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Granny’s Southern Ambrosia Recipe

Southern Ambrosia Salad can mean different things to different people. Mine doesn’t have any marshmallows or cool whip but BOY is it good.

Growing up, we didn’t have fruits year around like we do now. Grocery stores only carried a few things and it had to be in season. Plus, some things were so expensive that you didn’t get them any time of the year.

Every Thanksgiving, my Granny and Grandaddy hosted dinner at their house in Guin, Alabama. Their four kids would come from near and far to celebrate together. One of their kids, my Uncle David, lived in Florida. Whenever his family came for a visit, they would bring Granny and Grandaddy big boxes of navel oranges and grapefruits. I remember how much we enjoyed those fresh citrus fruits until they were gone. Why is it that things you don’t have often are SO MUCH better than something you have every day?

Granny was all about making salads out of unusual ingredients. Think Carrot Raisin Salad with Apples or Apple Waldorf Salad. Since she had so many oranges at once, she often made Ambrosia for us. She would make up a big Pyrex bowl, cover it with a plate and leave it in the fridge. I can see that green bowl with tiny white flowers now.

This Ambrosia Recipe goes perfectly with Southern food. The citrus tang is a great foil for spicy or fried foods. Plus, it stays good in the refrigerator for a few days so you don’t have to eat it all at once. I’ve been eating a bowl as dessert the last few days. Yummy AND it packs quite the vitamin C punch.

One key to making this recipe EPIC is to make sure you get ONLY the fruit not the pith for the oranges and grapefruit. The key is a nice sharp knife.

Peeling the oranges for ambrosia

It will help you make quick work of the prep!

Cutting the orange out of the pith - Ambrosia recipe

Granny’s Ambrosia Recipe

Granny's Ambrosia Recipe
Yield: 6 cups

Granny’s Southern Ambrosia Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Try this retro Southern Granny's Ambrosia Recipe. This is the real deal without the current trend of marshmallows or whipped cream! Easy and delicious!


  • 6 large navel oranges
  • 1 large ruby red grapefruit
  • 1/2 of a 14 oz can of pineapple tidbits and juice, use the packed in juice pineapple
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut shreds
  • 1/3 cup icing confectioners sugar , or to taste


  1. With a sharp paring knife, peel the navel oranges and the grapefruit.
  2. Cut out each section with your paring knife, leaving the pith and membranes behind. If you have fruit left behind, use your fingers to scrape it out and into the bowl.
  3. Add the pineapple tidbits and juice.
  4. Stir in the sweetened coconut and sugar. Taste and adjust your sugar as needed. Cover and refrigerate. Can be served immediately but tastes better after sitting overnight. Serve with additional coconut on top for garnish.

Nutrition Information:



Amount Per Serving: Calories: 144Saturated Fat: 1gSodium: 21mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 4gSugar: 23gProtein: 1g
Granny's Southern Ambrosia

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