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Granny’s Classic Ambrosia Salad

The original Ambrosia salad! this recipe is a simple mixture of fruit, crunchy pecans, and delicate coconut flakes. No fluff or marshmallows to be found! Make this ahead for holiday brunch, baby showers, wedding showers, tea parties and any special occasion.

big bowl of ambrosia fruit salad

This recipe could tell some stories! My great, great grandmother would serve this every Christmas…with a slice of real coconut cake. It wasn’t Christmas without Granny’s ambrosia!

Now, mom makes this as an accompaniment to our Christmas breakfast. It’s the perfect addition to a brunch menu and complements a hearty breakfast casserole and a mimosa just perfectly!

I was hesitant to even publish this “recipe” because it’s really not even a recipe at all. But after seeing versions mixed with cool whip, sour cream, and stuffed with mini marshmallows, I knew I had to share.

Now, I love a good cool whip coated dessert as much as the next Southern gal, but this is a recipe that can stand up on its own. No help needed!

In fact, I was relieved to discover that I wasn’t the only one who has a fruit-only recipe. Pam from Biscuits and Burlap has a similar ambrosia recipe as well as Virginia Willis. 

What is ambrosia?

Ambrosia is a close relative to a fruit salad – just dressed up a bit. The fruit is mixed with crunchy pecans, sweet coconut flakes, and bright red maraschino cherries. It’s a beautiful presentation!

ambrosia fruit salad in small white bowls

It’s a simple dish to put together in under 10 minutes but elegant enough to serve at brunches, tea parties, showers, and other special occasions and celebrations. 

Why is it called ambrosia salad?

Ambrosia means immortality in ancient Greek, and was the food or drink of the Greek gods. It was supposed to bring about longevity or immortality to whomever consumed it. 

Tips for Making this Recipe

You’ll see that this recipe calls for a can of sliced cling peaches in syrup. If you are making this when peaches are in season, you are welcomed to use fresh peaches. 

Personally, I’m not a fan of canned peaches on their own, but the syrup helps with the sweetness. Instead of adding additional sugar, we stick to the canned peaches.

Of course, if you are allergic to coconut or pecans, leave them out. You could also swap them for a different nut, like walnuts or slivered almonds.

It’s best to prepare ambrosia ahead of time, so it has time to chill in the fridge. After it’s nice and cold, add the maraschino cherries, nuts, and coconut as a finishing touch!

More Festive Recipes

ambrosia fruit salad featured image

Classic Ambrosia Salad

Anna Kate
A simple mixture of fruit, crunchy pecans, and delicate coconut flakes – perfect for holiday brunches, tea parties, showers, and special occasions.
Servings 6 people
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes



  • 2 oranges (peeled and sliced into bite-sized pieces)
  • 28 ounces canned sliced cling peaches (with the syrup)
  • 1 ½ cups sweetened coconut flakes (shredded)
  • 10 ounces maraschino cherry halves, drained (1 jar)
  • ½ cup pecans (chopped, (toasted if desired))


  • Peel, segment and cut the oranges into bite-sized pieces.
  • To a medium-sized serving bowl, add the oranges and the can of cling peaches, with the syrup. Stir to combine.
  • Allow the fruit mixture to chill in the refrigerator for about an hour.
  • When you are ready to serve, add the maraschino cherries, and garnish with the pecans and a sprinkle of the coconut.
  • Serve cold!


Please read the entire post for details, tips, and more!
Note 1: You can serve the coconut and pecans separately if desired.
Note 2: Feel free to use peaches in season if available. Sugar may be needed due to the absence of the peaches’ syrup with this alternative. (note: this recipes has not been tested with fresh peaches)
Note 3: Alternative to pecans: walnuts or slivered almonds. Ambrosia salad is best served icy cold, so be sure to allow plenty of time to chill.


Serving: 1gramsCalories: 325kcalCarbohydrates: 55gProtein: 3gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gSodium: 71mgFiber: 7gSugar: 44g

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