Classic Ambrosia Salad

Classic Ambrosia Salad: A Timeless Delight

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Ambrosia Salad is a classic American dessert that brings together a medley of fresh fruits, marshmallows, and a creamy dressing. It’s a perfect dish for family gatherings, potlucks, or holiday celebrations. This version includes fresh pineapple, mandarin oranges, maraschino cherries, and a creamy dressing made with heavy cream and sour cream. Optional additions like green grapes and pecans can add extra texture and flavor. Let’s dive into making this delightful and refreshing salad.


  • Main Ingredients:
    • 2 cups Fresh Pineapple (cut into small pieces)
    • 15-ounce can Mandarin Oranges (drained)
    • 14 ounces Maraschino Cherries (drained)
    • 1 cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut
    • 3 cups Marshmallows
    • 1 1/3 cup Heavy Cream
    • 3 Tablespoons Sugar (add more if you want it sweeter)
    • 1/4 cup Sour Cream
  • Optional Ingredients:
    • 1 cup Green Grapes (cut into halves)
    • 1/2 cup Pecans (chopped)


1. Prepare the Fruit:

  • Start by cutting the fresh pineapple into small bite-sized pieces. Ensure the mandarin oranges and maraschino cherries are well-drained. If using green grapes, cut them in half.

2. Mix the Fruits and Marshmallows:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the fresh pineapple pieces, drained mandarin oranges, maraschino cherries, shredded coconut, and marshmallows. If you’re using green grapes and pecans, add them to the bowl as well.

3. Prepare the Creamy Dressing:

  • In a separate mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar, continuing to whip until the cream holds firm peaks.
  • Gently fold in the sour cream until the mixture is smooth and well combined.

4. Combine the Fruit and Dressing:

  • Pour the creamy dressing over the mixed fruits and marshmallows. Gently fold everything together until the fruits are evenly coated with the creamy mixture.

5. Chill the Salad:

  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or transfer the salad to an airtight container. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together and the marshmallows to soften slightly.

6. Serve:

  • Before serving, give the salad a gentle stir to ensure the dressing is evenly distributed. Serve the Ambrosia Salad cold, garnished with additional maraschino cherries or a sprinkle of shredded coconut if desired.

Cook’s Tips:

  • Draining Fruits: Make sure to thoroughly drain the canned fruits to avoid excess moisture in the salad, which can make it runny.
  • Whipping Cream: For best results, ensure the heavy cream is very cold before whipping. This helps achieve a firmer texture.
  • Sweetness Level: Adjust the amount of sugar in the creamy dressing to suit your taste preferences. If you prefer a sweeter salad, add a bit more sugar.


  • Yogurt Dressing: For a lighter version, substitute the sour cream with Greek yogurt.
  • Different Nuts: Try adding chopped walnuts or almonds instead of pecans for a different nutty flavor.
  • Tropical Twist: Add other tropical fruits like mango or kiwi for a unique twist.


  1. Can I make Ambrosia Salad ahead of time? Yes, Ambrosia Salad can be made a day in advance. In fact, it often tastes better after chilling overnight, as the flavors meld together.
  2. How long does Ambrosia Salad last in the refrigerator? Ambrosia Salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. However, it’s best enjoyed within the first day or two.
  3. Can I use frozen fruits in Ambrosia Salad? It’s best to use fresh or canned fruits. Frozen fruits can release too much water as they thaw, making the salad watery.
  4. Is there a substitute for marshmallows? Marshmallows are a traditional ingredient in Ambrosia Salad, adding sweetness and texture. If you prefer, you can omit them or replace them with small pieces of angel food cake or pound cake.

Ambrosia Salad is a delightful, nostalgic dessert that brings a burst of fruity flavors and creamy textures to any table. Its versatility allows you to customize it with your favorite fruits and nuts, making it a unique addition to your dessert repertoire. Whether you enjoy it as a sweet side dish or a light dessert, Ambrosia Salad is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at your next gathering. Enjoy this timeless treat and savor the delicious combination of flavors in every bite

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