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Ambrosia Salad is a creamy fruit salad loaded with pineapple, mandarin oranges, coconut and miniature fruit-flavored marshmallows. 

Overhead view of ambrosia salad in a serving dish

You guys, December is seriously flying by. My to-do list is a mile long and just seems to keep increasing.

But for some reason, I’m really not that stressed out about the holidays.

Maybe because 30 people won’t be crammed in our house and there aren’t any games to plan or menus to coordinate. While I have all the feelings about Christmas 2020, it’s sort of refreshing not to feel the stress creeping in.

But that’s pretty much how I’m feeling in the moment. Ask me again in a few days and I’ll probably be all kinds of sad eating Oreos dipped in peanut butter, or hopped on cold brew wrapping gifts at midnight. Who really knows?

One thing I do know is that this simple Ambrosia Salad is one of my fave dishes during the holidays and it’s still happening even if our typical Christmas dinner is not.

Also, don’t @ me about this not being a salad. I get it. There’s no lettuce, but there’s a bunch of stuff tossed together in a bowl and that’s salad enough for me.

Close up of ambrosia salad in a small white bowl


Today’s recipe for Ambrosia Salad is a bit of a throwback.

I fondly remember my Nana making Ambrosia for pretty much every church function.

There are lots of different variations of Ambrosia and it seems like every grandmother had her own version. I’ve seen versions of this recipe that use cottage cheese, some that use sour cream or vanilla pudding, some leave out the nuts.

Ingredients for ambrosia arranged on a countertop

But all of the versions seem to include citrus fruit, coconut, and a creamy and tangy base.

Some could argue that this “salad” is really more of a dessert. But like my Cranberry Fluff, I am happy to eat this alongside some savory side dishes any day!

Spatula stirring together the base for ambrosia salad in a white mixing bowl


Even though we have my Nana’s recipes for Pumpkin Roll and Pumpkin Crunch Cake, my family has long since lost her exact Ambrosia Salad recipe.

Naturally, I had to get to the bottom of this. So I decided to start tossing ingredients into a bowl until the salad tasted similar to Nana’s.

Spatula folding in fruit, marshmallows, coconut, and nuts into a white mixing bowl

And with a little tweaking, I most definitely succeeded!

My version includes:

  • Frozen whipped topping
  • Vanilla yogurt
  • Shredded sweetened coconut
  • Canned mandarin oranges
  • Pineapple tidbits or crushed pineapple
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Chopped pecans
  • Mini fruit-flavored marshmallows
Ambrosia salad topped with a maraschino cherry in a small white bowl, surrounded by mandarin oranges and mini marshmallows

While you could totally use mini white marshmallows, I really like the added color and flavor that the fruit-flavored marshmallows add to the recipe.

You could also try making this with homemade Cool Whip, but I don’t know for sure how well it would work. If you try it, I’d love to hear about it!

Two small white bowls of ambrosia salad, topped with maraschino cherries


This is one of those recipes that’s so easy, anyone could make it! 

Start by stirring together the thawed whipped topping and the vanilla yogurt.

Using a spatula, carefully fold all of the remaining ingredients into the yogurt mixture. Do this gently so that you don’t break up the fruit or smash the marshmallows too much.

Close up of ambrosia salad in a small white bowl

Let the salad chill in the refrigerator for several hours before serving and you’re done! 

Since this needs to chill before serving, it’s a great recipe to make ahead. I would say you could make it as early as the night before you plan to serve it. 

If you’re feeling fancy, garnish the bowl with some additional maraschino cherries. Or just dig in with a spoon. I won’t blame you either way!

Ambrosia topped with three maraschino cherries in a white serving bowl
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Ambrosia Salad

By: Jamie
4.49 from 821 ratings
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 8
Ambrosia Salad is a creamy fruit salad loaded with pineapple, mandarin oranges, coconut and miniature fruit-flavored marshmallows.


  • 8 ounces frozen whipped topping thawed
  • ½ cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 11 ounces canned mandarin oranges drained
  • 8 ounces canned pineapple tidbits or crushed pineapple drained
  • 1 cup maraschino cherries drained
  • ½ cup chopped pecans optional
  • 1 ½ cups mini fruit-flavored marshmallows


  • In a large bowl, stir together the whipped topping and yogurt.
  • Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold remaining ingredients into whipped topping.
  • Chill before serving.


  • If you are not a fan of mainstream frozen whipped topping, you can find all-natural alternatives at Whole Foods or try using stabilized whipped cream.


Calories: 289kcal, Carbohydrates: 41g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Sodium: 46mg, Potassium: 250mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 32g, Vitamin A: 599IU, Vitamin C: 16mg, Calcium: 90mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

4.49 from 821 votes (817 ratings without comment)

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  1. Jennifer says:

    5 stars
    Love this recipe. I am asked to make this recipe at every family event.

  2. Carol Hollenbeck says:

    5 stars
    I’ve always loved this! I don’t like Cool Whip- it tastes like Crisco to me. So I use stabilized whipped cream, but I omit the sugar, since the fruit is so sweet. And I include green grapes, just because they’re so good!

  3. Lynn says:

    5 stars
    An excellent traditional Ambrosia Salad recipe. Delicious!!!

  4. Beth says:

    3 stars
    My family has always used a small package of pudding mix blended with 1 cp milk in place of yogurt. The thick pudding mixed with cool whip and fruit makes it creamier and not runny. I use sugar free vanilla or cheesecake flavor.

  5. Melissa Jose says:

    Ambrosia is my kids all time favorite I make on the holidays as it was mine growing up. My grandma made the sour cream version with the mini marshmallows, I use cool whip

  6. Melissa Jose says:

    Ambrosia was my favorite my grandmother made every Christmas and Easter. She made the version with mini marshmallows and sour cream

  7. Marci says:

    Well my sister is simply obsessed with ambrosia salad & never makes it for some odd reason. Since the family is coming to my apt this holiday season, I figured I’d surprise the woman with one because I’m a nice baby sister lol. I placed sieves over bowls, drained all the cans and then dumped the fruit into each sieve to make sure they were completely drained, and voila; it came out perfect, not runny or thin at all. Confession: I’ve never had ambrosia because I’m not a big fan of marshmallows; however, I might just have to go for it this year. Thanks SO much for the recipe; I’ll be keeping it in my repertoire.

  8. Patty says:

    My daughter asked if I’d ever made ambrosia salad. Had to think backwards and then I realized back in the day we called it 7 cup salad.

  9. Stacy says:

    I should have used greek yogurt! It’s a little too thin. I’m chilling it overnight to have for Thanksgiving! It’s was a special request by my husband, so I think he’ll enjoy it even if it doesn’t thicken up very much. Thanks for sharing the recipe!