This is the original, classic Ambrosia Salad recipe, which is also known as 5 cup salad. Our Grandma’s didn’t used to make ambrosia salad with Cool Whip, it used to be sour cream – and let me tell you, once you try this you aren’t going back to edible oil products in your ambrosia salad again!
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good cool whip salad like my Watergate Salad Recipe, but there is something about this 5 cup salad that uses sour cream to offset the sweet ingredients that is perfect.This is the way that ambrosia salad was made first, and then the whipped cream versions (which are still good!) are the ones that you now see more commonly. This version I have seen
How to Make Ambrosia Salad
First, to make the classic ambrosia salad you need only 5 ingredients. The “5 cups” is a loose interpretation as we use a can of pineapple and a can of mandarin oranges and not a cup, it’s not literal. You combine all of the ingredients together and refrigerate until the marshmallows are softer and have expanded. It doesn’t get any easier than that!
The 5 Cup Salad Ingredients:
- 1 cup of mini marshmallows ( white is traditional)
- 1 cup of sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup of sour cream
- 1 can of mandarin oranges, drained
- 1 can of pineapple chunks, drained
Ambrosia is served as a dessert salad
Ambrosia salad is a dessert salad, meaning that it’s sweeter but still graces the table at the same time as the main meal. This is a very retro way to serve it, nowadays dessert salads are left until the last until, well, dessert time. Ambrosia salad is very popular at Christmas and is served on the table alongside turkey, ham and whatnot. Think of the jello salad (with cat food hahaha!) in that Christmas movie classic, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. It’s on the table with the (dried out) turkey. That’s what a dessert salad is, something sweet alongside all of the savory.
I find that this version lends itself to being a real dessert salad more than the one with whipped cream, as that one I find is a true dessert. This one is a good one to serve on the table with the main meal, the sour cream really foils the sweet ingredients nicely.
Karlynn’s Tips & Tricks for Making Ambrosia Salad
- You can substitute in low fat sour cream and you have a great low fat dessert for those of you that need lower fat recipes (gallbladder removal patients, etc.)
- You can also substitute in a flavoured yogurt instead of the sour cream, it’s not the classic taste but it’s delicious as heck! Vanilla yogurt really makes the flavours come together nicely.
- You can add in ingredients as you see fit. As you can see in the ambrosia salad video, I like to top mine with pecans to add a nice crunch and of course, a maraschino cherry for a pop of color!
So who else loves the 5 cup salad version? It’s really one golden oldie of a recipe and I think I will be making it again for Christmas this year – and maybe a nice green jello catfood salad….
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Original Ambrosia Salad (Nana's 5 Cup Salad)
This is the original, classic Ambrosia Salad recipe, which is also known as 5 cup salad. This is the ambrosia salad version with sour cream.
- Prep Time
- 10 minutes
- Total Time
- 10 minutes
- Karlynn Johnston
- ambrosia salad
- 1 11 oz can of whole mandarin oranges, drained
- 1 8 ounce can of pineapple chunks, drained
- 1 cup miniature marshmallows
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup sour cream
Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Stir together until combined thoroughly.
Cover the top with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a 3-4 hours. Serve cold and enjoy!
If you use low fat sour cream, this is a great low-fat dessert for those of you that need to eat lower fat.
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.