30 Minute or Less/ Desserts/ Southern Recipes

Ambrosia Salad

Many times when I am thinking of a recipe to share on the blog, I travel back to old-fashioned recipes I had when I was a kid. Like the yummy dishes grandmothers and aunts used to bring to the family reunion. Ambrosia Salad is one of those delicious treats of summer that is so easy to make. Loaded with sweet-tangy bites of pineapple, cherries, and mandarin oranges, this fruit salad is the perfect no-bake dessert recipe you need in your life. Plus, it features the official fruit of the State of Tennessee: marshmallows. 🙂

Ambrosia Salad is the perfect no-bake dessert recipe your entire family will adore. Loaded with tangy-sweet pineapple, mandarin oranges, cherries and marshmallows in a light, fluffy cloud.#ambrosia #ambrosiasalad #fruitsalad #nobakedessert

Ambrosia Salad … so. dang. good.

I was totally kidding about marshmallows being the state fruit of Tennessee. Any self-respecting Tennessean knows our official fruit is the tomato. But when it comes to a delish no-bake dessert, marshallows are a must-have.

I have been literally dreaming about this recipe for a week. Seriously, these are the kind of things that keep me up at night.

“Oh, I’m in the mood for pineapple.”

“What would be a good dessert to make this weekend?”

“What was that fluffy stuff Aunt So-and-So used to bring?”

A bowl of pineapples, maraschino cherries, and mandarin oranges next to a bowl of whipped topping and mini marshmallows

And “ambrosia” just sounds Southern, doesn’t it? A lot of people enjoy this dessert around the holidays. Me? I like it in the summer. Dessert with no oven because it is hot around here.

Ingredients Needed to Make Ambrosia Salad:

  • Whipped topping (Cool Whip)
  • Sour cream
  • Mini marshmallows (party time!)
  • Pineapple chunks
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Coconut
  • Chopped nuts (optional)

When you combine these things into one you get an easy, fast, and addictive chilled dessert that is ready for the party or potluck.

Seriously, add these ingredients to your next grocery list and have them on hand. You can create this recipe in less than 10 minutes for a fun weeknight dessert or a last minute addition to the cookout.

TIP: Keep the cans of pineapple, oranges, and cherries in the fridge because they will be pre-chilled and ready to serve.

A colander with pineapple chunks, maraschino cherries, and mandarin oranges, ingredients for ambrosia salad

How to Make Ambrosia Salad:

  1. First, drain the pineapple chunks, mandarin oranges, and cherries VERY WELL.
  2. Then, in a large bowl, fold together the whipped topping, sour cream.
  3. Next GENTLY fold in the drained fruit, mini marshmallows, and coconut.
  4. Chill and serve.

Yep. That’s it. Aunt So-and-So had life figured out, didn’t she? Such a simple and delicious recipe that tastes like a creamy sundae without all the heaviness.

TIP: Be sure the fruit is very well drained. If not, your fruit salad could get a little soggy. Nobody likes soggy fruit salad.

A glass mixing bowl filled with ambrosia salad.

This classic Southern recipe can be made any way you’d like. Add nuts for more texture and crunch (pecans are my favorite). If you aren’t a fan of pineapple, how about seedless grapes instead?

I prefer mine on the fluffy side, so we didn’t use a lot of sour cream. However, if you like yours a little creamier, double the sour cream.

More Tips + Variations:

  • Make Hawaiian Ambrosia by adding chopped macadamia nuts and chopped papaya.
  • You can use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.
  • Swap the white mini marshmallows for multi-colored marshmallows for a colorful twist.
  • Not a fan of one of these fruits? Swap and use seedless grapes or bananas.
  • Love banana splits? Use bananas instead of mandarin oranges and serve with a swirl of chocolate syrup. So yum!
  • Garnish with extra fruit and marshmallows before serving for pretty presentation.
A pretty serving bowl filled with ambrosia salad.

Love Easy Desserts?? Here are more to try:

Banana Pudding Cheesecake

No Bake Mint Chocolate Chip Dessert

Mississippi Mud Dessert Dip

5 from 2 votes
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Ambrosia Salad

Made with tangy-sweet pineapples, cherries, mandarin oranges, and mini marshmallows, this classic Southern no-bake dessert recipe is always a crowd favorite.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword ambrosia salad
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 10 Cups
Calories 185 kcal
Author Buy This Cook That

Buy This

  • 8 ounces whipped topping Cool Whip type, thawed
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 20 ounces pineapple chunks drained well
  • 15 ounces mandarin oranges drained well
  • 1 cup maraschino cherries drained well
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut sweetened

Cook That

  1. First, drain the pineapple chunks, mandarin oranges, and cherries VERY WELL.

  2. Then, in a large bowl, fold together the whipped topping, sour cream.

  3. Next GENTLY fold in the drained fruit, mini marshmallows, and coconut.

  4. Chill and serve.

Nutrition Facts
Ambrosia Salad
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 185 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 11%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 6mg 2%
Sodium 47mg 2%
Potassium 195mg 6%
Total Carbohydrates 31g 10%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 26g
Protein 2g 4%
Vitamin A 8.1%
Vitamin C 20.3%
Calcium 5.4%
Iron 2.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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