Ambrosia Salad Recipe

Perfect Delightful Ambrosia Salad Recipe


  • 2 cans (20 oz each) pineapple chunks, drained
  • 2 cans (11 oz each) mandarin oranges, drained
  • 2 jars (10 oz each) maraschino cherries, drained and halved
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 bag (5 oz) mini marshmallows
  • 4 oz sour cream
  • 16 oz Cool Whip (or whipped topping)


  1. Prepare the Cream Mixture:
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine the sour cream and Cool Whip. Mix until well combined and smooth.
  2. Add Fruits and Mix:
    • Gently fold in the drained pineapple chunks, mandarin oranges, halved maraschino cherries, coconut flakes, and mini marshmallows into the sour cream and Cool Whip mixture. Stir gently to ensure all ingredients are evenly distributed and coated with the cream mixture.
  3. Chill:
    • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate the ambrosia salad for at least 2 hours before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together and the salad to chill properly.
  4. Serve:
    • Serve the ambrosia salad chilled. Enjoy this classic and refreshing salad, perfect for potlucks, picnics, or as a sweet side dish for any occasion.

Nutritional Information (per serving):

  • Calories: 215 kcal
  • Servings: 12 servings

Popular Questions & Answers

  1. Can I use fresh fruit instead of canned?
    • Yes, you can use fresh pineapple and mandarin oranges. Make sure to cut them into small, bite-sized pieces and drain any excess juice.
  2. Is there a dairy-free version?
    • Yes, you can use dairy-free whipped topping and a dairy-free yogurt alternative instead of sour cream.
  3. Can I add other fruits to the salad?
    • Absolutely! You can add strawberries, blueberries, grapes, or any other fruit you like.
  4. How long can I store ambrosia salad in the refrigerator?
    • Ambrosia salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  5. Can I make ambrosia salad ahead of time?
    • Yes, making it a day ahead can actually enhance the flavors. Just make sure to stir it before serving.
  6. What can I use instead of Cool Whip?
    • Freshly whipped cream can be used as a substitute for Cool Whip.
  7. Can I omit the coconut flakes?
    • Yes, if you’re not a fan of coconut, you can leave it out or replace it with chopped nuts.
  8. Can I use flavored marshmallows?
    • Yes, flavored mini marshmallows can add an extra layer of flavor to the salad.
  9. Is ambrosia salad gluten-free?
    • Yes, as long as all the ingredients you use are gluten-free, the salad is gluten-free.
  10. Can I add nuts to the salad?
    • Yes, chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts can add a nice crunch.
  11. What type of sour cream works best?
    • Full-fat sour cream provides the best texture, but you can use light or fat-free versions if preferred.
  12. Can I use yogurt instead of sour cream?
    • Yes, Greek yogurt can be a great substitute for sour cream, offering a tangier flavor.
  13. Can I freeze ambrosia salad?
    • Freezing is not recommended as it can alter the texture of the fruits and the cream mixture.
  14. How do I prevent the salad from becoming watery?
    • Make sure to drain all canned fruits thoroughly and avoid adding extra liquid.
  15. Can I use unsweetened coconut flakes?
    • Yes, unsweetened coconut flakes can be used if you prefer less sweetness.
  16. How do I make the salad less sweet?
    • Use unsweetened coconut flakes and reduce the amount of marshmallows or use less sweet fruits.
  17. What’s a good serving suggestion?
    • Serve the salad in individual bowls or cups for easy serving at parties.
  18. Can I add a dressing to the salad?
    • The sour cream and Cool Whip mixture acts as a dressing, but you can add a splash of orange juice or vanilla extract for extra flavor.
  19. What can I do if the salad is too thick?
    • Add a small amount of the drained fruit juice to thin it out slightly, but be careful not to make it too watery.
  20. Can I make this salad for a large crowd?
    • Yes, you can easily double or triple the recipe to serve a larger group.

By following this recipe and considering these popular questions and answers, you’ll be able to create a perfect and delightful ambrosia salad that’s sure to impress at any gathering.

Achieving the Perfect Delightful Ambrosia Salad: 30 Secrets to Master the Recipe

Ingredient Selection and Preparation

  1. Quality Ingredients: Use high-quality canned fruits and fresh coconut flakes for the best flavor.
  2. Thorough Draining: Ensure all canned fruits are well-drained to prevent excess moisture in the salad.
  3. Fresh Sour Cream: Use fresh sour cream for the best texture and flavor.
  4. Homemade Whipped Cream: For a more homemade touch, use freshly whipped cream instead of Cool Whip.
  5. Maraschino Cherry Prep: Cut maraschino cherries in half to distribute them more evenly and prevent color bleeding.

Mixing Tips

  1. Gentle Folding: Fold ingredients gently to maintain the integrity of the fruit and marshmallows.
  2. Consistent Mixing: Ensure the sour cream and Cool Whip mixture is smooth before adding other ingredients.
  3. Layering Technique: Layer fruits and marshmallows into the sour cream mixture gradually to avoid clumping.
  4. Chill Mixing Bowl: Chill the mixing bowl beforehand to keep the ingredients cool and fresh.

Flavor Enhancements

  1. Citrus Zest: Add a bit of orange or lemon zest for a refreshing citrus flavor.
  2. Vanilla Extract: A teaspoon of vanilla extract can enhance the overall taste.
  3. Nut Addition: Add a handful of chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts for added texture and flavor.
  4. Marshmallow Fluff: Substitute some mini marshmallows with marshmallow fluff for a creamier texture.
  5. Yogurt Alternative: Replace sour cream with Greek yogurt for a tangier and healthier option.

Assembly and Presentation

  1. Uniform Sizing: Cut larger fruits into smaller, uniform pieces for a more consistent texture.
  2. Proper Coating: Ensure all fruit pieces are well-coated with the cream mixture.
  3. Neat Garnishing: Garnish with extra coconut flakes, maraschino cherries, or a sprinkle of nuts before serving.
  4. Serve in Style: Use a clear glass bowl to showcase the colorful layers of the salad.

Refrigeration Tips

  1. Refrigerate Properly: Cover the salad with plastic wrap or a lid to prevent it from drying out in the fridge.
  2. Chill Time: Allow the salad to chill for at least 2 hours, but overnight refrigeration can enhance flavors even more.
  3. Stir Before Serving: Give the salad a gentle stir before serving to redistribute any settled ingredients.

Serving Suggestions

  1. Keep It Cold: Serve the salad chilled to maintain its refreshing quality.
  2. Pairing Options: Pair with other picnic favorites like grilled meats, sandwiches, or fresh fruit platters.
  3. Portion Control: Use small serving bowls or cups to make it easier for guests to enjoy without making a mess.

Storage and Freshness

  1. Short-Term Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  2. Avoid Freezing: Freezing is not recommended as it can alter the texture of the fruits and cream mixture.
  3. Refresh Leftovers: Freshen up leftovers with a dollop of fresh Cool Whip or a sprinkle of fresh coconut flakes before serving again.


  1. Add More Fruits: Include other fruits like strawberries, blueberries, or grapes for variety.
  2. Healthier Options: Use low-fat sour cream and whipped topping to reduce calories and fat content.
  3. Tropical Twist: Add tropical fruits like mango or papaya for a unique flavor profile.

By following these 30 secrets, you’ll master the art of making a perfect and delightful Ambrosia Salad, ensuring it’s a hit at any gathering or occasion.