Divine Ambrosia Salad With Fruit Cocktail [Perfect Holiday Dish]

Ambrosia Salad With Fruit Cocktail

Divine Ambrosia Salad With Fruit Cocktail [Perfect Holiday Dish]

A simple yet classic recipe, ambrosia salad with fruit cocktail serves as a delightful sweet treat that can adorn your holiday tables as either a side dish or a dessert.

Crafted in a no-cook, one bowl method, it combines a creamy base with colorful fruit, shredded coconut, and mini marshmallows, all in just 15 minutes.

This dessert perfectly pairs with the heavy feast of Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any celebratory main meal, adding a touch of sweetness to the lavish spreads.

Simple Ambrosia Salad With Fruit Cocktail

In the realm of festive dining, the ambrosia salad stands out as a simple yet profound departure from the traditional veggie side.

This Southern classic eschews lettuce for a silky, sweet, and tangy cream-based dressing, enveloping soft mini marshmallows, crunchy coconut, and juicy fruit in a velvety smooth embrace.

It’s a dessert that balances sweetness with tangy tartness from plain yogurt, creating a refreshingly satisfying experience.

Whether served alongside savory sides at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners, its simple blend of ingredients from a can or jar—mixed in a one-bowl method and chilled—complements even the heartiest potatoes, sprouts, and stuffing.

The variations of this ambrosia salad with fruit cocktail and cool whip, including the optional addition of cherry fluff, cater to those seeking a touch less sweetness, proving its versatility and enduring appeal.

Despite its indecent departure from traditional salads, once tasted, it feels unequivocally perfect.

What Is Ambrosia Salad?

Ambrosia Salad is a classic American dish that has delighted taste buds since the late 1800s.

It’s a harmonious blend of fresh fruits, a variety of nuts, marshmallows, and either cream or yogurt-based dressing, creating a unique taste experience that’s stood the test of time.

old fashioned ambrosia fruit salad recipe

Why We Love This Ambrosia Salad Recipe With Fruit Cocktail?

Why do we adore this old fashioned ambrosia fruit salad recipe? It’s quick and easy to prepare, requiring just 4 ingredients and a no-cook, single bowl approach.

This sweet, creamy, comforting, and delicious concoction is flexible and forgiving, allowing you to customize it to your tastes.

Whether for parties, potlucks, barbecues, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or an everyday dinner, it’s the perfect make-ahead side that effortlessly balances out vegetable side dishes with its last minute menu appeal.

Key Ingredients For Ambrosia Fruit Salad Recipe

  • Tropical fruit cocktail adds a delightful flair and variety to the dish.
  • Pineapple tidbits and mandarin oranges introduce a citrus punch.
  • Maraschino cherries offer a pop of color and sweetness.
  • A mix of shredded, sweetened coconut and unsweetened coconut for texture contrast.
  • Mini marshmallows, both regular and fruit flavored, for a soft, sweet touch.
  • Plain whole milk yogurt or sour cream as the creamy base.
  • Whipped topping, which can be homemade, adds lightness.
  • Mint leaves as a garnish for a fresh finish.

Ambrosia Salad With Fruit Cocktail Recipe


  • 15.25 oz can of sliced tropical fruit cocktail, liquid discarded
  • 15 oz can of mandarin oranges, liquid removed
  • 10 oz jar of maraschino cherries, without liquid
  • 8 oz can of pineapple pieces, drained
  • 1½ cups of shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1½ cups of tiny marshmallows
  • 1 cup of plain whole milk yogurt
  • 8 oz (half a container) of whipped cream
  • Mint leaves for decoration, if desired


  1. In a spacious mixing bowl, combine the sliced tropical fruit cocktail, mandarin oranges, maraschino cherries, and pineapple pieces until well mixed.
  2. Add in the shredded coconut and tiny marshmallows, stirring lightly to blend.
  3. Carefully fold in the yogurt, ensuring all the fruit gets an even coating.
  4. Incorporate the whipped cream, folding gently until the mixture is uniformly mixed.
  5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until it’s time to serve.
  6. Present chilled, adorned with mint leaves for an extra touch, if you choose.

Delightful Substitutions For Fruit Ambrosia

  • For the dressing, consider plain whole milk yogurt, sour cream, plain Greek yogurt, vanilla yogurt, cream cheese, or cottage cheese for varied texture and sweetness.
  • Swap in fresh fruit like grapes, bananas, blueberries, orange segments, strawberries, and pineapple for a burst of freshness.
  • Add nuts such as chopped pecans, pistachios, cashews, walnuts, or almonds for crunch.
  • Enhance the sweetness with vanilla or honey flavored yogurt for an extra layer of flavor.

Tips For Making Perfect Ambrosia Salad Recipe With Fruit Cocktail And Sour Cream

For the best results, it’s advisable to prepare your ambrosia salad ahead of time.

Allowing it to sit helps the flavors to blend beautifully, the marshmallows to soften, and the overall dish to sweetens naturally.

This preparation step ensures a perfectly melded dessert that’s both rich in taste and texture.

How To Serve This Fruit Cocktail Salad?

Ambrosia salad shines as either a side or a dessert, making it versatile for any occasion.

Its flexibility allows it to gracefully accompany any meal, enhancing the dining experience with its unique blend of flavors and textures.

How To Store Ambrosia Salad?

To keep ambrosia salad at its best, it should be covered or placed in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where it will remain fresh for up to 3 days.

Beyond this, it may become watery but can still be enjoyable for up to 5 days. It’s important to note that this salad should not be frozen, as freezing can alter its delightful textures.

ambrosia salad recipe with fruit cocktail and sour cream

FAQs About Easy Marshmallow Fruit Salad

1. What Is Ambrosia Salad Made Of?

The quintessential Ambrosia Salad is crafted from a blend of pineapple, mandarin oranges, yogurt, mini marshmallows, coconut, and whipped cream. This easy side dish is celebrated for its tropical sweetness and has become a crowd favorite at gatherings.

2. Why Do People Eat Ambrosia Salad?

Originally, Ambrosia Salad was made from hard-to-find ingredients, rendering it a luxurious and exotic treat reserved for holidays and special occasions. Its name, ambrosia, evokes the food of the Greek and Roman gods, highlighting its divine taste and esteemed status.

3. How Many Days Does Fruit Salad Last?

Properly prepared, fruit salad can last 3-5 days. The key to longevity is to prepare the fruit properly, incorporate something acidic like lemon juice or a dressing, and keep it covered in the fridge until it’s ready to serve.

4. What To Serve With Fruit Salad?

Ambrosia Salad pairs wonderfully with breakfast food such as healthy banana bread or a savory healthy breakfast casserole, but it’s also a great companion to barbecue, burgers, turkey, and various desserts, offering a refreshing balance to both sweet and savory dishes.

5. What Does Ambrosia Taste Like?

Ambrosia apples, known for their sweet and honey-like flavor, exemplify the salad’s taste profile. These apples are favored for eating out of hand and don’t turn brown easily when cut, making them perfect for inclusion in this salad or as a snack apple.

6. How Did Ambrosia Salad Get Its Name?

Ambrosia was named for being akin to the food of the Greek and Roman gods. Its exact region of origin is lost to history, with strong ties to the South but some belief in its beginnings in Vermont or elsewhere in New England.

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