Aunt Vel's Southern Ambrosia!

Ambrosia is a southern classic on the holiday table and there are literally hundreds of variations on the basic idea of ambrosia.  This recipe is my Aunt Vel's and it is a fairly straightforward ambrosia, which I like because it's not too sweet or overly complicated.

 It is great with baked ham or roasted turkey.  My husband is our fruit lover in the family and he really loves all ambrosia and fruit salads. This ambrosia is one of his favorites. 

This is what you will need for this:

1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup pineapple tidbits, drained
1 cup mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup nuts, chopped (pecans or walnuts)
1 cup sour cream
2 cups miniature marshmallows
2 Tbs. powdered sugar
maraschino cherries for garnish (optional)

Mix all of the ingredients together until combined, chill and serve. So simple and so good!  If you are looking for a little more variation in an ambrosia type salad, you might also want to check out Pina Colada Ambrosia or Banana Split Salad!

Southern Ambrosia!


  1. I also add cherries and grapefruit to min
    It my family favorite salad.

  2. What is the orange on top. It looks like either cheese or carrots, neither of which is in the recipe.

    1. Probably the mandarin oranges -- my recipe is similar to this.

  3. We make my grandmother's deep south traditional ambrosia - layered cut-up orange sections, coconut, and walnuts or pecans in a trifle dish. Serve with unsweetened fresh whipped cream. I much prefer this old recipe to all the sugary gooeyness in the modernized ones.
    It's got a simple appeal that is fantastic for breakfast on Christmas morning with a mimosa or steaming hot cup of coffee with Bailey's!
    I love your blog and FB posts! Such wonderful images and sharing to celebrate the American South!

  4. The orange in the picture are the sections of mandarin oranges. The lighting for the picture that day was not the best so it's not real clear.

  5. I have made this recipe, many times i love the sour cream...idea, am going to male it foe a school christmas party...again love this many variations on favorites and live trying the new things...aren't we blessed living in the south...

  6. This sounds the sour cream idea, I think I am going to use this for a party at this site... southern women rock....

  7. I'm the only one in my family that likes this. We also add grapes and maraschino cherries. I love eating it as a snack and leftover the next day for lunch.

  8. My stepmother's mother passed down an interesting variation in the preparation that really improves the texture - at least one night prior to serving combine the marshmallows with the pineapple tidbits and sour cream but drain all the juice from the tidbits & reserve. The next day add the juice & rest of the ingredients & chill again. The salad does not get soupy at all this way & any leftover keeps much better.

  9. You are right ambrosia is an icon of the south…yours looks inviting. Getting ready for Thanksgiving…it will be here before you know it!

  10. I have to get these ingredients on my next grocery trip! I think I'll eat the whole thing once it's made! Sounds heavenly!

  11. Would it taste good without the coconut? I hate coconut but I want to make it right for everyone else and if leaving the coconut out will ruin it I'd just like to know. Adding the cherries in sounds like a good idea!



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