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This 5 cup salad recipe is a must try at any family dinner or holiday gathering.  It is simple to make but so delicious and sure to impress friends and family.

close up photo of bowl of fruit salad
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5 cup salad recipe

This is the absolute best 5 Cup Salad Recipe! I don’t know about you, but this easy fruit salad recipe is a must have at our Christmas celebration and one of our favorite Thanksgiving Salad Recipes.

Growing up as a child I didn’t know what was so special about it, but now I can’t eat enough. It is such a classic recipe.

close up photo of bowl of fruit salad

I definitely look forward to it every single Christmas dinner. Some call it ambrosia salad, but I grew up calling it 5 cup salad, so that name always stuck.

This salad is just one of those recipes that you look forward to and the holidays don’t seem the same if it is missing. Give this a try and start a yummy family tradition!

bowl of fruit salad

Let’s learn how to make 5 cup salad!

This is truly the easiest salad and so delicious. If you can toss a few ingredients into a bowl, you can make this easy fruit salad recipe.

ingredients for salad: fruit, sour cream, mini marshmallows


  • canned pineapple chunks- drained  (I used the tidbits)
  • small mini marshmallows
  • sour cream
  • mandarin oranges
  • maraschino cherries (I cut mine in half)

See… I told you this recipe was easy. You literally only need 1 cup of 5 ingredients to make this simple ambrosia salad recipe.

It can’t get any easier or simpler than this!

bowl of fruit salad

How to make 5 cup salad:

First, you need a large mixing bowl. Add the marshmallows, pineapple, and sour cream.

Don’t forget to drain the pineapple juice. We used tidbits but you could also use pineapple chunks.

Stir this until it is well combined.

Then fold in the mandarin oranges. Make sure to gently fold these in.

I prefer to slice the cherries in half. Once they are all cut, carefully fold them into the fruit salad mixture.

Tip: If you mix the salad too much, it will turn pink.

Now, just cover and put in the fridge for at least a hour before serving.

Enjoy! It is best served cold.

bowl of fruit salad with spoon

It’s so easy!

This is the perfect fruit salad to make for the holidays, pot lucks and any time you want something amazing but easy to make!

Once you try this, you will love to make it all the time! It is so yummy and super easy to make.

The sour cream gives this Ambrosia Salad the perfect tang!

I know it sounds weird to put sour cream in a fruit salad but trust me…. it tastes amazing. This ambrosia with sour cream will not disappoint your family or holiday guests.

fruit salad in bowl

Can you make it ahead of time?

Yes! In fact, I think this salad is best after the flavors have blended overnight. Everything just comes together perfectly. You are going to love it!

The sour cream blends with the marshmallows and delicious fruit for a sweet and delicious fruit salad. I think the sour cream gives it the best flavor and balances out the sweetness.

Plus, when you make it ahead of time, it is even better.

I also think it is so helpful during the holidays that you can make this ahead of time. I actually think it is better after it has been sitting awhile in the fridge and the flavors really blend together.

fruit salad in bowl


  • Now if you want a slightly different twist you can use 1 cup of coconut instead of cherries, but I prefer the cherries.
  • Some love the coconut but cherries give it that delicious flavor and it adds a little pop of color.
  • You can easily make this your own and add chopped pecans, whipped cream, fruit cocktail and more to the ambrosia salad recipe. There are lots of variations and they are all so quick and easy.
  • Try adding greek yogurt or vanilla yogurt instead of sour cream and a little powdered sugar and cool whip. Yum!
close up photo of fruit salad in bowl

This 5 cups salad does not disappoint! 

This ambrosia with sour cream recipe is so simple!

I love this salad because it just so easy with the few simple ingredients. You can make this recipe so quickly and easily for potlucks, family dinners, special occasions and more.

It is easy to feed a crowd and everyone always loves this easy fruit salad side dish. It is so amazing and delicious.

Everyone always loves it and asks for the recipe anytime I make it. They are always surprised it is just the few simple ingredients.

This recipe is a must try!

Print this 5 cup salad recipe below:

5 Cup Salad Recipe

4.84 from 31 votes
A classic 5 Cup Salad Recipe! You are going to love this Easy Ambrosia recipe. Sour cream gives this Ambrosia Salad the perfect tang! Try it today!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Chill 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6
Cuisine American
Course Side Dish
Calories 189


  • 1 cup canned pineapple chunks drained  (I used the tidbits)
  • 1 cup small mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mandarin oranges
  • 1 cup maraschino cherries I cut mine in half
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  • In a large bowl mix together place one cup of marshmallows, 1 cup of pineapple, and 1 cup of sour cream until combine.
  • Fold in 1 up of mandarin oranges.
  • Once combined slice cherries in half and carefully fold into the mixture.
  • If you mix too much the fruit salad will turn pink.
  • Place in the fridge for at least one hour before serving.Serve cold and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

Calories 189kcal, Carbohydrates 31g, Protein 2g, Fat 8g, Saturated Fat 4g, Cholesterol 20mg, Sodium 42mg, Potassium 225mg, Fiber 2g, Sugar 26g, Vitamin A 507IU, Vitamin C 18mg, Calcium 69mg, Iron 1mg

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A classic 5 Cup Salad Recipe! You are going to love this Easy Ambrosia recipe. Sour cream gives this Ambrosia Salad the perfect tang! Try it today! This is the perfect holiday side dish recipe.  This is one of my favorite salad recipes.  #eatingonadime #saladrecipes #holidayrecipes #sidedishrecipes

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Carrie. Welcome to Eating on a Dime!

I’m on a mission to help you cook delicious meals without busting your budget. Together we are going to cook real food… for real families!

4.84 from 31 votes (29 ratings without comment)

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  1. Sue says:

    5 stars
    I always make my 5 cup salad into a 6 cup salad because i always put a cup of green grapes into the mix…my mother-in-law didn’t like coconut so she put in the green grapes instead but my family likes both so i use both…i think it needs the sweeten coconut. My son loves those cherries so next time might use those instead of the grapes.

  2. Christa says:

    5 stars
    Thank you for posting this recipe. It’s just like my Nana, and great grandmother used to make. Just wondered if, I put the cherries AND coconut, how much do I put of each? I’m gonna try it with 1/2 cup each. Thanks again, n have a Happy Thanksgiving!