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Ambrosia Salad

The ultimate holiday treat: old-fashioned Ambrosia Salad.
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ambrosia salad

Ambrosia Salad is the old-fashioned fruit salad that takes its name from Greek mythology.

Ambrosia is the food and drink of the Greek Gods, and this exceptional little salad is deserving of its name. It’s truly fabulous.

It’s considered a Christmas tradition in the United States, particularly in the South, where it first started appearing in cookbooks in the late 1800’s.

It may have taken a few decades, but the good news eventually spread to Australia, with the recipe appearing in Australian newspapers from the early 1900’s.

For me, it’s something my Nan Mac made when I was very young and something that popped up now and again at parties throughout my childhood.

I haven’t seen it for a while – but I have never forgotten the joy of Ambrosia Salad.

recipe for ambrosia

A few ingredients = much joy

There are many versions of this recipe, however common ingredients include pineapple, coconut and marshmallows.

And there’s usually another fruit in there somewhere.

The dressing is generally a creamy one, but again there are a variety of things used to make the dressing.

ambrosia recipe
Recipe clippings from Trove.

This recipe uses many of the usual ingredients and one ingredient that I found in recipes from the 1930s: maraschino cherries.

Ambrosia Salad has always been served at special events, and the cherries add that little extra that makes the salad seem so festive. They add the wow factor to something that is already amazing.

Can you use glace cherries instead?

Well, technically you could. However, maraschino cherries are quite distinct and just so wonderful. I recommend sticking with the maraschino cherries. Find them in the cocktail section of liqueur stores or specialty stores.

I also use a whole orange in this recipe, as the citrus gives the salad a lovely lift.

The cream dressing I’ve chosen is just light sour cream.

I think this balances out the flavours a lot better than a sweeter cream.

ambrosia ingredientsjpg

Making Ambrosia Salad

You can literally put this salad together in 10 minutes.

Chop up the orange.

Drain the pineapple.

Take the stems off the cherries (apart from a few that you’ll reserve for decorating).

Mix it all together.

Chill and decorate with cherries before serving.

ambrosia salad recipe closeup

Ambrosia Salad FAQs

How long will the salad last?

The salad lasts a few days in the fridge.

Can I make it up in advance?

You sure can. Make it up a day before so the flavours can develop.

Can I substitute the ingredients?

You could, this is just my preferred version of the salad.

Look at the newspaper clippings above in the post to get some variation ideas.

Do you have any other awesome salad recipes?

If you like this salad, you might also like Potato SaladCurried Rice Salad and Brocolli and Cauliflower Salad.

ambrosia salad

Ambrosia Salad

The ultimate holiday treat: old-fashioned Ambrosia Salad.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert, Salad
Cuisine: Australian
Keyword: ambrosia, ambrosia salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 162kcal


  • 1 large orange
  • 440 grams canned pineapple pieces
  • 100 grams mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • 225 grams maraschino cherries
  • 250 grams light sour cream


  • Peel orange and remove pith and seeds. Chop into small pieces.
  • Drain pineapple pieces.
  • Remove stems from all cherries except a few (for decorating).
  • Add orange pieces, pineapple pieces, marshmallows, coconut flakes and cherries (apart from few with stems) and sour cream in a large bowl. Stir well to combine.
  • Chill before serving and decorate with remaining maraschino cherries.


Calories: 162kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 25mg | Potassium: 160mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 130IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 1mg
Recipe Rating

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