Ambrosia Salad

Ambrosia Salad Picture from My Baking Addiction

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

Happy Thursday! If you caught my post last Thursday, you know that I shared a recipe for Eric’s grandma’s Chocolate Glazed Donuts. In that post, I discussed that I would periodically be featuring retro recipes from our childhoods for #tbt – “Throwback” Thursday.” If you’re not sure about #tbt, it’s basically a weekly Twitter and Instagram “holiday” that compels people to share photos from an earlier time in their lives.

We’ve been going through cookbooks, recipe clippings and handwritten recipes, trying to gather a selection of our favorites to share with you. Today’s #tbtrecipe is Ambrosia Salad. I fondly remember my Nana making Ambrosia Salad for pretty much every church function. The only problem was that we couldn’t find her recipe. Total bummer – I know.

My aunt came across an Ambrosia Salad recipe in Nana’s church cookbook, but we knew it was not the one she used because it contained cottage cheese. And Nana’s most definitely did not contain cottage cheese, we knew that she used frozen whipped topping.

Naturally I decided to start tossing ingredients into a bowl until the Ambrosia Salad tasted similar to Nana’s. And with a little tweaking, I most definitely succeeded!

Ambrosia Salad Recipe from My Baking Addiction
Ambrosia is a spin on a traditional fruit salad that typically includes pineapple, mandarin oranges, coconut, nuts and miniature marshmallows. Instead of using regular mini marshmallows, I decided to use my absolute favorite marshmallows ever – Campfire® Mini Fruit-Flavored Marshmallows. They’re soft, fluffy and oh so fruity, so I thought they’d be the perfect compliment to this Ambrosia recipe.

As you may remember from my Pumpkin Spice Marshmallow Treats, I’m partnering with Emily from Jelly Toast and Campfire® Marshmallows. You’ll see more recipes from us, and hopefully even more exciting stuff as the year goes on.

Be sure to check out Emily’s post for Fruity Marshmallow Popcorn Bars! Marshmallows + popcorn, how could that possibly be a bad thing?

We even created a Marshmallow Madness Pin Board where we’ll pinning loads of delicious marshmallow recipes from our favorite food sites.

For more information about Campfire® Marshmallows, find them on them on Facebook and Twitter.

Ambrosia Salad

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes


  • 8 ounces frozen whipped topping, thawed (see note below for alternative)
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 11-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 8-ounce can pineapple tidbits or crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 cup maraschino cherries, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional
  • 1 1/2 cups Campfire® Mini Fruit-Flavored Marshmallows


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


  • If you are not a fan of mainstream frozen whipped topping, you can find all-natural alternatives at Whole Foods or make your own.

Disclosure: My Baking Addiction has teamed up with Campfire® marshmallows to share recipes using their products. This is a sponsored post written as part of that program. All opinions about Campfire® marshmallows are 100% my own.

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

84 Responses to “Ambrosia Salad”

  1. Rachel Cooks — September 25, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    We always had this on Easter Sunday. Instead of the whipped topping my grandma used sour cream.


    • Dana — September 26, 2014 at 11:52 am

      My mom used sour cream too, and it seems to help cut the sweetness.

  2. Librarian Lavender — September 25, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    This looks amazing and so festive, I can’t wait to try it!


    • Jamie — September 26, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      It’s so good – I hope you try it. Thanks so much for stopping by!


  3. Baby June — September 25, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    Ah, there’s nothing like classic ambrosia! Looks great!


    • Jamie — September 26, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      I completely agree! Thanks so much for stopping by!


  4. laura — September 25, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    I make one similar to that one the difference is I put a fruit cocktail drain all the juice 1 fresh red apple 1 fresh green apple 1 pair cut in small squares. put whip cream- shredded coconut- pecan and the small colored marshmallows then mix all together


    • Jamie — September 26, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      I love the idea of incorporating apples! Thanks so much for stopping by!


  5. Jessica @ Sweet Menu — September 26, 2014 at 1:52 am

    Oh YUM! I love ambrosia salad! Just fresh and fun – perfect for the young and young at heart.


    • Jamie — September 26, 2014 at 9:43 am

      Thanks for stopping by Jessica!


  6. Jen @ Baked by an Introvert — September 26, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Oooh. That ambrosia looks so light and fun. I love how colorful it is!


    • Jamie — September 26, 2014 at 9:41 am

      Thanks for visiting Jen!


  7. Jill Hogan — September 26, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Well being of the…have it, use it up generation…I decided to cut up the Campfire Pink Lemonade marshmallows I had leftover from another recipe. Not as pretty colorwise, but definately tasted great!


    • Jamie — September 26, 2014 at 10:00 am

      I LOVE this idea and the Campfire Pink Lemonade Marshmallows! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  8. Karly — September 26, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Oh, this is so fun and colorful! My kids would love it.


    • Jamie — September 26, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Karly!


  9. Thelma DePolo — September 26, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Jill- I love Ambrosia and always enjoy your receipts. Come visit any time!


  10. Natalie | Paper & Birch — September 26, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Love this throwback thursday you’re doing! I used to love Ambrosia salad :)


    • Jamie — September 26, 2014 at 4:47 pm

      Thanks, Natalie – it’s so much fun! Thanks so much for stopping by!


  11. Lisa@Cluttercafe — September 26, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    I must’ve been reading your mind. I have even craving this salad and just bought all the ingredients to whip some up for the weekend. Yours looks delish! I haven’t had this in years. Thanks for taking me back!


    • Jamie — September 26, 2014 at 4:48 pm

      That’s awesome, Lisa! Even though it’s so simple, there’s just something about it that I love so much! Thanks so much for stopping by!


  12. Glory/ Glorious Treats — September 26, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    This is a great throwback for me! When my husband and I were first married (I was a ripe old 19) I made this on a regular basis! It’s a perfect little dessert to satisfy a sweet tooth without making something big. Of course mine didn’t look quite as pretty as the way you have yours shown here!


    • Jamie — September 26, 2014 at 4:49 pm

      That’s such a great memory, Glory! That’s what these posts are all about – great memories and food! Thanks so much for stopping by!


  13. Erna — September 26, 2014 at 7:00 pm


    I love this recipe and make one very similar. I use Greek Vanilla yogurt so it’s lower in calories and my husband thought it was whipped cream. I will consider using the Campfire® Mini Fruit-Flavored Marshmallows if I can find them here. What a great site!


  14. sandra — September 26, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    Love this salad! I like it with grapes and apples, too. My mom makes hers with fresh whipped cream, which is great the first day, but gets weepy as it sits. I’ll have to try a stabilized version — thanks for posting!


    • Gail — September 28, 2014 at 1:58 am

      We’ve always made ours with 1 cup of sour cream, instead of the whipped cream and yogurt, and 1 cup of each of the fruits, coconut, and mini marshmallows. It needs to be refrigerated overnight, for everything to combine well, but it doesn’t get weepy. You can’t even taste that it’s made with sour cream!

    • Jamie — September 30, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      Thanks for visiting Gail!


    • Diana P — June 4, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      Yep – we call it 5 cup Salad so you can’t forget. It’s one cup of each item (oranges, pineapple, coconut, sour cream, and marshmallows. I thrown in some halved marachino cherries just for some color – but don’t measure! Make it the night before – GREAT for Pot Lucks (especially if you forget if you’re supposed to bring a side or a dessert – works for both! and making in larger quantities.

  15. Mildred — September 28, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    This is Oh so good! I have been making this for years now and it is always a hit. The only problem I have is that some don’t like coconut and some don’t like the nuts but it can always be done without something with no problem but as for my husband and me its all the way!


    • Jamie — September 30, 2014 at 1:54 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Mildred!


  16. Teresa — October 10, 2014 at 11:41 am

    I made this today, Jamie. It turned out exceptionally well. Thanks for sharing.


    • Jamie — October 10, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      Thanks so much, Teresa! :)

  17. tonie — October 10, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    As i’m not in the u.s what can i use instead of the frozen cream?


    • Jamie — October 11, 2014 at 11:17 am

      Whipping cream would work as a substitute. I hope this helps.


  18. Londa krill — October 10, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    The good old fashioned way is the best! I didn’t like the flavored mini marshmallows!


    • Jamie — October 11, 2014 at 11:19 am

      Thanks for stopping by.


  19. Noreen — October 12, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    I am going to make the Ambrosia today. I hope it comes out delicious…


    • Jamie — October 12, 2014 at 6:23 pm

      I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for visiting.


  20. Bree — November 20, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    I bought everything to make this wonderfully retro ambrosia for Thanksgiving, even the pecans for those who want it that way. My grandma used to make it as well, with mixed fruit, no marshmallows and she included bananas. This looks so fun!


    • Jamie — November 21, 2014 at 9:43 am

      I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for stopping by!


  21. Debbie — November 24, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    i made this for my daughters baby shower Everyone loved it. I can eat it every day. Thank you for the fabulous recipe.


    • Jamie — November 24, 2014 at 6:18 pm

      I love it too, Debbie! Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a great day!

  22. Rachel — April 5, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    Turned out great except I forgot the vanilla yogurt after arriving to the family dinner I asked if I could use of some of my parents yogurt in their fridge. No vanilla but the Key Lime is great with it :)


    • Jamie — April 15, 2015 at 9:31 am

      The key lime sounds like a great addition. I’m glad you enjoyed the salad. Thanks for visiting.


  23. Nosho — July 10, 2015 at 10:22 am

    thank you for the great recipe! planning to try this yummy recipe on weekend.


    • Jamie — July 10, 2015 at 11:04 am

      Thanks so much for stopping by – enjoy the ambrosia!

  24. Debbie — August 4, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    Do you drain the cans of fruit?


    • Jamie — August 4, 2015 at 3:15 pm

      Yes, the ingredient list details that the fruit is to be drained.

  25. Lori — December 26, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    I use coconut milk instead of whipped cream. I still use sour cream. I also don’t drain the fruit cocktail. Instead, I dump it all in a very large bowl, add the coconut milk, then, instead of using canned mandarin oranges, I use the little cuties (seedless mandarin oranges), peel them and slice them thin, without pulling them apart first – then pull them apart over the bowl (so any juice goes into the bowl too). I have a manual apple corer/peeler/slicer (I disengage the peeler for this to keep the peels on for more vitamins) which cuts the apples into a spiral. I cut these up in about 1 – 1 1/2 inch chunks. I add raisins, and walnuts and/or pecans, and miniature marshmallows (either regular or fruity flavored). A jar of maraschino cherries. Last – I add shredded coconut and toss it all together. I also add 1/4 cup sugar.
    My recipe – for a crazy huge batch (fits in a 32 cup/7.6 liter capacity bowl)
    1 can 13.5 oz Taste of Thai coconut milk
    2 cans 32 oz fruit cocktail
    1 16 ounce container of sour cream
    1/4 cup sugar
    20 ounce can of pineapple chunks
    about 6 of the little cutie oranges
    12 apples (I used 3 granny smith, 3 red delicious, 3 ambrosia (the apple name), and 3 Fuji apples – the textures and flavors vary when you use different apples – just mix up several of the ones you like. Leave the skin on – cutting them into small chunks helps my kids not notice the skin.
    I add a 16 ounce bag of walnuts and pecans, you can do either/or of how much you prefer or not at all.
    2 10-16 ounce bags of mini marshmallows
    1 10 ounce jar maraschino cherries (chopped or whole – I use them however they are in the jar – including the juice)
    2 large bags of sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut depending on your taste.
    12 ounces of raisins (more or less according to taste) I prefer more.
    10-12 ounces dried cranberries (also really delicious).

    Making it this way – is so much easier. I don’t drain the canned fruit because there are still some nutrients in the juice (I don’t use the packed in heavy syrup ones though). Using the juice means you don’t need more sour cream than this to get the moisture balance. I use more of the coconut than other recipes call for – but it is such a good source of fiber. You can always use a fresh coconut and use a food processor to shred the meat but that would take a lot more time. Using the flakes – helps soak up any excess liquid – and certainly increases the fiber content. I really enjoy the texture of more coconut. You can enjoy this recipe right away as well as have so much left over. It is really worth the time to add the fresh apples and mandarins. Sometimes I use a whole, fresh, pineapple instead of canned. You don’t have to put the coconut or raisins in there but it is amazing if you do.

    This recipe makes a very full large bowl (the giant sized mixing bowl from Tupperware 32 cup/7.6 liter capacity).


  26. Tracy — December 29, 2015 at 1:13 am

    I made this for Christmas this year – my husband had requested Ambrosia with dinner this year. My mom is not a fan of sour cream – something about sitting at a table as a kid in the 50’s until she drank her milk – that had curds floating in it – until she could leave the table. Since then, certain dairy products are out of bounds…. Anyhow – since your has the yogurt in it, I chose this one. I used regular marshmallows, giving my hubs the choice of the fruit coloured ones or the white ones. Other than that it was made as per the recipe. It was hit by all accounts – hubs and my mom being the most important reviewers, followed up by the 4 and 18mo old. Everyone loved it. Will likely become a family tradition. Thanks!


    • Jamie — January 5, 2016 at 9:46 am

      Tracy: I’m so glad your mom and husband enjoyed it! It’s one of our family’s favorites, too.

  27. Juanita — January 31, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    Hi! ,
    My family loves ambrosia. We are Jamaican so we make it a little different. I use one can fruit cocktail. One can pineapples , maradian oranges, half cup sour cream a can of sweet condensed milk and marshmallows plain ones. Garnish with cinnamon and nutmeg . And there you have it! Family tradition it taste so good!


    • Jamie — February 1, 2016 at 2:09 pm

      Thanks so much, Juanita! I’ll have to give your recipe a try very soon.

  28. Debbie — March 11, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    I made this recipe for my daughters baby shower. It was a big hit. Now I make it just because it is that good. 


    • Jamie — March 15, 2016 at 2:51 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Debbie! And congratulations to your daughter!

  29. Sharleen Arnold — March 13, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    If you like a mango taste you can sprinkle in a couple tablespoons of dry mango flavored tang.


    • Jamie — March 15, 2016 at 2:48 pm

      That’s a great idea, Sharleen! I’m going to give it a try next time!

  30. Jolene Robinson — March 13, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    I  always use pistachio pudding mixed with the cool whip. Still add the marshmallows, pineapple, coconut, oranges and add cherries on top. 


    • Jamie — March 15, 2016 at 2:47 pm

      Hi, Joelen! That sounds wonderful! I’ll have to give that a try!

  31. Vivian — March 14, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    How long do you make it before you serve it? Thx!


    • Jamie — March 15, 2016 at 3:23 pm

      Hi, Vivian! I would say chill it for about 30 minutes to an hour. I hope you enjoy it!

  32. Tally — March 22, 2016 at 1:36 am

    Oh yum! thanks


    • Jamie — March 22, 2016 at 10:25 am

      You’re very welcome, Tally!

  33. Caroline — March 26, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Just made it for Easter dessert and it was awesome and will be making it for other family gatherings


    • Jamie — March 26, 2016 at 7:00 pm

      I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! I just whipped mine up this afternoon! Happy Easter to you and yours.

  34. Lisa — April 24, 2016 at 10:26 am

    How long will this hold up in the fridge?


    • Jamie — April 25, 2016 at 1:23 pm

      Hi, Lisa! I would say it should keep about three days. Let me know if I can do anything else for you!

  35. Courtney Dahlke — May 20, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    Has anyone made this using Strawberries and Blueberries add in?


    • Jamie — May 21, 2016 at 8:08 am

      Hi, Courtney! I’m not sure if anyone else has tried this, but it sounds like a great addition! Let me know how it goes!

  36. Skylar — June 19, 2016 at 4:17 am

    Can I replace the sour cream with cottage cheese?


    • Jamie — June 20, 2016 at 12:31 pm

      Hi, Skylar! I don’t see why not. Let me know how you like it!

  37. Lisa — July 5, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    I recently came across this recipe and made it for our 4th of July festivities. It was a HUGE hit! I will no doubt be making it again. Thanks!


  38. Karen Stogner — September 7, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    My family demands I make ambrosia salad and my heavenly rolls for every holiday meal. My recipe is very simple.

    5 15oz. cans of mandarin oranges drained
    1 15 oz. can pineapple tidbits drained (tidbits eliminate need to chop pineapple chunks)
    1 large bottle maraschino cherry halves drained
    1 cup coconut
    1 cup chopped pecans
    16 oz miniature marshmallows or until it is enough
    32 oz. sour cream or until it is enough

    Mix all together and make a couple of days in advance to allow the juice from the fruit to help melt the marshmallows a tad which sweetens the salad. This is a huge recipe which makes enough to send some home with others. Store in refrigerator.

    Hint: If you want to slice the cherries smaller, be sure to wear a pair of latex gloves or your fingers will be stained red.


    • Jamie — September 8, 2016 at 11:36 am

      Great recipe, Karen! I don’t think you can go wrong with ambrosia salad!

  39. Patty — September 14, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    My family has made something similar for years. It’s called 5 cup salad. It’s a cup each of Mandarin oranges, coconut, pineapple, little marshmallows and sour cream. Make a day ahead. I guess because I’ve always had it this way, it’s too sweet with whipped topping for me. It’s still sweet with the sour cream, but more creamy and sweet vs sweet. Everywhere I take it, people ask for the recipe. My husband is the only one that doesn’t care for it because he hates coconut. So I make some 4 cup salad for him


    • Jamie — September 17, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      Hi, Patty! I’m finding a lot of families have their own wonderful version. I’ll have to give the sour cream a try!

  40. Gitel — September 20, 2016 at 8:48 am

    I remember this from the old days, but instead of yogurt and whipped topping, it used fake sour cream.


    • Jamie — September 20, 2016 at 11:32 am

      Definitely a classic recipe, Gitel! Thanks for stopping by!

  41. Horse names ideas — January 27, 2017 at 4:16 am

    This looks absolutely fantastic!


    • Jamie — January 27, 2017 at 8:52 am

      Thank you!

  42. Chocokitty — February 28, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    I was looking for a fruit salad recipe, and out of all the recipes I’ve found, only this one grabbed my attention. It looks so delicious and light. I want to try it out before I make it for a baby shower!!


    • Jamie — March 2, 2017 at 12:15 pm

      Let me know how you like it!

  43. Lindsay — April 17, 2017 at 10:50 am

    Hi I was just wondering how much was in a serving. I know it provides 8 servings. Thank you!


    • Jamie — April 21, 2017 at 9:25 am

      Hi, Lindsay! I would say each serving is between 1/2 to 1 cup. I hope you like it!

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