Luby’s Ambrosia

Embark on a sweet journey with Luby’s Ambrosia Salad! A heavenly blend of succulent orange pieces, juicy pineapple tidbits, and tropical coconut flakes, all lightly kissed with powdered sugar. This delightful fruit salad is a symphony of textures and flavors, capturing the essence of a tropical paradise. Perfect as a refreshing side, a light dessert, or a brunch centerpiece.

Copycat Luby's Ambrosia fruit salad in a bowl.

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What Makes Luby’s Ambrosia So Good? 

In Greek and Roman mythology, ambrosia may be the food of the gods, but Luby’s Ambrosia fruit salad is much more terrestrial. Still, there is no denying that it tastes downright heavenly.

If you are someone who has never been lucky enough to try this Southern classic, you may be wondering, just what is ambrosia fruit salad? The recipe for Ambrosia is a short one with nothing more than oranges, pineapples, flaked coconut, and powdered sugar, but the combination is pure bliss. 

Why You Should Try This Recipe 

There are so many great reasons to try making Ambrosia salad at home. The main reason is that it is delicious, especially when served straight from the fridge on the hottest summer days.

Then there’s the fact that it couldn’t be easier to make. If you can peel and cut, you can make this salad. And finally, despite the ability to satisfy even the biggest sweet tooth, it’s pretty healthy, at least as far as desserts go. 

Ambrosia Fruit Salad Ingredients

For this Ambrosia Salad recipe, you’ll need:

  • Navel oranges
  • Pineapple Tidbits
  • Flaked coconut
  • Powdered sugar
Copycat Luby's Ambrosia fruit salad ingredients on a tray.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

Dole’s Pineapple Tidbits packed in pineapple juice are perfect for Ambrosia, but you could use any canned pineapple pieces or crushed pineapple. For this recipe, canned fruit is preferable over fresh fruit.

You can substitute the navel oranges with mandarin oranges.

Both sweetened and unsweetened flaked coconut will work, but Snowflake coconut is too fine to use. 

How to Make Ambrosia

To prepare this citrus fruit salad with coconut:

  1. Peel the oranges and remove all the piths and the stringy bits. To improve the texture of the orange, you should remove the membrane (that smooth skin that adheres directly to the juicy flesh) as well. An easy way to do this is by supreming the orange before cutting it into segments. 
  2. Chop the cut orange into one-inch pieces and place in a large bowl. 
  3. Drain the Pineapple Tidbits very well and cut any larger pieces to about the same size as the prepared orange pieces. Put the pineapple into the bowl with the oranges. 
  4. Add the flaked coconuts and powdered sugar to the citrus fruit. 
Copycat Luby's ambrosia salad ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  1. Stir well until all the sugar dissolves and you have a uniform mixture.
  2. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap. 
  3. Chill the Ambrosia fruit salad for at least an hour to allow the flavors to meld.
  4. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the Ambrosia salad to the serving bowl. 
Copycat Luby's ambrosia fruit salad and a fork next to it.

Recipe Variations

Everyone makes Ambrosia a bit differently, and that’s half the fun of trying your neighbors’ versions. But there are several standard toppings that you may want to include in yours. Here are just a few suggestions, but feel free to add your favorites to the comment section below:

  • Nuts. Walnuts or pecans add both a nutty taste and a crunch. 
  • Bananas. Sliced bananas are another tropical addition that can add more variety to Ambrosia. 
  • Grapes. They’ll add another layer of sweetness and juiciness.
  • Maraschino cherries. Not only do they bring additional sweetness, but the bright red cherries have a festive feeling.
  • Strawberries or Blueberries. For a burst of berry flavor.
  • Miniature marshmallows. Marshmallows provide fluffy sweetness that will encourage even the pickiest kid to at least try the fruit salad. 
  • Sauce. Some folk like to add a bit of creaminess with a sour cream or cream cheese-based sauce. This Cool Whip Fruit Dip would be a fantastic option. 

What to Serve Ambrosia With

Ambrosia can be served as a side dish or dessert salad. It pairs wonderfully with chicken, roast beef, and steak. If serving it for dessert, you can add a dollop of whipped cream on top or fold it in to add some fluffiness.

A Few Occasions That Are Perfect for Ambrosia 

A big bowl of Ambrosia fruit salad is welcome any time and any place, but there are several occasions when the dish is most common:

  • Picnics and cookouts. Fresh and fruity, this recipe is excellent for helping to beat the heat. You’ll find Ambrosia salad at many outdoor gatherings. 
  • Potlucks and church meals. Easy to make and inexpensive while still allowing the cook to show off her creativity, multiple bowls of this fruit salad tend to show when a community gathers to eat together. 
  • Holidays. Ambrosia fruit salad appears more often than a favorite uncle at Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving meals.

How to Store Ambrosia Salad

For safety reasons, you shouldn’t save any Ambrosia you already served. But you can make the fruit salad in advance and keep it in the fridge. An excellent way to ensure the fruit doesn’t get too mushy is to put it in an airtight container with a built-in colander.

To extend the time the fruit salad will stay fresh, avoid adding the toppings or sauce until you are ready to serve. 

How Long Does This Fruit Salad Last?

When stored properly, the Ambrosia fruit salad ingredients will stay good for up to three days, but it is probably best to eat the salad within 24 hours after making it. 

Copycat Luby's ambrosia fruit salad and a fork on a cloth napkin.

Love Luby’s? Try these copycat recipes!

Check out more of my easy salad recipes and the best restaurant copycat recipes on CopyKat!

Copycat Luby's Ambrosia fruit salad in a bowl.

Luby’s Ambrosia

Recreate this fruit salad just like Luby’s does. 
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Fruit Salad, Luby’s Recipes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 151kcal


  • 5 large navel oranges peeled, sectioned, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 ounces pineapple tidbits with juice
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar


  • Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix well.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.


Calories: 151kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 292mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 270IU | Vitamin C: 63.4mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 0.5mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Sandra Bereza

    In the 50’s my Mom used to make a dessert she called Lemon Snow. It has lemon juice , sugar??? , and who knows what else. It was light and fluffy. Has anyone else ever heard of this??

    • Della

      Yes we had it all the time and we called it ‘Lemon Fluff’. It was about 1955. I haven’t thought about it in years but I have the recipe I will look it up for you!

  2. Connie Love

    5 stars
    As a child growing up, once a month we would eat at Luby’s…my favorite!!! Did not know they still existed. Would love more of their recipes. Loved their fish n avacodo salad.

  3. bastisraul

    Great timing. Having this tomorrow on the 4th. Anything Luby’s is ok at our house. We do cut the naval oranges down to 3 and add a can of Mandarin oranges.

      • bastisraul

        Never lived where a Luby’s was located. When I traveled for work, I always had as many convenient meals there as possible. Just became a fan. Not really a fan of cafeteria food in general. Now we have as many Luby’s recipes as we can find and test. I can only play so much golf, so I need another diversion. ha ha

  4. Troy

    you know my gram and I have been making ambrosia salad for years. not that this ones bad, because i loved it. what we use is 2 drained cans of mandarin oranges, 1 1/2 C. Mini marshmallows, 2/3C Sweetend Coconut flakes, 1 drained can Pineapple chunks, and we do it by eye, but id say 2C-3 1/2C. Sour Cream. its very good. maybe you could try that :]

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