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FoodEasy Ambrosia Salad - Spend With Pennies

Easy Ambrosia Salad – Spend With Pennies

Looking for a sweet and refreshing side dish or dessert? This Ambrosia Salad recipe is an old family favorite.

It’s a sweet and simple combination of pineapple, coconut, mandarin oranges, and mini marshmallows in a creamy base.

ambrosia salad in a bowl topped with a cherry

What is Ambrosia Salad?

Ambrosia means ‘food of the gods,’ this version is a family favorite.

  • While it’s called “salad,” ambrosia salad is more dessert-like and is often served as a side dish for Christmas, Easter dinner, or Thanksgiving.
  • This salad (also called 5-cup salad) needs just 5 ingredients and 5 minutes of prep.
  • It’s potluck perfect since it’s best made ahead of time.
ingredients for ambrosia salad on the counteringredients for ambrosia salad on the counter

Ingredients for Ambrosia Salad

Yogurt/Sour Cream – I have always used sour cream as the base is sweetened by the marshmallows. It can be replaced with plain or vanilla Greek yogurt or ½ with whipped topping (such as Cool Whip).

Marshmallows – Use miniature marshmallows (fruit-flavored or plain). They add sweetness to the base, and the texture will soften as they sit.

Fruit – I use coconut shreds, canned mandarin oranges, and pineapple as my grandma always made it, but you can mix things up with a fruit cocktail or canned peaches.


While this recipe is delicious exactly as written, you can change it up to your liking.

  • Chopped maraschino cherries
  • Chopped nuts like walnuts or pecans for crunch
  • Fresh bananas, grapes, or strawberries
ingredients for ambrosia salad in a glass bowlingredients for ambrosia salad in a glass bowl

How to Make Ambrosia Salad

Ambrosia Fruit Salad is a great side dish to make if you are short on time!

  1. Drain the pineapple and oranges (per the recipe below).
  2. Add all ingredients except oranges to a bowl, and mix well. Gently fold in oranges.
  3. Let chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

Tips for Ambrosia Salad

  • Be sure to make this salad ahead of time to blend the flavors and soften the marshmallows.
  • Drain the canned fruit so the dish isn’t watery.
  • Gently fold in the mandarin oranges last, as they can be fragile and break apart.
Mixed ingredients for ambrosia salad in a bowlMixed ingredients for ambrosia salad in a bowl

More Dessert Salads

Did your family love this Ambrosia Salad? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

plated Ambrosia Salad in a bowlplated Ambrosia Salad in a bowl

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Easy Ambrosia Salad

This easy ambrosia salad recipe is creamy, fluffy, and a colorful holiday side dish!

Prep Time 5 minutes

Cook Time 5 minutes

Chill Time 4 hours

Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes

Mixing Bowls on white backgroundMixing Bowls on white background
  • In a large bowl, add sour cream, marshmallows, coconut, and pineapple tidbits. Stir until combined.

  • Gently fold in mandarin oranges.

  • Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Serve chilled.

  • Make ahead to allow the flavors to blend and to soften the marshmallows.
  • Be sure to drain all fruit well to prevent the dish from being watery.
  • Mandarin oranges are fragile and break easily, so gently fold them in last
  • Greek, plain, or vanilla yogurt can serve as the base. I prefer sour cream which is sweetened by the coconut and marshmallows.

Calories: 156 | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 45mg | Potassium: 152mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 360IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 0.3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Dessert, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Easy Ambrosia Salad with a cherry on top and writingEasy Ambrosia Salad with a cherry on top and writing
mixed ingredients in a bowl to make Easy Ambrosia Salad with writingmixed ingredients in a bowl to make Easy Ambrosia Salad with writing
Easy Ambrosia Salad in a bowl and plated with a titleEasy Ambrosia Salad in a bowl and plated with a title
bowl of Easy Ambrosia Salad with a titlebowl of Easy Ambrosia Salad with a title


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