This classic Ambrosia Salad recipe is filled with mandarin oranges, pineapples, cherries, marshmallows, coconut, and Cool Whip. The mix of fluffy, creamy textures and juicy fruit is irresistibly delicious. Make this sweet marshmallow fruit salad as a tasty treat for holidays, potlucks, and everything in between!
What’s in Classic Ambrosia Salad?
Canned fruit, vanilla yogurt, marshmallows, and Cool Whip come together in to make this classic sweet salad.
- Fruit: Canned mandarin oranges, pineapple tidbits, and maraschino cherries are the classic fruits for this whipped salad. A little bit of sweetened shredded coconut adds texture, too!
- Yogurt: I like to use full-fat vanilla yogurt, but low-fat will also work.
- Marshmallows: Mini marshmallows work best for this fruit salad because they’re bite-sized!
- Cool Whip: Makes this Ambrosia salad light and fluffy. Be sure to thaw it if you buy it frozen!
Pro Tip: If you can’t find mini marshmallows, you can use kitchen scissors to cut larger marshmallows into quarters.
Variations on Marshmallow Fruit Salad
You can use 2 drained 15.5-ounce cans of fruit cocktail in place of all of the fruit in this recipe. For a fresher, more homemade ambrosia salad, you can use fresh oranges, pineapple, and cherries. Be sure to pit the cherries! You can also use stabilized whipped cream in place of the Cool Whip.
Trademark Note: In the spirit of transparency, I want to note that some of these ingredients are trademarked products. Cool Whip is a proprietary brand that I want to acknowledge and give credit to.
Ambrosia salad is an old-fashioned marshmallow fruit salad, sometimes called 5 cup salad. It’s a mix of fruit (usually pineapple and oranges), marshmallows, and a creamy dressing (yogurt and Cool Whip).
It’s often called ambrosia salad due to the fact that the ingredients used to be quite exotic and expensive. In Greek mythology, ambrosia was the magical fruit of the gods that gave them immortality.
Ambrosia is a very sweet fruit salad, with a bit of tanginess from the yogurt to balance things out. The bright citrus of the oranges and pineapple comes through beautifully. It’s mainly sweet, fruity, and citrusy.
That’s up for debate! Many people enjoy marshmallow salad as a traditional side dish at Thanksgiving or Easter, while others enjoy it as a sweet treat after a meal.
Yes, you absolutely can use canned fruit cocktail to make this salad. It’s a great shortcut! Use 2 15.5-ounce drained cans of fruit cocktail in place of all of the fruit ingredients.
How to Store
Store leftover ambrosia fruit salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I do not recommend freezing this salad.
This classic marshmallow and fruit ambrosia salad is a great dessert or side dish! Serve it at your Fourth of July barbecue along with some barbecue chicken, patriotic puppy chow, or a strawberry shortcake trifle.
Ambrosia Salad Recipe
- 11 ounces canned mandarin oranges in light syrup 312 grams, drained (1 small can)
- 8 ounces canned pineapple tidbits in 100% pineapple juice 227 grams, drained (1 small can)
- 1 cup maraschino cherries 170 grams, drained and stemmed
- ½ cup vanilla yogurt 113 grams
- ½ cup shredded sweetened coconut 43 grams
- 2 cups fruit-flavored mini marshmallows 86 grams
- 8 ounces Cool Whip 227 grams, thawed if frozen (1 tub)
- Mix the oranges, pineapple, cherries, yogurt, and coconut in a large mixing bowl.11 ounces canned mandarin oranges in light syrup, 8 ounces canned pineapple tidbits in 100% pineapple juice, 1 cup maraschino cherries, ½ cup vanilla yogurt, ½ cup shredded sweetened coconut
- Fold in the marshmallows and cool whip.2 cups fruit-flavored mini marshmallows, 8 ounces Cool Whip
- Allow the mixture to chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- You can use fresh mandarin oranges and fresh pineapple in place of canned
- You can use 2 drained 15.5-ounce cans of fruit cocktail in place of all of the fruit in this recipe.
- Maraschino cherries will turn your Cool Whip pink. I recommend adding them right before serving to avoid this
- Ambrosia salad can be left out of the refrigerator for up to 2 hours, but I recommend serving it cold because the whipped cream dressing will start to melt after just 30 minutes.