Classic Ambrosia Salad – 5 Cup Fruit Salad

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Classic Ambrosia Salad is the perfect vintage recipe to bring back fond memories of holiday meals of the past. This 5 Cup Fruit Salad is a simple recipe to make and even easier to remember with only a handful of simple ingredients.

This particular southern ambrosia salad comes from my trusty Pot O’Gold Cookbook. The original author called it by two names – Five Cup Salad and 24 Hour Salad. Why did they have such specific names for it?

Five Cup Salad: With only five simple ingredients (coconut, sour cream, mandarin oranges, canned pineapple and mini marshmallows), the recipe calls for only 1 cup of each ingredient.

24 Hour Salad: The original recipe recommends that you let this marshmallow salad sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours before serving to let the flavors develop, the marshmallows to plump and the texture to set up.

Classic Ambrosia Salad with Sour Cream Recipe:

Many vintage salads use a base of Cool Whip; this version is an ambrosia with sour cream. It’s the perfect balance of tang from the sour cream to counteract the sweetness from the canned fruit, coconut and marshmallows.

Let’s talk about the marshmallows. They act like little sponges, soaking up the flavors and plumping to a soft texture.

5 Cup Fruit Salad

Why is it called 5 Cup Salad?

The recipe literally takes 5 cups of ingredients.

  • Mini marshmallows, 1 cup
  • Sweetened coconut, 1 cup
  • Drained mandarin oranges, 1 cup
  • Drained pineapple chunks, 1 cup
  • Sour cream, 1 cup

Ambrosia Salad with Sour Cream

You’ve probably eaten some type of fruit salad with sour cream and marshmallows. It’s made an appearance at parties, potlucks, family reunions and holidays for decades. That’s because it’s yummy, simple to make, and can be prepped ahead.

I made this for lunch during the social distancing of 2020. Most of these 5 easy ingredients are already consistently in my pantry and refrigerator. Except, I went to grab the sour cream, and low and behold, I didn’t have any. Crud! What’s a grown woman to do in this instance? I called Mom, and she rescued me. But don’t worry, the exchange of the sour cream followed the social distancing protocol.

5 cups and 24 hours later, Mom and Dad were rewarded with my marshmallow salad with sour cream (HER sour cream). And, she gave it two thumbs up.

How to Make 5 Cup Salad:

  1. Gently combine the following ingredients: drained mandarin oranges, drained pineapple chunks or tidbits, mini marshmallow, sour cream and coconut.
  2. Refrigerate for 12-24 hours to let the salad set up.

For the full instructions and ingredient amounts for Pineapple, Mandarin Orange and Marshmallow Salad, scroll to the bottom of this post. 

Our Favorite Vintage Dessert Salads

Our grandma loved her dessert salads and luckily she wrote some of her favorite recipes down and we’ve found other keepers in our old church cookbook collection.

Here are some that we’ve shared already on the blog – Lazy Daisy (Ambrosia) Salad, Pink Lady SaladCherry Fluff, Vintage Pineapple Pretzel Salad.

Notes About Ambrosia Salad with Sour Cream:

  • This marshmallow salad is very versatile. Here’s some ideas:
    • Double or triple this pineapple, mandarin orange and marshmallow salad to feed a crowd.
    • Use pineapple tidbits, chunks or the crushed version; be sure to drain before adding to the classic ambrosia salad.
    • Add maraschino cherries for a nice spin.
    • For Easter, use pastel colored mini marshmallows.
  • All of the ingredients except for the sour cream are pantry staples in our houses. Check out our Pantry Essentials in our Amazon Store.
  • This ambrosia salad with sour cream gives it a nice tang to balance out the sweetness of the marshmallows and coconut.
  • Don’t waste the drained juice from the pineapple. Make Amaretto Pina Coladas!
  • Marshmallow ambrosia is also called 24 hour salad because it tastes better and sets up perfectly after sitting in the refrigerator for a day before serving. What a perfect make-ahead recipe!
  • Try a couple of our other favorite vintage salad recipes including Cherry Fluff and Pink Lady Salad.

Classic Ambrosia Salad is the perfect vintage recipe for your next family gathering or for any day of the week.  It's a simple recipe to make and easy to remember with only 5 simple ingredients. 

Our Favorite Canned Pineapple Recipes

Canned pineapple appears in many recipes across the board of dessert to dinner. Here’s seven of our favorite recipes using canned pineapple.

  1. Cherry Almond Dump Cake
  2. Island Sweet and Sour Pork
  3. Pineapple Cheese Ball with Pecans
  4. Jalapeno Pineapple Limeade
  5. Crock Pot Baked Beans with Pineapple
  6. Slow Cooker Hummingbird Cake
  7. Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs
Classic Ambrosia Salad is the perfect vintage recipe for your next family gathering or for any day of the week.  It's a simple recipe to make and easy to remember with only 5 simple ingredients. 
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Classic Ambrosia Salad - 5 Cup Fruit Salad

Classic Ambrosia Salad is the perfect vintage recipe for your next family gathering or for any day of the week.  5 cup Fruit Salad recipe to make and easy to remember with only 5 simple ingredients. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Refrigerate12 hrs
Total Time12 hrs 10 mins
Course: Dessert, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: 24 hour salad, 5 cup fruit salad, 5 cup salad, ambrosia salad, ambrosia salad with sour cream, Classic ambrosia salad, marshmallow salad, pineapple, mandarin orange and marshmallow salad
Servings: 8
Calories: 133kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup shredded or flaked coconut
  • 1 cup canned pineapple, drained (tidbits, chunks or shredded)
  • 1 cup canned mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 cup sour cream

Instructions

  • Gently mix all ingredients together.
    Classic Ambrosia Salad is the perfect vintage recipe to bring back fond memories of holiday meals of the past.  5 Cup Fruit Salad is a simple recipe to make and even easier to remember with only 5 simple ingredients.
  • Cover and refrigerate approximately 12 to 24 hours before serving.
    Classic Ambrosia Salad is the perfect vintage recipe to bring back fond memories of holiday meals of the past.  5 Cup Fruit Salad is a simple recipe to make and even easier to remember with only 5 simple ingredients.

Notes

  • This marshmallow salad is very versatile. Here's some ideas:
    • Double or triple this pineapple, mandarin orange and marshmallow salad to feed a crowd.
    • Use pineapple tidbits, chunks or the crushed version; be sure to drain before adding to the classic ambrosia salad.
    • Add maraschino cherries for a nice spin.
    • For Easter, use pastel colored mini marshmallows.
  • This ambrosia salad with sour cream gives it a nice tang to balance out the sweetness of the marshmallows and coconut.
  • Don't waste the drained juice from the pineapple.  Make Amaretto Pina Coladas!
  • Marshmallow ambrosia is also called 24 hour salad because it tastes better and sets up perfectly after sitting in the refrigerator for a day before serving. What a perfect make-ahead recipe!
  • Try a couple of our other favorite vintage salad recipes including Cherry Fluff and Pink Lady Salad.

Nutrition

Calories: 133kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 31mg | Potassium: 136mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 500IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg

 

Similar Posts

10 Comments

  1. thanks for sharing i was looking for this recipe but all the ones i found oline called for whipped cream i remember my original recipe was only sour cream marshmallows pineapples, mandarines and coconut same as yours i think whip cream would make it too sweet and i like the idea of colored marshmallows for Easter what great colorful idea for this wonderful occasion

  2. This is exactly how my mother-in-law made her Ambrosia Salad and I never wrote down the recipe. I am thrilled to see it in print so I can pass it to my daughters and of course, make it for myself.
    The sour cream is definitely the secret to creating this delicious dish.
    thank you!

  3. My son insists on this ‘salad’ every Easter because grandma always served it. Now his 11year old daughter prepares it for out Easter dinner.

  4. This is the exact recipe that we used at Waldbaum’s deli – a job that helped pay my college tuition. The manager would top it with Maraschino cherry halves and a sprinkling of shredded coconut.

    Thank you for sharing; I plan to bring this to a couple of cookouts this summer!

  5. My grandmother called it Tomorrow Salad. I had lost her handwritten recipe card and am so happy to have found the ingredients again. I think she added cherries instead of coconut. Thank you for posting!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating