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Easy Ambrosia Salad

Grandma’s easy ambrosia salad filled with fresh coconut, pineapple, marshmallows and more. So creamy and absolutely delicious. This family favorite is one of my go-to easy fruit salad recipes!

Ambrosia fruit salad in a glass bowl.
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Ambrosia Salad (The Best Fruit Salad)

Easy ambrosia salad is a classic dessert that’s perfect for a summertime BBQ, picnic or holiday gathering! It’s sweet and creamy salad made with a combination of pineapple, mandarin oranges, shredded coconut, mini marshmallows, and whipped cream cheese. Refreshing and delicious dish, it’s also quick and easy to prepare, requiring only a few minutes of prep time just like my honey lime fruit salad or berry fruit salad

This ambrosia salad is a family recipe that’s very dear to me. The recipe came from my Grandma (along with my homemade caramels and divinity candy recipe) and is a dish that my whole family loves, especially my Uncle Harold. He would make it every time I came to visit and called it his “special dish.” We all loved it and still try to make it often.

It’s now one of my kid’s favorites too! Thanks to my grandma for this delicious ambrosia salad recipe :)


Ambrosia salad ingredients on counter.
  • Cream cheese: this is the base of the fruit salad that adds a creamy texture.
  • Mandarin oranges: make sure to drain them so it doesn’t water them down.
  • Pineapple: I like to use a combination of pineapple tidbits and crushed pineapple (drain as much juice as you can).
  • Mini marshmallows: love the sweetness these add. Feel free to use fruit-flavored marshmallows as well.
  • Coconut: this could be omitted if you don’t love it, but I enjoy the flavor it adds.

How to Make Ambrosia Salad

Showing how to make ambrosia salad in a 4 step collage.
  • Mix. Whip the cream cheese in a large bowl using an electric mixer.
  • Add. Then fold in the drained fruit, marshmallows and coconut.
  • Chill. Cover and let chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour prior to serving.


  • For a lighter version, try mixing together 8 ounces cool whip or whipped cream with 6 ounces Greek yogurt.
  • Add in more fruit like strawberries, blueberries, grapes, peaches or bananas, depending on what’s in season.
  • To add a crunch, mix in some chopped nuts like pecans.
  • You can substitute cream cheese with sour cream if preferred. Sometimes I’ll do half and half.
  • If you love cherries, feel free to fold in as many maraschino cherries as you’d like.
Spoonful of ambrosia fruit salad.

Recipe FAQs

What’s ambrosia salad made of?

It is typically made with canned pineapple, mandarin oranges, coconut and marshmallows.

Why is it called ambrosia salad?

Ambrosia is a reference to the food of the gods in Greek mythology. Since so many of the ingredients were once hard-to-find and considered luxurious, the name seemed fitting.

Can you make ambrosia salad a day head?

One of the main questions I get about this recipe is if you can make it a day ahead. The answer is yes! It needs to chill in the refrigerator before serving anyways, so that the salad forms and the flavors marinate together. If making a day ahead, I would just drain some of the liquid the next day and stir very well before serving. It will taste just as yummy and delicious!

Does ambrosia salad go bad?

As long of you keep leftovers of this classic ambrosia in the fridge covered in an airtight container it should not go bad and will last around three days.

Ambrosia salad in a glass bowl.

Other recipes we love with mandarin oranges include this salad with mandarin oranges and mandarin orange pretzel parfait!

More Fruit Salad Recipes

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Ambrosia salad in a glass bowl.

Ambrosia Salad Recipe

5 from 20 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
Grandma's ambrosia salad filled with fresh coconut, pineapple, marshmallows and more. So creamy and absolutely delicious. This family favorite is one of my go-to easy fruit salad recipes!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Refrigerate: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 12



  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese , softened
  • 2 (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges , drained
  • 1 (20-ounce) can pineapple tid bits , drained
  • 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple , drained
  • 2-3 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup shredded coconut


  • In a large bowl, whip the cream cheese until light and fluffy with an electric mixer.
  • Using a rubber spatula, fold in the oranges, pineapple, marshmallows, and coconut.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator at least 1 hour before serving.


  • Can substitute 1 block cream cheese with sour cream if preferred.
  • To add a crunch, mix in some chopped nuts.
  • When in season add fresh peaches or berries. 
  • Add in some orange zest for an extra boost of fresh flavor.
  • If you love cherries, feel free to fold in some maraschino cherries.
Make-ahead: Prepare as directed, then store in an airtight container in the fridge overnight. Right before serving, drain some of the liquid and stir very well. 


Calories: 162kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 0.2mg | Sodium: 12mg | Potassium: 246mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 403IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American

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