Old-Fashioned Ambrosia Salad Recipe

We're taking you back in time with this recipe for old-fashioned ambrosia salad. Some of you may be scratching your head saying, I know I've heard of it but, what is it again? Ambrosia salad is probably not what you picture when you hear the word salad. It's actually a creamy fruit salad with added sweetness from whipped cream and a little unexpected crunch from shredded coconut.

Recipe developer Miriam Hahn brings us this recipe and says, "This is a great recipe if you want to add a traditional dish to a brunch or dinner menu that is very refreshing and easy to make." According to Serious Eats, the name ambrosia is actually a reference to Greek gods, but nowadays, it's a pretty traditional holiday dish in the South. It's really no wonder that such a fun, sweet dessert is fit for both gods and mortals, so do be sure to add this ambrosia salad to your holiday table!

Gather the ingredients for old-fashioned ambrosia salad

We are mainly headed down the canned goods aisle for this one. You will need a can of crushed pineapple, mandarin oranges, maraschino cherries, shredded coconut, and mini marshmallows. Then grab some sour cream and whipped topping in the cold section. That's all you need to whip up this fabulous dessert. If you want to make it a little healthier, you can use fresh, pitted cherries and light whipped cream. Hahn says, "You can even make this recipe dairy-free by using dairy-free sour cream and coconut whipped cream." She goes on to say, "If you prefer larger bites of pineapple, you can swap the crushed pineapple for chunks."

Drain the fruit

To make this simple recipe we first need to drain the fruit — too much liquid will make this salad runny. Hahn says, "I usually give the fruit a rinse also. Sometimes canned fruit is packed in heavy-syrup and there is enough 'sweet' going on without that. After rinsing, I let the fruit drain in a colander in the sink for a few minutes to get rid of any final drips."

Combine the ingredients

Back in the day, things were simple and this step couldn't be simpler than this. Combine the ingredients in a large bowl. Start with the fruit, then the coconut, and then the marshmallows. Once that is mixed well, fold in the sour cream and whipped cream.

Chill and serve

Your work is done. Now you just need to cover the bowl and place it in the fridge to chill. Hahn says to chill it for at least an hour and it will be good to go. This is definitely a make-ahead salad and also keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days. What to serve it with, you ask? We think this slow cooker breakfast casserole would pair well if you are planning a brunch or this salmon florentine for a dinner party. Maybe this old-fashioned recipe will become a new-fashioned favorite!

Old-Fashioned Ambrosia Salad Recipe
5 from 52 ratings
This old-fashioned ambrosia salad is the perfect sweet addition to any holiday table.
Prep Time
Cook Time
ambrosia salad in white bowls
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple
  • 1 (15-ounce) can mandarin oranges
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar maraschino cherries
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup whipped topping
  1. Rinse and drain the crushed pineapple, mandarin oranges, and maraschino cherries. Let them sit in a colander for 3-5 minutes in the sink so there is no extra liquid.
  2. In a large bowl combine the drained pineapple, mandarin oranges, and maraschino cherries.
  3. Add the coconut and marshmallows and stir well.
  4. Now fold in the sour cream and whipped topping until just combined.
  5. Chill for 1 hour before serving.
Calories per Serving 342
Total Fat 14.6 g
Saturated Fat 10.5 g
Trans Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 20.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 54.6 g
Dietary Fiber 5.1 g
Total Sugars 45.4 g
Sodium 27.1 mg
Protein 2.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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