Southern-Style Ambrosia Salad

Years ago, the decadent sweet iconic dessert Southern Ambrosia Salad would start as a simple three-ingredient dessert recipe consisting of only freshly grated coconut, orange pulp or sliced oranges, and a bit of sugar, these days it has become the epic experience depending on who is in charge of making this vintage Southern Dessert.

My recipe for Ambrosia Salad is the very one my momma made on special occasions such as the Christmas holidays, potlucks, family gatherings in the summer, and so forth when we were children; laden with fluffy white marshmallows, sweet coconut flakes,  fresh pineapple chunks, juicy mandarin orange segments, homemade whipped cream, and sour cream.

 

Years ago, the decadent sweet iconic dessert Southern Ambrosia Salad would start as a simple 3 ingredient dessert recipe consisting of only freshly grated coconut, orange pulp or sliced oranges, and a bit of sugar, these days it has become the epic experience depending on who is in charge of making this vintage Southern Dessert. Did that girl say, “Her momma used sour cream?” Oh yes, I most certainly did Y’all, there would be no such thing as vanilla yogurt or cottage cheese added in this beautiful Southern concoction of my momma’s. Sour cream maybe a little more fattening, but you have no idea the delicious, wonderful flavor it lends this wonderful dessert we fondly call Ambrosia Salad.

Have you ever wondered what the word “Ambrosia” means? If you were to look it up in the dictionary, you would see it has a beautiful meaning that seems so fitting for this fabulous dessert salad we call Ambrosia Salad.

 

 

 

Years ago, the decadent sweet iconic dessert Southern Ambrosia Salad would start as a simple 3 ingredient dessert recipe consisting of only freshly grated coconut, orange pulp or sliced oranges, and a bit of sugar, these days it has become the epic experience depending on who is in charge of making this vintage Southern Dessert.

 

 

 

 

The Definition of Ambrosia

  1. The food of the Greek and Roman gods :
  2. The ointment or perfume of the gods
  3. Something extremely pleasing to taste or smell
  4. A dessert made of oranges and shredded coconut.

 

 

 

Historically, recipes that were explicitly titled, Ambrosia began to appear in the last 25 years of the 19th century in American cookbooks. Before this period, several recipes were reasonably similar to Ambrosia titled by different names. I have also noted by a historical timeline of Ambrosia Salad there are many variations of the method for ambrosia, all containing the critical ingredient of coconut. Just like any recipe from our past, this recipe sure has evolved.

 

 

 

 

Years ago, the decadent sweet iconic dessert Southern Ambrosia Salad would start as a simple 3 ingredient dessert recipe consisting of only freshly grated coconut, orange pulp or sliced oranges, and a bit of sugar, these days it has become the epic experience depending on who is in charge of making this vintage Southern Dessert.I also want to warn Y’all that in some Southern homes the traditional Ambrosia recipe will still merely be a simple combination of Coconut flakes, fresh oranges, and sugar, so when visiting an old school, more conventional Southern home around the holidays; don’t be surprised if their version does not contain all the add-ons we have placed in a once three ingredient recipe.

Below you will find our family recipe for Southern-Style Ambrosia Salad, which has gone strong since the ’70s; it’s a bit more dramatic than the original but still so yummy on the first bite and every single bite afterward.

 
 

 

 

Items needed to make Southern-Style Ambrosia Salad

  • One cup heavy whipping cream
  • Two tablespoons of finely granulated sugar
  • Six ounces sour cream
  • Three mandarin oranges  peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • Two and 1/2 cups of fresh pineapple cut into small pieces
  • Five cups of miniature white marshmallows
  • One cup of coconut flakes
  • One cup of well-drained maraschino cherries
  • Toasted chopped pecans optional
  • Fresh mint sprigs

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 from 8 votes
Years ago, the decadent sweet iconic dessert Southern Ambrosia Salad would start as a simple 3 ingredient dessert recipe consisting of only freshly grated coconut, orange pulp or sliced oranges, and a bit of sugar, these days it has become the epic experience depending on who is in charge of making this vintage Southern Dessert.
Southern-Style Ambrosia Salad
Prep Time
20 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 
Years ago, the decadent sweet iconic dessert Southern Ambrosia Salad would start as a simple 3 ingredient dessert recipe consisting of only freshly grated coconut, orange pulp or sliced oranges, and a bit of sugar, these days it has become the epic experience depending on who is in charge of making this vintage Southern Dessert.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keyword: ambrosia, Coconut, Orange, salad
Servings: 8 People
Author: hmccallum
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons Granulated sugar
  • 6 ounces Sour cream
  • 3 Mandarin oranges peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • Fresh pineapple chopped into small pieces
  • 5 cups Miniature white marshmallows
  • 1 cup Coconut flakes
  • 1 cup Well-drained maraschino cherries
  • ½ Toasted chopped pecans optional
  • 8 Fresh mint sprigs
Instructions
  1. Place the heavy whipping cream and the finely granulated sugar into a cold glass or cold metal bowl, using a handheld mixer with the whisk attachments, whip the heavy cream and finely granulated sugar until stiff peaks are formed and it becomes whipped cream.Fold in the 6-ounces of sour cream gently.
  2. Next add the chopped mandarin oranges, fresh chopped pineapple, miniature white marshmallows, coconut flakes, and 3/4 of the maraschino cherries, reserving the remaining cherries to top the finished Ambrosia salad.
  3. Refrigerate for 2+ hours before serving
  4. You can optionally garnish the finished Ambrosia salad with mint and toasted chopped pecans.
  5. Enjoy at any time of the year Southern-Style Ambrosia salad is often also enjoyed in the summer months and ALWAYS makes an appearance at the Christmas holidays.

 

 
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Years ago, the decadent sweet iconic dessert Southern Ambrosia Salad would start as a simple 3 ingredient dessert recipe consisting of only freshly grated coconut, orange pulp or sliced oranges, and a bit of sugar, these days it has become the epic experience depending on who is in charge of making this vintage Southern Dessert.

 

 

10 thoughts on “Southern-Style Ambrosia Salad”

  • I will have to admit – it is not that often that you can see an ambrosia salad recipe these days, so this recipe is quite unique in the first place. And I like the ingredients that you mixed here – definitely giving it a try soon!

  • I think this is the only salad I haven’t tried yet lol Very intrigued with the ingredients and excited to make it. And thank you for all the insights on Ambrosia recipe differences. Very helpful!

  • I don’t think I made anything similar in quite a long time, so super excited to try this salad. It certainly looks delicious!

  • I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this recipe being I have never had because I was afraid to try it when my AUnt used to make it. Man have I been missing out. This recipe ROCKS!

  • Thanks for a fantastic recipe the entire family went nuts for. We really enjoyed this recipe. My mom said, it reminded her of her mother’s. This will be made from here out the way you made yours.

  • This looks really simple which is good as I am no cook lol. Cross your finger and say a small prayer I am going to try making it

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