For a creamy, fruity, sweet dessert, try 5 Cup Salad made with fresh fruit and marshmallows. Perfect for the heat of summer!

5 Cup Salad Recipe: A Perfect Cool Summer Dessert

For a creamy, fruity, sweet dessert, try 5 Cup Salad made with fresh fruit and marshmallows. Perfect for the heat of summer!

Jump to Recipe

While the classic recipe for ambrosia salad has many variations, 5 cup salad doesn’t change. This dessert salad is made with 5 ingredients, with one cup of each ingredient. This makes it really easy to remember the ratio and amounts to make your own 5-cup fruit salad. 

This easy recipe comes together in minutes and then sits in the refrigerator for a few hours. The sweet ingredients have time to absorb and pull this creamy fruit salad together. Bring this the next time you attend family gatherings or need a dessert for family dinners. Trust me, they will ask you to keep making it in the future! This is also a great simple recipe to bring for holiday dinners as a special treat. 

While most see this as a dessert, you could also make it a refreshing side dish during backyard get-togethers, especially in the summer. The tropical fruit medley in the simple fruit salad gives it a taste of summer. 

Why “5 Cup Salad”?

The vintage recipe calls for one cup of coconut, one cup of pineapple tidbits, one cup of marshmallows, one cup of sour cream, and one cup of mandarin oranges. I know it sounds like a strange ingredient, but the tangy sour cream flavor offsets the taste of the fresh fruit really well. 

When I first heard of 5 Cup Salad, I assumed it was a regular salad with green leafy lettuce. Or, that it was similar to a 5 Layer Salad. But it’s nothing like that. The first time I had 5 Cup Salad, also sometimes called Ambrosia Salad, was at a potluck at work. It’s the perfect recipe to make for special occasions. It’s like a Southerner’s dream dessert! 

The name Ambrosia Salad comes from Greek mythology. Ambrosia was the food of the gods and this tastes heavenly. It’s also believed to be made of sweet flavors that were hard to come by at the time. The first documented ambrosia recipes can be traced back to the late 1800s. 

Variations

Instead of pineapple tidbits, try using canned crushed pineapple or, even better, purchase a fresh pineapple and cut it up yourself. That’s what we did to get the freshest taste. 

If you want to add to the recipe, you can add a dollop of cool whip or whipped topping to the top when serving. We also have stirred in maraschino cherries to give it a bit of color. 

​For added crunch, try mixing in chopped nuts such as walnuts, pecans, or pistachios. 

5 Cup Salad Step by Step

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut flakes, sweetened, shredded
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks, fresh
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mandarin oranges, drained

Preparation

In a large bowl, toss the coconut, pineapple, marshmallows, and sour cream until well combined.

Carefully mix the oranges in.

Cover and refrigerate for 5-6 hours before serving cold.

5 Cup Salad Leftovers

Storage: Keep the leftover 5-cup salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 days. Make sure to give it a good stir before serving. 

Freezing: While the salad can be frozen, I don’t recommend it. The marshmallows tend to dissolve when frozen and thawed, and the fruit will lose its texture as well. 

Recipe

Originally Published On: August 7, 2023

For a creamy, fruity, sweet dessert, try 5 Cup Salad made with fresh fruit and marshmallows. Perfect for the heat of summer!

5 Cup Salad

For a creamy, fruity, sweet dessert, try 5 Cup Salad made with fresh fruit and marshmallows. Perfect for the heat of summer!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Refrigerate Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 5 minutes
Course:
Dessert
|
Side Dish
Cuisine:
American
Diet
Vegetarian
Keyword:
ambrosia salad
|
coconut
|
dessert
|
fresh fruit
|
fruit
|
marshmallow
|
orange
|
pineapple
|
sour cream
|
summer
|
tropical
Dietary Needs:
Egg-Free
|
Gluten-Free
|
Nut-Free
Servings: 10
5 from 10 votes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut flakes (sweetened, shredded)
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks (fresh)
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mandarin oranges (drained)

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, toss the coconut, pineapple, marshmallows, and sour cream until well combined
  • Carefully mix the oranges in
  • Cover and refrigerate for 5-6 hours before serving cold
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Nutrition Facts
5 Cup Salad
Amount Per Serving (0.5 cup)
Calories 142 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 7g35%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 14mg5%
Sodium 15mg1%
Potassium 137mg4%
Carbohydrates 13g4%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 10g11%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 288IU6%
Vitamin C 8mg10%
Calcium 37mg4%
Iron 0.4mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutrition content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.

Pineapple Recipes to try

19 thoughts on “5 Cup Salad Recipe: A Perfect Cool Summer Dessert”

  1. 5 stars
    This 5 Cup Salad is the perfect item to bring for a bbq. I’m always looking for a yummy summer take along recipe for cookouts and holidays – I’m excited I found this option!

  2. Orange slices and sour cream? It shouldn’t work but I know it does. I’ve tried something similar while on vacation and, while it sounded so odd, it was beautiful! Marshmellow, though? Now there’s a new one!

  3. 5 stars
    I like that you get some nutrition from the fruit, and then added sweetness and flavor from coconut and other ingredients. The only one I am not sure about is sour cream. I guess the only way to know how that would taste is to try it myself

  4. 5 stars
    Oh wow, that is different. I’ve not tried a salad like that before. I love that it’s a sweet salad and has ingredients my kids would love. I’ll need to make it for them and see what they think.

  5. 5 stars
    Hey, your 5 Cup Salad recipe is a summer delight! Loved how easy it is to make. The perfect blend of flavors makes it a cool dessert option. Thanks for sharing this refreshing treat idea, looking forward to more yummy recipes from you! 🍓🍍🥭

  6. Wow! This looks absolutely delicious and tasty my family are going to love this! Thanks for sharing this with us

  7. So interesting! I would omit the coconut, though. I don’t feel like it would make much of a difference possibly?

  8. 5 stars
    Absolutely loved the 5 Cup Salad recipe! Creamy, fruity, and oh-so-delicious. The perfect summer treat to beat the heat! 🌞

  9. This looks so delicious and refreshing. I actually prefer crushed pineapple so, will use that instead. Thank you for sharing the recipe. Happy to know it’s easy to make.

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