Ambrosia Salad

5 from 8 votes
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This creamy Ambrosia Salad is the perfect dessert for any get-together. A delightful combination of fruit, marshmallows, and pecans, this is a classic dish that no one can resist!

close up overhead shot of Ambrosia Salad served in a white dish and topped with three maraschino cherries and mint leaves.


 

Ambrosia Salad is as beautiful and dreamy as the name implies! Named after the food of the Gods in mythology, it lives up to its name: Ambrosia salad is light, refreshing, sweet, and creamy all at once, and those pecans give it an addictive crunch! There’s a reason this simple recipe continues to be super popular, especially at holidays, baby showers, wedding showers, and potlucks.

Why You Will Love This Recipe

  • Simple Prep: It is so easy to make, requiring just the mixing of canned fruits with cool whip and sour cream.
  • Refreshing: Ambrosia Salad is known for its combination of sweet and creamy, and these flavors make it a refreshing and appealing dessert or side dish.
  • Customizable: The recipe for this salad is highly adaptable, allowing for various substitutions and additions based on personal preference or dietary needs.

Ambrosia Salad Ingredients

  • Cool Whip: It’s important to thaw out the cool whip to get a smooth mixture.
  • Sour Cream: You can also use plain yogurt, but sour cream is more authentic.
  • Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract is great for flavor, but you could also leave this out if you prefer.
  • Fruit: You’ll need canned mandarin oranges, canned pineapple tidbits, and maraschino cherries.
  • Coconut: Shredded, sweetened coconut makes completes the dish.
  • Marshmallows: You can use the plain white mini marshmallows or the pastel-tinted ones.
  • Pecans: Chopped pecans are optional but recommended for textural contrast.

How To Make Ambrosia Salad

  1. Make the Salad. First, gently mix together the cool whip, sour cream, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. This will be the creamy fluffy dressing. Next, use a rubber spatula, and fold in the remaining ingredients.
  2. Chill. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid, and refrigerate the salad for 4 hours, or for best results, chill it overnight. If you don’t have that much time, chill it for at least an hour before serving.
  3. Garnish and Serve. Garnish the ambrosia with chopped pecans and stemmed maraschino cherries. Enjoy!
overhead shot of Ambrosia Salad served in a white dish and topped with three maraschino cherries and mint leaves. A bowl of chopped pecans are set above the salad, with two spoons next to it, and a mandarin orange.

Recipe Tips And Variations

  • Mixing Instructions: When you’re mixing your salad, do it gently and be careful not to overdo it. Stirring too hard or too long can make the salad mushy.
  • Sauce Consistency: If you want a thicker dressing, try switching the sour cream for softened cream cheese. This is a super-rich option.
  • Canned Fruits: Make sure to drain all of the fruit very well so your ambrosia doesn’t turn out watery. I drain them for about 30 minutes and then lightly pat dry the fruits with paper towels before starting the salad.
  • Add the Pecans Last: For a perfect crunch, try to reserve the pecans until you are ready to serve. This will keep them from softening up while the salad is chilling.
  • Fruit Options: Try using grapes, strawberries, and other fruits for a different take on classic ambrosia salad.
  • Garnishes: Instead of pecans and cherries as a garnish, you could use whipped cream and/or coconut shavings.
  • Dairy-Free: A dairy-free version is totally possible! Try whipped coconut cream instead of whipped topping, and dairy-free cream cheese instead of sour cream – or use your other favorite dairy-free substitutions.
close up overhead shot of Ambrosia Salad served in a white dish and topped with three maraschino cherries and mint leaves.

How to Store Leftovers

Leftover ambrosia can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 1 to 2 days. Stir and possibly drain before serving again.

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5 from 8 votes

Ambrosia Salad

This sweet Ambrosia Salad is a delicious combination of fruit, marshmallows, and pecans in a sweet creamy dressing.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Chill Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours
Servings: 12

Ingredients 

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Instructions 

  • Combine cool whip, sour cream, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl; whisk until completely incorporated.
  • Using a rubber spatula, fold in the remaining ingredients.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate overnight.
  • Garnish with chopped pecans and stemmed maraschino cherries.
  • Serve.

Notes

  • Make sure to drain all of the fruit very well so the Ambrosia Salad doesn’t turn out watery. I recommend draining the fruits in a colander for about 30 minutes and then lightly pat dry the fruits with paper towels.
  • Refrigerate the salad for 4 hours, or for best results, chill it overnight. If you don’t have enough time, chill it for at least one hour before serving.
  • You can use dairy-free and sugar-free substitutes for the whipped topping and the sour cream.

Nutrition

Calories: 188kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 24mg | Potassium: 123mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 130IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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12 Comments

  1. Catalina says:

    This is my favorite salad. I can’t resist it! It’s so tasty!

  2. Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert says:

    Always a hit on our table! I love everything about this!

  3. Sandra says:

    Such an amazing salad! Everyone at my house loved it!

  4. Allyson Zea says:

    I make this every so often, and everyone always loves it!

  5. Beth says:

    This has always been one of my favorite desserts. I can’t wait to try your version. It looks really good.

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Mine too! ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you’ll love it! Thank YOU! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Kara says:

    I loved this as a kid, but I don’t think my mom ever added pecans. I tried it, and loved it even more! I didn’t have quite enough marshmallows, but it was still plenty sweet.

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I’m very happy you loved it! Thank YOU! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Erin says:

    This is such a good dessert salad to serve at spring gatherings! So tasty! Everyone always loves it.

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I hope you’ll enjoy it! Thank YOU! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Allyson Zea says:

    This came out fabulous, and everyone asked me for the recipe

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      That’s wonderful! I’m very glad you enjoyed it! Thank YOU! ๐Ÿ™‚