Ambrosia Salad is a classic fruit salad that’s been around since the days of potlucks. This easy fruit salad is perfection with a sweet and fluffy whipped cream dressing, soft mini marshmallows and colorful fruit.
If you like this Ambrosia Salad recipe, be sure to also take a look at my recipe for Pistachio Pudding Salad. YUM.
The irresistible salad is filled with mandarin oranges, pineapple, maraschino cherries, marshmallows, coconut, and chopped pecans. A mixture of creamy vanilla Greek yogurt and whipped topping brings it all together to create a salad that dreams are made of.
Easy Classic Marshmallow Fruit Salad
This quick and easy side dish recipe can be whipped together quickly, which makes it a perfect side dish for holidays like Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any time you want a delicious and fruity side.
Ambrosia salad is also a terrific alternative to dessert and the perfect addition to a brunch buffet.
I couldn’t get enough of this cool whip marshmallow salad when I was a kid and that hasn’t changed all that much over the years.
Why is it called ambrosia salad?
If you think this dish is heavenly, you don’t know how right you are! Ambrosia was the food of choice by the gods of Greek mythology and so, was assigned to this dish because it was such a sweet and delicious meal. Also, ambrosia salad vaguely resembles clouds with its white color; it makes you think of the heavens and those gods that occupy them.
How to make ambrosia salad
I think everyone from the South has eaten this delightful fruit salad at a potluck or holiday meal. It’s one of those fantastic “dump, stir, chill and go” kind of recipes.
There are lots of different versions of Ambrosia and everyone has their favorite, but this version is what I grew up on. It adds vanilla Greek yogurt, which really takes the creaminess of this fruit salad up a notch.
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: N/A
Fruit Mandarin oranges, pineapple chunks, and maraschino cherries come together for a colorful fruit salad.
Marshmallows Mini marshmallows give ambrosia salad a wonderful sweetness and fluffy texture.
Crunch The little bit of crunch you get from shredded coconut and chopped pecans lends to perfection.
Dressing A creamy dressing is made by combining whipped topping and vanilla Greek yogurt.
- In a large bowl, gently mix the drained mandarin oranges, pineapple and cherries. Stir in yogurt, marshmallows, pecans and coconut.
- Using a spatula, gently fold in whipped topping. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve chilled.
For your convenience, a printable recipe card with ingredient list, directions and nutrition information is located at the bottom of this page.
Can you make ambrosia salad ahead of time?
You totally can. In fact, ambrosia salad needs to be chilled before being served. That said, you may want to add some ingredients closer to serving time. The marshmallows could get soggy if left sitting alongside the fruit too long. The dressing should also go on last so it keeps its shape and consistency. I mentioned elsewhere about adding bananas; if you do, keep these till last. If you make this too early and your dressing looks limp by the time you serve the dish, you can add gelatin to it to act as a stabilizer.
How do you store ambrosia salad?
A properly sealed fruit salad can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. To prevent the fruit from bruising, keep the salad in a single layer (as opposed to stacking). My advice, though, would be to make the salad from scratch each time. It loses its heavenly look after sitting for a while and can get soggy and unappetizing.
Have fun experimenting with the fruit you include to make your ambrosia salad unique. Granny Smith apples bring a slight tartness to the dish. Bananas can be a mild addition — just wait until the last minute to add so they avoid turning brown. Chopped strawberries are sweet but not overpoweringly so, while kiwi and mango would bring an exotic element to the salad.
You might also enjoy these classic recipes:
Classic Ambrosia Salad
- large bowl
- In a large bowl, gently mix the drained mandarin oranges, pineapple and cherries. Stir in yogurt, marshmallows, pecans and coconut. Using a spatula, gently fold in whipped topping. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve chilled.