Classic Ambrosia Salad is a quick and easy vintage recipe made with colorful fruit, mini marshmallows, and coconut in a creamy sweet dressing.
If you are in need of a super quick and easy recipe to bring to a party or potluck, look no further. This Ambrosia salad, also called 5 cup salad, can be whipped up in less than 15 minutes, and it is loved by all.
This Ambrosia Salad is a vintage recipe that features canned fruit, making it easier to find ripe, juicy ingredients. Summer oranges are not always the best, but canned fruits are always the ripest of the bunch. Bright juicy fruit with sweet mini marshmallows and coconut swim in a creamy, sweet, and tangy dressing
Even though it’s not a “salad” by the traditional green lettuce standards, this Ambrosia salad is light, refreshing and can be made ahead of time, which makes it perfect for parties and potlucks.
What is Ambrosia Salad?
Ambrosia salad is an American fruit salad. A salad only in the sense that it’s a mixture of produce and has a dressing of sorts.
In ambrosia salad, the salad consists of canned or fresh pineapple, canned or fresh mandarin orange slices, mini marshmallows, shredded coconut, and possibly nuts such as pecans or walnuts.
For the dressing, this dish uses a mixture of sour cream and whipped cream for sweet and tangy creamy base to bring this salad all together.
Why is it called Ambrosia?
Back in the 19th century, when Ambrosia salad was first made, the ingredients were considered new, luxurious, exotic, and often difficult to find.
The salad was a special treat reserved for holidays and special occasions, and called “ambrosia” after the food of the Greek and Roman gods (The Greek myth said that ambrosia gave immortality to anyone who ate it.).
Why Sour Cream?
There’s a lot going on in this salad, including quite a few sweet ingredients such as the marshmallows, homemade whipped cream, and even the fruit, which is naturally sweet.
To counteract all that sweetness, sour cream brings in just a touch of tanginess. Plain Greek yogurts would also work the same way, but you really do need a little something to cut all of that sweetness.
Can you Freeze Ambrosia Salad?
I really love to freeze everything humanly possible, but I wouldn’t recommend freezing this salad. When it thaws it will become watery and soggy, and the texture just won’t be the same.
Ambrosia salad is best when made fresh and served within 3 days.
More Fruit Salad Recipes You’ll Love
- Watergate Salad – a unique mixture of ingredients that you would never think would work, but actually taste amazing.
- Homemade Fruit Salad – a bright healthy fruit salad featuring fresh berries and grapes.
- Berry Cheesecake Salad – a creamy dessert salad with fresh berries in a creamy cheesecake dressing.
- Snickers Caramel Apple Salad – crunchy apple pieces, gooey candy bar bits, and plenty of caramel all in a creamy pudding dressing.
- 1½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup sour cream
- 3 cups mini marshmallows
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1 can pineapple tidbits (15 ounces) drained
- 1 jar maraschino cherries without stems (10 ounces) drained and patted dry
- 1 can mandarin orange wedges (11 ounces) drained
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- In a large mixing bowl, add cream, sugar, and vanilla. Beat until soft peaks forms. (We're making homemade whipped cream! You know the consistency 😉)
- Fold in sour cream until combined.
- Fold in all remaining ingredients.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before servings to allow to set and flavors to meld. Serve cool.
- To skip a step, use frozen whipped topping instead of making homemade whipped cream with the first 3 ingredients. Just make sure to thaw it first!
- You can use plain white marshmallows for the pretty multi-color fruit flavored ones.
- Be sure to pat dry your maraschino cherries or your whole dessert will be very pink.
- If you’d prefer to swap out the canned fruit for fresh fruit, use about 1.5-2 cups chopped fresh fruit. Try using chopped grapes and fresh pineapple, cherries, and oranges.
- Storage: Store covered in the refrigerator. Ambrosia salad is best when made fresh and served within 3 days.
- Make Ahead: This Ambrosia salad can (and should!) be made ahead. It’s best to let it chill for at least 2 hours, so making it the morning or night before will work perfectly.
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