Ambrosia: Cool Whip or Sour Cream?

I grew up and live in the south - I have fond memories of ambrosia from every holiday, picnic, and family reunion for years and years. Since the grandparents/great aunts all passed away, however, I haven’t had my fix.

I decided to make it for Christmas this year, and have been looking for recipes. I see many varieties, but what is confusing me is that some call for Cool Whip, while others call for sour cream. For the record, I’m planning on using mandarin oranges, apples, pineapple chunks (maybe), red grapes, marischino cherries, and marshmallows. I don’t like walnuts or coconuts and don’t remember them as being ingredients anyhow, so ixnay on those. So I just need to know what to mix it all together with.

Have any Dopers made ambrosia, and which do you use - whipped cream or sour cream? What would happen if I used equal parts of both?

I haven’t had ambrosia in years but I recall it being very sweet so I would think whipped cream would give the desired outcome. Sour cream might make it too tart.
Let me know what you come up with.

Sour cream doesn’t make it tart, it makes it creamy.

I’m not a huge fan of ambrosia, but I have made it from time to time and I use sour cream. I use mandarin oranges, crushed pineapple, seedless grapes and about half the marshmallows most recipes call for. I leave the neon cherries OUT.

My aunt makes it with Cool Whip, and it tastes great. I think sour cream would be less of a dessert, and slightly more fattening. Ambrosia is supposed to be light and fluffy, not heavy.

Perhaps, but it certainly doesn’t make it SWEET. The Cool Whip[sup]TM[/sup] is to provide both sweetness AND a creamy binder. The tangerines should provide plenty of tartness, and the pineapple will help. It you want any more tartness, sneak in a few chunks of pink grapefruit.

If you insist on putting sour cream in it, may I insist that you first blend the sour cream with softened cream cheese?

As I recall, ambrosia isn’t intended to be a dessert; it’s a salad. And familly get-togethers aren’t supposed to be about sharing diet food with yout loved ones, anyway.

That said, Cool Whip[sup]TM[/sup] yes, sour cream, no (unless you mix it with cream cheese).

I would leave out the marshmallows and make a topping out of vanilla yogurt, honey and cinnamon.

Our family makes a fruit salad with apples, bananas, dates, walnuts (ick), and varous other fruits. We mix it with real fresh whipping cream only. Of course, it all has to be consumed at that time, then, but you can’t beat the flavour.


There may be a regional thing going on here. In our house, ambrosia is orange sections (scraped out of real oranges), pineapple, coconut and maraschino cherries. And sugar.

Heavenly Hash various fruits and nuts and WHIPPED CREAM. Like the recipe here . But I’m sure Cool Whip or yogurt would be an acceptable substitute.

I’ve only had it made with sour cream. With all the marshmallows, there isn’t a problem with it not being sweet. I can’t imaging how sweet it would be with cool whip. The sour cream imparts a slight tang to the ‘salad’ which sets off the fruit very nicely. The shredded coconut that I use is also sweetened, so I figure there is enough sugar in the dish without the cool whip. The coconut doesn’t impart a lot of flavour, but gives some mouth feel to it. The result of the sour cream with all the sugar is that it has about the same ‘bite’ as fruit yogurt.

You can make a very nice fruit dip with sour cream. Add a few drops of (real)vanilla extract and a couple tablespoons of brown sugar. Mix and let the dip sit for a while to allow the sugar too dissolve into the cream. Dip raw fruit and enjoy. Sorry I don’t have measurements, as I always do it to taste…

The answer to the question is “no”.

Ambrosia does not contain Cool Whip, nor does it contain sour cream. Or apples, pineapple chunks, red grapes, marischino cherries, and marshmallows, nor for that matter crab claws, string beans, minced beef hearts, or fresh dill.

Ambrosia consists in its entirety of oranges and coconut. You have to carefully peel the heart of each orange wedge out of its leathery membrane with a sharp paring knife so only the juicy interior of the orange wedges go in the bowl, and the coconut has to be fresh grated (none of this frozen Angel Flake stuff).

[/persnickety traditional Georgia cook]

Yay, someone who understands!!! I could eat this stuff till I died of it.

But we do use Angel Flake coconut here.

Crushed pineapple, mandarin oranges, marshmallows and sour cream. Once it sits overnight the sour cream gets creamy sweet from the residual fruit juices. Done, and done.

I haven’t had any since, oh, the last time I was on the Galactica.

Water, corn syrup,hydrogenated vegetable oil (coconut and palm kernal oils),Sodium casinate, natural and artificial flavor, xanthan and guar gums, polysorbate 60, sorbitan monostearate, beta carotene.

What’s not to love?

Thanks for your replies, everyone. I figure that Cool Whip is likely going to recreate the ambrosia my granny used to make, but I’m intrigued by the sour cream idea. I think I’ll pull a little bit out and try some sour cream just for kicks. (kaylasdad99 and Zoe - those are some tempting alternatives that I’ll keep in mind for next time!)

AHunter3, in my part of the south, we pretty much throw in everything but the kitchen sink. It’s all nummy. I don’t think I’d go for the “real” ambrosia, though, since I think coconut = gross (the texture, not the taste).

Oh, and Reeder? You’re talking about the south, here, where it’s not cooked unless it’s deep-fried. You’re not scaring me with that ingredient list! :stuck_out_tongue: (Actually, I normally eat pretty healthy, but it’s Christmas! You can’t have Christmas without Cool Whip!)

That’s my recipe but I also add shredded coconut.

big can crushed pineapple
two to three cans mandarins
half bag marshmallows
16 oz sour cream
cup or so shredded coconut

Mix well and chill til the marshmallows get kinda melty. Yummmm. I can’t imagine it with Cool Whip, I think it’d be way too sweet.

My mom makes the all fruit ambrosia (and she’s from Alabama!) but it’s not near as tasty as mine…