It seems very wrong to call anything containing several cups of marshmallows a salad, but history dictates that's exactly what this is. It's Marshmallow Salad with canned fruit; similar to ambrosia but served with the meal not as a dessert.
I know a salad made out of marshmallow and canned fruit seems like a joke but this mixture of mini marshmallows, shredded coconut, mandarin oranges, crushed pineapple, maraschino cherries and sour cream (not Cool Whip) is serious stuff on the holiday dinner table.
And one of those holidays will be here momentarily.
UNTIL THE 4 DAY EASTER WEEKEND
You'll note the addition of *sour cream* instead of Cool Whip which makes my recipe super classy.
It's kind of how I made Brussels sprouts classy (edible) by tossing them in dijon mustard and honey. After deep frying them.
For as long as I can remember, my family has served Marshmallow Salad at holiday dinners. Sometimes we'd call it Ambrosia, on occasion we'd refer to it it Sour Cream Salad. Truth is, we really never knew what to call it, other than an embarrassment.
We're not the fanciest people on earth, but we're fancy enough to know anything that includes marshmallows should at least be served as a dessert. We serve it as a side dish.
There it sits on the table, right beside the perfectly respectable green beans and mashed potatoes; a big bowl of marshmallows, fruit and coconut winking, "Here I am, in all my tacky glory. Caught ya lookin'!".
Table of Contents
Marshmallow Fruit Salad
- 10 oz. Can of Mandarin Oranges (drained very well)
- 14 oz. Can of Crushed Pineapple (drained very well)
Speaking of pineapples, I tested out the pulling apart a pineapple hack you can see the results here.
- 1 cup Sour Cream
- ⅓ cup Maraschino Cherries (cut in half)
- ¼ cup Sweetened Coconut
- 3 cups Mini Marshmallows (use the coloured ones for added trash)
If marshmallow salad was a dinner guest, she'd be the sparkly, hooker-with-a heart-of-gold that your Uncle Nick brings to Easter dinner every year. An embarrassing, loud, colourfully dressed dish that you can't help but love.
Plus it's sort of understood you don't talk about either one of them in public.
- Add all the ingredients to a bowl.
2. Then fold everything together. Cover it up and let set in fridge overnight.
Where did it originate?
Ambrosia (the inspiration for marshmallow salad) was first recorded in a recipe book from 1867 called the Dixie Cookery in the Southern United States. Here's the best part. You can STILL buy the Dixie Cookery cookbook.
I found a copy of the entire Dixie Cookery cookbook online through the Library of Congress. The second recipe in the book starts with "Boil a calf's head".f
I like marshmallow salad. Even though they may not admit it publicly, so does everyone else.
White or Coloured Marshmallows?
If you make marshmallow salad with white mini marshmallows it'll look a bit more like a trifle. It tastes a little different as well because the coloured mini marshmallows are actually fruit flavoured.
But making it white and putting it in a cup classes it up a bit.
Marshmallow Salad (also known as White Trash Salad)
- 1 10 oz can mandarin oranges drained very well
- 1 14 oz can crushed pineapple drained very well
- 1 cup sour cream
- ⅓ cup maraschino cherries cut in half
- ¼ cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 3 cups mini marshmallows
- Add all the ingredients to a bowl and fold together.
- Cover with plastic and let set in the fridge overnight.
If you're looking for another dish to horrify your guests with (until they try them) whip up these bacon wraps made from bacon, condensed milk, dijon, cheese and bread. You would NEVER think those ingredients would make up anything even close to delicious but they're a favourite of everyone who's tried them.
I'm not sure when it happened, but I've taken over the Marshmallow/Sour cream/Ambrosia Salad tradition. It is now my job to smuggle it out of the house under the cover of ageing Tupperware, to all of our holiday dinners. If the neighbours ask, I lie and tell them it's something a little more respectable than marshmallow salad. Like a 3 bean salad. Or a shrunken head.
The good news is, this dish now officially has a name in our house. One year it was dubbed White Trash Salad. The name stuck quickly like Crazy glue to a hard hat. Or sparkles to a stripper.
Here's to strippers, hookers, marshmallows and not caring what other people do or think. Here's to ... white trash salad.
→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←
very entertaining, we've been eating this salad for years.
I've had it twice in the past week. The one I made for photos in this post (as in I ate the WHOLE bowl) and part of one I brought to a shower the next weekend, lol. ~ karen!
I just want to say that I came across your spun sugar instructions and thought your comments were funny. Then, I saw this recipe... you truly made me laugh, and I never laugh die to no sense of humor like most others. Thank you for that and bringing joy to my day, which rarely happens.
I plan to make this fruit salad next time we have a family function. I used to make it with my Aunt right before serving, but my cousin's girlfriend decided years ago that she wanted that attention from my Aunt, so I can no longer make the salad :-( But, I will now!
Thanks Julie! And good luck with the salad next time you make it. If your salad sits overnight and theirs doesn't, yours will be better. ;) ~ karen!
Isn’t it always made with sour cream? In Australia it is, but then, in Australia we don’t consider cool whip an edible substance so that could be why.
Yup it's been a ritual at certain holiday dinners, Thanksgiving & Christmas & Easter. I haven't put coconut on it, but I may try it one day. Cheers From Canada.
Cheers back to you from Canada! ;) ~ (karen in Canada)
Fresh peaches (esp off the tree!) and sour cream. Nothing else. Honestly, there’s nothing better.
I make canned peaches and sit them on plain Greek yogurt and I LOVE it. ~ karen!
I guess I'm alone in the "this makes me wanna vomit" category?
Live southern girl here too.
Never understood the green bean Jello either. Ick. Or jello...
Jello, yes! Green bean jello? NO. ~ karen!
HOW? How did you get the trash salad into the sparkling clean crystal glass without making a mess on the glass? That is certainly the most difficult to do trick of all time! or was it camera trickery?
No trick! Just plopped it in there. Probably wiped the rim as well. :) ~ karen!
They sell an off-shoot of this at my local Jewel Food Store deli counter called Hawaiian Salad. I 'think' their's uses whipped topping rather than sour cream? I dunno, but the general idea is the same. Country-folk eats and plenty of it.
I love that everyone has their own version of ambrosia. My moms was made with cottage cheese and cool whip, fruit cocktail, chopped walnuts and definitely no marshmallows. Hubby doesn’t eat cottage cheese or sour cream but if I don’t tell him there’s sour cream in this recipe he’ll never know. I’m not a fan of the marshmallows but the sweeter the better for him. My teeth hurt thinking about it, lol.
It IS sweet, but it's actually not sickeningly sweet. Because of the sour cream! My brother in law doesn't like sour cream either so we just kept that ingredient secret from him for years. ~ karen!
At our house it was called "Heavenly Hash".
Ours was called Five Cup Salad as it was made with 1 cup each of mandarin oranges, pineapple tidbits, shredded coconut, sour cream and mini marshmallows (white or coloured). This year I will add the maraschino cherries because it's a fabulous idea. It will have to be a 5 cup salad+.
Interesting! Exact same ingredients, different proportions. :) ~ karen!
The recipe in the book is the one I'm used to...I remember one of my aunts peeling and cutting oranges for what seemed like hours to make the wonderful mix of oranges and coconut...no marshmallows, nuts or other fruit...mmmmmmmmm. (But I also love it with all the additions!
Oh, yeah! My mom used to make this every holiday. "Fruit Salad" . . . dessert to eat WITH your meal.
I cannot tell you the number of people who have told me that they have only had the version with whipped cream or frozen whipped topping (yuck) and coconut--Ambrosia is what it was usually called.The sour cream is tangy enough to keep this from being unbearably sweet.
The night before Ma use to make a whole sh-- bunch of this stuff. She drained canned peaches, pears, fruit cocktail, apricots, just about any canned fruit available, even used canned tropical fruit at times. Let it set for at least a couple of hours to get the fruit really dry, slice all into chunks if necessary, add the marshmallows (gotta be minis) and then stir/fold in a pint or so of sour cream (gotta be sour cream).
I do think I am burnt out on it, so we still have it on holidays, but made in a smaller amount.
Thanks for stirring up some good memories!
so I was wondering where you came down on the addition of chopped roasted pecans to the white trash hooker salad? I was thinking of tarting it up a bit with a sprinkling of the nuts and maybe some brown sugar? We make a grape salad like this and it's really good. (can you find all the hooker references in this post?)
I have opted out of all nuts in it. And yes! I noticed the references immediately. :) ~ karen!
This is always a hit at our church's potluck dinners.
The recipe given to me by my mother-in-law (a fantastic cook)
was 1 cup of everything-mandarin oranges, fruit salad, pineapple (we leave this out as our kids don't like it) whipping cream, coconut, colored mini marshmallows. Yummy!
Whipping Cream! ~ karen
This was always at our family dinners too. My friends make fun of me when I call it a salad but I love it.