Quick and Easy Ambrosia Fruit Salad

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Whip up a classic ambrosia fruit salad with Cool Whip, sour cream, fruit, and mini marshmallows. Easy southern side dish recipe perfect for every holiday dinner!

With Easter just around the corner, ambrosia salad is a quick and easy side dish you can make to go with your Easter dinner. Of course, it's perfect for other holidays too, like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

ambrosia fruit salad in small glass serving bowl on light blue plate with maraschino cherry on top

Actually, I can see my family making this marshmallow fruit salad throughout the spring and summer too because of how refreshing it is. Made with whipped topping and a sort of fruit cocktail, it's such a sweet, delicious treat.

While I use multi-colored mini marshmallows in my fruit salad, you can use whatever color marshmallows you can find.

I also add walnuts or pecans to our salad, and again, you're welcome to leave those out if nuts just aren't your thing.

Now you will need a little bit of chill time, about an hour to let your fruit salad sit and chill in the fridge. Just keep that in mind for when you plan to make it.

WHERE CAN I FIND THE ACTUAL RECIPE CARD?

If you’d rather skip all of my salad making tips, important info for this recipe, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to the ambrosia salad recipe – just scroll down to the bottom, where you’ll find a printable recipe card.

WHY IS IT CALLED AMBROSIA SALAD?

Ambrosia is a fruit salad. Really, that's all it is. It consists of whipped cream, sour cream, fruit, coconut, mini marshmallows, and sometimes nuts like walnuts or pecans.

classic ambrosia salad recipe made in large bowl and placed in small glass serving bowls with cherries on top, on blue plate, on white marble countertop

It's thought that the idea of ambrosia salad came to be in the 1800's. The name “ambrosia” originates from the food of the Greek and Roman gods.

If you want to read more about the fascinating history of this delightful fruit salad, National Post has a great article.

INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED:

There is no cooking required with this recipe, but you will need to gather a few ingredients…

Remember, all of the ingredient amounts you’ll need are in the printable recipe card below.

ambrosia ingredients, including cherries, whipped cream, mandarin oranges, pineapple tidbits, coconut, sour cream, multi-colored mini marshmallows, and nuts in small glass bowls on wooden cutting board

KITCHEN TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT YOU'LL NEED:

Large Bowl and Spatula or Wooden Spoon

Can Colander

Small Serving Bowls

HOW TO MAKE AMBROSIA FRUIT SALAD

Before you get started mixing, be sure to drain all the liquid off each can or jar of fruit. I use my can strainer for this task.

You'll also need to rinse, stem, and slice the cherries in half. Although be sure to save a few cherries back with stems to top off your salad when serving.

Then you're ready to mix up your classic ambrosia salad recipe.

  1. In a large bowl, fold together the whipped cream and sour cream until blended and smooth.
  2. Fold in the oranges, pineapple tidbits, and cherries.
  3. Fold in the mini marshmallows, nuts, and coconut until well blended.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before scooping into small serving bowls. (Note: Any leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator.)
steps for how to make ambrosia, including mixing whipped cream, sour cream fruit, mini marshmallows, walnuts, and coconut in large green bowl

CAN I MAKE AMBROSIA A DAY AHEAD?

Yes, you can! In fact, it helps the flavors all meld together if you let it sit for at least an hour or two before serving.

Feel free to make it the day before and chill it overnight for serving the next day.

And that brings me to the next question…

HOW LONG WILL IT KEEP IN THE FRIDGE?

Ambrosia salad with Cool Whip will keep in the fridge for about 2-3 days. After that it'll start to get a bit yucky, so you'll want to eat it up those first couple days.

above large bowl of ambrosia salad with small serving bowls of fruit salad on blue plate with spoon and multi-colored mini marshmallows

CAN I FREEZE IT?

I wouldn't recommend it. It's best to make this salad day of or day before and just chill it in the refrigerator.

If you freeze this fruit salad, all of your fruit will likely get very soggy and watery and just be kind of a mess.

SUGAR FREE OPTIONS FOR AMBROSIA

Seeing that this is a salad with fruit and marshmallows, it may prove difficult to make it completely sugar-free; but there are ways to cut down on the sugar…

  • Use sugar-free whipped cream.
  • With the fruit, you'll want to be sure there's no sugar added and that it's canned in 100% fruit juice, not syrup.
  • Look for sugar-free marshmallows. If all you can find are bigger marshmallows, you can cut them into smaller pieces.
  • And as for the coconut, you'll need to use unsweetened coconut flakes instead of sweetened.
small bowls of marshmallow fruit salad topped with stemmed maraschino cherries, on blue plate with pastel colored mini marshmallows

MORE EASY FRUIT SALAD RECIPES:

GET THE PRINTABLE RECIPE

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ambrosia salad recipe

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Yield: 8

Quick and Easy Ambrosia Fruit Salad

Quick and Easy Ambrosia Fruit Salad

Whip up a classic ambrosia fruit salad with Cool Whip, sour cream, fruit, and mini marshmallows. Easy southern side dish recipe for every holiday dinner!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Instructions

  1. Before you get started mixing, be sure to drain all the liquid off each can or jar of fruit. I use my can strainer for this task.
  2. In addition to draining the cherries, you'll also need to rinse, stem, and slice the cherries in half. Although be sure to save a few cherries with stems to top off your salad when serving.
  3. In a large bowl, fold together the whipped cream and sour cream until blended and smooth.
  4. Fold in the oranges, pineapple tidbits, and sliced cherries.
  5. Fold in the mini marshmallows, nuts, and coconut until well blended.
  6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before scooping into small serving bowls.

Notes

Any leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator.

*You can use any whipped cream or whipped topping, including homemade whipped cream.

*If you can't find pineapple tidbits, you can use crushed pineapple instead.

*You can use white or multi-colored mini marshmallows.

*You can use pecans or walnuts, or no nuts at all.

CAN I MAKE AMBROSIA AHEAD OF TIME?

Yes, you can! In fact, it helps the flavors all meld together if you let it sit for at least an hour or two before serving. Feel free to make it the day before and chill it overnight for serving the next day.

And that brings me to the next question…

HOW LONG WILL IT KEEP IN THE FRIDGE?

Ambrosia salad with Cool Whip will keep in the fridge for about 2-3 days. After that it'll start to get a bit yucky, so you'll want to eat it up those first couple days.

CAN I FREEZE IT?

I wouldn't recommend freezing ambrosia. It's best to make this salad day of or day before and just chill it in the refrigerator.

If you freeze this fruit salad, all of your fruit will likely get very soggy and watery and just be kind of a mess.

SUGAR FREE OPTIONS FOR AMBROSIA

Seeing that this is a salad with fruit and marshmallows, it may prove difficult to make it completely sugar-free; but there are ways to cut down on the sugar…

  • Use sugar-free whipped cream.
  • With the fruit, you'll want to be sure there's no sugar added and that it's canned in 100% fruit juice, not syrup.
  • Look for sugar-free marshmallows. If all you can find are bigger marshmallows, you can cut them into smaller pieces.
  • And as for the coconut, you'll need to use unsweetened coconut flakes instead of sweetened.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 310Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 52mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 3gSugar: 20gProtein: 3g

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