Cool, creamy, sweet, and tangy this Ambrosia Fruit Salad recipe is the perfect dessert salad for your summer potlucks! Better yet, just keep a bowl of it stashed away in your fridge for when you’re craving something sweet! I won’t judge.
I’ve always been a sucker for desserts I can call salads. It feels a little bit naughty to call this Ambrosia salad an actual salad, but once you’re eating it, it just feels so right, ya know? It’s kinda like trashy TV where right and wrong get convoluted.
“Who do I root for?!”
“Do I still like her/he/them?”
Oh, conflict. You’re fun! But, really…
Is Ambrosia Salad a Dessert?
I’m going go ahead and say YES! I mean, is there any other food out there made with marshmallows that isn’t a dessert? I’m thinking not. Come to think of it, I’ve called both of these Raspberry Oreo Fluff, and Cranberry Fluff recipes salads as well. Hmmm.
What is Ambrosia Salad?
This ambrosia fruit salad is a vintage recipe, and I’m pretty sure you’ve eaten some version of it in your lifetime. It’s a pretty simple recipe that includes crushed pineapple, mandarin oranges, cool whip and shredded coconut. But I think my version is the “ULTIMATE” (!) because I stir sour cream, vanilla and lemon juice in with the cool whip! This adds a little extra creaminess, flavor, and brightness that most recipes don’t have.
Tips For Making Ambrosia Fruit Salad
- Drain your mandarin oranges and crushed pineapple very well. I typically place them both in a colander first thing and let them drain off their juices into a bowl until I’m ready to stir them in. Getting as much juice drained off as you can will ensure a nice, fluffy salad that isn’t bogged down with extra juice. I love using these strainers for draining things like canned fruit.
- Use full-fat Cool Whip and Sour Cream for best texture and creaminess. Low-fat and non-fat products contain stabilizers that don’t always play well with highly acidic foods like pineapple and oranges.
- Mix the salad very gently. Mandarin oranges are particularly fragile, and while still tasty, the salad won’t look as pretty if the oranges are broken up into segments
Can Ambrosia Salad Be Made Ahead?
Yes! This is one of my favorite things about this type of fruit salad! It keeps very well in the fridge, unlike other fruit salads that brown or turn mushy after a day. For best results, follow the guidelines outlined above about draining, mixing, and using the right ingredients.
Ultimate Ambrosia Fruit Salad
Cool, creamy, and sweet, this Ambrosia Salad is perfect for summer potlucks or just for snacking on when you need something sweet and fruity!
- 8 ounces full-fat cool whip
- 1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 20 ounces crushed pineapple well drained
- ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 11 ounces mandarin oranges well drained
- 10 ounces mini marshmallows
In a large bowl whisk together cool whip, sour cream, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Stir in crushed pineapple and coconut until well combined.
Fold mandarin oranges and marshmallows into the bowl, mixing until all ingredients are combined.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
The Indulgent Life
We’re T-minus 6 days from school being out of school for the summer, and it’s been a crazy whirlwind of dance recitals, gymnastics meets and softball games for my kiddos. I’ve sat more hours on aluminum bleachers the last month that I probably have my entire life. Or maybe my body just feels it more these days. 😉
We’re super proud of our kiddos and all they are accomplishing, but I’m ready for summer and a less demanding schedule! Which really just means I’ll be working on the RV more, but at least that doesn’t involve cold, wiggly, back-torturing bleachers.