Ambrosia Salad Recipe

Ambrosia Salad

Ambrosia salad is a combination of different types of fruit suspended in a sweet and creamy dressing. This classic Southern dish is most often served at Christmas, but it's delicious any time of the year.

How to Make Ambrosia Salad

Most recipes for this dish use sour cream or whipped cream. A combination of both tempers the sweetness of the salad and adds a tangy flavor.


  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 8 clementines, peeled and separated into segments; or 1 (16-ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1/2 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and diced; or 1 (12-ounce) can pineapple tidbits, drained
  • 1/2 cup sliced maraschino cherries (optional)
  • 2 cups green seedless grapes, sliced in half
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, if desired
  • 3/4 cup coconut


  1. Combine the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl.
  2. Beat with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form.
  3. Fold the sour cream into this mixture.
  4. Fold the clementines, pineapple, cherries if using, grapes, marshmallows, walnuts if using, and coconut into the cream mixture.
  5. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Serves 4 to 6

Variations and Tips

You don't need to stick to the original recipe to create a delicious salad.

  • You can use any of your own favorite fruits in this simple recipe. Maraschino cherries, grapes, pineapple, and oranges are the fruits most often used, but you can add strawberries, bananas, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, or Bing cherries if you'd like.
  • The coconut can be toasted first for a bit of color and texture contrast. Spread the coconut on a shallow pan and toast in at 350°F oven for 3 to 6 minutes until golden brown.
  • If you don't want to use the cherries because of food dyes, it is possible to buy organic maraschino cherries made using natural ingredients at health food stores and coops.
  • Garnish the salad with a fresh sprig of mint, a maraschino cherry, and/or toasted coconut.

A Sweet Side

The classic salad is a delicious side to your holiday dinner. Make it ahead of time and you can simply add it to a serving dish once your meal is ready.

Ambrosia Salad Recipe