Orange Coconut Salad


Today, I’m going to share with you one of my favorite recipes for Orange Coconut Salad. It’s a good dish for family gatherings because the recipe feeds many people and it’s easy to make. The combination fruit and coconut taste great together. When I make this recipe, everyone raves about it!

Classic Fresh Orange and Coconut Ambrosia

Prep:15 mins

Cook:0 mins

Chill Time:60 mins

Total:75 mins

Servings:6 serving

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This is a classic Southern salad, and this is the basic version. Navel oranges are sweetened and served with coconut. Many people add miniature marshmallows to the salad, and other fruits may be added. Try it with pieces of apple, sliced bananas, or peaches. Toss some grapes or berries with the ambrosia and top it with toasted pecans.


  • 4 large navel oranges
  • 6 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups coconut (grated, fresh) or 1 can (3 1/2 oz.) coconut (flaked)
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. Peel oranges, being careful to remove all outer white membrane. Cut oranges crosswise into thin slices, about 1/8 inch thick.
  3. Layer a third of slices in a serving bowl. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the confectioners’ sugar, then with 1/3 cup coconut and 1 tablespoon orange juice. Repeat the layers two more times. 
  4. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Easy Ambrosia Salad

Ambrosia salad, also known as 5 cup salad, is an easy to make side dish (or even dessert).

Just 5 ingredients, one cup of each, makes this sweet salad a holiday favorite.

This Ambrosia Salad recipe was a staple at my Grandma’s holiday dinner table. 

A fluffy ‘salad’ that really isn’t a salad at all, this side dish recipe (also known as 5-Cup salad) has a creamy base with coconut shreds, pineapple, oranges, and miniature marshmallows.

What is Ambrosia Salad?

A classic ambrosia salad has a place on the table at potlucks, for Easter, or even Thanksgiving dinner! So, what exactly is that fruit salad with marshmallows? Ambrosia literally means ‘food of the gods’ but it also a tasty side dish. While it’s called a salad, this is more like a dessert recipe.

It starts with a creamy base and the addition of:

  • mandarin oranges
  • pineapple tidbits
  • mini marshmallows
  • coconut

Ambrosia Recipe Variations

The possibilities for ingredients in this recipe are endless.

  • The base in this recipe is sour cream or Greek yogurt (both of which sweeten from the marshmallows) but you can use vanilla yogurt, cream cheese or even whipped topping (like Cool Whip) or whipped cream. I have also seen cottage cheese in some versions but we prefer a smooth texture.
  • Try other goodies including maraschino cherries or nuts like walnuts or pecans.
  • Trade the mandarin oranges and pineapple for canned fruit cocktail or peaches.
  • If you’d prefer, skip the cans and fold in fresh fruit like grapes, bananas, blueberries, and/or strawberries!

How to Make Ambrosia Salad

Ambrosia Fruit Salad is a great side to whip up if you are short on time!

  1. Drain all pineapple and oranges (per recipe below).
  2. Add all ingredients to a large bowl and gently fold.
  3. Let chill in the refrigerator at least 4 hours.

Notes & Tips

  • Be sure to make this salad ahead of time so it has a chance to sit, this helps blend the flavors and makes the marshmallows soften which sweetens the recipe.
  • Drain all fruit ingredients well so the dish isn’t watery.
  • Gently fold in the mandarin oranges last as they can be fragile and break apart.
  • Sour cream can be substituted with Greek yogurt or plain yogurt.

Ambrosia Salad Recipe

Classic Ambrosia Salad – perfect for parties and potlucks!

Ambrosia is a simple and delicious dessert salad that goes great with just about anything!

Back in the day this classic Ambrosia salad made an appearance at almost every family BBQ and summer picnic. Ambrosia is the perfect last minute, easy to make side dish!

While growing up our family spent almost every summer weekend at the lake swimming, grilling, relaxing and playing. Mom always packed a terrific layout of amazing dishes, which we all devoured. Grilled hamburgers with all the trimmings, and an amazing array side dishes including coleslaw, macaroni salad, potato salad and baked beans, were all frequently served at these events.

We also enjoyed a lot of homemade ice cream at our family lake parties. Tutti Frutti was one of Moms favorite flavors, while chocolate chip or Rocky Road was mine.

And sometimes we were lucky enough to have a big bowl of this unique and delicious Ambrosia Salad on the buffet. I recently dug out Mom’s old recipe, which she called Mandarin Orange Salad, and am sharing it with you today. This is truly one of the easiest crowd-pleasing bowls of deliciousness anybody can make, with no kitchen skills required!

What is Ambrosia Salad?

Ambrosia is an American invention made with a variety of fresh or canned fruits, coconut and marshmallows. Our recipe calls for drained, canned fruit and chopped nuts for a nice contrast. Grapes, bananas and fresh berries are also popular add-ins.

The fruit is mixed into a base of sour cream, mayonnaise, whipped cream, Cool Whip, pudding, yogurt or cottage cheese. As you can see, Ambrosia can be dramatically different from recipe to recipe. However, one thing is certain, if you’ve never tried Ambrosia before, let’s fix that right now!

Another great salad made with fresh fruit and berries is this Alton Brown classic with vanilla dressing. Fruit salads are always welcome at picnics, potlucks and BBQs!

How to make Ambrosia Salad:

To make our easy salad you’ll need these ingredients:

  • Sour Cream – as mentioned above, some recipes use mayonnaise, yogurt or whipped cream as the base. We prefer sour cream which is tangy enough to balance the sweetness of the other ingredients. You can substitute half the sour cream with a good quality full-fat plain Greek yogurt, with great results.
  • Canned crushed pineapple – you’ll need one large can of crushed pineapple in juice, not syrup.
  • Miniature Marshmallows – use fun colorful marshmallows, if desired.
  • Shredded sweetened flake coconut – use unsweetened coconut if desired. However, I think you’ll find this salad is not too sweet, as is.
  • Chopped nuts – we prefer walnuts for this salad but pecans work well too! Toast the nuts to add another dimension of flavor to the salad.
  • Jarred Maraschino cherries – with stems removed, drained and sliced in half if desired.
  • Canned mandarin oranges – you’ll need a large can of oranges, well drained. We use Mandarin oranges canned in syrup.

To make this simple salad:

  1. In a large mixing bowl combine the sour cream with the drained, crushed pineapple. Don’t over drain the pineapple making it dry. A little juice is good.
  2. Add the marshmallows, coconut, walnut and cherries.
  3. Finally, gently fold in the oranges. Mandarin oranges are a little fragile so don’t overmix or they may break apart. That’s why we add them last.
  4. Garnish with extra nuts and coconut, and serve!

Can you make Ambrosia Salad the night before serving?

While this salad only takes minutes to make, you can make it ahead and chill until needed. This Ambrosia salad doesn’t get soupy, wet or break down in any way. In fact, those cute little marshmallows soak up some of the liquid turning them into softer, pillowy bites that are pretty fantastic.

Even after sitting overnight, the marshmallows don’t fall apart, they just become a little soft. If making the night before store the salad in an airtight container. When ready to serve, give it a quick, gentle turn with a spatula and pour into a serving bowl. Garnish with extra nuts and coconut and serve!

How long does Ambrosia last?

You might think I’m crazy, but this salad will almost last a week. Unless of course you have someone like my husband in your household. He can eat this salad for any meal of the day and will until it’s gone. I always make sure we have enough so he can have leftovers.

It keeps well and tastes fresh for 5 to 7 days. However, Ambrosia is best served the day it’s made. Our fruit salad recipe is easily cut in half, if desired. But don’t forget leftovers are pretty terrific, so be sure and make a big bowl!

Grandma’s 5 Cup Creamy Fruit Salad Recipe

Only 5 ingredients are needed to make our Grandma’s 5 cup creamy fruit salad: pineapple, mandarin oranges, coconut, marshmallows and . . . SOUR CREAM. While not a typical creamy salad, it’s a timeless classic that we grew up with and all love. And it comes together in a matter of minutes! It’s a perfect side dessert salad to serve, especially in the summer months.

This Grandma’s 5 Cup Creamy Fruit Salad recipe comes straight from our Grandma!

Our sweet grandma is an amazing cook. Every holiday, we would head over to her house for a delicious dinner and this salad made an appearance all the time.

It’s so simple to make – you just dump it all in a bowl, stir it together, and you’re done! It’s a great recipe to have on hand for your summer picnics, serving big crowds, or bringing to family gatherings.

I never thought to ask what the ingredients were in this recipe – 2 cups of fruit, 1 cup of coconut, 1 cup of marshmallows, and 1 CUP OF SOUR CREAM.

I couldn’t believe it – SOUR CREAM?!

Well, you better believe it!

I don’t typically care for the taste of sour cream, but you would NEVER know that is what holds this salad together! I think that the sweetness of all the sweet fruit, coconut, and marshmallows offsets the sour of the cream. It’s the perfect combination!

I would highly recommend making this the day you plan on eating it (it won’t hold up as well the next day), but make it at least 2-3 hours before serving. Let it chill in the fridge, and the sour cream will soak up all the sweetness of the fruit.  That’s what makes it taste delicious and so sweet and creamy. It’s such a simple fruit salad but makes for the perfect sweet treat!


I get it – it really is a strange ingredient in a fruit salad.

But – don’t knock it until you try it. Seriously. Just try it and see how it goes.

However, if you really don’t want to use sour cream, you could swap it out for whipped cream, Cool Whip, vanilla yogurt, or Greek yogurt. You could even try and do a 1/2 cup of sour cream and a 1/2 cup of one of the mentioned substitutes. No matter what you choose to do, it’s a great dish that the entire family will love.


If there is an ingredient that you don’t like (such as coconut flakes), feel free to leave it out and substitute it for something else.

There are lots of ways that our readers have shared about how they make this salad. Here are some of their ideas below:

  • add in chopped walnuts or pecans for added crunch
  • to make it sweeter, stir in a little bit of powdered sugar – it will also offset the tartness from the sour cream
  • add in a small jar of diced maraschino cherries
  • add in a can of drained fruit cocktail (drained)
  • add in dried cranberries and a dash of cinnamon
  • stir in 2 Tablespoons of instant lemon pudding mix for a lemon-taste
  • use Pina Colada flavored yogurt in place of the sour cream
  • top with corn flakes for an added crunch
  • add diced apples (if you don’t like coconut, apples are a great alternative because of the crunch)
  • add halved grapes (red or green)
  • add sliced bananas
  • add some marshmallow creme in with the sour cream to sweeten it up


  1. Canned Mandarin Oranges
  2. Crushed Pineapple
  3. Mini Marshmallows
  4. Coconut
  5. Sour Cream

It’s time to make Grandma’s 5 cup creamy fruit salad, and here’s how:

In a large mixing bowl combine the drained oranges, pineapple, marshmallows, coconut, and sour cream.

Stir until completely mixed together.

You could serve it immediately after mixing together, but we recommend that you refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours so that the sour cream can be sweetened by the fruit.

Here are some fun variations that are delicious in this fruit salad: chopped nuts for some added crunch, add in a little powdered sugar for sweetness, add in some diced maraschino cherries, add in various fruits – both canned or fresh. The options are endless with this salad.

Other tips on making our 5 Cup Creamy Fruit Salad:

  • If you are using canned fruit, but sure to drain it VERY well! If you don’t you will have a soggy salad by the time you are ready to eat it. Some people even blot the canned fruit with a paper towel to get off the excess liquid (I have never needed to do this – just make sure that it’s very thoroughly drained).
  • I do not recommend making this salad more than a few hours before serving, otherwise the marshmallows tend to get soggy and it’s not quite as good.
  • However, if you do have leftovers, you can keep them in the fridge for 2-3 days in an airtight container. Excess liquid will gather at the bottom of the dish, so you can either drain that before eating OR add in some extra marshmallows to absorb it and add some life back into the salad!)

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