Looking for a sweet and refreshing side dish or dessert? You’ll love Ambrosia Salad!

This classic recipe has a blend of pineapple, coconut, mandarin oranges, and mini marshmallows all mixed together in a creamy base.

Perfect for parties, holidays, and potlucks, with just 5 ingredients, this Ambrosia Salad is as yummy as it is easy!

ambrosia salad in a bowl topped with a cherry

What is Ambrosia Salad?

Despite its name, this dish is more like a dessert than a salad. Ambrosia Salad is a classic recipe that’s often served as a side dish during special occasions like Easter and Thanksgiving. Ambrosia literally means ‘food of the gods,’ but this salad is also called 5-cup salad or even just known as fruit salad with marshmallows.

It starts with a creamy base that’s mixed with mandarin oranges, sweet pineapple tidbits, fluffy mini marshmallows, and coconut shreds.

ingredients for ambrosia salad on the counter

Ambrosia Salad Ingredients

The possibilities for ingredients in this recipe are endless.

  • Yogurt/Sour Cream – To make the base of this Ambrosia Salad recipe, you’ll need either sour cream or Greek yogurt. Our family has always used sour cream, which becomes sweet from the marshmallows, but feel free to try vanilla yogurt, cream cheese, whipped topping (such as Cool Whip), or even whipped cream. Just keep in mind that different bases will produce different textures and flavors.
  • Fruit – Our family’s recipe for Ambrosia Salad uses mandarin oranges and pineapple, but you can mix things up by using canned fruit cocktail or peaches instead. If you prefer, you can even stir in fresh fruit like grapes, bananas, blueberries, or strawberries.
  • Additions – While this recipe is delicious on its own, you can add other ingredients. Try adding maraschino cherries or nuts like walnuts or pecans to give it a bit of extra crunch and flavor.
ingredients for ambrosia salad in a glass bowl

How to Make Ambrosia Salad

Ambrosia Fruit Salad is a great side to whip up if you are short on time!

  1. Drain all pineapple and oranges (per the recipe below).
  2. Add all ingredients except oranges and mix well. Gently fold in oranges.
  3. Let chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

Tips for Ambrosia Salad

  • Be sure to make this salad ahead of time so it has a chance to sit, this helps blend the flavors and makes the marshmallows soften, which sweetens the recipe.
  • Drain all fruit ingredients well so the dish isn’t watery.
  • Gently fold in the mandarin oranges last as they can be fragile and break apart.
  • Sour cream can be substituted with Greek yogurt or plain yogurt.
Mixed ingredients for ambrosia salad in a bowl

More Dessert Salads

Perfect for Thanksgiving or Easter, a summer barbecue, Christmas dinner, or even as a no-bake dessert!

What are your favorite Ambrosia Salad ingredients? Let us know in a comment below!

ambrosia salad in a bowl topped with a cherry
4.99 from 114 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Easy Ambrosia Salad

This ambrosia salad recipe is so easy to make, perfectly fluffy and a great holiday side dish!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Chill Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Spend With Pennies SP


  • 1 cup sour cream or plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows fruit flavored or white
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup canned pineapple tidbits well drained
  • 1 cup canned mandarin orange segments well drained


  • In a medium bowl, mix sour cream, marshmallows, coconut, and pineapple tidbits.
  • Gently fold in mandarin oranges.
  • Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Serve chilled.



  • Make this salad ahead of time so it has a chance to sit, this helps blend the flavors and makes the marshmallows soften which sweetens the recipe.
  • Drain all fruit ingredients well so the dish isn’t watery.
  • Gently fold in the mandarin oranges last, they can be fragile and break apart.
  • Use Greek yogurt or plain yogurt, or sour cream for the base. I prefer sour cream.
4.99 from 114 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 150 | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 29mg | Potassium: 225mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 296IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Dessert, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. I made this and added maraschino cherries( just before serving) and I also added 1/2 cup Cool Whip topping. It was delicious , this was our Easter dessert! In addition I also made your crock pot ham, and made the glaze in the recipe, can you say second helpings! Also your scalloped potatoes were a big hit with all the family , everyone went back for more. Thank you Holly for making easy to follow recipes that also taste delicious!!!5 stars

    1. Thank you for the kind words Carol, I am so happy to hear all of the Easter recipes were a hit!

  2. Interesting with the yogurt or sour cream.
    Our Family always used “Cool Whip” BUT we also always added dry instant pudding (pistachio was always the favorite) to the mix and let that sit in fridge over night. I think also a cousin used to added dry jell-o to the mix for flavor and color.

  3. I love this! I was randomly craving this out of nowhere and I made it using half of the amount of ingredients since it was just for me. I couldn’t remember how my Nana made it (she passed away a couple months ago) so I used half sour cream and half homemade whipped cream since I had some heavy whipping cream left in the fridge. I probably added more coconut than most people would like but that’s my favorite part! Drained both cans of fruit and it was the perfect consistency. Took a “chef bite” before putting it in the fridge and it was already amazing! Thank you so much for this recipe, gave me some nostalgia and I’m sure my Nana would be proud!5 stars

    1. Thank you so much for sharing Carrie! I am so glad you enjoyed this recipe and am so happy to hear you felt it honored your Nana.

      1. Thank you so much for replying back! I’m sure my Nana was smiling down from Heaven! I patiently waited and let it sit overnight in the fridge and maaaann, oh man was it delicious!! My coconut hating boyfriend sure missed out! I love your recipes and I have tried several so far since I stumbled across this site! Keep up the great work!5 stars