Ambrosia Salad

This post may contain affiliate sales links. Please read my disclosure policy.

This Ambrosia Salad is creamy and oh-so-divine! Maraschino cherries, mandarin oranges, and pineapple chunks are combined with a fluffy whipped cream dressing for a fruit salad that doubles as dessert.

Sweet & Creamy Ambrosia Fruit Salad

Before we know it, spring will be sitting at our doorsteps – so we need to get prepared with some celebratory sides! Whipping up a simple fruit salad is a good place to start. Light, creamy, and refreshing, this classic Ambrosia salad recipe is one of my favorite warmer-weather treats. It’s sweet without being too sweet, and goes with pretty much any main dish.

Ambrosia is flexible too! You can put your own spin on it by adding any fruits of your choice. I like to use mandarins, cherries, and pineapples. Colorful mini marshmallows add even more pops of color, much to the delight of my children. They beg me to make this salad all the time.

What is Ambrosia?

Ambrosia salad is a fruit salad that’s tied together with whipped cream dressing and often contains mini marshmallows. Its origins remain unknown to this day, though it’s widely regarded as a Southern classic.

The name ambrosia comes from Greek mythology – it directly translates to “immortality” and was used to refer to the food of the gods. With a name like that, you already know this is going to be one heavenly dish!

An ambrosia salad in a big bowl on top of a granite surface with fruits and mini marshmallows beside it

Recipe Ingredients

Ancient Greek literature states that only the gods can enjoy ambrosia. But with the simple ingredients below, anyone can devour an ambrosia salad!

  • Frozen Whipped Topping: Such as Cool Whip, thawed. For even tastier results, make whipped cream from scratch.
  • Sour Cream: Or vanilla-flavored yogurt.
  • Shredded Coconut: Sweetened.
  • Canned Mandarin Oranges: Don’t forget to drain them.
  • Pineapple Tidbits: Drained.
  • Maraschino Cherries: Cut in half.
  • Mini Marshmallows: I like to use fruit-flavored marshmallows, but regular ones work too.

Do I Have to Use Canned Fruit?

You can totally opt for fresh fruit instead of canned fruit if that’s your preference. Just keep in mind that fresh fruit isn’t quite as sweet, so you may need to add some extra sugar.

How to Make Ambrosia Salad

This salad comes together in 10 minutes or less, making it a lovely last-minute snack or treat. Let’s get started!

  • Make Whipped Cream Dressing: Combine the whipped topping and sour cream in a large bowl.
  • Add Remaining Ingredients: Add the coconut, oranges, pineapple, cherries and marshmallows, gently folding everything into the whipped cream dressing.
  • Chill: Refrigerate the salad for 3-4 hours prior to serving it.
A serving of ambrosia salad inside of a cocktail glass with canned fruit in the background

Tips for the Best Marshmallow Fruit Salad

You’re almost ready to throw together the ultimate summer salad! Just look over the tips and tricks below for good measure.

  • Fold Gently: I like using a rubber spatula to gently fold my fruits and marshmallows into the whipped cream dressing until everything is just combined. Mixing too hard or too much will deflate the dressing and break up the fruit.
  • Don’t Skimp on the Chill Time: While it’s not mandatory, I highly recommend letting your ambrosia salad sit in the fridge for at least 3 hours before you serve it. This firms it up a bit and allows the flavors to come together.
  • Make it Your Own: Don’t be afraid to load up this salad with whatever ingredients you’re craving! It tastes amazing with chopped kiwis, banana slices, halved grapes, chopped pecans and more.

What Goes with Ambrosia?

No matter what you choose to serve alongside this fruit salad, your meal will surely be a big hit. At summer barbecues and cookouts, Ambrosia salad is usually served with grilled meats and classic summer sides like cold potato salad or coleslaw.

My kids like to enjoy it with mac and cheese, while I’m more inclined to pair it with a citrusy protein like lemon butter chicken. In terms of dessert pairings, it goes well with these coconut sugar cookies!

A large serving bowl full of marshmallow fruit salad with pineapple chunks, cherries and tangerines behind it

How to Store Extras

Store leftover ambrosia salad in an airtight container in the fridge. You shouldn’t leave it out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours. Enjoy your leftovers within 2-3 days, draining out any excess liquids that have been released by the fruits.

Can I Freeze It?

You can – but once it’s frozen, it should not be defrosted. The thawing process will cause the dressing to separate. Instead, it should be scooped and served like ice cream.

To freeze your ambrosia salad, place it in a freezer-safe baking dish and wrap it tightly in two layers of plastic wrap. Enjoy it within a month or two for the best results.

clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon facebook facebook icon print print icon squares squares icon
A serving platter filled with Cool Whip fruit salad with three maraschino cherries placed on top

Ambrosia Salad

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: No Bake
  • Cuisine: American


This super easy Ambrosia Fruit Salad is light, creamy and oh-so-divine! Maraschino cherries, mandarin oranges and pineapple chunks are combined with a fluffy whipped cream dressing for a versatile side dish that doubles as a refreshing dessert.


  • 8 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed (or homemade whipped cream)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (or vanilla yogurt)
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 15 oz can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 8 oz can pineapple tidbits, drained
  • 1 cup maraschino cherries, cut in half
  • 1 1/2 cups mini fruit-flavored marshmallows


  1. In a large bowl, combine the whipped topping and sour cream.
  2. Add the coconut, oranges, pineapple, cherries and marshmallows and gently fold into the whipped topping mixture.
  3. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours prior to serving.


  • To Store: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container and enjoy within 2-3 days, draining out any excess liquids that have been released by the fruits.
  • To Freeze: Place leftovers in a freezer-safe baking dish and wrap tightly in two layers of plastic wrap. Enjoy within a month or two – do not thaw.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 235
  • Sugar: 30.3 g
  • Sodium: 70.1 mg
  • Fat: 10 g
  • Carbohydrates: 35.6 g
  • Protein: 2.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 5.6 mg


Share a Comment

Have a question? Use the form below to submit your question or comment. I love hearing from you and seeing what you made!

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29