I have to admit, I’m kind of proud to be a bit of a grandmother while still in my mid-30s. I’ve had people point out (for most of my adult life) that many of the hobbies I enjoy, the decor I choose, and the dishes I like to cook remind them of their grandmothers. laugh out loud
I think this ambrosia salad is no exception.
For me, this is a side dish (or dessert!) that I’ve seen served at bridal showers, baby showers, and other casseroles.
If you’ve never had ambrosia salad before, it’s a creamy fruit salad that might sound a little strange based on the ingredients, but don’t knock it until you try it!
Why is it called ambrosia salad?
My understanding is that ambrosia means “fragrant” or “delicious” and is also associated with fruit from Greek mythology. This is definitely a very delicious fruit salad, so the name fits.
I suppose ambrosia salad might be something of a Southern (American) thing. But if you’re from another region, I’d love to know if it’s something you saw or ate growing up. Being from Southwest Missouri, we also have a mix of Southern cooking and Midwestern cuisine.
Ambrosia Salad Ingredients:
- Whipped topping (Cool Whip, or the off-brand version)
- Vanilla yogurt
- Sweetened coconut flakes
- Mandarin oranges – canned
- Pineapple – canned treats
- Maraschino Cherries
- Sliced almonds
- Chopped pecans
- Fruit flavored mini marshmallows
These are the ingredients I use, which are mostly traditional. The main thing I do a little differently with my ambrosia salad recipe is to add more nuts than you typically see.
I like some crunch along with the creamy and sweet fruit flavors in this recipe. It adds a little more dimension.
Substitutions and variations:
- Whipped cream can be replaced with whipped topping. The dish will not be stored for that long, but if you think it will be consumed in a day, then it does not matter
- Vanilla yogurt can be replaced with sour cream or regular Greek yogurt. This will make the ambrosia salad a little less sweet. However, this is meant as a rather sweet side dish, or even dessert.
- Fresh fruit can be used in place of canned, but the recipe card below shows measurements in canned quantities, so you’ll need to convert them.
- Almonds or pecans can be substituted with another nut option (like pistachios) if needed.
Fruit flavored marshmallows can be hard to find. When I was shopping for these supplies, two of the three stores I went to did not have them. And I suspect it might be some sort of southern thing (let me know in comments), so it might be hard to find in certain areas.
You can replace these with regular flavored mini marshmallows OR leave them out of the recipe entirely. The ambrosia salad will still be very delicious and sweet without them – it’s just a traditional ingredient that adds an interesting texture.
So if you’re preparing for such a meal, here are some other side dish recipes you might like:
I love this ambrosia salad! Next, I’ll get the official family recipe and share my great-grandmother Ina’s cranberry jello salad. It’s also one of those sweet salads that just reminds me of big family meals. Enjoy. xo. Emma
a creamy, sweet fruit salad
- 8 ounces whipped topping
- 5 ounces vanilla yogurt about 1 cup
- ½ cup coconut flakes sweetened
- 20 ounces pineapple treats drained
- 15 ounces mandarin oranges drained
- 10 ounces maraschino cherries drained
- ½ cup almonds cut into slices
- ½ cup pecans chopped
- 1 cup mini fruit flavored marshmallows or regular mini marshmallows
If the whipped topping is frozen, let it thaw in the fridge until it can be folded.
In a small mixing bowl, fold the whipped topping together with the vanilla yoghurt.
Add all the other ingredients to a large mixing bowl.
Mix the cream mixture into the other ingredients until everything is well coated.
Leftovers should be covered or stored in an airtight container and refrigerated. Ambrosia salad can be stored for at least 3 days.
Calories: 299kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 5g | fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated fat: 3g | Monounsaturated fat: 6g | Trans fat: 0.002g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 45mg | Potassium: 307mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 620IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 1mg