Single serving cup of ambrosia Single serving cup of ambrosia Single serving cup of ambrosia



First, Some History

In ancient Greek mythology, Ambrosia is the nectar of the gods: a food or drink that blessed whoever ate it with longevity or immortality.

The American version of Ambrosia will not bless anyone with a longer life. (In fact, it’s more likely to do the opposite). But it has been a staple in my family’s Thanksgiving meals for generations.

My great-grandmother, Florence Keith Dale, made the recipe below. She was born in Michigan and lived in Houghton Lake—known as "Grandma Dale" by my mom and her sisters. It’s easy to imagine her recipe as a common Midwestern staple: a bit of comfort food for dessert.

Filled with happy, colorful ingredients such as cherries, pineapple and marshmallows, it’s no wonder why it was a fun dish to make and eat as a kid. Add some whipped cream and jello, and I wouldn’t necessarily call this a "fruit salad" as it’s usually described. But it is easy to make—just a matter of mixing all the ingredients together—and definitely easy to eat.

The version I make now-a-days is vegan. I simply swap the jello and cool whip for store-bought vegan versions. A nice alternative for the cool whip can be whipping up some chilled coconut cream with added sifted powdered sugar. Our family also adds walnuts for a bit of crunch, but that’s optional and based on personal preference.

Ambrosia Recipe

A dollop of whipped cream

A fluffy fruit and whipped cream dessert. Great served at Thanksgiving next to pumpkin pie, in place of the traditional whipped cream topping. Kids can easily help make (and eat) it!


  • 3 oz red jello (strawberry)
  • 8 oz cool whip or real sweetened dairy cream whipped stiff
  • 1 small can crushed pineapple (drained)
  • 1 small jar cocktail or maraschino cherries cut into quarters
  • ½-1 cup small marshmallows
  • Unsalted walnut or pecan halves (if desired) - best if lightly roasted first


  1. Make the jello according to the box’s instructions. Most jello recipes need to be refrigerated 3-4 hours or overnight.
  2. Drain all the fruit and cut the cherries into quarters.
  3. Once the jello is ready, stir it into the whipped cream. Keep the jello pieces larger (about ½-1 inch) while stirring, since they will most likely get more incorporated into the whipped cream once served.
  4. Add in all the other ingredients and stir until just combined.


  • This recipe serves 4-6 people (small batch). Double as many times as you need for larger groups
  • Ambrosia stays firm for a day or two in the fridge, so it's best when it's fresh