Grandma's Ambrosia Salad Recipe

Grandma’s Ambrosia Salad

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Growing up, one of my favorite memories was visiting my grandmother’s house every Sunday afternoon. Her kitchen was always filled with the comforting aroma of home-cooked meals, and no gathering was complete without her signature dish: Grandma’s Ambrosia Salad. This classic fruit salad was a staple at our family gatherings, especially during the warmer months when fresh fruit was abundant.

The beauty of Grandma’s Ambrosia Salad lies in its simplicity and versatility. It’s a vibrant medley of pineapple chunks, mandarin orange sections, sliced bananas, and strawberries, all brought together with shredded coconut and mini marshmallows. What sets this salad apart is the creamy dressing made from heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract, powdered sugar, and a hint of yogurt, creating a light yet indulgent treat.

One of the reasons this salad holds a special place in my heart is the memories of preparing it with my grandmother. She had a way of making cooking feel like an adventure. I can still picture us in her cozy kitchen, with me standing on a stool to reach the counter, carefully folding the whipped cream into the fruit mixture under her watchful eye. She always emphasized the importance of using fresh ingredients whenever possible, a lesson that has stuck with me through the years.

Over time, I’ve experimented with a few tweaks to Grandma’s original recipe, and I found that adding a touch of cornstarch to the whipped cream helps stabilize it, ensuring a perfect consistency every time. For those who prefer a tangier flavor, using plain yogurt instead of vanilla yogurt can provide a subtle tartness that balances the sweetness of the fruit and marshmallows.

Another delightful variation I’ve tried is incorporating different fruits based on what’s in season or what I have on hand. Blueberries, raspberries, and even chunks of mango can add a unique twist to the traditional mix. Additionally, for a tropical flair, a sprinkle of toasted coconut on top just before serving adds a delightful crunch and enhances the coconut flavor.

Serving this salad at family gatherings always brings back fond memories of my grandmother and the love she poured into every dish she made. It’s a crowd-pleaser that both kids and adults enjoy, making it a perfect addition to picnics, potlucks, and holiday feasts.

In the spirit of sharing and preserving cherished family recipes, I invite you to try making Grandma’s Ambrosia Salad. Whether you stick to the classic ingredients or put your spin on it, this delightful fruit salad is sure to become a favorite in your household, just as it has been in mine.

Preparing Grandma’s Ambrosia Salad


  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups mandarin orange sections (canned or fresh)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 2 medium bananas (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups pineapple chunks (canned or fresh)
  • 1 pound strawberries (sliced)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice


  1. In a large bowl, mix together the pineapple, mandarin oranges, bananas, strawberries, shredded coconut, and lemon juice. Then, add the mini marshmallows and stir gently.
  2. In another bowl, use a mixer to whip the heavy cream until it begins to thicken. Add the vanilla extract, and slowly incorporate the powdered sugar and cornstarch. Continue whipping until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Carefully fold in the yogurt.
  3. Combine the whipped cream mixture with the fruit mixture. Gently stir until all ingredients are well coated. Refrigerate until serving.

Grandma's Ambrosia Salad (2)


Can I use frozen fruit for ambrosia salad?

While fresh or canned fruit is recommended, you can use frozen fruit. Be sure to thaw and drain the fruit well to avoid excess moisture in the salad.

How long can I store ambrosia salad in the refrigerator?

Ambrosia salad can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Make sure to cover it tightly to maintain freshness.

Is it possible to make ambrosia salad ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare ambrosia salad a day in advance. However, for the best texture and flavor, add the marshmallows and whipped cream mixture just before serving.

What can I substitute for heavy cream in this recipe?

If you need a substitute for heavy cream, you can use an equal amount of Greek yogurt or a combination of milk and butter (3/4 cup milk mixed with 1/4 cup melted butter).

Why is my ambrosia salad watery?

If your ambrosia salad is watery, it could be due to excess liquid from the fruit. Make sure to drain canned fruit well and pat fresh fruit dry. Also, be sure not to overmix the salad.

Grandma's Ambrosia Salad Recipe

Grandma's Ambrosia Salad

Make Grandma's Ambrosia Salad with our easy-to-follow recipe. A delightful fruit salad that's perfect for picnics and family gatherings.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Chill 28 minutes
Course Dessert, Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 8


  • 1 1/2 cups pineapple chunks fresh or canned
  • 1 1/2 cups mandarin orange sections fresh or canned
  • 2 medium bananas cut into slices
  • 1 pound strawberries cut into slices
  • 1 cup shredded coconut unsweetened
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt


  • In a large bowl, combine the pineapple, oranges, bananas, strawberries, coconut, and lemon juice. Add in the mini marshmallows and mix gently.
  • In another bowl, whip the heavy cream with a mixer until it starts to thicken. Add the vanilla extract, then gradually mix in the powdered sugar and cornstarch. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Gently fold in the yogurt.
  • Combine the whipped cream mixture with the fruit mixture. Stir gently until everything is evenly coated. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Keyword Ambrosia

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