Ambrosia Salad Recipe With Fruit Cocktail

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How I Rediscovered My Favorite Dessert Salad

Easy Ambrosia Salad Recipe | Cool Whip and Fruit Cocktail Recipe

When my mother-in-law cleaned out her house, I inherited my husbands grandmothers old recipe cards. I thought I had hit the jackpot. Recipes galore from a nostalgic past.

No trendy vegan gluten-free paleo recipes in the bunch. Just good old-fashioned yum.

The first night I tried the recipe for ambrosia salad, my husband got excited.

Fruit salad! he said with a happy gleam in his eye.

Well, ambrosia salad, dear, I replied.

No, its fruit salad. I had it all the time as a kid. Ambrosia is a drink.

Well, Google Home soon straightened him out, as only Google Home can. The fruit salad of his childhood was, in fact, a 1950s ambrosia salad recipe.

Not the original 3-ingredient ambrosia salad made back in the 1800s with orange slices, grated coconut, and sugar. But rather a more classic version many of us remember from family Christmas parties.

Some people call it 5 Cup Salad because you throw in 1 cup of each type of canned fruit, plus 1 cup of marshmallows. Five cups exactly.

Now that might seem like an easy recipe to remember. But the problem today is that no can of fruit contains exactly 1 cup.

Maybe in the 1950s you got exactly 1 cup of fruit in every can. But not anymore.

Which means if you are very picky, you would have to buy 2 cans of each fruit. And then use 1 can plus part of the other can to make 1 cup. What a pain.

However, a salad can have varying amounts of individual ingredients without throwing the recipe off .

The Perfect Sweetness And Fluffiness In Every Bite

It was incredibly easy to make and when I took my first bite, oh my goodness I was in love! That was the best thing Id ever had. It was sweet, but not too sweet, it was fluffy, creamy and absolutely perfect. The combination of whipped cream and sour cream surprised me and though I was skeptical at first, I realized it was perfect!

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What Is In An Ambrosia Salad What Is Essential What Can You Leave Out

Lets talk about 1950s ambrosia salad for a crowd. You know. The salad you remember from potlucks and family parties.

THE FRUITS: A classic ambrosia salad consists of canned mandarin oranges, pineapple, and maraschino cherries, along with fresh grapes.

Can you add other fruits? Or leave some out? Sure. Canned peaches or pears are a common addition. Or maybe you want to leave out the mandarin oranges. Do it.

Some people just use a couple of cans of fruit cocktail instead of cans of individual fruits. Not my style, but go for it if that suits your taste.

THE SWEET SURPRISE: Mini marshmallows are a must to make ambrosia salad for a crowd.

Use mini marshmallows, not the big smores size. I prefer white marshmallows, but if you like the fruit flavored Jet-Puffed FunMallows, go for them.

GIVE ME SOME CRUNCH:Coconut and walnuts lend a crunch to an otherwise soft fruit salad.

COCONUT: Classic ambrosia salad contains coconut. It is one ingredient used in the very first recipe.

Use unsweetened coconut because this salad is sweet enough already. Tone down the sweet a little.

If you use dry coconut, make sure it is in small shreds. Otherwise the texture will be disruptive.

When you use dried coconut, refrigeration before serving the salad takes on new importance.

When coconut sits with the sauce and fruit juices, it softens. Soft coconut gives a pleasant texture in the salad.

However, canned coconut is not easy to locate, so go with dried or fresh.

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How Long Is Ambrosia Salad Good For

When working with whipped cream you need to be mindful of storing and serving. If you want something more stable to keep out longer, swap for store-bought Cool Whip which can stay out for up to 2 hours without melting.

  • Serve: Do not leave Ambrosia salad out for more than 2 hours, the whipped cream dressing may start to melt after 30 minutes, so it is best served out of the refrigerator fresh.
  • Store: Ambrosia salad will last in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, wrapped tightly.


This salad tastes the best when its served cold, so its perfect for making the night before and refrigerating until youre ready to serve.


  • Do not freeze Ambrosia Salad fully prepared and then defrost to serve as pictured because the ingredients will release water as they defrost and this will cause the whipped cream dressing to break.
  • You can freeze ambrosia salad in a baking dish, wrapped tightly. Then use an ice cream scoop and eat it like ice cream.
  • If you want to make this salad ahead of time, I would make the whipped cream and freeze it or use store-bought Cool Whip instead for a quicker preparation. Then when youre ready, defrost in the refrigerator, and add the fruit pieces right before serving.

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How To Make Ambrosia Salad For A Crowd

Fruit Cocktail Fluff {a.k.a. Easy Ambrosia Salad}

If you have a potluck or party, you will need enough ambrosia salad for a crowd. The classic 1950s ambrosia salad recipe makes about 5 cups or 10 servings.

If you need ambrosia salad for a crowd, I recommend tripling the recipe for 30 servings. A large mixing/serving bowl wont hold more than that amount.

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Vintage Ambrosia Salad Dessert Recipe

There are different versions, some with sour cream, some without, some with cream cheese, and so on. As long as there are lots of maraschino cherries, Im there. This popular no-bake dessert is a quick and easy bring along that you can whip up in a short amount of time.

If youre looking for an easy yet extremely satisfying dessert that everyone is bound to enjoy, then this Ambrosia Salad is the one for you! Packed with mandarin oranges, pineapple tidbits, fruit cocktail, marshmallow, maraschino cherries, and a simple Jell-O pudding this dessert has all the flavorful punches youre craving!

YOU MIGHT LIKE THIS TOO:Grandmas Cherry Fluff

How To Make My Easy Ambrosia

This is one of those recipes thats so easy, anyone could make it!

Start by stirring together the thawed whipped topping and the vanilla yogurt.

Using a spatula, carefully fold all of the remaining ingredients into the yogurt mixture. Do this gently so that you dont break up the fruit or smash the marshmallows too much.

Let the salad chill in the refrigerator for several hours before serving and youre done!

Since this needs to chill before serving, its a great recipe to make ahead. I would say you could make it as early as the night before you plan to serve it.

If youre feeling fancy, garnish the bowl with some additional maraschino cherries. Or just dig in with a spoon. I wont blame you either way!

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Ambrosia Salad Recipe With Fruit Cocktail

How to make yummy ambrosia salad recipe with fruit cocktail. Bananas, pineapple and strawberries are combined with orange juice concentrate, covered in a simple syrup and frozen for a cool salad. A refreshing medley of fruits and berries goes into paula baglole’s short and sweet recipe.

Cherry Fluff Salad with Cherry Pie Filling {& a Peek at My from

With its combination of canned pineapple, fresh apples and flaky coconut, it’s the perfect to rely on no matter the season.marsha ransom, south haven, michigan hom. “if there’s any left, we have it the next morning for breakfast.” homedishes & beveragessaladsf. “it’s a favorite dessert or side salad,” she writes. Almost any type of fruit will work in this recipe. You can capture the flavor of fresh fruit anytime of year with this recipe. Homerecipesdishes & beveragessalads our brands The first time i made it, i just used the fruits i had on hand in my refrigerator. Bananas, pineapple and strawberries are combined with orange juice concentrate, covered in a simple syrup.

Is Ambrosia A Dessert Or Salad

Ambrosia/ Canned Fruit Cocktail Salad Without Condensed Milk

I would classify it more as a dessert or sweet side dish than a salad but this can depend on how much you add to it. Some lighten it up with just fruit and a couple additions but others go all out with cool whip, marshmallows, pudding, etc.

This ambrosia recipe is definitely more of a dessert or sweet sideand its SO good!

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Why Is It Called Ambrosia Salad

The name Ambrosia salad comes from the Greek word Ambrosia which translates to immortality.

In Greek mythology, only the Gods were permitted to eat Ambrosia, where it gets the definition food of the Gods.

It is easy to see why this fluffy, fruit filled dish was given the name. Its cloud-like texture is like heaven in a bowl.

What Can I Do With Drained Juices From Canned Fruits

Our Grandma taught us to waste nothing including that sweetened juice that is often drained off of canned fruits. Heres some fun ways to use it up:

  • Drink it your kids will love it.
  • Make homemade Popsicles.
  • Add it to your morning smoothie or protein shake.
  • Put it in an ice cube tray, and freeze it for later in punch or smoothies.
  • Use it as the liquid to make Jello.
  • Add it to Iced Tea as a sweetener.
  • Make a cocktail, or a kid-friendly mocktail.
  • Use it as the liquid for a boxed white cake mix for a fruity hint of flavor.

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Ambrosia Salad Ingredient Swaps:

  • Ambrosia Salad with Cool Whip for the whipped cream in this ambrosia recipe if thats what you have.
  • Try making this ambrosia with my Homemade Marshmallows, cut into small pieces similar in size to store-bought mini marshmallows.
  • Different ambrosia recipes call for different types of fruit. Try grapes, mango, strawberry, kiwi, or banana. You can also use regular oranges instead of mandarin orange.
  • Ambrosia Salad with Fruit Cocktail: You can use fresh fruit, or store-bought fruit cocktail for a faster version.
  • Ambrosia Salad with Cream Cheese: Mix this salad with half whipped cream or cool whip and half cream cheese for a more indulgent dessert.
  • You can use canned pineapple tidbits, crushed pineapple, or cut up fresh pineapple for this salad. If youre using canned pineapple, make sure to drain it first.
  • Ambrosia Salad with Yogurt: Make this ambrosia healthier by using greek yogurt instead of sour cream, or light cool whip instead of whipped cream.
  • Ambrosia Salad with Cinnamon: Whisk ½ teaspoon of cinnamon into the whipped cream for extra flavor, or top this fruit salad with sprigs of fresh mint.


Youre making this during the holidays, so here are some easy holiday main courses!

Common Questions About Making Ambrosia Salad

Fruit Cocktail Fluff {a.k.a. Easy Ambrosia Salad}

What is ambrosia salad?

Ambrosia salad is a fruit salad that is typically served as a side dish or dessert thats made by combining mini marshmallows, whipped cream, vanilla pudding, fruit cocktail, mandarin oranges, crushed pineapple, and pecans. Its served chilled and can be made ahead of time.

What variations can I make?

There are SO many variations on ambrosia that people make depending on where you live, what decade your recipe is from, etc. Its a super flexible recipe that can be easily adjusted to your taste. Some of the most popular substitutions include

Substitutes for pudding
  • Pineapple tidbits

How long does ambrosia last?

As long as you seal the top of the salad well, you should be able to keep it for 5 days in the fridge. I do not suggest freezing it.

After about 3 days, you may have a touch of water accumulated in the bottom. This wont ruin the salad, I just drain it off.

Do I have to make pudding?

Nope! I usually just use two containers of vanilla Snack Packs for the pudding. My grandmother told me that, back in the day, they used canned pudding whereas most people use sour cream these days. I felt those were the closest to canned pudding and she approved of the taste. Any pudding will do though whether its pre-made, instant, or homemade.

Should I use coconut?

What if I cant find cans of fruit that are the exact same size?

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Whats In My Version Of This Classic Recipe

Even though we have my Nanas recipes for Pumpkin Roll and Pumpkin Crunch Cake, my family has long since lost her exact Ambrosia Salad recipe.

Naturally, I had to get to the bottom of this. So I decided to start tossing ingredients into a bowl until the salad tasted similar to Nanas.

And with a little tweaking, I most definitely succeeded!

My version includes:

  • Pineapple tidbits or crushed pineapple
  • Chopped pecans
  • Mini fruit-flavored marshmallows

While you could totally use mini white marshmallows, I really like the added color and flavor that the fruit-flavored marshmallows add to the recipe.

You could also try making this with homemade Cool Whip, but I dont know for sure how well it would work. If you try it, Id love to hear about it!

Moms Best Fruit Ambrosia Recipe

Moms recipe for delicious fruit ambrosia salad. Its made with fruit, colorful marshmallows, and crushed pecans. This ambrosia recipe is always a crowd-pleaser!

One of our favorite dessert recipes to prepare would have to be fruit ambrosia salad. Its quick & easy to make, and lets not forget about how delicious it is! Our classic ambrosia salad recipe is made with a combination of creamy cool whip and sour cream. Instead of using canned fruit cocktail, we prefer to load of ambrosia fruit salad with delicious sweet mandarins, maraschino cherries, and pineapples. We also love adding coconut & pecans to our easy ambrosia recipe, but those ingredients are optional.

So whats the secret to moms best ambrosia salad recipe? Well instead of using plain marshmallows, we actually use fruit-flavored rainbow marshmallows. Believe it or not, the marshmallows add so much flavor! We also have another ambrosia recipe that is a tad bit different, which is our ambrosia salad with jello. However, we will be sharing that recipe at a later date.

This easy ambrosia recipe can be served year-round. Its the perfect dessert for any occasion. Easter, Mothers Day, Picnics- You name it!

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How To Make Ambrosia Salad Like A Pro

STEP 1: OPEN and DRAIN the cans of fruit. No need to rinse, but you do need to drain. If you have time, drain the fruit in a mesh colander for 30 minutes.

STEP2: WASH the grapes and then CUT them in half.

STEP3: REMOVE the maraschino cherry stems if they are still attached. CUT the cherries in half. Reserve a few whole ones to top the salad.

STEP4: WHIP the cream with a hand mixer using a wire whip attachment.

STEP5: MEASURE the sour cream. MIX the whipped cream into the sour cream.

STEP6: SWEETEN with sugar .

STEP7: MIX the mini marshmallows, shredded coconut, and chopped nuts into the sour cream mixture.

STEP8: STIR in the pineapple, grapes, and cherries.

STEP9: Finally ADD the mandarin oranges and stir to combine. When you add the oranges last, they are less likely to break apart.

STEP10: CHILL at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours before serving. This chilling blends the flavors, chills the fruit, and moistens the marshmallows and coconut.

STEP 11: SERVE cold with a maraschino cherry on top.

Now this is the classic ambrosia salad you remember from your childhood. Always stir before serving.

Ambrosia salad is best served on the day it was made, but overnight preparation is acceptable.

One problem with refrigerating the fruit salad overnight is the accumulation of juice in the bottom of the bowl.

If you plan to make the salad the day before, DRAIN THE FRUIT at least 30 minutes. Do NOT skip this step.

Ambrosia Fruit Salad Recipe

How to Make Ambrosia Fruit Salad |

Heres what I use in my ambrosia:

  • Fruit cocktailYour standard canned fruit cocktail mix from right off the store shelves. Drain the juices first!
  • Pineapple chunks Use canned, unsweetened if you can, and drain the juices first.
  • Red grapes Make sure to use seedless grapes, here. You can cut them in half if youre serving to small kids or prefer smaller pieces, but its not strictly necessary.
  • Apple chunksPeel, core and chop the apple in to bite sized pieces. Green apples are my favorite, but any will work.
  • Chopped nuts I like slivered almonds or chopped pecans best, but both are strictly optional. Feel free to leave them out.
  • Vanilla yogurt Plain yogurt works here, too, although I love the vanilla flavor.
  • Mini marshmallows Add puffs of sweetness that give ambrosia its classic flavor!
  • Shredded coconutSweetened coconut flakes work great in this salad.

Making ambrosia fruit salad couldnt be any easier: You just toss everything together in a bowl and keep cold until youre ready to eat!

Just some of the flexible ingredients you can use in Ambrosia salad.

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But First What Is Ambrosia

Ambrosia is an American fruit salad typically made with a whole bunch of canned fruit tossed together with a creamy dressing commonly made with mayonnaise, whipped cream, cool whip, sour cream and or other ingredients. There are lots of variations of this recipe floating out on the internet and I submit that mine is the best.

Almost Any Type Of Fruit Will Work In This Recipe

Almost any type of fruit will work in this recipe. Arrange coconut in single layer on baking sheet With a need to cool down and plenty of delicious fruits and veggies. doris dion, lake ozark, missouri homedishes & beveragessaladsfruit s. Combine the mango, pineapple, and banan. colleen belbey, warwick, rhode island homedishes & beveragessaladsfruit salads our br. They always ask for this salad when they’re here for dinner. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, especially when our four children and nine grandchildren come to visit. My mom’s ambrosia salad, with its tasty combination of fresh fruits and creamy yogurt, is a family favorite, and a great addition to a backyard barbecue. Bananas, pineapple and strawberries are combined with orange juice concentrate, covered in a simple syrup. “if there’s any left, we have it the next morning for breakfast.” homedishes & beveragessaladsf. The first time i made it, i just used the fruits i had on hand in my refrigerator. Bake at 350° for 6 minutes or until golden. A refreshing medley of fruits and berries goes into paula baglole’s short and sweet recipe. With its combination of canned pineapple, fresh apples and flaky coconut, it’s the perfect to rely on no matter the season.marsha ransom, south haven, michigan hom.

This recipe for Cool Whip Ambrosia Fruit Salad is about as from

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