Looking for a paleo-friendly fruit salad? Try this ambrosia salad with pineapple chunks, mandarin oranges, shredded coconut, paleo marshmallows, and honey sweetened coconut yogurt. It’s subtly sweet, creamy, and easy to make!

A closeup shot of a bowl of paleo ambrosia salad.

What is ambrosia salad?

If you lived through (or read about) the mid-20th century dessert-as-a-salad era, you’ll recall that ambrosia salad is a creamy fruit salad that often featured canned pineapple tidbits or chunks, canned mandarin oranges, coconut, and miniature marshmallows. Some ambrosia salad recipes also contain maraschino cherries, nuts (e.g., pecans, walnuts), fruit-flavored marshmallows, grapes, peaches, or even bananas.

It’s still a popular dish in the southern United States, and you can find it served at potlucks and holiday dinners. The name “ambrosia” comes from Greek mythology, meaning food of the gods, but it’s the furthest thing from hoity-toity; rather, this simple dish is a nostalgically homey and comforting dessert.

A paleo ambrosia salad!

My paleo version of ambrosia salad is a refined sugar-free and dairy-free riff on a version I grew up eagerly devouring as a kid (shoutout to the deli department at Draeger’s Market in Menlo Park, where my mom would buy cartons of this fluffy, creamy treat for our family feasts!).

But don’t fret: you won’t miss any of the tropical fruit flavor or creaminess in this healthier-for-you version. This ambrosia fruit salad is made with fruit canned in 100% juice (not heavy syrup), unsweetened shredded coconut, and paleo marshmallows—and everything is smothered in a honey-sweetened coconut yogurt rather than sour cream, Greek yogurt (or vanilla yogurt), whipped cream, and/or Cool Whip. Plus, this sweet treat comes together in minutes and can be made ahead of time!


An overhead shot of the raw ingredients to make paleo ambrosia salad.
  • Unsweetened plain coconut yogurt (my favorite brands of coconut yogurt are CocoJune and Koko Kai)
  • Honey
  • Vanilla extract
  • Canned pineapple chunks in 100% juice (there’s no need to get all fancy and use fresh fruit—just grab a 14 ounce can and drain it!)
  • Canned mandarin orange slices in 100% juice (no one has time to supreme some mandarin oranges—just grab a 10 ounce can and drain it)
  • Paleo marshmallows (Instead of using technicolor mini marshmallows, I like to use Danielle Walker’s marshmallow recipe to make my own, but you can also buy paleo marshmallows online)
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut

How to make paleo ambrosia salad

In a large bowl, whisk the coconut yogurt, honey, and vanilla together…

Four sequential shots that show someone combining coconut yogurt, honey, vanilla extract for paleo ambrosia.

…until everything is smooth and uniform.

A whisk is mixing a creamy coconut yogurt base for paleo ambrosia in a glass mixing bowl.

Fold in the marshmallows, coconut, and pineapple chunks with a rubber spatula.

Four shots that show someone adding paleo marshallows, shredded coconut, and pineapple chunks to some sweetened coconut yogurt in a large bowl.

Finally, gently incorporate the mandarin orange segments…

Adding a bowl of drained canned mandarin oranges into a bowl of paleo ambrosia.

…until all the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Mixing ambrosia salad in a large glas bowl with a red silicone spatula.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or chill overnight.

Placing a covered bowl of ambrosia salad into the garage.

After it’s chilled, transfer to a serving dish.

Transferring chilled paleo ambrosia salad to a black serving bowl.


An overhead shot of two hands holding a black serving bowl filled with paleo ambrosia.

How to save leftovers?

You can store leftovers for up to 4 days in a sealed container, but your ambrosia salad may get watery if it’s left in the fridge for too long. If the yogurt separates, I just drain off any excess liquid and it still tastes great!

Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013), Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017), and Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2022)

Ambrosia Salad (Paleo, Dairy Free)

4.75 from 8 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Chilling time4 hours
Servings 6
This dreamy paleo ambrosia salad is a tropical delight with pineapple chunks, mandarin oranges, shredded coconut, paleo marshmallows, and honey sweetened coconut yogurt.


  • 1 cup plain coconut yogurt (I like CocoJune or Koko Kai brands)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup paleo marshmallows, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1⅔ cups drained canned pineapple chunks, in 100% juice
  • 1 cup drained canned mandarin oranges in 100% juice
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  • In a large bowl, whisk the coconut yogurt, honey, and vanilla together until smooth.
  • Fold in the marshmallows, coconut, and pineapple chunks with a rubber spatula.
  • Then, gently incorporate the mandarin orange segments until all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  • Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or chill overnight before serving.



  • 1⅔ cup drained canned pineapple chunks = the contents of a 14 ounce can, drained
  • 1 cup drained mandarin orange segments = contents of 10 ounce can, drained
  • You can make your own paleo marshmallows or buy them online.
  • Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days. The coconut yogurt can separate during this time, just drain off any of the watery liquid before serving.


Calories: 257kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 16g | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 23g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!

About Michelle Tam

Hello! My name is Michelle Tam, and I love to eat. I think about food all the time. It borders on obsession. I’ve always loved the sights and smells of the kitchen. My mother was (and is) an excellent cook, and as a kid, I was her little shadow as she prepared supper each night. From her, I gained a deep, abiding love for magically transforming pantry items into mouth-watering family meals.

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  1. 5 stars
    I love how simple this is. We haven’t had this in ages, so I am excited to make it again.