Sweet, creamy and light as air, this Easy Ambrosia Salad Recipe is a party in a bowl. A fun fruit salad loaded with pecans, coconut and marshmallows before being tossed in an ethereal dressing. Fantastic for any occasion!

Ambrosia Salad in a glass dessert cup with a cake stand in the background with more bowls of ambrosia in them.

Ambrosia Salad

I’m feeling nostalgic lately with the Patty Melts and Thousand Island Dressing, I don’t know what it is really but I’ve been craving all the comforts of my childhood all at once. All I want is Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes. And this Easy Ambrosia Salad recipe…..one of my all-time favorite treats from when I was a wee one. I mean, really….who wouldn’t love a fruit salad tossed with marshmallows and a whipped cream dressing?

Ambrosia Salad in a glass bowl with a cherry on top and a spoon in front of the bowl.

What is Ambrosia Fruit Salad?

If you’re not familiar with Ambrosia Salad then you’re in for a real treat! I’m actually so excited to share this recipe with you because it’s just a fun dish to have at spring and summer gatherings. It’s perfect for Easter and brunch, especially with it’s pretty pastel colors and light, sweet flavor.

And did you know….Ambrosia is the food of the gods? Well, the Greek gods…I used to be a bit of a Greek mythology nerd so when I heard the word ambrosia in class I would, literally, start to drool. Turns out the Greek gods “ambrosia” wasn’t a fluffy pastel salad made with marshmallows but I still like to think that all who eat this easy Ambrosia Salad will be eternally immortal.

I also like to think that this salad will be delivered to me in a gold challis by doves or a nymph. Yes….Greek mythology nerd. Right here.

The once hard-to-find ingredients were considered luxurious and exotic, hence the food of the gods.

Commonly served by southerners at potlucks and parties, this sweet side dish has been making an appearance at my family gatherings for years.

Glass dessert bowl with ambrosia salad topped with a cherry and a hand dipping a spoon into the salad.

How To Make Ambrosia Salad

This Easy Ambrosia Salad recipe is incredibly simple to make. You can use Cool Whip if time is tight but I urge you to make your own whipped cream.  It takes under a minute and it’s so easy to do.

I like to add a bit of vanilla to the whipped cream before folding in some sour cream. I know, it sounds a bit odd but just do it. Trust me.

Then you just toss the dressing with your pineapple, mandarin oranges, cherries, pecans, marshmallows and shredded coconut. Allow the flavors to mellow for about an hour….if you can….I cannot, I was elbow deep in the bowl by the time the last marshmallow was coated.

If you don’t want to add nuts, you can certainly leave them out but I love the crunch the pecans give the salad. If you’re looking for crunch without nuts, you can add soy nuts or even sunflower seeds (shelled, of course.)

 It’s sooooo amazingly good. And quick. And easy. And maybe not delivered by doves but it’s pretty darn epic for a simple dessert-y fruit salad.

What To Serve It Ambrosia

Ambrosia Salad is sweet like dessert so you can serve it instead of your other favorite summer desserts. I love that there’s no cooking involved.

Strawberry Pretzel Dessert with a bite taken out of it.

More Easy No Bake Desserts

If you like this easy Ambrosia Fruit Salad then you’ll want to try these other no bake classics.

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Ambrosia Salad in a glass bowl with a cherry on top and a spoon in front of the bowl.

Get the Recipe: Easy Ambrosia Salad Recipe

Is it dessert, is it salad? It doesn't matter, this retro classic Ambrosia Salad is sweet, light, fluffy and easy to make.
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  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup canned mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 cup diced pineapple
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup multi-colored mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup sliced maraschino cherries, plus a few whole cherries for garnish


  • 1 hand mixer


  • In a medium bowl, beat the sugar, cream and vanilla with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold in the sour cream, set aside.
  • In a large bowl, toss together the oranges, pineapple, pecans, coconut, marshmallows and cherries.
  • Fold the dressing into the salad. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Serve with the remaining cherries.


YouTube video


Ambrosia Salad can be made up to 3 days in advance. Chill in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Serving: 1g, Calories: 378kcal, Carbohydrates: 29g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 30g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 38mg, Sodium: 20mg, Potassium: 220mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 19g, Vitamin A: 668IU, Vitamin C: 17mg, Calcium: 51mg, Iron: 1mg