Best Ever Ambrosia Salad

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Ambrosia Salad is filled with mandarin oranges, pineapple, maraschino cherries, coconut,  and marshmallows and mixed in a fluffy cool whip! This is a potluck classic! 

Quick and easy side dish that can be made in minutes with ingredients that are on hand! Creamy Grape Salad Recipe, Best Ever Creamy Pea Salad with Bacon or Classic Potato Salad Recipe are a few more of my go-to potluck side dishes.

Ambrosia Salad on a black plate.

Ambrosia Salad

Now I am going to be the first to admit that I am not above cool whip or marshmallows in a fruit salad. I mean, we grew up on this Pistachio Salad when I was little. And no potluck is complete in Utah without a cool whip marshmallow salad. I love them!

I am always making Ambrosia Salads for potlucks. Why haven’t I put this out on the blog until now!? This is a true potluck classic.

I love how it is filled with pineapple, cherries, mandarin oranges, crunchy pecans and mixed into a cool whip sour cream fluff of glory! ha! No potluck is complete without this cool and creamy summer salad and I know that your family is going to love it!

How Do You Make Ambrosia Salad?

  • In a large mixing bowl add cool whip and sour cream and mix.
  • Fold in pineapple, cherries, mandarin oranges, coconut, chopped pecans, and marshmallows until combined.
  • Cover and chill for at least an hour or overnight.

What is Ambrosia Salad?

Ambrosia is an American variety of fruit salad. Most ambrosia recipes contain: canned or fresh pineapple, canned mandarin orange slices or fresh orange sections, miniature marshmallows, and coconut.

Ambrosia Salad ingredients in a glass bowl.

Can you make Ambrosia Salad a day ahead?

You can make ambrosia salad a day ahead. It is always best to let fruit salads chill to let the cream settle and fruits to chill.

How long can you keep Ambrosia Salad in the fridge?

Properly stored fruit salads will last 3-5 days in the fridge.

Can you freeze Ambrosia Salad?

You can; however I do not recommend it. You will want to place the Ambrosia Salad in a airtight container. Serve while it is still frozen with an ice cream scoop or something similar.

Leave the Ambrosia Salad in the fridge to defrost if you would like to enjoy it fresh. Add the Mandarin oranges after it is defrosted.

What can you substitute cool whip with?

Mix ⅓ cup softened butter with ¾ cup milk for a whipping cream substitute. Using an electric mixer will help achieve the desired consistency. This is not a dairy-free option, but it works if you are out of whipping cream and need it for a recipe. This ratio is the equivalent of 1 cup of cream.

What can you substitute sour cream with?

Go for whole-milk Greek yogurt: The yogurt closest in texture and flavor to regular sour cream is whole-milk Greek yogurt. While you can use plain regular yogurtinstead, it might be worthwhile to strain some of the liquid out of it first so that it thickens up slightly.

mixing ambrosia salad.

Can you use fresh fruit?

Yes! Fresh fruit will taste great with this salad. You will want to pat the fruit dry before adding it to the salad.

What other ingredients can be added to the Ambrosia Salad?

  • Mango
  • Strawberry
  • Kiwi
  • Grapes
  • Banana
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts
  • Cashews

Looking for more delicious potluck salads?! Look no further:

close up on ambrosia salad.

Best Ever Ambrosia Salad

4 from 2 votes
Ambrosia Salad is filled with mandarin oranges, pineapple, maraschino cherries, coconut, and marshmallows and mixed in a fluffy cool whip! This is a potluck classic!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Servings: 6 people


  • 8 ounce cool whip thawed
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 (15 ounccan mandarin oranges drained
  • 1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
  • 3/4 cup maraschino cherries without stems, sliced in half
  • 3 cup marshmallows I like using the multi-colored flavored marshmallows
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup pecans chopped


  • In a large mixing bowl add thawed cool whip and sour cream and stir until combined. Add in the mandarin oranges, pineapple, cherries, marshmallows, coconut and pecans.
  • Stir until combined and chill salad for at least 1 hour or overnight.



Serves: 6

Serving6peopleCalories374kcal (19%)Carbohydrates50g (17%)Protein4g (8%)Fat20g (31%)Saturated Fat9g (45%)Cholesterol16mg (5%)Sodium112mg (5%)Potassium169mg (5%)Fiber2g (8%)Sugar35g (39%)Vitamin A185IU (4%)Vitamin C0.2mgCalcium73mg (7%)Iron0.7mg (4%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword potluck, salad, side salad, ambrosia, whipcream salad
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic



Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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Leave a reply
  1. I would omit the walnuts because some people cannot have them or chew them. Best to leave on the side and people will take some if they want to. All the rest of the ingredients look good! I would make and serve this at a gathering or maybe just to eat and enjoy at home.

  2. 4 stars
    Fours stars because this is usually a good recipe. However, make sure you have very ripe pineapple, otherwise this comes out tart rather than sweet even with all that other flavors.

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