This classic Ambrosia salad recipe is made with cool whip, canned fruit and sweet marshmallows for the perfect kid friendly potluck dish. Bring it to a picnic or a backyard barbecue, or make it as the ultimate easy holiday side dish or no bake dessert like grandma used to make!
Ah, Ambrosia. I can’t be the only one wondering why on earth this is called “salad” – but whatever the name, it’s just such a sweet childhood memory. Way too good too pass up (and so easy, too!).
Ambrosia salad is…
- … prepped in 5 minutes! Yes, really.
- … sweet, creamy and delicious
- … perfect to feed a crowd at a potluck
- … made with staples like cool whip and canned fruit for a budget-friendly and pantry-friendly option
Ambrosia salad ingredients
This is just an overview of the ingredients you’ll need (handy at the grocery store!). Jump to the recipe for quantities.
- Please do NOT use fresh pineapple in place of the canned! Fresh pineapple would turn extremely bitter in combination with the sour cream, making the salad inedible.
- Any chopped nuts you like will work – we like pecans, walnuts or almonds best. You can also just skip them if you prefer.
- White mini marshmallows work well in place of fruit-flavored/pastel ones. They’re just a little less colorful 🙂
How to make Ambrosia salad
This is the easiest recipe ever! It only takes 5 minutes to throw together, then all that’s left to do is chill it in the fridge for a couple of hours.
- Do not over-stir the whipped topping, or it could turn watery and ruin your entire salad.
- Make sure to drain the fruit very well, leaving too much canning liquid in the fruit is also a common reason for watery Ambrosia salad.
- Use a large enough bowl! The marshmallows add a lot of volume and you’ll want to be able to fold the salad without making a huge mess. You can always transfer the salad to a smaller bowl for serving later.
I generally avoid making Ambrosia salad too far ahead – it can turn watery and/or very gooey at some point. It is best eaten after 2-4 hours of chilling in the fridge. If you need to store leftovers, you can keep them covered in the fridge for up to a day, but please know the texture can turn a little funny.
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Classic Ambrosia Salad
This classic Ambrosia salad recipe is made with cool whip, canned fruit and sweet marshmallows for the perfect kid friendly potluck dish.
- 1 (20-oz) can pineapple chunks, well drained
- 1 (14.5-oz) jar maraschino cherries, well drained
- 1 (11-oz) can mandarin oranges, well drained
- 1 (8-oz) container sour cream
- 1 (8-oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
- 1 (10.5-oz) package pastel mini marshmallows
- 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional
- Combine fruit in a large bowl.
- Carefully stir in sour cream and whipped topping (do not stir too much or whipped topping may turn runny).
- Fold in marhsmallows, coconut and nuts (if using).
- Chill in the fridge until cold, then serve immediately.
Melissa Anne Hight says
I am glad I found this recipe. I will make it for my family. My mom made it for me alot
I hope you enjoy the recipe, Melissa!
Just made this salad. It’s my hubby’s favorite. While mixing, I couldn’t stop eating. This is my 3rd time making it. Thank you for such a great dessert.
I’m so glad to hear it!
This is ADDDDICTING! 😀