Make ordinary fruit salad extraordinary with this old-fashioned Southern Ambrosia recipe. Various fruit is coated in a sweet yet tangy cream sauce with pops of texture from coconut, pecans, and mini marshmallows.
With spring upon us and Easter coming up, Southern tastebuds are turning to fruit and salads. Today I’m sharing with you our Ambrosia recipe, which is a classic Southern fruit salad. It’s one of those old-fashioned dishes you will see at all types of Southern gatherings and holidays.
We’re no strangers to fruit salad recipes here at Southern Plate. Over the years, we’ve shared recipes for everything from Watergate salad to Southern grape salad to fruit salad with vanilla pudding and the iconic 5-cup fruit salad. Well, now it’s time for this Southern Ambrosia recipe to shine.
There are many different ways of making this but we like to be flexible and use a mix of fresh and canned fruit. That way, this is a convenient salad you can whip up any time of the year. Today, we’re combining fresh apples with mandarin oranges, fruit cocktail, and pineapple chunks. We mix this together with sugar and sour cream to make a sweet, creamy, and tangy sauce. Then comes the flavor and texture bombs! We’re talking about coconut, pecans, and mini marshmallows.
The instructions are as simple as mixing the ingredients together and then letting it chill for several hours so all the flavors can mingle and marry. Then when it’s time to serve, let me tell y’all, Southern Ambrosia salad never lasts long at any gathering down here. Creamy, delicious, and so so easy to make, I hope you get to try this recipe soon.
- Pineapple chunks
- Sour cream
- Fruit cocktail can
- Mandarin oranges
- Mini marshmallows
- Shredded coconut
Helpful Kitchen Tools
How to Make Southern Ambrosia Salad
Place the pineapple juice in a small bowl and add in the chopped apple.
Stir to coat and then set aside.
Place the sugar and sour cream together in a large bowl and stir until well combined.
Drain the apples and discard the juice.
Then add them to the sour cream mixture.
Add the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl.
Stir well to combine.
Cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving.
Let it chill for at least an hour or up to overnight.
When it’s time, grab a big serving bowl and get ready for it to disappear in a blink of an eye!
Here’s my bowl. Enjoy!
Store Ambrosia salad leftovers covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. It’s best eaten within a day.
- Firstly, coconut flakes are a traditional ingredient in Ambrosia salad. But if you don’t want to include them, you definitely don’t have to.
- For a creamier salad, stir in a thawed 8-ounce tub or 1 cup of Cool Whip or whipped topping when you mix together the sugar and sour cream. You can also use homemade whipped cream or heavy cream.
- You can use granulated sugar or powdered sugar.
- Want a Hawaiian spin on Ambrosia salad? Substitute the pecans for chopped macadamia nuts and add chopped papaya.
What is Southern Ambrosia salad made of?
Traditionally, Southern Ambrosia is a fruit salad made of various fruits, including oranges and pineapples, coated in coconut and a creamy sauce. However, these days you can mix in all sorts of added extras and fruit, like apples, peaches, or bananas.
What fruit can you use in Ambrosia salad?
You can use any kind of canned or fresh fruit in this Southern Ambrosia recipe. Some other suggestions: berries like strawberries or blueberries, banana slices, canned peaches, grapes, grapefruit, fresh orange segments, maraschino cherries, or pomegranate seeds.
What country does Ambrosia salad come from?
Ambrosia salad comes from the United States and more specifically, the Southern United States.
Why is it called Ambrosia salad?
Ambrosia salad is named after the food of the Greek and Roman gods.
Do you taste the sour cream in ambrosia salad?
Because it’s only a 1/2 cup, the sour cream gives the salad just a slight tang. But it also helps to cut down the fruit salad’s overall sweetness and adds that creamy texture. However, if you don’t want to use it, you can substitute it for Greek yogurt instead.
How long does ambrosia last in the refrigerator?
You’ll find storage advice above. But Southern Ambrosia will last in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Can you freeze Ambrosia salad?
Technically, you can freeze Southern Ambrosia salad. However, once you freeze it you can’t thaw it, as it’ll become a mushy mess. So if you do freeze it, you’ll have to serve it from frozen.
Looking for even more fantastic fruit salad recipes?
- 1 20-ounce can pineapple chunks, drained and juice reserved
- 1 large apple, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 15-ounce can fruit cocktail, drained
- 2 15-ounce cans mandarin oranges, drained
- 1 cup mini marshmallows
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- Place the pineapple juice in a small bowl and add in the chopped apple. Stir to coat and set aside.1 20-ounce can pineapple chunks, drained and juice reserved, 1 large apple, peeled and chopped
- Place the sugar and sour cream together in a large bowl and stir until well combined.1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup sour cream
- Drain the apples (discard juice) and add them and all other ingredients to the sour cream mixture.1 15-ounce can fruit cocktail, drained, 2 15-ounce cans mandarin oranges, drained, 1 cup mini marshmallows, 1 cup chopped pecans, 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- Stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving.