Ambrosia Salad

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For many of us, ambrosia salad is one of those beautiful retro recipes straight out of childhood. There are so many fun memories of days gone by attached to this vintage dish. We remember our aunts and grandmothers making it for picnics and potlucks. My Grandma Mercie would whip this up for special occasions. I often think of it as her Thanksgiving fruit salad recipe. If you enjoyed this nostalgic dessert as a child, eating spoonfuls of this goodness as rays of afternoon sun slant through your windows, you’ll be transported back to memory lane.

Ambrosia Salad

Ambrosia Salad Ingredients

Although ambrosia salad can be made with cottage cheese or sour cream and canned fruit cocktail, I’ve lightened things up just a bit by using yogurt and canned fruit packed without syrup. These are the ingredients for making this yummy dessert salad recipe: a tub of Cool Whip, honey-vanilla Greek yogurt, shredded sweetened coconut, mandarin oranges, crushed pineapple, seedless green grapes, Maraschino cherries, chopped walnuts or pecans, and colorful mini marshmallows. Garnishes include extra shredded coconut and a Maraschino cherry with a stem!

Ambrosia Fruit Salad

Ambrosia Fruit Salad

Here’s how to make a gorgeous Ambrosia fruit salad that would make your grandma proud: Add defrosted Cool Whip and yogurt to a large mixing bowl. Fold them together. Greek yogurt has a thick, full-bodied consistency and the perfect bit of tanginess. It’s why I use it rather than regular yogurt which is thinner.

How to Make Ambrosia

Drain off the liquid from the pineapple, cherries and mandarin oranges. To ensure your dessert salad is airy and fluffy, it’s important to have as little liquid as possible from these juicy ingredients, so drain them well. Add the yogurt, coconut, oranges, pineapple, grapes, cherries, nuts and marshmallows to the bowl. Fold in all ingredients until just combined. Be careful not to over do it, or the whipped topping will go flat.

Fruit Salad with Cool Whip

Ambrosia Salad Recipe

Doesn’t this dessert salad look absolutely heavenly? Ahhh…I’m picturing my Grandma standing in her big farmhouse-style kitchen creating Ambrosia fruit salad for the family. She used chopped walnuts instead of pecans because her in-laws owned a large orchard with walnut trees. Every year at harvest time they’d provide her with sacks of nuts that would last through the season. I remember Grandma sitting in her favorite chair with a silver nut cracker, separating walnut kernels from their crinkly outer shells. Sometimes she’d let us grandkids help. Other times she’d send us off to play so she could sit quietly with her thoughts and reflect on the day.

Marshmallow Salad

Fruit Marshmallow Salad

Scoop your beautiful marshmallow salad into 6 glass dessert bowls or clear plastic cups. Garnish each dessert salad by sprinkling shredded coconut over the top and crowning it with a bright red cherry! There’s no need to chill and wait. Your ambrosia salad is ready to serve and enjoy! If preparing ahead of time, refrigerate.

Best Kitchen Tools for Ambrosia Recipe

When making this Ambrosia recipe, I enjoy using my charming vintage mixing bowls and flour sack kitchen towels. For draining juices from canned fruit I use my special Joseph Joseph colander spoon. I also use this helpful kitchen tool when lifting eggs or potatoes out of boiling water. Grandma would have absolutely loved the can opener below which is easy for her generation to grip and use. The vintage recipe tin reminds me of the well-worn recipe box my grandmother had on a little shelf in her kitchen.


  • How long can you keep ambrosia salad in the fridge? When covered and refrigerated immediately after preparation, your delicious dessert salad will stay fresh for three. After this time frame, the ingredients within the dish will start to separate and become dry.
  • What fruits go well together in a fruit salad? The most commonly used fruit in a tropical fruit salad are pineapple, kiwi, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, mangos and coconut. In an ambrosia fruit salad there are a variety of fruit options you may like to include, such as pears, grapes, pineapple, mandarin oranges, cherries, bananas, and peaches.

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Save this delicious Ambrosia salad recipe for later. Pin it to Pinterest right now!

Ambrosia Salad


This fabulous TROPICAL FRUIT SALAD with agave-lime dressing is healthy, flavorful and delicious! This quick easy recipe is perfect for brunch, lunch, dinner, or summer gatherings.

Tropical Fruit Salad with Agave Lime Dressing


If you love delicious time-tested recipes like grandma used to make, this scrumptious favorite ranks right on top! CLASSIC MACARONI SALAD is a deli staple. Ideal for picnics, outdoor BBQs, and church potlucks, this easy yummy recipe will have friends and family coming back for seconds!

Classic Macaroni Salad

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Ambrosia Salad

Ambrosia Salad

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A sweet slice of Americana, Ambrosia fruit salad is a time-honored recipe that’s quick and simple to make! Light, airy and fluffy, this scrumptious dessert salad is absolutely heavenly! Perfect for summer get-togethers, family gatherings, and church potlucks, this is also a traditional recipe for Thanksgiving fruit salad.


  • 1 8-ounce tub of Cool Whip, thawed
  • 2/3 cup honey-vanilla Greek yogurt*
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut (or flaked coconut)
  • 3/4 cup mandarin oranges, well drained
  • 2/3 cup crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 1/2 cup green seedless grapes, rinsed and dried
  • 1 10-ounce jar Maraschino cherries (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
  • 2 cups colorful, fruit-flavored mini marshmallows
  • Garnishes: shredded coconut and Maraschino cherries with stems


  1. With a rubber spatula, scoop out the defrosted Cool Whip and add it to a large mixing bowl along with the Greek yogurt. Lightly fold these two ingredients together.
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients to the bowl and gently fold them in. Be careful not to over-mix as the Cool Whip can become deflated if overworked. We want our dessert salad to be light and fluffy!
  3. Transfer to a large vintage-style serving bowl, or scoop into individual dessert cups. Generously sprinkle shredded coconut on top. Use long-stem cherries to add the final touch to your gorgeous ambrosia salad.
  4. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate until serving time.


*If vanilla-honey Greek yogurt isn’t available, here are two more great options: Vanilla Greek yogurt plus 1/2 tablespoon of honey, or plain Greek yogurt plus 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/2 tablespoon honey.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Dessert, Snack, Party, Potluck
  • Cuisine: American

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THE CHUNKY CHEF: Raspberry Fluff Jello Salad

THE COUNTRY COOK: Pineapple Fluff


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Do you have a favorite dessert salad or Thanksgiving fruit salad that stirs up joyful childhood memories? What do you think about this yummy ambrosia recipe? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Join the conversation in the comments below!

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  1. There’s one bright color left out of it……BLUE….but,,,,how would it be to dye the coconut blue before topping off at serving time ,,,,then a stem
    Green cherry added!!!!!! Just my 2cents on it tho….LOL

  2. I must be the only person on the planet who has never heard of this before. But it looks and sounds amazing!! Definitely going to have to give this recipe a try!

    Laura ☆

  3. The Ambrosia fruit salad looks both attractive to the eyes and delicious. Additionally, yogurt, coconut, oranges, pineapple, grapes, cherries, nuts are some of my favorites so I know I would enjoy this treat.

  4. Oh my gosh, my grandma used to make this all the time! It was a special holiday recipe, and we haven’t had it for years! I am totally going to make it so we can enjoy it again! Thanks for the reminder!

  5. Could these be any prettier! My neighbors are ambrosia salad obsessed and I can’t wait to make these for them! Love it so!