.
Pink and Purple Potato Salad — Move over, boring potato salad! Have this PRETTY one made with purple potatoes instead!! NO MAYO makes it healthier and perfect for picnics, parties, potlucks and events!!
Warm German Potato Salad — A classic potato salad made with tender red potatoes, bacon, onions, and a tangy vinegar dressing! This no-mayo potato salad is a family favorite side dish that’s perfect for parties, picnics, and potlucks!!