A Fruit Salad Recipe Revamp; Easy Ambrosia Salad


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A Fruit Salad Recipe Revamp; Easy Ambrosia Salad

September 27, 2022
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A Fruit Salad Recipe Revamp; Easy Ambrosia Salad

Are you a fruit salad fan? Fruit salad isn’t just for kids it can be a delicious treat for adults too when served as an appetizer or for dessert. Today, we are giving the classic Ambrosia Salad, a modern twist with layered seasonal fruit and a tangy sweet dressing that will have you coming back for more.

What is Ambrosia Salad?

Did you know that the word “ambrosia” means delicious or fragrant? Ambrosia was the magical fruit of the gods in ancient Greek mythology. The Olympian gods ate ambrosia to keep them immortal and without it, they grew weak.

In Homer’s Iliad, for example, the immortals would bathe in ambrosia and even use it as perfume! Though anyone can enjoy ambrosia today, mortals (according to mythology) would face death if caught eating or drinking it. This delicious privilege was reserved strictly for deities.

Where did Ambrosia salad originate?

Ambrosia is an American variation of a fruit salad. It is believed to have originated in the Southern United States, although the precise origin of the recipe is unkown. Versions of this recipe began appearing in cookbooks in the late 1800’s. About the same time, that citrus became more prevalent in markets across the country.

These early recipes were very simple, usually including only orange slices, coconut, and sugar layered in a glass dish. Over the years, this variation of fruit salad evolved and changed to contain a variety of ingredients. Canned or fresh pineapple, canned mandarin oranges or fresh orange sections, sliced banana, miniature marshmallows, and coconut were commonly used ingredients in variations of this recipe.

What ingredients are needed to make Ambrosia Salad?

Our modern-day twist on the classic Ambrosia salad is super easy to make, adaptable to what types of fruit are in season, and is more beautiful than ever before!

The ingredient list for Ambrosia Salad.

Seasonal fruit: Fresh cherries, citrus, grapes of any variety, or fresh stone fruit.

Canned fruit if desired: California cling peaches or pears.

Dressing: Sour cream, brown sugar, vanilla, & optional mini-marshmallows.

Crunchy garnish: toasted shredded coconut, chopped toasted nuts like pecans, pistachios, walnuts, or almonds.

Love fruit-filled salads? Us too! Here are a few more fruit salad recipes to try!

Our love for fruit-filled salads, both savory and sweet, runs deep. We have quite a few recipes inspired by seasonal fruit here on California Grown and our California Grown Creators have some fabulous fruit salad recipes in store for you too!

A large white platter with blue trim is filled with chopped apricots, cherries, plums, and peaches then topped with burrata, basil, and chamomile.

Stone Fruit and Burrata Salad

California’s abundant sunshine, fertile soil, and unique microclimates have made the state famous for growing the world’s finest fruit – including all types of stone fruit! The cherries, peaches, apricots, and plums in this salad are succulent, tender, and literally bursting with flavor.

Click here for this delicious salad recipe with fresh fruit.

Mandarin, Fennel, and Burrata Salad

This refreshing Mandarin, Fennel, and Burrata Salad from our friend Vy Tran of Beyond Sweet and Savory packs tons of flavor. All the ingredients play well together and every bite is loaded with creamy burrata, anise-flavored fennel, a bright note of citrus, and an oniony kick from the chive blossoms.

Click here for this delicious salad recipe with fresh citrus.
Vy Tran_Mandarin, Fennel, Burrata Salad
An Easy Summer-Inspired Play on Cobb Salad; Strawberry Salad With Chicken

Strawberry Cobb With Chicken

Our fruit-filled nod to the classic Cobb salad recipe is bursting with California Grown ingredients like leafy greens, juicy berries, ripe avocado, and grilled chicken.

Click here for our fruit-filled Cobb salad recipe.

Fig, Melon & Dukkah Salad

This recipe filled with sweet cantaloupe, tender figs, creamy burrata, salty prosciutto, and spicy-nut-filled dukkah from A Girl Defloured is a gorgeous contrast of colors, flavors, and textures.

Click here for this easy recipe with figs!
A Simple Holiday Salad with Citrus and Toasted Walnut Vinaigrette and crispy shallots.

Simple Holiday Salad with Citrus and Toasted Walnut Vinaigrette

This holiday salad with citrus has 3 types of broiled & fresh citrus, creamy turmeric yogurt, a toasted walnut vinaigrette, & crispy shallots!

Click here for this fruit-filled salad for the holiday season!

Fresh Fig & Grape Salad with Crispy Shallots

This delicious Fresh Fig & Grape Salad recipe with Crispy Shallots is from our friend Meg of This Mess is Ours. This recipe is inspired by her love of all things California Grown. This recipe starts with a base of leafy greens that are lightly dressed in an irresistibly bright California honey + mustard vinaigrette. Then it is piled high with crisp grapes, fresh and dried figs, crispy shallots, pistachios, and briny feta.

Click here for this fig salad recipe!
Two bowls of Fresh Fig & Grape Salad with Crispy Shallots and a jar of honey mustard vinaigrette.

Summer’s Best Fruit Salad

This Mess is Ours says that if you can’t get your hands on honeydew or cantaloupe this salad is spectacular with watermelon too!

Just be sure to calculate the 1-hour marinating time into your prep for this salad – it’s important that the fruit has time to infuse with the flavors of the simple syrup.

Click here to make this simple recipe for fruit salad.

Grilled Fruit Salad

Grill masters, this one is for you! Our grilled fruit kabobs are always a summer hit and a sure way to bring a smoky meets sweet dish to the table.

Click here for this recipe for grilled seasonal fruit.
A Fruit Salad Recipe to Try Now


Craving more CA Grown goodness? Follow us on Pinterest for fresh and fabulous recipe inspiration!

A close up of layered Ambrosia Salad with mandarins, grapes, cherries, pears, and peaches.

Easy Layered Ambrosia Salad

Meg van der Kruik
This easy fruit salad comes together in a flash with a blend of fresh seasonal fruit and canned fruit. Creamy, crunchy, sweet, and tart – this fruit-filled salad has it all! Whether you serve this layered Ambrosia Salad in individual servings like we did or in one large dish for guests to help themselves is up to you.
4.50 from 6 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Chill time 1 hour
Course Appetizer, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 386 kcal


For the mixed fruit layer

  • 8 cups bite-sized pieces of fresh seasonal fruit and/or canned fruit You can use any fruit-filled combination your heart desires: apples, peaches, pears, green grapes, red grapes, cherries, mandarin segments, grapefruit segments, any variety of citrus, or stone fruit.

For the Ambrosia Salad dressing

  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup mini-marshmallows optional

For the crunchy garnish

  • 1/2 cup toasted, shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup toasted nuts we used pecans, but you can use pistachios, almonds, or walnuts too.


Prepare the fruit

  • Clean, prep, and chop desired types of fruit into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

Make the Ambrosia Salad dressing

  • In a small bowl combine the sour cream, brown sugar, and vanilla. Whisk to combine. Stir in the mini marshmallows if using.

Assemble the Ambrosia Salad

  • Divide the dressing among 6 small serving vessels like stemless wine glasses or 1 large clear glass serving dish so that you can see the layers.
  • Add the prepared fruit. You can do this by tossing all of the fruit together in one large bowl and then spooning it in or by layering the fruit to create even more striking colorful layers.
    For individual serving dishes like the ones pictured in the blog post, you will need to use 1 heaped cup of mixed fruit per serving.
  • Chill for 1 hour or up to 1 day.

To serve

  • Top the chilled Ambrosia Salad with toasted coconut and chopped toasted nuts. Serve immediately.


Calories: 386kcalCarbohydrates: 51gProtein: 4gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 74mgPotassium: 408mgFiber: 4gSugar: 44gVitamin A: 1032IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 89mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Ambrosia salad, bosc pear, Cherry, cling peach, cling peaches, fruit salad, green grapes, red grapes, sour cream
Tried this recipe?Mention @cagrownofficial or tag #CAGROWN!

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