Ambrosia Salad

Ambrosia Salad

This classic ambrosia salad recipe combines mandarin oranges, pineapple, coconut, bananas, strawberries, marshmallows, and creamy whipped topping for a fruity, sweet chilled side dish. The tropical fruit salad resembles the mythical food of the gods – hence the name “ambrosia.”

This fruity ambrosia salad is a classic recipe dating back to the late 1800s. The combination of tropical fruits and fluffy whipped cream is supposed to resemble the food of the gods – hence the name “ambrosia salad.” While traditional recipes call for maraschino cherries, we like using fresh strawberries instead. Mini marshmallows add an extra touch of sweetness and texture. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Can this be made ahead of time?

Yes, just prepare the entire salad up to a day in advance, cover tightly, and refrigerate. Give it a brief stir before serving.

What kind of coconut works best?

Unsweetened coconut flakes or shredded coconut work equally well. Sweetened flakes add extra sweetness. Avoid using large coconut chunks.

Can I use frozen fruit instead of fresh?

Not recommended. Frozen fruit will release too much liquid as it thaws and make the salad soggy.

How long will leftovers last?

Up to 3 days stored covered in the refrigerator. The fruit may start to discolor or the whipped cream may deflate over time.

Can I substitute Greek yogurt for regular?

Yes, they are interchangeable. Use your preferred variety.

Yield: 8 side dish servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus 1 hour chill time

Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes


  • 4 cups (400g) mandarin orange segments, fresh or canned (drained if canned)
  • 3 1/3 cups (133g) unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 medium bananas, sliced
  • 1 pound (450g) strawberries, sliced
  • 4 cups (600g) diced fresh or canned pineapple (drained if canned)
  • 1⁄4 cup (60ml) lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons (24g) powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (105g) mini fruit-flavored marshmallows
  • 1 cup (237ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1⁄2 cup (125g) plain Greek yogurt


  1. If using canned fruit, drain the juice. Slice bananas, strawberries, and pineapple into bite-sized pieces. Place the fruit into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Pour the lemon juice over the fruit and toss gently to coat. This helps prevent browning.
  3. Add the coconut flakes and marshmallows. Toss again until combined. Set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.
  5. Gradually add the powdered sugar and cornstarch as you continue to whip. Beat until stiff peaks form.
  6. Fold in the vanilla extract and Greek yogurt until just combined.
  7. Gently fold the whipped cream mixture into the bowl of fruit until everything is evenly mixed.
  8. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving to allow flavors to develop.
  9. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Keeps covered in the fridge for 2-3 days. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:

Calories: 348, Fat: 17g, Carbohydrates: 46g, Protein: 5g


  • Feel free to mix and match fruits depending on what you have on hand or your personal preferences. Some other good options are raspberries, blueberries, grapes, or cherries.
  • If your fruit releases a lot of juices, drain periodically while preparing the salad to prevent it from getting too soggy.
  • Toast the coconut flakes for 5-10 minutes before adding for deeper flavor. Just spread on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F, stirring halfway.
  • For a kid-friendly version, use gummy bears instead of marshmallows.
  • For a lower sugar option, use less marshmallows and powdered sugar or leave them out completely. The fruit and whipped cream provide enough sweetness on their own.
  • Make it boozy! A splash of rum, amaretto, or orange liqueur complements the citrus flavors nicely. Stir it into the whipped cream.
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