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Indulge in a healthy, single serving Ambrosia Salad – a guilt-free twist on the Southern classic. Packed with pineapple, mandarin oranges, and coconut, this fruit salad gets a healthier touch with Greek yogurt, replacing traditional ingredients. Savor the sweetness of miniature marshmallows in each bite. Perfect for Ambrosia lovers!

If you love salads that can pass as desserts, you’ll love our Pineapple Lime Jello Salad that we serve at Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Here’s a delightful single serving ambrosia salad recipe that is perfect for days when you want to treat yourself to something sweet and refreshing. This dessert has its origins in the Southern United States and is a delightful combination of fruit, marshmallows, and a deliciously creamy dressing.

This ambrosia recipe is incredibly simple and irresistibly delicious, perfect for pairing with a variety of dishes. Enjoy it alongside a succulent ham steak, flavorful Chicken Cordon Bleu, a light crustless spinach quiche, or tender pork tenderloin. Alternatively, savor it as a delightful dessert anytime!

Why You’ll Love This Ambrosia Salad Recipe

  • Easy to make: This simple ambrosia salad comes together in minutes. I prefer to let the fruit salad chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, but it can be enjoyed right after you make it if you’d like.
  • Easy to customize: For convenience, we use canned fruit but you can make ambrosia with fresh fruit if you prefer. The great thing about a classic ambrosia salad is that you can make it with just about any type of fruit you like. The combination of pineapples, cherries, mandarin oranges, and crunchy pecans is absolutely heavenly to me, but consider adding in other fruits or nuts you love.
  • Recipe doubles well: This recipe yields one generous bowl of the best ambrosia salad. If you’d like to make a little extra, just double the ingredient amounts.
  • So incredibly delicious: Ambrosia is making a comeback and we’re so glad it is! I remember it being served at many family holiday dinners growing up and it’s always been one of the most popular dishes at the table.

Check out our other Single Serving Salad ideas!

What Is Ambrosia?

Ambrosia is a classic Southern dessert that has been around for generations. The name “ambrosia” means “food of the gods” in Greek mythology, which speaks to how delicious and heavenly this dessert is. This cool and refreshing fruit salad is typically made with juicy oranges, tangy pineapple, coconut, mini marshmallows, and often whipped cream. In our single-serving version, we use Greek yogurt instead of whipped cream and add crunchy pecans. Although we still add in the marshmallows because they’re such a key ingredient in the salad, our lighter ambrosia recipe contains less sugar than a traditional ambrosia salad.

Ambrosia Ingredients

ambrosia salad ingredients on a kitchen counter.

If you have fond memories of this dish, chances are your family has a go-to recipe with specific must-have ingredients. Here are the key ingredients that have always been a staple in my family’s version of ambrosia:

  • Fruit: For convenience, I use canned and well-drained pineapple tidbits and mandarin oranges but feel free to use fresh fruit instead. This ambrosia salad recipe is very customizable, consider adding in fresh grapes, chopped apples, or peaches.
  • Maraschino cherries: We use 4 cherries and we slice them in half or in thirds so that you get a taste of cherries in just about every bite. Be sure to remove the stem first.
  • Marshmallows: Use regular mini marshmallows or multi-colored flavored mini marshmallows. If you’ve got leftover marshmallows, consider using them in a single serving S’mores Dip or in a small batch of Rice Krispie Treats.
  • Coconut: Shredded coconut adds the perfect texture and flavor. I almost always use sweetened coconut but you can use unsweetened coconut if you prefer. Leftover coconut can be used in our decadent Coconut Cream Pie recipe!
  • Pecans: Chopped pecans or walnuts add the perfect crunch!
  • Yogurt: While many recipes call for using whipped cream, I love using vanilla Greek yogurt in our ambrosia salad. You can use sour cream, plain Greek yogurt, or whipped cream instead.

This is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why I used them. For the full recipe please scroll down to the recipe box at the bottom of the post.

Recipe Variations

Feel like experimenting with your ambrosia? While the classic recipe holds its own charm, sometimes a little variation can add a whole new layer of enjoyment. Here are some tasty twists to consider:

  • Tropical Ambrosia: Replace some of the classic fruits with tropical options like mango, papaya, and kiwi. Top with a sprinkle of toasted coconut for that island vibe.
  • Ambrosia Parfait: Layer the ambrosia with granola or butter cookie crumbs in individual parfait cups for an elegant presentation.
  • Boozy Ambrosia: For an adult version, stir in a splash of coconut rum or fruit-flavored liqueur.

Go ahead and get creative; the sky’s the limit when it comes to personalizing your ambrosia!

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How To Make Ambrosia

These step-by-step photos and instructions are here to help you visualize how to make an ambrosia salad. See the recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

  1. Add the pineapple, oranges, coconut, cherries, marshmallows, and pecans to a medium-sized bowl and stir together well.
pineapple tidbits, oranges, marshmallows, pecans, and cherries in a mixing bowl.
  1. Fold the yogurt into the fruit and nut mixture.
an ambrosia salad in a mixing bowl on a kitchen counter.
  1. I recommend letting the salad chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight before enjoying it.
a purple bowl filled with ambrosia.

Expert Tips

  • Drain the fruit well. Be sure to drain the canned pineapple tidbits and mandarin oranges very well. Getting as much of the juices drained will ensure a nice, fluffy salad that isn’t watery from the extra juice.
  • Mix the ingredients gently. Mandarin oranges are particularly fragile. Try to stir the ingredients together gently and slowly so that the fruit remains intact.
  • Cover and chill before eating. Although you can eat ambrosia right after you make it, I’d encourage you to store it in the refrigerator for at least one hour so that the flavors have the chance to come together.
  • Make ambrosia without nuts. If you don’t want to use nuts, leave them out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is ambrosia salad a dessert?

I’d say ambrosia is a “dessert salad”. It is a variation on a traditional fruit salad and even with the addition of marshmallows, it isn’t overly sweet. Even so, some might consider ambrosia to be more of a dessert but I’m happy to eat it alongside a savory dish any day!

Can ambrosia be made in advance?

Absolutely! Ambrosia fruit salad is an ideal make-ahead dish. Simply combine the ingredients, cover, and refrigerate. The dish seems to get better as it sits! Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Can I use whipped cream in ambrosia?

Sure you can. Many ambrosia recipes call for using whipped cream. Although I love our single serving ambrosia recipe without Cool Whip so much butter, feel free to use whipped cream instead of yogurt if you prefer.

Can I double this ambrosia recipe?

Yes. This recipe yields one generous bowl of the best ambrosia salad. If you’d like to make a little extra, just double the ingredient amounts.

Can I freeze ambrosia salad?

I don’t recommend freezing ambrosia.

a small batch of ambrosia in a bowl with a spoon on the side.

Ways To Use Leftover Ingredients

If you have any ingredients leftover from this ambrosia recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder or you might like to consider using them in any of these single serving and small batch recipes:

For more information on the cooking and baking dishes I use in our “recipes for one”, please visit our FAQ page.

For examples of the dishes used at One Dish Kitchen, please visit our Store page.

If you’ve tried this small batch ambrosia salad recipe or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

Also, if you take a picture please tag us on Instagram (@onedishkitchen) we’d love to see it!


Your Cooking For One Source
Because you’re worth it

Ambrosia Salad For One

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Chill: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
Enjoy a guilt-free dessert with a single serving of a healthier ambrosia. This classic Southern fruit salad is made with pineapple, mandarin oranges, coconut, miniature marshmallows, and Greek yogurt.

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

  • ¼ cup canned pineapple tidbits , drained
  • ¼ cup canned mandarin oranges , drained
  • ¼ cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 4 maraschino cherries , sliced
  • ¼ cup mini marshmallows (about 25 mini marshmallows)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
  • cup vanilla Greek yogurt (3 ounces)
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Instructions 

  • Add the pineapple, oranges, coconut, cherries, marshmallows, and pecans to a medium-sized bowl and stir together well.
  • Fold the yogurt into the fruit and nut mixture.
  • For the best taste, let the salad chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight before enjoying it.

Notes

Expert Tips
  • Drain the fruit well. Be sure to drain the canned pineapple tidbits and mandarin oranges very well. Getting as much of the juices drained will ensure a nice, fluffy salad that isn’t watery from the extra juice.
  • Mix the ingredients gently. Mandarin oranges are particularly fragile. Try to stir the ingredients together gently and slowly so that the fruit remains intact.
  • Cover and chill before eating. Although you can eat ambrosia right after you make it, I’d encourage you to store it in the refrigerator for at least one hour so that the flavors have the chance to come together.
  • Make ambrosia without nuts. If you don’t want to use nuts, leave them out.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 378kcal, Carbohydrates: 46g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 3mg, Sodium: 42mg, Potassium: 389mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 40g, Vitamin A: 640IU, Vitamin C: 17mg, Calcium: 38mg, Iron: 2mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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8 Comments

  1. Teresa says:

    I make this often, and it is the perfect amount for my husband and myself. I use individual serving cups of the pineapple and oranges, as well as Great Value Light Greek Toasted Coconut Vanilla Non-fat Yogurt (80 calories per 5.3 oz. serving), and it is delicious. My husband, who ‘has and would never eat yogurt’ eats this without hesitation, and doesn’t know the difference!! lol
    We are empty nesters, so I enjoy making your recipes in a scaled down version to reduce waste and endless leftovers.

  2. Cindy R says:

    Delicious! I used frozen pineapple and a fresh mandarin orange, and sour cream instead of the yogurt. One recipe was the perfect amount for my husband me. I served with ham and scalloped potatoes (also from this site), sans cheese.

    Love your recipes Joanie!

  3. Jean says:

    Can’t wait to try this. Sometimes I buy the individual fruit cups & they will be perfect for this.

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Great idea!

  4. Jan says:

    Can regular yogurt be used in place of Greek yogurt?

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Yes, although I prefer the thicker consistency of Greek yogurt in this recipe.

  5. J. Hegyi says:

    Great recipe.

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Thank you!!