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Classic Ambrosia Salad Recipe

You can’t have a holiday, backyard bbq, or a potluck without this Classic Ambrosia Salad Recipe! This tasty dessert salad is a must!

Ambrosia Salad in serving bowl with spoons

I love old cookbooks and can guarantee that if you open any old church cookbook you will most likely find a recipe for Ambrosia Salad. This dessert salad has been on many holiday and pot luck tables. It is colorful, delicious and this Classic Ambrosia Salad Recipe is one of my favorites.

What is Ambrosia Salad

Ambrosia, or Ambrosia Salad, is a variation on a traditional fruit salad that’s become a classic Southern recipe that’s usually served at Thanksgiving or Christmas.

It is made with…

  • mandarin oranges
  • crushed pineapple
  • coconut
  • maraschino cherries
  • marshmallows
  • Cool Whip
  • and Pecans (although some like it without)

The dressing for Ambrosia is made from whipped topping, sour cream, whipped cream or a combo depending on the recipe. They are all delicious and easily changed out for each other if needed.

How to Make Ambrosia Salad

Fruit and whipped topping in bowl for ambrosia salad

Get out a large bowl and mix together the whipped topping and sour cream until smooth.

Fold in the fruit gently.

Ambrosia Salad in mixing bowl

Finally, the marshmallows, coconut, and pecans (if you desire).

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour, but overnight is best. ENJOY!


This recipe is so simple there aren’t a ton of tips, but the one that I have is important.

Drain your fruit WELL! Since this recipe calls for canned fruit the extra liquid can mean disaster for your salad. Just make sure it is well drained our your ambrosia dressing can turn into soup.

Prep Ahead

Ambrosia Salad in large bowl with small serving bowls

This is one of those recipes that I think turns out better prepped ahead of time. Make it the night before, cover, and refrigerate.

You can actually store this in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. I think it is best the next day though.

Ambrosia Salad Recipe

Some holiday memories aren't the same without this classic Ambrosia Salad Recipe. Tasty and easy to make!
Print Recipe
Prep Time:10 minutes
Chill Time:1 hour
Total Time:1 hour 10 minutes


  • 8 oz whipped topping thawed (or whipped cream)
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 11 oz mandarin oranges canned, drained well
  • 20 oz pineapple tidbits canned, drained well – or use crushed pineapple
  • 10 oz maraschino cherries drained, rinsed, cut in half
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows white or multi-colored
  • 1 cup pecans chopped or walnuts


  • In a large bowl, fold together whipped topping and sour cream until smooth
  • Fold in oranges, pineapples and cherries
  • Fold in marshmallows, nuts and coconut until well blended
  • Transfer to smaller bowl and cover with plastic wrap
  • Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving
  • Store leftovers in refrigerator


Calories: 387kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 75mg | Potassium: 298mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin A: 434IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 1mg
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 387kcal
Author: Amanda Carlisle

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