The recipe prices will vary based on fluctuating grocery costs. Please use what is posted as a guide.
This Ambrosia Salad recipe is quick and easy, with a time-saving hack that we have been making in our families for over forty years. Through the years of making this, we have been able to create the perfect ratio of ingredients, so you and your family can enjoy it without worrying about if it will turn out or not.
Our recipe serves eight and costs approximately $7.74 to make. That works out to be about $0.96 per serving.
Ambrosia Salad With Cool Whip
Do you need a simple and refreshing side dish to bring to your next potluck, holiday dinner, or family picnic? We have an oldie but goodie for you that checks all the boxes.
The tropical fruit medley or dessert salad is a simple recipe that is made in one bowl in about ten minutes!
This creamy Ambrosia Salad is made with cool whip, marshmallows, coconut, mandarin oranges, pineapples, and cherries. The sour cream adds a bit of tang to the refreshing fluffy salad and is a sweet treat that pairs well with savory dishes.
Make this Ambrosia Salad recipe for a potluck, picnics, family gatherings, Easter dinner, or any time you have a crowd to feed. It is a definite crowd-pleaser for kids and adults alike!
What is Ambrosia?
Ambrosia is translated to mean “food of the Gods.” When this recipe was first created in the South, it was made with foods considered hard to find and luxurious. Hence the name Ambrosia, because it was made for special occasions. We may not have to use hard-to-find ingredients to make it today, but it is still a special treat for any occasion!
Why you’ll love this Ambrosia Recipe
- Recipe Hack to Save Time: We use store-bought Cool Whip in our recipe instead of making homemade Cool Whip. Adding the pre-made tub to the other ingredients in the recipe is super fast and tastes just as delicious.
- Nostalgic Appeal: This recipe will remind you of the times your Grandma brought this dish to your family gatherings.
- Creamy Texture and Sweet Taste: The creamy Cool Whip mixed with the sweet fruit medley is delicious.
- Simple Preparation: You can do the prep work for this recipe in ten minutes!
Ingredients & Cost
- 8 oz container Cool Whip – $0.82
- ½ cup sour cream – $0.44
- 10 oz can mandarin oranges – $0.95
- 15 oz can pineapple tidbits – $1.99
- 16 oz jar maraschino cherries – $2.54
- 1 cup mini marshmallows – $0.22
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut – $0.78
To learn more about how we price our recipes, check out Budget Recipes Explained.
Ambrosia Salad Recipe Variations and Substitutions
- Instead of canned mandarin oranges, you can use 1 cup of segmented fresh oranges like Cuties, Clementine, or Mandarin. Once segmented, cut them into ½-inch pieces.
- You can also use fresh pineapple cut into ½-inch pieces instead of the canned pineapple. You will need about 1 ¼ cup of the cut-up pineapple.
How to make Ambrosia
- First, fold together the Cool Whip and sour cream in a large bowl.
- Next, fold in the oranges, pineapple, cherries, marshmallows, and coconut.
- Then cover with plastic wrap and set it in the fridge to chill for at least one hour.
- Finally, garnish the salad with mini marshmallows, shredded coconut, and maraschino cherries before serving.
***For complete recipe instructions, see the recipe card below.
Get Kids Involved in making Fruit Salad with Cool Whip
Ages 2-3: A fun counting activity might be having your little one count how many mini marshmallows it takes to fill up one cup measuring cup.
Ages 4-5: Ask your child to help garnish the top of the salad. They can learn about patterns by giving them various patterns with oranges, cherries, and shredded coconut.
Ages 6-8: This is an easy recipe for your child to practice making on their own with your help and guidance as needed. Ask them to pre-measure the ingredients before mixing them all.
Ages 9-11: Supervise them while they prepare the entire recipe. Remember to have them read it twice before beginning the recipe.
Ages 12+: Let them prepare the entire recipe unsupervised while you do the happy dance in the corner!
SERVE: You can serve this salad immediately or store it in the fridge until ready to serve. If you plan to make it ahead of time, you can make it up to two days in advance without adding the marshmallows or garnishes on top, as they will get soggy. Then, wait until you are ready to serve the salad before mixing in the marshmallows and final touches on top.
STORE: Leftovers will stay fresh for about 3-5 days when kept in an airtight container in your fridge.
FREEZE: This salad does not freeze well as the texture is no longer soft and fluffy as it defrosts, so we do not recommend freezing it.
- Large bowl
- Rubber spatula
- Measuring cups
Ambrosia Budget Tips
We love bringing this dish to a potluck or family gathering. It can feed a crowd for an affordable price.
MORE SIDE DISH RECIPES
- Asparagus in the Oven
- Cherry Salad
- Raspberry Pretzel Salad
- Healthy Waldorf Salad
- Hash Brown Casserole
- Mom’s Crockpot Broccoli Casserole
- Green Bean Casserole
- Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots
- Mashed Potatoes with Cream Cheese
- Seven Layer Salad
MORE FROM EASY BUDGET RECIPES
- large bowl
- rubber spatula
- measuring cups
- 8 oz container Cool Whip thawed
- ½ cup sour cream
- 10 oz can mandarin oranges drained
- 15 oz can pineapple tidbits drained
- 16 oz jar maraschino cherries drained, patted dry, and cut in half
- 1 cup mini marshmallows multi-colored or regular
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
GARNISHES: (all optional)
- Mini marshmallows multi-colored or regular
- Sweetened shredded coconut
- Maraschino cherries
- In a large bowl, fold together the Cool Whip and sour cream.
- Fold in oranges, pineapple, cherries, marshmallows, and coconut.
CHILL, GARNISH, AND SERVE:
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.
- Garnish the ambrosia salad with mini marshmallow, shredded coconut, and maraschino cherries before serving (all optional, but they sure make the salad pretty!).
- Serve and enjoy.