Traditional Southern Ambrosia!

Last year during the holidays, I kept getting requests for Ambrosia.  As most of us who grew up in the South and have been cooking for a few years now know,  there are about a gazillion recipes for Ambrosia.  My husband is an ambrosia expert, even though he probably doesn't even know it's technically called ambrosia or that it's a southern classic.  He does know which ones he likes best.  Therefore, I posted Aunt Vel's Southern Ambrosia!   We have always loved that recipe and it's the type of ambrosia you will find the most in this part of Kentucky.  The kind that has more than just oranges and coconut in it and is a bit sweeter.  You know how we like to do things up a bit in Kentucky when it comes to holiday food and such.   There is nothing simple or plain about our holiday specialties in most cases.

Well, there were a few folks who just got crazy about the whole thing and let me know that was not 'true ambrosia'!   They just lost it!   I had heard of these 'ambrosia purists', but I didn't know they really existed.  This recipe, if you can call it a recipe, is for the ambrosia purists out there.  It's what so many grew up with and called ambrosia.  It's simple and only has a few ingredients.   I can see that this would be excellent served for a Christmas brunch or breakfast!  

Here is what you will need:

7-8 Navel oranges, peeled and cut in sections
2 Tbs. powdered sugar
2 cups fresh grated coconut or canned coconut

Peel the oranges, making sure to remove all of the pith. See the white stuff in the picture, that is the pith and it's bitter and it will make your ambrosia bitter.   I just cut a slice off the top and bottom of the orange with a sharp knife and then go down each side, just removing the skin.  Go back and trim the pith off.

See, no pith.  Now, hold the orange over a bowl and slice into sections follow the natural line of the membrane on the orange.  By holding it over the bowl, you will catch the juices.   Layer half of the oranges in a pretty glass bowl or trifle dish.  Sprinkle with 1 Tbs. of powdered sugar.  Sprinkle half of the coconut over the oranges.  Repeat with the rest of the oranges, 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar, ending with the coconut.  I garnish the top with a few orange segments and a cherry.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving! 


  1. Too plain for what I have always known as Ambrosia

  2. You have another "Southern Ambrosia" that was aunt Vel's, that has the pineapple tidbits, mandarin oranges, coconut flakes, and baby marshmallows. To me, that's ambrosia.

  3. You have another "Southern Ambrosia" by aunt Vel, that is what I know as ambrosia...with the mandarin oranges, pineapple tidbits, coconut flakes, and tiny marshmallows.

  4. True traditional ambrosia only consisted of 3 ingredients. Over time, people added the marshmallows, coconut, etc. forming what is now thought of ambrosia. This recipe is exactly what it states.... TRADITIONAL.

  5. where can I find the one with pineapples in it

  6. This is exactly how my grandmother used to make it. Thanks!!

  7. This is the way my Granny always made hers!

  8. Navel oranges, crushed pineapple, little sweet O.J. & little sugar to taste....for 61 yrs.....Ambrosia.