Thanksgiving Recipes


Thanksgiving Ambrosia


Thanksgiving Ambrosia

In Ancient Greek myths, Ambrosia was a food fit only for the gods on Mount Olympics. The mythological food was believed to grant the gods their immortality.

But by 1867, a dish named Ambrosia had made its way to southern households in the United States. A North Carolina housewife would begin a tradition that continues to the present day when she first suggested that this combination of coconut and citrus fruits be served in “ice-cream plates or saucers.”

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While Thanksgiving Ambrosia is a staple for many southern households, it is a recipe that appeals to many households, regardless of their geographic location.

Why Include a Thanksgiving Ambrosia Recipe As Part of Your Feast?

Much of your Thanksgiving meal will likely include thick, heavy sauces, delectable breads and maybe even some macaroni and cheese.

Your dessert menu is probably equally as dense and full of sugar. You will likely have at least one pumpkin flavored dessert and at least one tub of whipped topping or a container of whipped cream.

Thanksgiving is definitely a time that most American households decide to splurge and include heavy foods that they do not eat on a regular basis.

But the appeal of Thanksgiving Ambrosia is that it is not a heavy meal. It is designed to include fresh fruit and minimal amounts of sugar.

Whether you want to include a healthy dessert or simply crave an exciting new dish that will stand out among the pies, this Thanksgiving Ambrosia recipe is the right choice to include in your next Thanksgiving meal.

How Can You Change The Recipe and Still Be Authentic?

The original North Carolina recipe in 1867 called only for oranges to be topped with sugar and coconut. Since then, the recipe has grown and changed to suit the taste buds and regional differences of the table the dish sits upon for Thanksgiving.

Fortunately, this means that you can include a wide variety of substitutions to meet your personal tastes while still serving an authentic Ambrosia dish.

Nectarines, peaches and plums could be substitutes for the sectioned citrus fruit. If you have ever opened up a can of fruit cocktail and delighted in the flavor combination, you know that pineapple will go well with any of the citrus fruits your Ambrosia includes.

Some regions of the southern United States also consider cherries to be an essential additional component of their Ambrosia.

Other common additions to Thanksgiving Ambrosia include raisins, cranberries, and walnuts.

Is This Thanksgiving Ambrosia Recipe a Salad or Dessert?

Does this dish look like a dessert or a salad? Or perhaps you are calling it a fruit salad?

This can be a very important question to ask yourself as you are preparing the Thanksgiving Day table arrangements. Does your Ambrosia go on the dessert table, or does it have a rightful spot next to the chef salad and green beans?

When you are trying to make this very vital decision, it's best to ask yourself this question: will your guests be eating the food primarily plain or will they be topping it with whipped cream?

There's no wrong way to eat an Ambrosia Thanksgiving Day salad. But if your guests are topping it the same way they top their pumpkin pie, the dish definitely belongs on the dessert table and not next to a big bowl of greens.

If you like this recipe, try these! 

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Thanksgiving Ambrosia

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  • Author: MomsWhoThink


  • 2 grapefruit (sectioned)
  • 3 oranges (sectioned)
  • 2 tangerines (sectioned)
  • to ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup shredded coconut


  1. Place half the fruits in serving dish; sprinkle with half the sugar and coconut.
  2. Add remaining fruits, sugar and coconut.
  3. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

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