Easy ambrosia recipe for you that just takes a few ingredients and is really yummy. Dessert side dish with fruit and marshmallows our whole family loves.
This easy ambrosia recipe is a yummy sweet side dish that was always at our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. I thought everyone made this until I got married. Then I went to my in laws house for the holidays the first year and asked “where is the ambrosia?” I quickly realized it wasn’t something that everyone made, so I made it the next year. It was a HIT! If you’ve been looking for how to make this sweet pineapple mandarin oranges with mini marshmallows dish, we’ve got it. (originally published 5/16, post may contain affiliate links)
- There are seriously only 5 ingredients to this classic ambrosia salad recipe. Throw it all together in a serving bowl, let it chill and you can even serve it with a dollop of cool whip on top. Now that’s an easy dessert for the holidays.
You can use fresh pineapple but typically I use canned (chunks or bits) so I can throw it all together in less than 5 minutes. Serve it right away or better yet leave it in the fridge for an hour or so before serving. The fruit cocktail, marshmallows and coconut soak up the “juice” and thicken it up which makes this ambrosia even more amazing!
This is what you need to make this easy ambrosia recipe:
- Pineapple – I like tidbits rather than chunks (drained but keep about 1/4 c. of the juice to add to your recipe)
- Mandarin oranges
- Plain white or fruit flavored marshmallows
- Sweetened shredded coconut
- Sour cream
- could substitute greek yogurt if you really wanted
- Optional add ins
- Chopped walnuts
- Maraschino cherries
- Whipped cream can be added to top of each serving
You can use less or more coconut. Or leave it out if it isn’t your favorite, I’m kinda’ obsessed though. I have used light sour cream and regular and there isn’t too much of a difference so if you want to save a few calories just use the light version. If you think sour cream would taste weird, it isn’t what you’d think. With all the sweet juices it just makes this thick but isn’t the traditional taste straight out of the container. Tastes more like heavy cream in this dish.
You can omit the marshmallows too but quite frankly that is the kids’ favorite part and you can call it dessert if you want. It is sweet enough and my kids have opted for an ambrosia dessert rather than ice cream before.
- A great side dish for any BBQ or occasion. If you love our easy ambrosia recipe you should try our creamy fruit salad too. A bit different but a similar idea though using fresh fruit and the dressing is a bit different.
Why is it called ambrosia?
The word “ambrosia” actually means delicious or fragrant. The word also was used to describe the magical fruit of the gods in ancient Greek mythology. The gods on Mount Olympus ate ambrosia to maintain immortality and without it they became weak. It is also said that the gods bathed in ambrosia and used it as perfume. Who knew??
Where did fruit salad originate?
One of the oldest fruit salad is compote. This originated in England in the 17thcentury. A traditional fruit salad is prepared with ingredients like fresh seasonal fruits, which have been diced or sliced and mixed together. The addition of cherries, coconut and other ingredients came later.
After you make this try our pistachio pudding ambrosia recipe too.
Can I make fruit salad the night before?
Since ambrosia doesn’t contain fresh berries that can smash, or apples that can brown you can. I personally prefer to make this first thing in the morning, cover it, and leave it in the fridge all day. It gets sweeter that way. If you want to thin it out before serving just add a bit of pineapple juice.
- For fresh salads, you could cut and slice pieces the day/night before. Bananas are best left out of fruit salads, as they get “slickery”. Once cut, rinse white fruits in an acid liquid such as orange or pineapple juice or lemonade to reduce browning.
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Here’s a printable recipe card for you too. Nutritional information with saturated fat etc are listed below but seriously, it’s the holidays. Just enjoy it and ignore all that boring stuff. 😉
Easy Ambrosia Recipe
- Add all ingredients together except marshmallows.
- Stir until coated
- Gently fold in marshmallows and make sure everything is creamy and coated. Slowly add in the pineapple juice you set aside until it is the consistency you want.
- Cover bowl and refrigerate for the best results, at least an hour.